Sunday, November 17, 2013

arch, archbang, bridge

I've been running Bridge Linux since February 2013 and ArchBang since June 2013. I like to spend a year or two with a distro to get a really good feel for it, but things have gone well enough with both of these distros that I'm becoming convinced that, along with Debian, I'll be using an Arch-based system for years to come.

I can't call myself an "Arch user" because I haven't installed "straight" Arch Linux. I'll probably do that at some point, but right now I'm having a hard time coming up with a reason to bother with a "real" Arch installation. ArchBang and Bridge get a user up and running with an Arch system much more quickly and easily; to me, it seems that installing Arch would involve extra, unnecessary time and effort, and I'd end up with an installation that wouldn't be much different (and perhaps no better) than what I've already got with either ArchBang or Bridge.

I don't know which I like better between Bridge Linux and ArchBang. ArchBang comes with Openbox, but other environments can be installed. ArchBang has been around a little longer than Bridge. ArchBang has more documentation, but that might not be so important because the user will refer to the Arch Linux documentation most of the time, anyway.

On the other hand, Bridge offers Xfce, GNOME, KDE, and LXDE/Openbox .isos (I've only tried Bridge Xfce).

In any case, both Bridge Xfce and ArchBang (with Openbox) are quite nicely done. I think that either environment is perfect for an Arch installation. Both distros include scripts to make it easy to get things set up. Bridge uses only Arch repos -- the [core], [extra], and [community] repos; ArchBang, along with those repos, includes the [archbang] repo, but I currently have no packages installed from that one (the command paclist archbang returns nothing). The Arch User Repository ("AUR") is, of course, available for both distros as well.

I think that eventually I'll want only one Arch installation, whether it's Arch, ArchBang, or Bridge Linux. Either one would be fine with me. For now, I'll keep both ArchBang and Bridge; I'm finding it helpful, sometimes, to be able to compare how things are done in each distro.

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