How do you know when someone uses Arch Linux? They will tell you. Welcome to an article telling you about how I use Arch Linux, well sort of anyway. It's a running joke in the Linux community and now one I am very much a part of.
Over the many years I've used Linux since discovering it properly about 17 years ago, I've seen many distributions rise and fall. With that in mind, I've obviously used quite a lot of different distributions. Like many people, early on in my Linux life I was a "distro hopper", someone who can't sit still and has to keep trying everything out. Moving between the likes of Mandrake (before it was Mandriva), Fedora Core (the original Fedora name), openSUSE and eventually feeling quite at home when discovering Ubuntu.
A long time later, i wanted to be a bit more bleeding-edge and have all the latest bells and whistles so I settled on Antergos. It was based upon Arch Linux but gave you a nice installer, which eventually died like many distributions before it. Manjaro was an option too, which I used for a while (two times, years apart) but I found it to be too unstable for my liking due to the way they bundle updates, and they've made a lot of…odd decisions lately that I felt pushed me away from them.
So what to do? I felt a bit stuck. Ubuntu was too safe, not particularly exciting and I didn't want another normal distro. I was told some tales of EndeavourOS, a fresh distribution that is the successor to Antergos. Giving an easy to use installer, with plenty of desktop environments to pick and unlike Manjaro, they are right up close to Arch Linux on the packaging with EndeavourOS sticking to Arch upstream but they have a few of their own extras. This was exactly what I wanted, Arch Linux but easy to install and get going.
Pictured above - EndeavourOS plus the MATE desktop. It's not fancy, and the MATE desktop isn't full of bling but that's why I like it. For the most part: it stays out of my way, it's highly configurable when I want it to be and it's easy to use.
Here's the thing. EndeavourOS is absolutely not something I will recommend to new users, or to even reasonably confident Linux users because for most I still recommend other distributions talked about in this previous article. Why? You really do have to setup a lot yourself, sometimes annoyingly so and there are problems at times with Arch being so fresh with packages.
The most annoying issue so far was a bug in the Arch packaging of libcairo, which caused the demo of APICO and all Paradox Interactive titles that used their launcher to fail to launch from Steam with the normal Steam Linux Runtime. The issues were reported (#1 - #2), then to the libcairo developers too (here) and in less than 24 hours the fix was committed. Part of why I love open source and Linux so much at times, because finding issues is often nothing more than running something in terminal to see and then you can go and report it and help get it fixed. Issues like that are why I never suggest people go and use the likes of Arch Linux (or anything based on it) since the updates continually roll in and breakages can and will happen but you find them before other distributions do so it all balances out.
That said, EndeavourOS has actually been great. Surprisingly so too. It's now my /home on Linux and I continue to learn more about Linux every day when going a little out of my usual comfort zone with it.
If you're after something that's constantly up to date but easy to setup and you know what you're doing, EndeavourOS is the tip of the day.