COMPARISON OF DEBIAN VS ARCH LINUX
Debian and Arch Linux are what many distributions are based on. But what are they and what are their main differences? Can they be used as an operating system for a server or home computer?
In their development, they hold radically different views. Debian is the main GNU / Linux distribution with all the ensuing ones. Arch Linux – DIY distribution (do it yourself). But let’s talk about everything in order.
Let’s start comparing Debian and Arch Linux as usual with the installation. Debian has a graphical installer. Most of the questions are not difficult. Although some points could be automated, such as adding a Grub bootloader. In general, if you read the tips carefully, then even a beginner will cope with the installation. After that, only the basic set of programs will be available to you.
There are several installation images, by default a small image is offered with the installation of most packages from the Internet. There is also a kit for full installation. However, this is not the best solution, as multiple disks are used. But if you do not need several desktop shells, then download the live image with the desired environment. With it you will not only get acquainted with the distribution, but also get a quick installation.
Arch Linux does not have a graphical installer, it does not even have a text version. All commands must be registered manually, starting with the disk layout and ending with the installation of the environment and the bootloader. This method of installation scares away not only beginners but also experienced users.
There are numerous scripts that automate the installation of Arch Linux. However, almost all of them contain a large number of links, if one of them stops working, the installation may fail or even hang at one stage. This way you will hardly be able to bypass the installation.
Debian relies on the apt package manager, which is the Dpkg low-level manager interface. Simple commands like install, remove, update are used. The packages themselves are stored in .deb format, which is understood by all Debian-based distributions, and it is often chosen as the main one when distributing programs.
Arch Linux, in turn, has its own pacman manager. He does not use commands, but arguments. For example, -S will install a packet and -R will remove it. Packages in .tar format contain compiled code. They should not be confused with .tar.gz, commonly used for source code.
Debian adheres to the idea of free software. Once installed in the repositories, you will not find any closed source programs. You can add the desired repositories (non-free), but they still lack many programs. The distribution has one of the most complete repositories, which contains most of the free software. Debian may not offer the latest packages, but it is certainly the most stable.
By default, Arch Linux selects repositories with virtually no proprietary programs. However, it will not be difficult to include additional repositories. Not to mention the AUR user archive repository Arch. It does not contain the programs themselves, but only scripts for external download and further installation. For example, the program can be downloaded from Github or in the form of a deb package with the subsequent reassembly under Arch. The latest versions are supplied for the distribution.
Not all hardware has open source drivers, so using them in Debian can cause problems. This is partially solved by including repositories with non-free software, including Nvidia drivers.
Arch Linux, on the one hand, has a larger set of drivers. On the other hand – problems can begin already at installation. Not all Wi-Fi modules are recognized, and without the Internet you will not be able to install the distribution.
UPDATES AND STABILITY
Debian, due to the fact that it is the basis for many other distributions, contains only proven packages. New versions of programs may not be added for years until they are approved. The distribution itself is not updated often, although for the current version there are regular updates that increase security and correct detected errors. This makes Debian one of the most stable distributions.
Arch Linux uses a floating release and the latest versions of packages. You can update packages with only one command (pacman -Syu). It is not recommended to update individual packages, as programs that depend on them may stop working. Achieving stable operation is not easy, you need to install and configure many utilities and drivers.
Both distributions are developed by volunteers. But in the case of Debian, many developers work for partner companies, such as Google and HP. In other words, the companies have employees who work with Debian and GNU utilities.
Development of Arch Linux is practically unpaid. This distribution is not interesting for companies. The very concept that the user has to do everything himself and the floating release is hardly suitable for commercial use. In the end, Arch develops an order of magnitude fewer people.
DOCUMENTATION AND COMMUNITY
Debian has detailed documentation. However, the most relevant information is presented only in the English version. For example, in the Russian documentation obsolete commands concerning 7-8 versions of the distribution kit quite often meet. By the way, version 11 will be released in the coming months.
As one of the most popular distributions, Debian has a large community of users who have created numerous forums and groups on social networks. If you have a question, it is likely that there is already an answer on the Internet.
Arch Linux has no less detailed documentation. Without it, it is almost impossible to master the distribution. Most of the pages do not have a Russian version, although this cannot be called a disadvantage, the relevance of the information is much more important. The distribution is not such a large community, but due to its specifics, it is easier to get an answer.
In this article, we made a comparison of Debian vs Arch Linux. Debian is a stable distribution. It can be the basis for a server, workstation or even a home computer. However, this will require the installation of many programs. But there should be no problems with this, the format of deb packages has become almost standard
Arch Linux is not a distribution for everyone. If you have enough free time and you want to understand how Linux works, you can install Arch next to the main distribution. The knowledge gained is not always valuable. Many of the problems relate to the distribution itself, not Linux in general.
In any case, you have an alternative in the form of ready-to-use distributions based on Debian and Arch Linux, such as Ubuntu and Manjaro. With them, you get all the benefits of Dpkg and pacman package managers, but with a larger set of both pre-installed programs and those in repositories.