Kubuntu to Arch Linux

For years, and after using Gentoo in the years 2000-2005, I have been using Kubuntu LTS on my successive laptops. For a while I used an Apple Macbook Pro, but at some point I was constantly compiling diverse MacPorts packages to the point that Linux made more sense. Kubuntu seemed like the logical way. It worked for years and was stable, fast and most of the time easy. The Kubuntu installation was simple to use even for complex features like disk-encryption.

However, since a while, a few issues have been nagging me, e.g. that even with modern CPUs, huge RAM and fast SSD, starting applications tended to become slower with time. The cause was the problematic Canonical Snap that packs everything into bloated binaries. After reading a few blog entries and watching some videos on why techies started to become annoyed with Canonical opinionated way of forcing stuff that nobody asked for, I suddenly came aware of the same issues, and decided to look around for another distribution.

I quickly came to Arch Linux, as I was always very impressed by the excellent documentation and what looked like a nice community. I considered Manjaro for a while but decided to go for the original, for-techies, rolling-distribution version. After all, having started my UNIX life in 1991 with DEC ULTRIX, Arch would be a very sane way, right ?

I was surprised how Arch Linux good and easy is. Download an ISO, dd to an USB stick, and boot it. The new “archinstall” menu-based installation does its job, and by only adding the KDE menu, I quickly (say 15 minutes) ended up with a working laptop. Adding “yay” to install AUR packages was easy enough, and here comes the best feature of Arch : the presence of packages I need for my work in AUR, so installing stuff like MS-Teams, Apache Directory Studio, Visual Studio Code, PyCharm Professional, InSync, Master PDF Editor and diverse other commercial software package is so much easier than what I endured in Kubuntu. Yes I’m aware of supply-chain attacks, thanks for thinking about it… On Kubuntu, I had a lot of things in /opt, manually installed. This is all gone for good.

I like Arch Linux as rolling distribution (no “sudo do-release-upgrade” anymore) and so the ability to run modern stuff like Wayland and the latest Plasma version. So far I’m hooked and this distribution has become my go-to Linux for my laptops (Dell XPS 13 and Dell XPS 15 9510 for now).

I’m still happy to use Ubuntu LTS server edition for stuff lying in racks. With some Ansible playbooks, it can be trimmed to a very stable server OS. However, for client-side, my preference has moved over.