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Author Topic: Is call Arch Linux stable an oxymoron?  (Read 634 times)

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Offline AndyInMokum

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Is call Arch Linux stable an oxymoron?
« on: January 10, 2017, 03:52:32 am »
I sometimes despair the way some Arch users try to convince new users that Arch is stable.  I've been having a semi constructive debate with some Arch user.  They're try to tell me and new users that Arch is more stable than a standard release distro.  Here a taste of the conversation.

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Anup Sutar also Arch is a rolling distro, so you don't have to install it everytime. Just install it one time and u are done. You will get updates before other distros

Me:
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Andy Mitchell That also has it's downside too. Remember rolling releases by their very nature are unstable in comparison to standard or point release distributions.

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Anup Sutar No. Arch is stable enough. The testing repositories have unstable packages but regular repositories has stable packages. The only downside is you have to do everything manually and correctly. If you didn't then you will have the unstable distro

Me:
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Andy Mitchell Bleeding edge software is always going to be unstable, just like the software in the Debian Sid and Testing repos. It's all great while it's working. It will go wrong though, It's just a matter of time for it to happen. It's just the nature of the beast.

This next reply cracked me up  ;D

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Fahim Ferdous Yeah. I'm switching to Arch because of a handful of reasons. Rolling release is one of them. But that is okay. Andy Mitchell, trust me, Arch is unimaginably stable. As a rolling distribution. Unlike Fedora or tumbleweed. I used tumbleweed. They were both bleeding edge. But Arch isn't bleeding edge. I asked a few people on this group. Then I was able to understand why so many people are using Arch.

Me:
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Andy Mitchell Fahim Ferdous Arch is most certainly bleeding edge. The Arch devs even promote it as this. From the Arch website "...Arch Linux uses a "rolling release" system which allows one-time installation and perpetual software upgrades. It is not generally necessary to reinstall or upgrade your Arch Linux system from one "version" to the next. By issuing one command, an Arch system is kept up-to-date and on the bleeding edge."

I had to laugh some more at this complete contradiction:
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Anup Sutar Arch has two repositories named main and testing. In main repo, the packages are tested and are stable. But in testing repositories all packages are unstable and are still in testing state. So it is stable. Other distros don't adopt latest packages because they are not rolling releases

Me:
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Andy Mitchell Even so, the stability of an Arch installation is ultimately up to the end user. That's what Arch is about. A fine philosophy it is too. You still have to be extremely careful what you update and when to update, irrespective of the repository. If you take your finger off the pulse, you can easily end up in a world of trouble. This is just a characteristic of rolling releases. I'm not criticising this. A bit of instability makes life interesting. I just regard it as an oxymoron to call any rolling/cyclic-rolling release distro stable

Now this bloke jumps in with a bunch more contradictions and claims of Arch's stability.   I don't think these guys actually read or know what Arch is all about.  They certainly choose to ignore what the Arch dev have to say about the distro.
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Rijan Macapaz Gaurano arch is actually stable, more stable than NON-rolling ones. non-rolling distros are more prone to dependency hell and regression. bleeding edge means using a very new software that is not yet ready for the general public. that's not the case with arch. arch gives its users the latest (not always) stable and tested version of packages, not beta, not RC, but only stable. you can say fedora rawhide is bleeding edge, but arch is not. as a matter of fact,if a stable package, is not considered stable by the devs, users will have to wait longer than expected. bash, for example, arrived very late in arch. kernels don't update so fast, we are still in 4.8 as of now. and antergos even made their own mate repo, coz arch has an older version of it. arch updates are quicker than others, but the advantage of it is that it brings fixes and patches as early as possible, so arch systems tend to be more secure as well. in arch we experience some issues from time to time, but can be solved within minutes. some packages become unstable at times, but not the whole system, and since arch is rolling, package-specific problems are fixed quickly.
Honestly, this lot are really blinkered  :-\.
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Online PCNetSpec

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Re: Is call Arch Linux stable an oxymoron?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2017, 05:25:45 am »
I now totally ignore the Arch "superfans", some time ago I realised they don't speak for and hold no merit or interest for the "real" core Arch users who don't like them either.

As for any rolling release .. Anyone that's used one for any protracted length of time KNOWNS it will eventually tie itself in knots, so again I simply don't listen to anyone that says otherwise.

The oft flaunted AUR .. first let me admit I know little about it, but its very name suggests it's PPA(ish) at least in that any "Arch User" can compile/package applications for inclusion (?) .. If I had to guess I'd say it's also the #1 reason Arch devs set the entry bar so very high, so only people with the requisite skills added to it .. if I'm right it will be amazingly useful for those with the requisite skills but at the same time a major source of headaches and system instabilities in the same way PPA's are .. until told otherwise, I'll assume the influx of the "1337ists bandwagon bunch" are not going to do the AUR (and by extension Arch itself) any favours either.

Arch is INTENDED (by design) to be for technically proficient types who like problem solving and documenting their discoveries, something they've given to the rest of the Linux world by the truck load .. used as intended Arch is an OUTSTANDING distro with much to offer, and has some of the most technically proficient and committed developers and core users who have given MUCH to the rest of the Linux world .. is it intended as a daily desktop system for lesser mortals ? .. well ask yourself why they set the entry bar so VERY VERY high (and let out a collective sigh when Manjaro and installers like Architect lowered it) ;)

It must be very frustrating for the Arch devs and core users to realise that the entry barriers they put (left?) in place to keep the userbase technically proficient has turned out to be the very thing that has attracted the 1337ist gobby idiots.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2017, 06:30:45 am by PCNetSpec »
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Offline VinDSL

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Re: Is call Arch Linux stable an oxymoron?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2017, 06:13:44 am »
Ask him for proof of this supposed stability.  The classic test for servers is to invoke 'uptime'.

Here's the current 'uptime' on my Peppermint-powered bot:

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vindsl@Sandman ~ $ uptime
 03:56:27 up 238 days,  6:23,  2 users,  load average: 0.84, 0.82, 0.80

Now, that's stability !   8)

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Re: Is call Arch Linux stable an oxymoron?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2017, 06:35:03 am »
Have you got kernel live patching enabled on that, or do you just not update kernels ?

I ask because I want to know how reliable kernel live patching is to gauge if it's something I should consider (later) for the Peppermint servers.
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Offline scifidude79

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Re: Is call Arch Linux stable an oxymoron?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2017, 09:37:42 am »
Yes, it's an oxymoron.  There's nothing stable about Arch.  Even if you have it going good for a while, an update will eventually break something.  The only people who think this isn't so have their heads shoved so far up their butts that they just can't see it or, more likely, don't want to admit it.  Anyone who has used Arch for more than a minute has to have experienced a major error that they've had to fix or install a workaround for while waiting for an update to fix the issue.

The only type of rolling release structure that's even remotely stable is the type that PCLInuxOS uses, which isn't a fully rolling structure.  It's semi-rolling.  While you never have to install a new version and it's constantly update, updates aren't bleeding edge.  They're at least tested before they're put into the repositories.  If Arch used that kind fo structure, I'd call it stable.