Yep it’s official read this

If this is not a clear, written in black and white, piece of evidence that the#archlinux  most of us have been using for the last six or seven years no longer exists I don’t know what is? Of course I’m starting to turn into one of those dogs howling at the moon because nobody who has control of a project is going to listen to me they never do. I don’t just mean Arch Linux I mean all distributions, look at the furore within the #ubuntu community when such things as Gimp was removed from the Live CD.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not averse to change, change is good it’s how we progress but IMO the current so-called changes (Ch ch ch changes, turn and face the strain) to me seem extremely poorly implemented almost as if the developers are hammering square pegs into round holes simply so they are able to say “I did that!” now you’re perfectly entitled to call me an idiot and say I’m talking out of my backside but just stop and think for a minute, if you’ve hammered a square peg in a round hole and it supposedly works why do you need to create a sym link then? I might not be the brightest spark in the match box but that clearly tells me that actually a square peg in round hole doesn’t work but if we glue some bits of plastic over the gaps it might, kind of.

I never said this on our podcast The Dick Turpin Road Show I wish I had now, but it seems to me that what the developers should have done/do is in effect work on the new incarnation of Arch Linux in secret separate to the mainstream release and then announced “Further development on Arch Linux -A will cease forthwith. Today we announce the release of Arch Linux -B. This is radically different from -A and is not compatible hence the ‘Cease’ notification. Blah, blah, blah.” that way it would have made it more palatable to the users and not have horribly broken people’s installations some of which had been running for five years or more without a re-installation as per Judd Vincent’s vision.

It’s clear that the destruction of the original concept of Arch Linux is going to continue for at least the rest of the year and I’m not going to bother wasting my breath with such stock veiled threats as “You’ll loose users you know!” because even an Amoeba could have seen how these decisions and implementations would really upset the user base and yet nobody cared enough to say “Hang on a minute.”

I like Allan McRae’s stuff, hell I’ve been thinking about asking him on the podcast “He knows his onions.” as we say in the UK but if you read his blog post carefully and know a bit about Arch Linux even you will see that it’s riddled with inconsistencies, for example;

The Arch Build System (ABS)
Being able to readily customize packages is always touted as on of Arch’s best features in any review I see. I never use it… Well, not entirely true – I have 1 customized package out of the 626 currently on my system. I wonder if it is the packaging system rather than ABS that is being highlighted by not well-informed reviewers there, because maintaining a custom package is really not a pleasant task in Arch.
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My thought is “Just because you don’t use ABS doesn’t mean nobody else is, in fact some people might say maintaining custom packages is the biggest contribution anyone can make to a distribution?” so changing something simply because a select few don’t use it is wrong, very wrong.

Simple configuration
The rc.conf file was highlighted by many reviews as being the one stop for all your configuration. In fact, one review suggested that it should also include “wi-fi profiles, printer, scanners, bluetooth etc” given there were not GUI tools to do this. The lack of distro specific tools for configuration was also highlighted, although that is a bit weird given our rc.conf is distro specific.
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This is probably my biggest upset, I loved, Notice I said loved, rc.conf as it is to be killed off by the look of things “RIP rc.conf” this for me was the defining factor along with the ‘rolling’ capability of Arch Linux, it is what set us apart from other distributions. Now of course there’s two trains of thought here. Do we make ourselves just like everyone else apart from our logo? Or do we maintain our affiliation with Linux but with our own definite identity?

I for one have never been a sheep.

1 Comment

  1. Yes, rc.conf and the rolling release were the main features that defined ArchLinux in my opinion. What is left now is just the rolling release. The current structure of the distribution does not feel like ArchLinux any more. Now it is more like gentoo without having to compile.

    On the other hand, I do not think you should be so emotional about the recent changes, though. We still have the rolling release and full customisation about which I forgot to mention above.

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