@hawkeyepears said in A few general newbee questions (no tech support request):
Although I’ve been using openSuse for quite a while, I’m not an expert- not even an intermediate. openSuse is about to release V15.0 in a few days, and when that happens I want to switch to a different distro instead of upgrading suse.
Here are my questions:
- I’ve heard Arch is the most challenging “experts-only” distro, and Antergos is based on Arch. Does this mean I’ll have serious problems if I switch to Antergos? Like I said, I’m a complete noob.
This is the only question I feel I can answer fully, so I’ll be detailed here. Arch is an “experts only” distro for two reasons. One is that the installation procedure is commandline-only, which can be challenging for newcomers. Two is that the system has been built up so that it is transparent, and easy to maintain, but it is not very hand-holdy, so to speak.
There are no fancy schmancy graphical package and driver manager tools, etc. System maintainance is mainly left to the user.
There are also lots of memes out there that unfairly portray Arch as a very unstable distributions. I have used both Antergos and vanilla Arch for a long time and I can tell you, this is not the case.
In fact, even for vanilla Arch, once the initial configuration has been done, which, admittedly, can be lengthy and difficult, I have found it ‘justwerks’. Every time you install a package from the official repos (AUR can be trickier), it works without an issue.
Updates are usually a nonissue. The precautions I can advise is to update frequently, but only when you don’t have anything mission-critical to do. So for example, if you need to hand in a paper in two hours that you are still writing, and you see there is a kernel+nvidia drivers+xorg+systemd+glibc update (essentially the most critical system components lol), then please wait until you are done with your paper .
However, I think in my about ~2 years with Arch, I have only encountered one somewhat serious issue. Also, if there is a breakage, do not imagine that means your system will completely get fubar. For example, if you use the proprietary nvidia drivers on an optimus laptop, and you get a kernel and/or driver update, and next time your X won’t start, it doesn’t mean your entire system went all fucked up. Log in via command line and remove the nvidia drivers (and in case of optimus, also change the display manager scripts to stop xrandr from outputting - this won’t be as mysterious as this sounds, as if you want PRIME functionality, you had to do this yourself in the first place), and chances are you’ll be able to boot your system. This is just an example.
In short, you don’t need to be scared, I have found Arch to be surprisingly reliable.
Few more points would be to regularily check the Arch Linux website (also the Antergos site, but Arch’s should be priority, because the two distros use the absolute same repositories) to see if there is anything that requires manual intervention. This will be extremely rare. However do this before updating .
- I use an external sound card (openSuse detects it as CM108 Audio Controller). Will this be supported by default? I also have a functioning internal audio controller on this Dell laptop. OpenSuse allows me to “Switch” between the cards by clicking on the speaker icon in system tray. Will this feature be available?
Can’t help here, sorry.
- Programs I use most often: Firefox, Google Chrome, SMPlayer, HandBrake, Ktorrent, Thunderbird, Xtreme Download Manager, TeamViewer, LibreOffice, VLC, Xfce4-screenshooter, and Amarok. Are all these available for Antergos (KDE version)?
In short, yes. Arch’s main repos are already quite featureful, and the AUR allows insanely good access to pretty much anything that’s on Linux. It is very wise to be quite careful with the AUR though.
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500, WiFi Intel AC3160. Will these be supported out of the box?
Not completely sure about your wireless adapter, but Intel stuff are generally well-supported, so this is a tentative yes.
- Is BtrFS available? OpenSuse has this thing called “Snapper” which creates automatic snapshots (sort of like Windows’ System Restore) and allows to quickly go back to a previous date in case of trouble. Is such a thing available?
Not sure how well Arch supports btrfs, afaik it is quite experimental even on Suse. However there are backup tools available.
- I’ve never used anything other than openSuse stable (and Windows of course, but not dual boot- Windows is used in my office laptop, and Linux exclusively on my home laptop). Since this is a rolling release like openSuse Tumbleweed, can this be used as a regular desktop OS? In other words, is it stable enough to be used as a main OS? Like I said, I won’t be dual-booting.
Also, Arch, along with Solus, has surprisingly good gaming support. There is a native runtime for Steam for example, and the nvidia drivers are always adjusted to the current kernel (tumbleweed doesn’t do that afaik, so using proprietary nvidia graphics is, to my knowledge, a pain in the buttcheeks for that distro). I have used Antergos/Anarchy/vanilla Arch as a desktop OS for about 2 years without issues. I was more satisfied with it than Ubuntu. Also, it is my opinion that for a personal desktop OS, rolling release distros are superior. Who wants massively outdated software, unless all you care about is maintaining a server?
Basically, once you go rolling, you won’t go back, trust me.
There’s still about a month left till openSuse 15 releases, so there’s still about a month left for me to make up my mind on which distro to choose. I am really interested in Antergos, and as of now it’s my first choice (good reviews everywhere)- but I’m still doubting my ability to handle an Arch based system. If you think Antergos will be too difficult for me, please suggest an alternative (other than openSuse and Ubuntu).
I don’t think it will be too difficult, but Solus is an excellent choice of a desktop OS. It is a conservatively rolling distro with some very elegant solutions, and rock solid stability.
However Solus doesn’t support KDE natively. There are compiled KDE packages in the repos, and there is also a testing install ISO available for Patreon supporters, but KDE will only be officially supported in Solus 4, which should be out soon, but is already quite delayed (was supposed to be out for christmas lol).