Quick Tips for a more stable Arch Linux experience

Note: Everything below has been published previously online in the Arch Linux wiki. However, for what ever reason there’s still a lot of misinformation about Arch’s stability and many users are not aware that these published tips exist.

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This short article aims to raise awareness on the best paths for a more stable Arch Linux experience. That’s not to say that Arch Linux is in anyway unstable. No, far from it! But for new users, there are certain precautions that should be taken so that the inherent freedom of Arch does not get in the way of system stability.

What is Arch Linux?

Lets trace back just a little. Arch Linux is an independently developed, i686/x86-64 general purpose GNU/Linux distribution versatile enough to suit any role. Development focuses on simplicity, minimalism, and code elegance. Arch is installed as a minimal base system, configured by the user upon which their own ideal environment is assembled by installing only what is required or desired for their unique purposes. GUI configuration utilities are not officially provided, and most system configuration is performed from the shell and a text editor. Based on a rolling-release model, Arch also strives to stay bleeding edge, and typically offers the latest stable versions of most software. – Arch Linux Wiki.

Why use Arch Linux on desktops and servers?

Arch Linux may be a tad intimidating to some (especially desktop installs), but once you have it running, it’s more fluid and simple than most Linux distros out there! You’ll soon get a sense of organization and beauty with everything Arch related. Be it with the OS, the community or documentation. For example the amazing Wiki or the AUR (Arch User Repository) which gives you access to all the software and 3rd party apps you can dream of. Arch repositories also include packages that wouldn’t qualify as ‘free’ according to GNU. Install Skype with pacman -S skype after you first install and setup Arch, or you can quickly install your must haves from the AUR using packer -S spotify google-chrome (see AUR helpers). Then head to the apps list and find cool app recommendations for easy install. No need to add repositories, compile manually or follow any command line how-to’s. Github based apps are also available for package install.

Best of all, since Arch Linux is a rolling release distro, you only have to install it once. Yes, one install for the life of your hardware! No replacements released every few months such as 13.04, 13.10, 14.04 etc. Nor does LTS (long term support) mean you get trapped in time entirely. To upgrade you simply roll with the command: pacman -Syu and your done!

Say hello to Arch’s Linux-lts package

You may think the terms bleeding edge and stable don’t play well together. Well, you’d be surprised! There’s a nice discussion here with the take away being that Arch can be as stable as you need it to be, or as stable as you make it. The first recommendation for a more stable Arch Linux experience, as with most Arch tips and tutorials, starts with a quick read of the Arch Wiki… Enhance system stability. On that page you will find roughly 20 simple techniques to enhance Arch stability.

As discussed there, one often overlooked recommendation, is to switch to the Arch linux-lts package.The linux-lts package is an alternative Arch kernel package based upon Linux kernel 3.14 and is available in the core repository. This particular kernel version enjoys long-term support (LTS) from upstream, including security fixes and some feature backports, especially useful for users seeking to use Arch Linux on a server, or who want a fallback kernel in case a new kernel version causes problems. Also see list of kernels.

May you enjoy many years of uninterrupted Arch bliss!

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