Goodbye Arch Linux, hello Alpine Linux!

Over the last couple of years, I was a heavily Arch Linux user. Arch Linux is fast, has a great community and provides a lot of software through AUR. However, it has some disadvantages as well:

  • Steep learning curve for non-Linux users as you need to bootstrap your system yourself from scratch.
  • AUR can contain any software, you have to trust the maintainer that the software is sane, gets regulary updates and does not break your system. Some packages are compiled from git on your system, this can make the installation of updates heavy, long and annoying.
  • It’s based on systemd which is controversial in the Linux world and I dealt in the past as well with systemd’s annoying ‘features’.

So, while switching from Jolla’s Sailfish OS on my mobile devices to postmarketOS (Alpine Linux based), I was hooked by the way how Alpine Linux works in terms of packaging, system operation and does not use systemd!

Installing Alpine Linux

Alpine Linux is fairly easy to install if you don’t need any special partitioning or such with the setup-alpine script.

  1. Get the latest Alpine Linux image from their Downloads’ page.
  2. Burn it on an USB drive and boot your device from it.
  3. A default shell appears, login as root with no password.
  4. Run setup-alpine and follow the instructions.

I picked a traditional system install (‘Sys Disk Mode’) as I wanted to install Alpine Linux on my desktop. A complete guide on installing Alpine Linux can be found on their well documented wiki: https://wiki.alpinelinux.org/wiki/Installation