Why doesn't everyone use Arch on their servers?


I just could never describe something as ‘stable’ when one of the lead kernel devs is saying to move away from it https://lkml.org/lkml/2012/3/4/58


Greg is saying move away from it because it’s not going to have a full level of support any more. That doesn’t mean it’s not “stable” any more, it’ll still work.


It’ll still work, yes, but no security updates etc.


Sorry, what’s your point? )


I don’t use Arch on a server, cause I used to run Gentoo on servers. It was a utter nightmare. I’ve used Arch on the desktop enough to see that it’s a bit bleeding edge for servers. As neuro mentions, ops types like nice stable things. Hence me using either Ubuntu LTS or Debian Stable.


My company has multiple Dell R6XX series servers and dartfrogs which I maintain. On top of that were running VMware 5.1 with old(ish) RHEL 5. Along with a LOT of JBOSS, ORACLE, MYSQL, LDAP and MS type AD “Greatness”. Everything runs somewhat stable to the point that all are satisfied. Below are the reasons I would NEVER recommend ANY business (especially big) run Arch.

  1. Corporate support: For some reason, we (myself included) Linux Geeks seem to push the issue of customization as if we were irreplacible. Bad assumtion. Companies will let people go, so everyone needs support at some time. (Anyone besides myself hop into an Arch forum or chat room and ask for help on an issue that may seem simple to others?? Pleasant experience???
  2. Stable means STABLE: In this situation we must remember that end users dont care how cool it is we got something to work more efficiently. They just want it working and secure. Sometimes an old stable and secure kernel is better than a newer one.
  3. Devs need to stop re-inventing the wheel. These old geezers in IT are not going to jump on something just because you say its great (which it may well be) and use it right away. It takes leadtime, testing, etc… In a few words, " time is money".
  4. Will the same build be around later. For obvious reasons with reason #1. The folks who run servers need to know that this platform will be around along with its support.

Could my company save some money and use CentOS (or even better Ubuntu LTS) H. E. Double Hocky Sticks Yes! Could they save money by using KVM over VMWare? Ditto!!! Could they take this saved cash and put it towards more IT support?? You know it!!! Why don’t they?? Because if you go to your VP over IT and say I want to use this stuff and mention the name of it He/She says whats an Ubuntu?? And whats the support like? This couldn’t even be pulled off with other IT types backing it. So until Arch stops with the holier than thou for hipsters only approach( which I doubt it will do) and gets an even bigger following than CentOS along with being down with the beaurocratic nonsense involved in business, I don’t see it happening.


I totally get the support and stability argument winning for RH/Deb/Ubuntu on mission critical servers… but that said, I I’ve found over the years that I spend more time ‘making’ things work, fixing things that break and solving performance issues that arise on those supposed “rock solid” distros than I do on my Arch machines. I’ll be the first to admit… it doesn’t seem to make sense that Arch Linux should work so damn well, being a rolling-release distro… BUT IT DOES!!! Does that mean I would go and use it on mail servers or a critical DB machine… probably not; but I am tempted to because it just seems like everything in Pacman (and in the AUR to a large degree) just f$*king works! And works AMAZINGLY well! Running Arch Linux just feels like Linux Zen! It fulfills what I consider to be the holy grail of the GNU/OSS movement to a greater degree than any other system I’ve used (including heavy use with Debian/RH/Cent/Ubuntu/and others for the past 20+ years). And while Gentoo previously held that title in my mind, it did break more often than I liked, and sometimes it would break in incredibly painful ways (granted it was many years ago when I used it… like close to it’s inception). For years I used Ubuntu on the desktop because… well it just worked! It wasn’t amazing, but it was more current than a Debian desktop and came with all the Debian benefits (since Debian is it’s Mommy after all). But Any power user must feel a little emasculated using Ubuntu… it’s just a bit too over simplified, to the point it limits you sometimes (much like Apple’s systems). I was stubborn for many years; not believing a rolling release distro could have any stability and thinking it would just be a nightmare to maintain… and probably just another distro for winning the 1337 pissing contests in IRC and forums. However, when I finally got bored with Ubuntu and fed up with it’s limitations I gave it Arch a shot and I have not looked back. I’ll say it again, Arch is Linux zen; it just works! But still… I have a feeling our OP might not have the experience to understand that the corporate world just doesn’t care about any of this. Arch will never be corporate-friendly because Arch will never come with a plethora of easy GUI tools and 24/7 support and this and that sort of stuff that gives corporate bean-counters wet dreams. Sure, a very Linux savvy team could certain run a back-end of mission-critical Arch servers, but those sorts of people aren’t the easiest to replace, nor the cheapest. And there’s no BS industry of never-ending cyclical certifications surrounding Arch like RH and M$ have created. That’s the reason your company will never let you use Arch. Some of those reasons are valid, and some are rooted in conventions of ignorance, but that’s the gist of it… Arch is dead. Long live Arch Linux! :stuck_out_tongue:


Are “being easy to use” and “24/7 support” somehow bad things?


