Shift Linux to become based on Arch Linux

As part of our new direction, I am proud to announce that Shift Linux will be moving away from Ubuntu, and instead switching over to Arch Linux. There are many reasons for this, including a more customizable distribution for us as developers to work with, and a faster and more streamlined start point.

In my letter to the community about our new direction, I said that Ubuntu would suit our needs fine, and when the time felt right, we would consider a move. Since then, the outpouring of support from the Neowin community has been unbelievable, and so we decided to take advantage of the moment. If our goal was to one day move away from Ubuntu, it seemed futile to continue down the same path.

Using the technologies already available and our own coding ability, I and the developers of the team feel we can get back to the point in development we were already at within a matter of months, or maybe even less. It will not be Ubuntu, mind you; we want something different. But it will have the same, or better, level of user friendliness.

After some research, we have also learned that we can still utilize "Wubi", which allows you to install Shift on the same partition as Windows, and even uninstall using your Windows control panel, without really risking your data. A few changes are all that is needed, which contributed a fair bit to this decision being made.

One big reason, that many people wouldn't really understand, is that Ubuntu is actually very difficult to develop for. Replacing packages is very difficult, as the Ubuntu developers have integrated everything so closely. Many things we wanted to change simply couldn't be done easily because of Ubuntu's use of "meta packages"; for example, if we wanted to remove Evolution, which is a mail and calendar application, we would not only end up removing half of Gnome, but many other applications would no longer be willing to install. It was a roadblock in our development, and Arch offers us a way around that. Package management even still exists through "pacman", rather than through APT, and there are loads of applications already packaged for use with Arch. This will benefit everyone, developers and users.

We hope this decision works out as we plan, but we need your help to reach our ambitious goal of really changing the way Linux is known. If you're a developer, a designer, a tester, or if you would like to be any of these, just let us know in our thread on the matter.

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Yeah! Arch is the way to go. But mind you, Arch being such an anti-noob distro, we need to make it much simpler for the layman. And that is probably where we will earn our reputation.

Simplicity to Arch...Imagine, the two most powerful forces of Linux, as one.....LOL :P

as soon as you did that everyone here claiming Arch is great would stop using Shift because it would be "bloated", "slow", and "only good for noobs".

oliverprescott said,
as soon as you did that everyone here claiming Arch is great would stop using Shift because it would be "bloated", "slow", and "only good for noobs".

Poor baby, scared you're gonna loose your GUI apps and actually have to learn how to use an OS? Not everyone wants their hand help by the OS, for them Windows and Ubuntu are fine, for the res of us, Arch is the way to go.

the rest of use? I find it strange how you some how think you're better then everyone else because you prefer to do things in a less advanced manner. I'm not scared of anything, I think that focus should be put on making things easy to use yet still having the option of using such things as command lines. I have no problem using a command line when i can't get something done by GUI, but to suggest that it's some how better is stupid. I personally feel that if you can't accomplish something by using the GUI the developers have failed in making a good OS.

It's getting kind of sickening this elitist attitude that so many Linux user on this site have, you think that by installing a program by using the command line makes you better then someone just downloading it and installing it with a gui? I've never felt like someone was holding my hand when using ubuntu or windows, it is possible to be easy to use yet still have advanced features. hell if you want to you could use the terminal to configure and install everything in Ubuntu, is that better or faster? not really.it might shock you but just because someone doesn't like the convoluted nature of your prized Distro doesn't mean they are "noobs' and don't know what they are doing.

z0phi3l said,
Poor baby, scared you're gonna loose your GUI apps and actually have to learn how to use an OS? Not everyone wants their hand help by the OS, for them Windows and Ubuntu are fine, for the res of us, Arch is the way to go.


actually arch still uses prebuild binaries like ubuntu. so until you go to a real distro like gentoo your still getting your hand held.

I just upgraded to 8.10 today and if anything it feels even faster then before. If for some reason it is running slow for you it is your computer, I've got a amd 3500+, with 1gig for RAM and Ubuntu runs crazy good on it. Unless you're running it on a computer with less then 512mb of ram and a total crap CPU there is no reason why it should be running slow for you, so either your computer sucks or you've done something to make it run slow, just because it isn't windows doesn't mean you can't make it run like crap by installing the wrong things.

is anyone else tired of listening to or reading about people complaining that such and such new OS is slow of their computer that has a PIII CPU and 256mb RAM. I mean seriously what do people expect?

