All roads lead to Arch

by Sam on July 17, 2023

If you use Linux, or have spent some time around Linux users, you’ve likely heard of Arch Linux. But what is it exactly?

Intro to Arch Linux

Arch Linux, or Arch, is a Linux distribution. To put it very simply, distributions are differing versions of Linux. Some are easier for beginners, while some are almost impossible to use without some knowledge of Linux. Arch is one of the distributions generally not recommended for beginners.

My history using Arch

I’m not exactly sure when I started using Arch Linux full-time, but the best guess I’ve got is somewhere around 2014. I started using it shortly after “distrohopping” from Ubuntu to Debian, and testing various distros along the way. When I got started with Arch, I was interested in learning about how Linux is configured, and excited at potentially troubleshooting a broken system. It’s a common myth that arch installs are prone to break, the truth is that inexperienced users tend piece together half-functioning builds, with frequent issues as a result. I continued to use Arch Linux on all my personal computers up until 2021, when I acquired a new laptop. I was quite busy and didn’t want to spend time installing arch, so I put OpenSUSE on it. That did not last long.

All roads lead to Arch

Although I’ve used Debian for a few years, and often it’s my choice for servers, I find myself always drawn back to the simplicity and ease of use when it comes to Arch. Sometime in 2021 I decided to try out OpenSUSE, and while it was fun trying it out, after almost a year my system stopped booting. Despite reinstalling, my system remained stubborn throwing me the same error. I even tried using the OpenSUSE snapshot tool to restore my system to an earlier time, no luck. Without the Arch Wiki, IRC, and Forums for support I was finding it difficult to get an answer for my problem. While OpenSUSE has great documentation and a very helpful community, which I’m sure would have been happy to help, years of using Arch and I never managed to brick my system to a point where I couldn’t recover it. The few times I managed break my install on Arch, I was always able to boot an arch ISO and chroot into my system to fix it from there.

The 2023 update

I had actually initially finished writing this blogpost sometime in 2021, when I suddenly decided to switch to Fedora Linux (I’m sure distrohoppers can relate). I bought a new computer, and wanted to try something new. Fedora had an easy installation, up-to-date packages, and I was told it was very reliable. After all, Red Hat works on it, and they’re a major company. The experience was nice at first, but eventually I started to have problems. When I would power on my computer, it would more often than not hang on boot. The whole point of using Fedora over Arch was to have a more “stable” experience, yet I was having more issues than I ever had with Arch.

So in 2023 I’m back on Arch. I found this almost completed blogpost in my drafts from 2021, and it made me laugh how ~2 years later this still applies to my current situation.

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