2009-06-20 13:06

Why I STILL use Arch Linux

Yesterday I had one of those moments where I feel very happy about my distro of choice, Arch Linux. Since the last time I posted about Arch seems to have been over two years ago (time flies when you are having fun!), I think it's time to explain it.

I wanted to test rst2pdf against reportlab from SVN, wordaxe from SVN and docutils from SVN, and I wanted it to be simple.

Solution: I just packaged them in AUR!

Now, whenever I need to check rst2pdf agains wordaxe trunk, I just need to yaourt -S python-wordaxe-svn and I can go back to stable wordaxe with yaourt -S python-wordaxe.

The svn package will always be the current trunk without any modifications, and I can switch back and forth in about 45 seconds, without messing up my system's packages.

Also, I can keep my installed SVN packages updated by doing yaourt -Su --devel every now and then.

How would I have done that using Debian or a RPM distro? I suppose by going around the packaging system (which I hate) or by doing a private repo (which is so ... lame?) or by doing a public repo (which is freaking work).

Really, if you are a coder, I can't think of a Linux distro that makes life easier than Arch. Pretty much everything is there (12K packages in unsupported!) and if it isn't, it's a 5-minute job to slap it into AUR and help the community.

Suppose you are doing a KDE app. On most distros you need to install your own from-source copy of kdelibs to have the latest and make sure it's not screwed by distro-specific patches.

On Arch? Patching upstream is frowned upon. Not having the latest version is frowned upon. So it's pretty much the ideal environment to develop against KDE, or GNOME, or PyQt or whatever.

If my life was not 150% committed already, I would try to become an Arch developer, or at least a TU (Trusted User). Maybe next life!


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