One of the reasons for this is that Ubuntu is fully loaded - it makes it easy if you need to install something quick that will 'just work'. It is not the best choice for either power users, or users with more 'seasoned' hardware.

I agree with that at least, I'm just tired of people saying such and such is bloated because it wont run well on a ten year old computer. it's not bloated you're just using ancient hardware. there are distros for old computers and if you have one thats what you should be using, don't try ubuntu or vista and complain that they are bloated. that's like buying a truck and saying it's to big because all you needed was a motorcycle. Also this idea that only novice users use Ubuntu is complete crap, Just because I like something to be simple and easy to use doesn't mean I don't know what I'm doing.

I've tried many distros. Ubuntu 8.04 was the first one to work with wireless on my Acer laptop. However, let me say that I'm starting to get a little tired of Linux being such a constant moving target as each distro tries to outdo the others. You no sooner get something working that the flighty Linux folks are moving to something else, and you never know in advance if you can rely on the new thing to work on your existing computer. Windows is starting to look like a sea of stability in comparison, and it's no longer the one that's bloated. Right now, I'm tending to stick with a cygwin installation on Windows, and I try to ignore the constant upgrade cycle by using the bash shell, and non-GUI programs. Stop the merry-go-round, I want to get off.

that's what I'm talking about, I love that Ubuntu has updates every six months and development is always going forward. But I can't stand the consent band wagon jumping of the linux folk. Most of the new distro are just based off one of the large popular distros and they offer almost nothing new. And the few new things they do could have just been added to an existing distro without making a fork, help to improve what's out there now and maybe we might end up with a bunch of programs and add-ons that any distro could use. instead of forking development every couple of months.

oliverprescott said,
I love that Ubuntu has updates every six months and development is always going forward.

Arch Linux is a rolling release distro.

This is great. I think Arch would be a great base to start a fork from. I believe the Neowin community would give arch that smoothness and visual appeal it needs. I've been using Arch for a couple months now in a Virtual Machine but can never get it looking smooth. I hope this works out.

I applaud this bold decision. I think Shift based on Arch has a lot of potential, and will certainly be more noticed among the myriad of other Distros because of it's base. Ibex has some new features, which I like, but I'm beginning to wonder if it's really worth the added bloat and performance hit. I was thinking of hopping back to Arch sometime soon anyway, but now I'll be looking out for an RC of Shift instead. Good luck with this, Shift Team.

Ubuntu works great for me, so far it's the best Linux distro that I've come across. It's easy to use yet still has the advanced features of any linux distro. It's the most well rounded linux distro that I've found. all this talk about Ubuntu being bloated, slow, and not good enough is total BS. it's like as soon as a distro becomes main stream and easy to use it's not good enough for hardcore linux users so they switch to something else that isn't as refined, I'm sure once arch has reached the same level as Ubuntu the shift developers will suddenly feel the need to switch to another distro and the cycle will just keep on going. Or the users will decided that it's to bloated and main stream and they will switch to something else. Anyone that calls Ubuntu bloated or slow must be running it on a computer from 10 years ago.

it's insane and counter productive for linux development. the shift developers aren't the only ones that do this though, the vast majority of linux developers and users do it. it's the reason why there are dozens of different distros that all do the same thing and make the same claims, after a point it just gets annoying hearing about another distro being made. why even develop shift, what are you honestly adding that is so important that you need a new an entirely new distro? if windows was developed like this every time a new program or theme came out it would be an entirely new distro. How about when someone comes up with some great new feature or idea for linux instead of starting over or making your own distro just make it a separate program for all of linux to use, that way you are improving every distro and all of linux, instead of needlessly fragmenting an already fragmented user base.

oliverprescott said,
Ubuntu works great for me, so far it's the best Linux distro that I've come across. It's easy to use yet still has the advanced features of any linux distro. It's the most well rounded linux distro that I've found. all this talk about Ubuntu being bloated, slow, and not good enough is total BS. it's like as soon as a distro becomes main stream and easy to use it's not good enough for hardcore linux users so they switch to something else that isn't as refined, I'm sure once arch has reached the same level as Ubuntu the shift developers will suddenly feel the need to switch to another distro and the cycle will just keep on going. Or the users will decided that it's to bloated and main stream and they will switch to something else. Anyone that calls Ubuntu bloated or slow must be running it on a computer from 10 years ago.

it's insane and counter productive for linux development. the shift developers aren't the only ones that do this though, the vast majority of linux developers and users do it. it's the reason why there are dozens of different distros that all do the same thing and make the same claims, after a point it just gets annoying hearing about another distro being made. why even develop shift, what are you honestly adding that is so important that you need a new an entirely new distro? if windows was developed like this every time a new program or theme came out it would be an entirely new distro. How about when someone comes up with some great new feature or idea for linux instead of starting over or making your own distro just make it a separate program for all of linux to use, that way you are improving every distro and all of linux, instead of needlessly fragmenting an already fragmented user base.


