On the question of Arch based, Debian based, and independent

Now that our single Debian person has distanced *self from Devuan (systemd free Debian) and the rest of us made a new Arch person, we must answer a question relating to the discontinuity of Devuan coverage.  What is so different in Arch world from the Debian world?  Why is this importance in tor/onion networking internal to Debian that is less relevant in Arch?  We have identified several attributes that we consider different.

Arch by design is built on simplicity and user ivolvement in constructing the system based on a wide and current freedom of choice.  Debian tends to blend unnecessarily related things together providing little choice.  The same x package when installed in Debian may require 2-3 times more other packages to be installed alongside.  This is candy for the control starving systemd.  Arch goes to great deal of extremes in trying to isolate packages as much as possible, which provides a very rough ground for systemd explosion.

Anonymity is important in Debian and underplayed in Arch.  Although tor is available through Arch itself.  Every new finding in security issue that comes up as a bug indicates that privacy and anonymity in any network is a childish fantasy.  So Arch, although not preventing anyone from employing measures, does not endorse much of it.  If you want to reach Arch repositories through tor set yourself up a proxy to do so.  On the other hand, in light of newer and newer findings especially about Spectre and Meltdown, why is Debian promoting the illusion of anonymity endorsing an off-house project as tor and tor-browser?  Good questions.  Why is tor-project dedicating a special page in installing their products for Debian and Ubuntu but don’t mention other distributions?  Why is tails so closely related to debian when the whole security community is pointing at systemd as the single worst violation of security?  Those are questions that bring in a whole bunch of more issues.

Arch is just as stable as Debian is.  Arch testing is just as stable as Debian Sid is.  Although Arch is testing everything that pops up upstream in a daily basis.  To many people this is a fun experience, being in the front line of development.  The difference is on the evidence that Debian is going out of its way to accomodate systemd dependency everywhere, while Arch is just using systemd.  Furthermore there seems to be vendictive tendencies in Debian to prevent Devuan or other distributions in using Debian as a base without systemd.  This late pattern is getting more and more evident to more users now.  Packages that could not be thought of being related to an init system appear to be linked in interdependencies to systemd, pulseaudio, gnome desktop, etc.  There are even packages whose developers couldn’t understand how their packages ended up being dependent.  This makes the job of cleaning up 40000 packages from Debian a nearly impossible task.  Devuan is sentenced to be running out of breath  trying to catch up to a stable Debian that is already old news by upstream standards.

Debian is more oriented in the commercial market and it is evident that their development accomodates this market.  For an isolated single user, Debian, is unnecessarily complex.  Arch although just as capable of becoming a complex enterprise system it is not complex out of the box.

Then there are independent distributions, like void, that don’t follow anyone in close proximity.  There is always a degree of dignity in the lonely independent path.  Artix and Obarun, among others we have yet to cover, must strive to keep functional on a base that is hostile due to its init system.  But nowhere would you find claims that Arch developers do things to prevent Artix or Obarun or Manjaro with OpenRC before, and Arch-Bang.  They are busy keeping Arch working and couldn’t care what anyone else does.  Devuan came as an internal split in Debian, where Debianers clashed about making systemd the default init system or not.  The minority lost and departed.  Debian considers this a betrayal to the principles and rules of how Debian run.  If you try the Debian list and talk of Devuan you get jumped on.  If you talk of Mx or Antix you will just be ignored.

Some of us anticipated this development and were being uninterested in Devuan as it seemed as a doomed project from its inception.  Artix and Obarun just have slightly better chances in survival, being different in themselves.  Artix is striving to adopt, Obarun is displaying how hard it becomes when you refuse to adopt.

We shall see, as predictions are meaningless in this dynamic development.


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