I’m a regular reader of a certain blog, OMGubuntu. It was one of the best places to keep up to date about the Ubuntu world and I have learned quite a lot by visiting there. Take a break and check out the blog.
Of course this article isn’t about OMGubuntu or Ubuntu so why did I start from Ubuntu? One of the reason why I read that blog is to read the comments to get the general feel of the Ubuntu fans. Us fans…ahhh… we are really a different breed of humans. There are those who hate Unity and love Ubuntu, hate Ubuntu but love the HUD, hate all three but love the application menu. Every little change made to the OS is scrutinized and read upon by the community there. It’s there where I first even heard of Arch Linux. I believe there are a small group of Arch Linux users in the comments section, possibly even trolling the place. But I heard quite a lot about Arch Linux and I was intrigued enough to try it. The hype surrounding it must be based on some tangible thing and I set my heart out to give it a try on a free day.
I made that decision an year ago or so. I been busy…
Come 2014. Gnome and Unity still fighting for the top place. Linux Mint with their very own flavor of the gnome-shell to grab a huge portion from Ubuntu. Elementary OS with a new release and every eye-candy loving user going for the grabs. It’s been a hectic year. Chaotic at best. The audience loves it, even if the end user might be a bit disappointed. I might have been disappointed too… Unity looked much the same for the past two releases, no major new features and well… it has matured, it looks polished and it certainly is usable, but the excitement is definitely not there. That’s good enough reasons to keep it in my office though. It works wonders there.
At home, I was free to experiment. Circumstances had it that my PC was not in service for a long time and I decided to take my wife’s laptop. It is probably the worst thing that happened to the relationship I had between Windows too. Because Windows 8 on this laptop was so slow! I cannot even begin describing the state of affairs. Me, the laptop and Windows 8, we were not buddies. We were not acquaintances even. We were at war! No negotiations and time of peace for us! And the sad thing was… Windows 8 was winning.
This idiocy was going on for quite a while when after about 2 months, after losing a lot of precious hours and work, I finally had it. I partitioned off free space available and in came Ubuntu 14.04. It saved me. I got to get work done quickly, without any crashes. Reports and drawings were starting to meet deadlines. Close call, that. Ubuntu saved the day
Then… the part where “excitement is definitely not there” which I already mentioned before started to settle in. I was getting things done, it made me happy and I was a happy user, but… I was not excited. Not like the first time I used Linux. Watching Mandriva boot from a DVD as a LiveCD was surreal (I never though such a thing would be possible). Playing with Hardy Heron (8.04, I believe) was the best thing ever. I sticked with Ubuntu releases from 8.04 till 14.04, regularly upgrading or doing clean installations and this lack of excitement had me quite worried. Was Linux losing its touch on me? Had the direction taken by Ubuntu and other distribution finally had it’s toll on me?
It had, sadly, done that. Unity looks nice and all… but nice is not for me, it never has been. I was in need of new direction and I been hearing the ooohs and aaahs surrounding the gnome-shell. So it was time for Ubuntu Gnome Remix. Problems solved, my mojo soon to be back in place.
I been using Ubuntu for a long time to know about one of it’s biggest flaws. It’s inability to deliver bleeding edge software. Not being a rolling release, it solves this problem by using PPA’s and that sort of solves the problem. However, Ubuntu’s inability to offer the latest version of Gnome-shell is really something uncanny. Lot of reasons are thrown about and a good half of the community is on Canonical’s side anyway, so allow me to point out what I think of the whole thing. Canonical doesn’t won’t people to see the advances made by Gnome. There I said. Digest it. Or try to digest the fact that Ubuntu is not able to offer a stable version of gnome that came out last year, even now. I won’t keep ranting about Ubuntu… Canonical must have their financial reasons for not wanting to show the latest shiny gnome-shell and instead, shows the latest shiny Unity.
So I got about to doing the insanely difficult task of setting up Arch Linux on my laptop. Always known as a tedious configuration monster, I painstakingly configured my laptop in…. an hour? Wait… what? Where was all the configurations and the compilations to get ‘the system you want’ that I been reading about? I had my laptop running gnome-shell, then thought enlightenment would be better suited and so… without any painstaking configurations… I switched over to that. About the same time, my PC was fixed and so I once again, I repeated the ‘within an hour’ installation on my PC and now… I’m truly impressed. This is the true Linux experience I been waiting for. Choosing between Ubuntu and Arch Linux, it’s Arch Linux… period.