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Security Linux

Package Signing Comes To Pacman and Arch Linux 103

Posted by timothy
from the ok-but-who-are-you-really dept.
fwarren writes "One of the main complaints heard around here on why some Slashdotters don't run Arch Linux is that the packages are not signed. Fear no more: Arch Linux and Pacman now allow for package signing."
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Package Signing Comes To Pacman and Arch Linux

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  • Arch is something between Gentoo and Debian. It has binary repositories, similar to Debian, but "optimized" for i686 (not i386) and amd64 (there's ARM port too...).

    If you want to build a custom package, there is the AUR (Arch User Repository), which is a Gentoo-style source-based "bolt-on" onto the binary package management. There is almost everything in there - only very few packages do not have their "PKGBUILD" (the Arch version of e-builds from Portage).

    You can also easily recompile the provided packages (in official repositories) using the ABS (Arch Build System) - should you wish to use a non-default option in the compilation process (this is more similar to Gentoo than Debian; I'm sure it's possible to do in Debian, but it's non-obvious).

    The init process is different, much simpler than Debian. Instead of the whole "runlevels" shebang, Arch uses BSD-style init, where you have your daemons in an array in a config file. The daemon dependencies are resolved automatically.

    It comes with no "official" desktop environment (similar to Gentoo or Debian minimal install). It also generally uses the newest stable vanilla upstream packages - there are only very few cases of things being patched - which means you can usually file bugreports directly with upstream.

    I hope I didn't miss anything...

  • Oh, and I almost forgot - it has the most comperhensive wiki. The Gentoo wiki used to be very very very good, until it died a couple of years ago - and it never regained it's glory. The Arch wiki filled it's place very well - and as most of the packages in Arch are vanilla, you can use the tricks learned there in other distros too.

  • by some_guy_88 (1306769) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:48AM (#38725292) Homepage

    My favourite Arch feature is the AUR [archlinux.org] (Arch User Repository) where anyone can submit their own packages which other uses can then install.

    Because of the AUR, Arch is more likely to have a package for some given obscure application that Debian would be missing. Also, these packages are kept up to date to a greater extent than you'll see on Debian. Finally they're all in one place where as you don't have to constantly add repositories to your package manager's repo list.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @11:05AM (#38725546) Journal

    Great documentation and vanilla packages. That about sums it up. It's like Slackware with improved package management.

    I've been running systems built from Debian base for about a decade. Recently I kept running into the Arch wiki when I wanted to solve a problem. e.g. if I want to reenable ctrl-alt-backspace in Xorg. If I google that, I get a page full of shitty Ubuntu related solutions that depend on extra packages or gui configuration tools.

    But there's one result that sticks out. The Arch wiki [archlinux.org] provides a nicely organized richly linked list of things you might want to configure, and how to configure them. This is how you collect and present useful information. I figured, if I find myself consistantly using the documentation for a distro, maybe I should check out the actual distro.

    So I still use Debian on most of my systems, but have thrown Arch on a couple for fun. It's easy, it works, and it doesn't feel as crufty as Debian does. Package signing will make it a contender for real work. Yay Arch!

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