Just installed Arch Linux on my laptop, and am head over heels in love with it. Previously I had to install slackware instead due to UEFI compatibility issues, but on my laptop such things went fine. The command-line network manager is intuitive and easy to use, pacman is the best package manager I have experienced. Arch Linux is also the only “advanced” distro I’ve used which had practical gnome 3 support, which sealed the deal.
The installation process was not easy in the least, but after the port-compiling nightmares of getting xorg running in FreeBSD this felt like a breeze. WiFi card works out-of-the-box, ATI drivers didn’t give me any static, and pacman got gnome3 and xorg in minutes. After installing the rest of my regularly used software, such as xchat, Google Chrome, and VLC, the total install is still around 5GB. Would definitely recommend. The only issue I still have is that the WiFi network manager won’t connect to the gnome3 GUI interface for it, though fixing that is under way.
However, my love for Arch isn’t based in its performance, but in its philosophy. The Arch Way is precisely the way I envision programming and development should be, and is the future of computer science. Patches on top of patches may work to produce behemoth 50GB operating systems like Windows 7, but they will never perform as optimally or elegantly as a patch-free done-right-the-first-time OS like Arch Linux or FreeBSD.
Although I was blown by all else, I was appalled by Arch’s community. More “advanced” distros are notorious for their stuck-up users, which are exactly who I encountered upon seeking help on their Freenode channel. The documentation was very complete and well-written, so I was able to avoid asking for help too often, but doing so was not a pleasant experience.
More on the Arch Way: http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/The_Arch_Way
(P.S. I wrote this article in Vi, just for whimsy)
(or at least the first draft, I unfortunately do not know how to publish directly to wordpress via command line)