For months now, I’ve been a huge proponent of the AUR, or the Arch User Repository. Ubuntu uses PPAs, and is slowly transitioning into using snaps. Snaps are good. But the AUR, a place where almost literally every piece of Linux software exists, is beyond compare. Want to install Dropbox? It’s in the AUR. Want to install Albert or Enpass (both fairly difficult to install on Ubuntu)? Both are in the AUR.
The AUR is why I’ve loved my Arch experience over the last few months. Every time I go away from Arch, I lose my mind because the AUR isn’t there. Every love affair I have with other distros comes to an abrupt end when I have to enter something like:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:papirus/papirus sudo apt update sudo apt install papirus-icon-theme
That’s a three-part process. That doesn’t include the time I used in the beginning to Google that icon theme and the directions to install it. Compared to this:
pacaur -S papirus-icon-theme
Yeah. That’s it. I know it sounds like I’m being lazy, and I am, but when each program on Ubuntu requires you to go out and find that PPA information, and then go through that process? That’s a bit burdensome.
So the question is, why do I use Kubuntu on my main rig? If I’m so damn in love with the AUR, why would I subject myself to the pain of using Ubuntu’s antiquated package management system?
The answer is simple. Stability. I can not be trusted with a rolling release. Yesterday, Arch pushed out the KDE Plasma 5.13 update. My laptop, which I only use rarely, has been running Arch for about six weeks. The update completely broke my laptop. For whatever reason, the hard drive read as full, and errors kept popping up about it. This morning, the system wouldn’t get past the login screen. This isn’t really Arch’s fault, it’s just the nature of rolling releases. These updates are untested, so things break.
But that’s not okay on a machine like my main rig where I have to keep things stable as possible. My main rig is the computer I make my money on; it has my plex server installed on it and is where all of my pictures are stored. I have everything backed up, of course, so it wouldn’t be a disaster if the computer crashed, but I still can’t abide the instability that seems to be a feature of Arch-based distros.
Arch is great. The AUR is awesome. But it’s just not a day-to-day capable distro if you do the updates when they roll in (which of course, I do, because I like shiny things). If you don’t do the updates, it’s fine and awesome.
The instability of Arch on my systems (due to me liking the shiny updates), led me to the latest Ubuntu LTS release. I’m convinced that if you’re looking for a system to remain stable, you should install an LTS over any other distro choice you might have. It just works, and it doesn’t break because of updates. Sure I don’t have Plasma 5.13 on Kubuntu right now, but that’s okay. I can live without the latest features of Plasma if it means my computer will turn on in the morning like it’s supposed to.
I’m probably going to be on Kubuntu 18.04 until the next LTS comes along. It isn’t that I don’t want those shiny new things that come with each non LTS Ubuntu release or the daily updates that flow through Arc, but stability is much more important. If that is the case for you, LTS is probably the way you should go.