[arch-general] Arch Linux on servers?

Chris Down chris at chrisdown.name
Tue Jul 9 06:43:28 EDT 2013

Hi Mike,

On 2013-07-09 11:13, M Saunders wrote:
> I'm writing a feature about Arch for Linux Format, a UK-based
> newsstand Linux magazine. I've been using Arch myself for a while for
> testing new app releases, and it's brilliant for that purpose.
> I'm still left wondering though: who uses it on production servers? I
> mean, the distro's overall simplicity and trimmed-down base
> installation are plus points here, but surely a rolling release poses
> problems. After installation you just want security and critical bug
> fix updates for software, and not major version bumps, right?

I only use it to manage small production environments (although these are not
corporate deployments). IMO it is suitable for servers in limited cases, where
neither of the following are true:

- The server will be running obscure services with limited eyes-on
- You will be running a lot of services

I ran my entire personal development infrastructure on Arch Linux for a good
while, and only stopped because I've outsourced it all now so there's no need
for the installation in the first place -- that being, a CI, git hosting, HTTP
server, a few other things.

> www.archserver.org seems to be on hold, and I've also seen this page:
> https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Enhancing_Arch_Linux_Stability

The only thing I did was have linux-lts installed in addition to the linux
package. I never had a problem, and I ran that server for years.

> which has some useful tips. But it'd be interesting to hear from
> people running Arch on production servers, how well it works for them
> and what (if any) problems they've faced.

I never had a problem that was due to the packaging, which limits the
opportunities for breakage to upstream (mainly).

That just means you have to have an eye on things. I was subscribed to the
announcement mailing lists for all the stuff I was using (Jenkins, nginx, git,
cgit, et al). If you're running a very complex server then it can become a bit
complicated to go down this road, especially if you're used to your distribution
providing deprecation guidance for you. Generally things don't just "break" on
Arch, there is [testing] after all. If things break, it's usually because people
didn't pay attention to configuration changes or important details prior to
upgrading. If you aren't willing to keep an eye on upstream and on the Arch
mailing lists, it will not end well.

Good luck with the article. I'm not living in the UK any more, else I would
still be buying Linux Format.

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