I have had over a decade of experience with a multitude of distros.
One of the members of one of my forums literally begged me for a year to try Arch. Finally I relented and installed it.
It was like having an epiphany ! OMG – This is AWESOME ! PERFECT ! I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR THIS FOR YEARS !
I guess the prior years of experience let me know right away that Arch Linux was the distro I had been looking for. There was this almost instantaneous recognition of the simple elegance of a system you could control completely, the speed, configuration, ease of keeping things updated that made me so happy it was hard to contain myself.
Arch is the only distro I run at home now, the only one I truly love to use. The perfect Linux for me. Desktop and Server distro, I use it for both with great success.
Would I recommend Arch to someone new to Linux ? Absolutely NOT. For a multitude of reasons. No more so than I would hand over a Bostich Air Nailer to a 10 year old to use. True, it’s way more powerful, but with a regular old 16oz hammer, the kid won’t shoot a hole in his foot before he gets started. He might actually learn to love carpentry and eventually get to use the air nailer and learn the power and usefulness of it, once he’s big enough to hold on to it without shooting himself in the foot. No more so than I would give a 17 year old a Ferrari, nope, he learns the ropes on the station wagon and learns to drive first. Then after a few years, and lots of experience, he will appreciate the Ferrari :) Could he drive it at 17, year probably, would he wreck it……… oh yeah, probably.
Do I think that some individuals are capable of using/learning Arch with no prior experience ? Yes I do. They are the exception to the norm, those people that are here and have did it, are obviously dedicated and deserve credit for the tenacity it must have taken to pass the extreme learning curve it must have been for them. However, I would say that “most” people would not have the dedication to do this, and I wouldn’t want to tell newbies that Arch is easy, because it’s not. Once you have a base knowledge of the command line, and and understanding of Linux in general, it becomes easy, but not until then. There are great resources to use, the wiki, the forums, irc, google and others, but for newbies, nah, in general, I would have to say it’s not a good choice. I don’t think Arch was ever meant to be “newbie” friendly. There are plenty of those types of distro’s out there. Arch is absolutely perfect for those with a few years of Linux experience.
With the years of experience myself and dealing with many many many newbies on my forums, here is a path that makes more sense to me, and what I personally recommend if someone asks me what they should try.
1. initial contact with linux …Slax. — A live linux that works on darn near anything. Allows newbies to run Linux without changing anything. Highly customizable if desired.
2. first install -ubuntu.. great for newbies…. lots of community help available.
3. after a few months/years …. other distros… seeing how they do things differently.
4. after enlightenment ……. Arch . After all the rest, you REALLY appreciate Arch for everything it does, and doesn’t do.
If you can skip steps 1-3, your ahead of the game. Go to the head of the class, I applaud your success and efforts. I just wish I had started with Arch years before I did.
True, probably anyone with enough time/dedication/patience could follow the install guide and get arch working, that definately doesn’t make them experienced.
Experience will teach you things like how to do things without relying on google to tell you.
Your network doesn’t connect…. how do you fix it.
X won’t start now … what do I do.
How do i configure my web server
how do i configure php
how do i configure mysql
how do i install an email server
the list is endless and while no one would probably know everything, experience with other distros makes you understand the beauty of the Arch system, and it’s elegant design makes fixing those issues simple when compared to some other distro’s.
People really won’t truly appreciate Arch until they have had experienced with other distro’s, it’s really that simple. Promoting Arch to new users imho would be a big mistake, and probably make many more would be Linux users turn back to Windows vs converting them.
All the above is just my humble opinions though, ymmv. ;)