I recently made a switch from the safety and comfort of the Debian based Linux distributions to Antergos, based off Arch Linux.
So how did this come to be?
One of the amazing things about Linux is the fact that there is always something new out there to learn. A new package manager, a different desktop environment, a different philosophy, a completely different ethos.
While you never quite start from scratch, there can be a significant learning curve when approaching a new distribution, and particularly when you enter a radically different paradigm.
I had been interested in Arch Linux for quite some time, both by way of reputation and from reviews I had read and watched. At the same time, I felt that the challenge would be steep and I was not sure I would be up to up basically building an entire system from scratch.
At the same time, the idea of a rolling release seemed appealing to me, and I wanted to broaden my horizons.
The solution eventually found it’s way to me, in the form of Antergos. This is a spin off distribution of Arch, mostly in the shape of a nice and very user friendly installer, along with some basic default applications to let you hit the ground running.
Upon booting from a USB stick, I was greeted with a simple, easy installer that let you configure my locale settings and pick from one of several desktop options.
While I was slightly dismayed at the lack of KDE, I had been meaning to try out Gnome 3 for quite some time.
About half an hour later, everything was done, I rebooted the system and was greeted by a Gnome desktop. To my great pleasure, everything worked out of the box on my Dell laptop. Wireless worked great, all the special multimedia keys worked, Steam loaded fine, the desktop was quick and responsive, and it was a breeze to add a few additional applications with the Pacman tool.
While Arch tends towards being a command line heavy distro, Antergos ships with PacmanXG, which, while not as polished as the Ubuntu software center or Muon, is extremely functional and full featured.
I am reminded of the type of multi-function administration tool that YAST is, and I think it will fill many of the same types of roles.
After witnessing the desktop in action, our two remaining computers were likely switched to the distribution, since I felt it would be easier to administer a single distribution in our household.
In future articles, we will go into more depth with specifics of the desktop, and particularly a newcomers experiences with Gnome3 and the PacmanXG tool.
If you want to test Antergos for yourself, it will also run in a live environment, and was extremely quick when used in this fashion. Some live installs, from my past experience, can be a little sluggish, but I felt no such limitations here.