For a quotey quoter I guess you somehow missed the part “Some of those reasons are valid, and some are rooted in conventions of ignorance” and the several times I affirmed that Arch doesn’t have a place in critical server infrastructure. :wink:


Ah, that’s not quite what I meant. I agree with you that Arch doesn’t have a place there. What I didn’t understand is that as far as I can tell you’re phrasing “be easy” and “have a GUI” and “have support” as stuff that people only do to get corporate interest. I think I’d like easy GUI tools on my desktop, and I’m not a corporation at all :slight_smile: I believe these things are a good idea regardless of who your users are; perhaps you disagree, though?


Yeah, on your desktop ‘easy’ and ‘gui’ is nice… my mom and dad should be able to figure things out there. But a server is an inherently complex beast and rarely do one-size-fits-all solutions work. If you’ve ever tried to do anything that isn’t covered by a checkbox or right-click menu on a windows or even a Redhat server you know that things can get hairy quickly… you end end up fighting with these supposedly ‘simple’ tools and their configuration changes when trying to do something that would have been simple if the configuration had been standard to begin with, the way it normally is on Arch… or even Debian servers for that matter. This is why I prefer Debian for servers, it stays out of your way and makes packages work like the developers intended as much as possible. On a server I don’t want anything to be more complex than it needs to be, but often times it just makes more sense to configure things via a terminal or ssh session rather than window manager and GUI tools that can hide what features they do have in a maze of menus and windows. People who don’t get the bliss of administering a machine from a terminal tend to think we do it just to feel superior… and I’ll admit, it feels nice sometimes to seem technologically superior (any computer geek who denies this is a liar) but in reality very few Linux users, terminal users, etc. do it for that reason… it’s just a perk :wink: We do things that way because once you’ve seen the light you never want to go back to GUI for complex tasks like Developers and IT pros encounter regularly. Now, there is a superiority-complex driven world, and it isn’t the Linux users… it’s the world of the cyclical recurring certification system (which goes hand in hand with the ugly monster that corporate licencing practices have become, but I leave that for another topic). These certifications make people feel so smart, give them that ‘fresh out of college’ know-it-all warm 'n fuzzy feeling… several times each year! It’s turning the IT environment in to a place filled with kids who think because they pay a fee and bought an answer book they are somehow IT pros… what happened to the good old method of just rewarding success, and the experienced taking people under their wings to pass on the wisdom we don’t learn via the more general computer sciences. Some certs are necessary, like where you just have to prove you still know how to do something important, like maintain the reactor core, or manage the banking systems… but we’re making certs so fast and easy and broad in their scope that they are replacing real educations and marginalizing the truly experienced people in the workforce, even devaluing the whole idea of ‘experience’. Even worse, it’s giving corporations full control to make totally proprietary systems and then ensure that the certifications are based on their systems… it’s totally counter-intuitive to the idea of standardization and creates a world where there’s incentive to reinvent wheels constantly rather than use some truly amazing free and open software (and hardware), or contributing to the human collective in any way. I see the way certifications and software/hardware are used this way by corporation as a practice that should be covered under anti-monopoly laws. It stifles innovation and software freedom, and it creates these zombies that pass for ‘IT pros’. Case in point, imagine the pool of useless network ‘professionals’ if somehow Cisco went under tomorrow? Impossible, I know, but imagine how many of these ‘experts’ there are that would be 90% clueless if they had to do their job without a Cisco ‘appliance’. Okay… I am jaded… granted; but hopefully that clears up my views :stuck_out_tongue:


I’d agree that I like a good, easy to use, GUI on my desktop but this question is about servers and I am not interested in a GUI on my server and often run it headless because.

  • A GUI encourages people to use the machine as a desktop. My daughter does not touch my server because without a GUI its not easy to use.
  • A GUI is another thing to go wrong: I like to keep my server as clean as possible.

We have two Linux (Ubuntu) laptops and a Windows laptop for general use and I am running a Windows machine, with two screens, in my office for work. I don’t want anybody touching the server most of the time.


Well said, @WarrenHill! I’ve never met a server GUI that didn’t make life MORE complicated at the end of the day.


I ran Arch on my home Raspberry Pi wifi router + “server” for a year or two, but switched back to Raspbian after being bitten by rolling release issues. The last straw came when I installed software updates which upgraded the sqlite3 library to a buggy version, rendering the local instance of my tracker webapp unusable. Luckily I still had the older version of the sqlite3 package in local cache and was able to manually “roll back”.

While this might not be the fault of the Arch package maintainers, it was something I didn’t ever want to happen again. Decided I’d quite like my server’s distro to add an extra layer of QA, even if it’s indirect QA caused by being slightly behind the latest software versions.


For a web server, Ubuntu Server seems to work ok.
It runs Docker well, Apache too

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