Well said! Neowin has a plethora of sycophants who at the first opportunity jump onto whatever bandwagon comes along! You have never heard any real discussion about Arch Linux, but suddenly everyone is an expert! GFG!

oliverprescott said,
Ubuntu works great for me, so far it's the best Linux distro that I've come across.

You must understand that not everyone feels the same.

oliverprescott said,
all this talk about Ubuntu being bloated, slow, and not good enough is total BS.

That's simply not true. Ubuntu IS bloated, and it IS slow compared to other distribution. No, I don't have a slow PC, but I have seen better and faster distributions. Watching how slow and bloated Ubuntu is with all its useless crap gives me a head ache. It's meant for a novice/beginner. Neowin is a site for computer enthusiasts, not for a guy who can barely install his OS.
If you wanna use Ubuntu, no one's stopping you.

oliverprescott said,
it's like as soon as a distro becomes main stream and easy to use it's not good enough for hardcore linux users so they switch to something else that isn't as refined

Again, you're wrong. It's the people who use Linux. Most will stop looking for new distribution as soon as they found one that does everything for them. Enthusiasts will try to find a more optimized distribution, a distribution where they can tweak more things, and where they got more control over their system. Ubuntu isn't that.

oliverprescott said,
I'm sure once arch has reached the same level as Ubuntu the shift developers will suddenly feel the need to switch to another distro and the cycle will just keep on going.

Arch will never reach the same level because Arch was never meant to be mainstream. It's meant as a sort of - easymode Gentoo, where user has a ton of power in deciding how everything works - yet doesn't need to spend a whole day compiling.

oliverprescott said,
Anyone that calls Ubuntu bloated or slow must be running it on a computer from 10 years ago.

It's bloated compared to other distributions.

oliverprescott said,
it's insane and counter productive for linux development. the shift developers aren't the only ones that do this though, the vast majority of linux developers and users do it. it's the reason why there are dozens of different distros that all do the same thing and make the same claims, after a point it just gets annoying hearing about another distro being made.

Open Source. Everyone wants it to work the way they want, and it's their right.

oliverprescott said,
How about when someone comes up with some great new feature or idea for linux instead of starting over or making your own distro just make it a separate program for all of linux to use, that way you are improving every distro and all of linux, instead of needlessly fragmenting an already fragmented user base.

Because Linux users don't care about the user base. If they cared they wouldn't try it in the first place and would stick to their Windows OS.

oliverprescott said,
Ubuntu works great for me, so far it's the best Linux distro that I've come across. It's easy to use yet still has the advanced features of any linux distro. It's the most well rounded linux distro that I've found. all this talk about Ubuntu being bloated, slow, and not good enough is total BS. it's like as soon as a distro becomes main stream and easy to use it's not good enough for hardcore linux users so they switch to something else that isn't as refined, I'm sure once arch has reached the same level as Ubuntu the shift developers will suddenly feel the need to switch to another distro and the cycle will just keep on going. Or the users will decided that it's to bloated and main stream and they will switch to something else. Anyone that calls Ubuntu bloated or slow must be running it on a computer from 10 years ago.

it's insane and counter productive for linux development. the shift developers aren't the only ones that do this though, the vast majority of linux developers and users do it. it's the reason why there are dozens of different distros that all do the same thing and make the same claims, after a point it just gets annoying hearing about another distro being made. why even develop shift, what are you honestly adding that is so important that you need a new an entirely new distro? if windows was developed like this every time a new program or theme came out it would be an entirely new distro. How about when someone comes up with some great new feature or idea for linux instead of starting over or making your own distro just make it a separate program for all of linux to use, that way you are improving every distro and all of linux, instead of needlessly fragmenting an already fragmented user base.

You need to understand Linux, its history, and its intended role.

