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Is Arch Linux Really Faster Than Ubuntu?

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  • In gentoo, upgrading major components of the system, such as libc, python, gcc, libtools, etc. can lead to breakage, or at least require (often automated) rebuilding of many packages, and fixing the loose ends, which can be daunting to a non-experienced user.

    Dists such as Debian avoid this by only making huge changes at once, in a distro upgrade process you have to do from time to time, which updates all essential components together, reducing the danger of things blowing in your face.

    Still, I think that the complexity of rolling distros such as Arch and gentoo is overrated and the simplicity of more traditional distro upgrades too. I've had dist-upgrade breakages on Debian too, though not as frequently.

    The argument that it is not easy to simply try out Gentoo (short of using a live CD) is true. It takes a commitment due to the more complex install process. As a result, it tends to attract people who know exactly what they are looking for in a distro, and not distro-hoppers running a different one every week. In that case, 12 hours (most of which is fully automated, you go and have an espresso and watch a movie) is really not a major argument.

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    • Originally posted by Apopas View Post
      In Gentoo is automatic as well.
      But what about the depedency hell? I hate more than windows to install unused software.
      You can build the packages to what ever you want on a build system if you want to rid your self of un-needed packages. Some systems also allow you to look for orphaned packages. My openSUSE system has its packages all built without pulseaudio for example. Dependency Hell nightmares are relatively rare nowdays. Package management has come a loooong ways of the last few years.

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      • Sounds like you're reinventing Gentoo and USE flags on OpenSUSE.

        It's good to hear that it can be done, though, flexibility is always welcome, as long as it doesn't impact other considerations.

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        • Originally posted by deanjo View Post
          You can build the packages to what ever you want on a build system if you want to rid your self of un-needed packages. Some systems also allow you to look for orphaned packages. My openSUSE system has its packages all built without pulseaudio for example. Dependency Hell nightmares are relatively rare nowdays. Package management has come a loooong ways of the last few years.
          Hey we have repeated that conversation.
          Ofcourse it can be done That's Linux. I can even take Ubuntu and make it rpm based.But it's like reinventing the wheel. With Gentoo you don't need to deal with depedencies or whatever. It's automatic. I added the options I wanted in a text file in October of 2004 and since then I just run emerge

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          • Originally posted by Apopas View Post
            Why redoing the kernel all the time? You just keep your .config around and you adjust it to the newer kernel. 10 minutes job. There is even an option to pack it inside your kernel image.
            Funny you mention that. Obviously I did keep my .config but that wasn't enough. Every time some little thing changed or I compiled a kernel that didn't work, I also had to re install (binary) drivers. I got annoyed when one breakage would break another. It was obviously due to my lack of patience that I gave up on Gentoo. If I had the patience I would still be using it.
            Originally posted by Apopas View Post
            What makes Gentoo fast and light though, is not the compile optimizations but the USE flags which help you install the things you really need and keep your system tidy and clean.
            USE flags is the real power of Gentoo, not the GCC flags.
            The use flags are why I liked Gentoo so much. Honestly if it was much easier, I'd still be using Gentoo now. I would save my USE flags and then when re installing Gentoo, gave a really fresh install and a fast system, that was almost complete. Maybe in the future, the use flag system will be automatic as well as the .config so that you can just run through a bunch of check boxes as to what you want in the OS.
            Originally posted by pingufunkybeat View Post
            In gentoo, upgrading major components of the system, such as libc, python, gcc, libtools, etc. can lead to breakage, or at least require (often automated) rebuilding of many packages, and fixing the loose ends, which can be daunting to a non-experienced user.

            Dists such as Debian avoid this by only making huge changes at once, in a distro upgrade process you have to do from time to time, which updates all essential components together, reducing the danger of things blowing in your face.
            Arch linux has had it's fare share of breakages too. As I mentioned before when libc was upgraded once, almost every package that depended on it had to be updated. This also meant that some mirrors were not sync'd properly to the main Arch package database. So I had to do a full update of the system from archlinux.org itself rather than my local mirror which had bits and pieces of updated and non updated packages. It almost broke my system so bad that I couldn't update (using pacman which was broken) to fix the problem. Thank God for wget heh.
            Originally posted by pingufunkybeat View Post
            It's not about superiority, it is about different choices for different people.

            Over the 6 years that I've been running Gentoo, I've had to install exactly two times (once for each computer I've had during this time).

            With the Ubuntu way, I would have had to reinstall 24 times -- twice a year, corresponding to the regular Ubuntu release schedule.
            Another reason why I stuck to Arch Linux. I've lasted two years without a fresh install. Though I remember on the forums, one of the package maintainers mentioned that they aim for 12 months plus. There has been only one time that the system was so broken that I couldn't update and that was probably my fault anyway.

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            • Arch Linux Really Faster Than Ubuntu and Debian!

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              • Originally posted by Apopas View Post
                I added the options I wanted in a text file in October of 2004 and since then I just run emerge
                How is that any different then specifying them once in a spec file?

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                • how many spec files are there? Every rpm has its own...

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                  • Originally posted by deanjo View Post
                    How is that any different then specifying them once in a spec file?
                    It's easier and supported by the package manager. Messing with spec files and updates is not even funny.

                    Just leave binary distros at what they do best. You don't want to start comparisons with source-based distros.

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                    • Originally posted by b15hop View Post
                      Another reason why I stuck to Arch Linux. I've lasted two years without a fresh install. Though I remember on the forums, one of the package maintainers mentioned that they aim for 12 months plus. There has been only one time that the system was so broken that I couldn't update and that was probably my fault anyway.
                      Funny, that's why I'm using Ubuntu. I've been upgrading the same installation since 7.04 without issue, even moving to different hard drives and filesystems.

                      Arch tends to fail me around the 6-12 month timeline, requiring manual intervention to get up and running again. Xorg upgrades are usually at fault but the more customized the system the higher the chances an upgrade will cause issues (which is ironic, since easy customization is one of the draws in Arch). The trick is to *always* read the release notes / caveats before upgrading a major package and delay upgrading if necessary. Fewer nasty surprises that way.

                      That's not to say Ubuntu is flawless but it does require less maintainance than a similar Arch system, where blind "pacman -Syu" is a recipe for disaster. Ideally, I'd love a system so solid that it could be set to auto-upgrade behind the scenes (and maintain itself to e.g. remove garbage from the grub menu). Unfortunately, only Chrome OS is trying to go that way right now. Hopefully others will follow soon (and with btrfs on the horizon, there are some interesting ways to reduce the risk inherent to such a system).

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