The ArchLinux wiki has quietly become a good resource for me

December 11, 2015

I mentioned this on Twitter and it keeps showing up in my entries (eg), so I might as well say it explicitly: increasingly, the ArchLinux wiki is becoming one of my relatively highly trusted information sources, both for Linux specific information and also often for more general things like X. I don't yet search it first, but when it comes up in my web searches I'm more and more inclined to stop looking at anything else.

I like the ArchLinux wiki for two reasons. First, they have all sorts of information on all sorts of things, many of them kind of geeky and obscure, and the content is written for a fairly technical audience (and often includes specific commands that I can immediately use). Second, the information seems to be pretty solid and trustworthy, based both on reading about areas that I already know and using information from the wiki. I don't know exactly how ArchLinux has managed to wind up with such a good technical resource, but I imagine that it says something about the sort of users that it attracts (since, well, it takes users to build and maintain a wiki).

Of course, all of this makes me somewhat curious about ArchLinux itself; that it has a cool wiki suggests that it might be cool itself. Sadly I don't really have any machines that I'm looking to (re)install with alternate Linuxes any time soon, so I'm unlikely to do more than read about it (if that). Still, you never know. Maybe someday I'll get sufficiently disgruntled with all of the major alternatives.

(In theory I could install ArchLinux in a virtual machine. In practice I generally don't expect this to tell me anything interesting about an OS, and it suffers from the usual 'why am I doing this?' problem I have with just playing around with stuff in general. I've never been the kind of person who had installs of N different Linuxes sitting in partitions on their drive, just so they could play around with them.)

Comments on this page:

By el_koraco at 2015-12-11 02:52:07:

Arch would probably suit you, since I've seen you running one of those setups with a basic window manager. Given their development model, the system sometimes runs into trouble with Gnome, KDE and similar desktop environments breaking on early updates, but that has been the only problem I've seen crop up. With simpler desktop setups, the risk is almost not there. You do have to manually install it and set up services, but that's only done once, so you avoid trouble coming from upgrading major versions like in Fedora.

By James (trs80) at 2015-12-11 23:01:11:

I'm going to say that Arch is a very DIY sort of distro, and so all the knowledge/configuration that is normally hidden away and done automatically by the packaging system has to be exposed on the wiki. Which is useful, as otherwise this information is usually only in the heads of upstream and distro maintainers, or spread across hidden mailing lists.

By Anon at 2015-12-12 03:04:53:

Once upon a time wasn't the Gentoo Wiki held in a similar position? If so perhaps it's related to being the most popular cutting edge thing...

By cks at 2015-12-12 18:13:40:

I don't know what general views of the Gentoo wiki were, but I don't remember it coming up in my web searches the way that the ArchLinux wiki has (and correspondingly I don't remember reading stuff from it to find things out). This doesn't mean the information wasn't there, of course; there are lots of reasons why it might not have come up in searches at the time.

By James at 2015-12-15 07:48:51:

The Gentoo wiki was a similar goldmine of technical information, but all the data was lost, and while some was restored it never recovered its Google juice.

Written on 11 December 2015.
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