I have recently switched my main desktop over to Arch Linux. If you have never heard about Arch Linux, it is a “roll your own” Linux distribution. This basically means from start to finish, the whole process is custom. Whether your system has a Graphical User Interface (GUI) or sound is totally up to you.
I switched from Ubuntu Linux, which is very much built for new people to Linux. I have been using Ubuntu since it’s release in 2004 (as old as this blog incidentally). I have found it slowly moving away from my power user needs from the release of the KDE 4.0 desktop up to the recently introduced Unity desktop for Ubuntu. Don’t get me wrong I love the whizz-bang effects of the snazzier distributions (like Ubuntu) and have used it to show people the power of Linux (and how really groundbreaking Compiz effects were at the time, ~2005). It’s sad Compiz hasn’t got the kudos but since both Windows and OS X have copied from Compiz, some more usability has been gained.
But alas these features aren’t really for me. I work professionally with computers all day and what matters to me most now are speed and efficiency. I am not productive if a desktop issue causes a slow-down (as Aero often does on Windows) or even a crash (Mac spinning beach ball, anyone?).
The most important reason why I switched to Arch itself is because of the rolling release feature. It doesn’t have set releases like Ubuntu (every six months) but updates constantly. This suits my workflow a lot better because a lot of software I use on Linux gets very regular updates now (Chromium, Eclipse, Calibre, Firefox, Amarok, etc). I also hate upgrades between releases and I think smaller more manageable updates (even if small issues arise) will provide a much better experience.
After all there’s only so much coffee you can drink when your machine is taking a long time to respond!