Delving back into linux…again…
So, I’m pretty platform agnostic. I’ve used just about every OS under the sun at one time or another, from CP/M to DOS to Mac System 6 through Mac OSX (now just Mac OS), to OS/2 to AmigaDOS to Windows 3, 95, 98, NT, XP and now 10. I’ve been dabbling in Linux off and on since it first came out. Seriously, I had it up and running in like the first 8 months of it’s inception.
While I’ve enjoyed my return to Windows which I haven’t used since the early days of XP (having installed Windows 10 with a new computer build back in spring of 2015…having skipped over Windows Vista, 7 and 8), I’ve always felt more comfortable with a Unix or “Unix-like” OS. I just know where everything is, plus still know the commands to get around…even without a GUI (this is Unix! I know this!). I’ve played around with the various popular distributions of Linux, and the last time I dived head first into this OS, Gentoo was the “distro-de-jour” that everyone was loving. But I went back to Windows because the video games I enjoyed were Windows-Only.
Now I’m back. And while I’ve played around a bit with Ubuntu and Mint, I decided to try out Arch Linux. Arch isn’t too far removed from how Gentoo was, where you build it up from the ground from scratch. It’s not run by a single entity, like Ubuntu is, but from a very large community, which I like. It has a very detailed installation process that involves building it up piece by piece. Now here’s where I cheated….
I did that before with Gentoo. I know the ends-and-outs with building a system up from scratch. Granted, this was about 12 years ago that I did the Gentoo thing, but still. I like the concept of Arch. I like their pacman package handler better than something like apt-get. What I didn’t want to have to go through is doing the step by step installation…again. Maybe it’s because I’m old now and I just want to get in there and start playing around. Either way, there are a few alternatives to installing Arch, and the one I picked was Antergos. It has an automated installation, that figures out everything you have on your system and installs the desktop environment of your choice (Cinnamon, in my case). Once it’s installed, it’s Arch Linux…for all intent and purposes. Now, I know some purists out there will say that no, it’s not Arch, but it is. Any problems I’ve had I had resolved by going to the Arch forums and support sites, not Antergos forums…which are really non-existent.
I’ve been enjoying it. Sure, it took a while to configure everything to where I like it, but once you have it, it’s there. It’s also kept very up-to-date since Arch is a “rolling release”, meaning it’s the concept of frequently delivering updates to the OS and installed applications. I prefer this as you’re out there on the cutting edge of things, and while this can get you into trouble if a new update breaks something, I still prefer it to the point releases.
For instance, I recently tried out LInux Mint 18, which is the latest version. It’s still back on Kernel 4.4 with it’s install. Sure, you can manually go in and download the latest kernel and get it running, with Arch, you get it right away. When doing a uname -r, I get ‘linux 4.8.13-1’…which in only a little while will be 4.9 I’m sure, since Linus Torvalds announced it’s out in the wild. Do I need all the new features in the latest and greatest kernel? Other than the security updates and fixes, not really. It’s not enabling any hardware that’s not already working on my system. I just like knowing I’m running the latest. I know, I’m weird.
If I get a new laptop soon (looking at a Thinkpad, depending on any deals I can get), I’m putting Arch on it. Though, in this day and age I may think about putting Qubes OS on it.