Linux developers have no intention of making it as mainstream as Windows or even OS X (which is itself based on *nix ), nor was that ever Linus Torvald's intention. Linux is an experiment - an ongoing experiment with Open Source. Linux is meant to be open, near-infinitely configurable, with a non-homogenous OS environment.

That's the whole point. Everyone can build and configure their own and then release it for others to enjoy. It doesn't have to "add" anything.

you and brentaal are the exact type of people that I was talking about and everything you just wrote proves my point, you're the perfect example of why so many people never get into Linux. You exemplify everything that is wrong in Linux development today, If you went back in time and showed Linux users ubuntu they would do back flips over how amazing it is. we've finally gotten to a point that linux not only compares to windows and OSX but actually does a lot of things better and all you would like is for linux to be stuck in development 10 years ago. What you're advocating isn't progress it's going backwards.

oliverprescott said,
we've finally gotten to a point that linux not only compares to windows and OSX but actually does a lot of things better and all you would like is for linux to be stuck in development 10 years ago. What you're advocating isn't progress it's going backwards.

Seeing this, I take it you've never tried Arch and don't know what the heck you're talking about.
There's progress and there's bloat. I do not want the latter.

oliverprescott said,
I've tried Arch, and couldn't figure it out without extensive hand-holding. Can you give an example of what isn't bloated in ubuntu?

Fixed.

brentaal said,
Seeing this, I take it you've never tried Arch and don't know what the heck you're talking about.
There's progress and there's bloat. I do not want the latter.


ubuntu and bloat don't go in the same word as far as I understand bloat is. Makes no sense. Linspire is bloat maybe Kubuntu is bloat. ubuntu right in the middle. not too small not too big. And certainly not slow. 3d effects work great. and the tech support is second to none. Even tried Mandriva earlier. Would rather have Windows ME over that. ubuntu is the only that comes close to competing with Vista. No don't know Arch, I'm bound to check it out though. Have a spare hard drive. and Open Suse never worked right. I run ubuntu with my dell d820 with 3gb or ram in there. And the one guy is right. give linux a bit of chance on ubuntu. The next flavor might be stale to the mainstream. I like the flavor of ubuntu, the we it sounds, feels and looks. It's darker colors appeal to me.

I have just finished downloading Shift Linux KDE through bittorrent...

Thank you to whoever seeding this...

Have a nice day

Great choice guys. I used Arch before I got an iMac. I went from Ubuntu->Arch because I felt Ubuntu was too bloated, and wow, what a difference. You all will love arch (Or should I say Shift based on Arch) because it is light, customizable and fast. Good luck.

I think this is a great way to go. Ubuntu is great for beginner users, but everyone i know what liked it dropped it and moved to a different distro (often Arch) after a year or so. From what i understand Arch is also amazing for Devs compared to many other distros.

Will you be going with Rolling releases like Arch does? or is there going to be full releases?

I hate Ubuntu with a passion. From home tests to a lab environment, there's just so many problems I've come across with it that it isn't something for me to consider. Fedora was just a completely different experience though.

Not very familiar with Arch. May definitely give it a go judging from the comments here.

Dakkaroth said,
I hate Ubuntu with a passion. From home tests to a lab environment, there's just so many problems I've come across with it that it isn't something for me to consider. Fedora was just a completely different experience though.

Not very familiar with Arch. May definitely give it a go judging from the comments here.

I agree. It amazes me how, Ubuntu seemed to start with a bang, and get progressively and steadily worse over time, and Fedora has slowly but surely gotten its act together and is coming into its own.

"I am proud to announce that Shift Linux will be moving away from Ubuntu..."

Why would you be proud to announce this??? What's to be proud of.....? I can understand practical reasons for the move, but a really poor choice of words!!

Why wouldn't he be proud? The switching over to Arch from Ubuntu brings with it some exciting possibilities. The decision was made in collaboration with Neowin users via the forums, his pride in the decision represents his confidence and excitement.

Farstrider said,
"I am proud to announce that Shift Linux will be moving away from Ubuntu..."

Why would you be proud to announce this??? What's to be proud of.....? I can understand practical reasons for the move, but a really poor choice of words!!


It's free.. get over it

I'm proud that we're at the point of being able to move on, simple as that. It's a big move, and one we did not take on lightly, but I'm proud that the team and the community came together to make the decision.

We had a discussion in the forums about Ubuntu vs. Arch, and while Ubuntu 60% to 40% in that poll, the posts themselves and the real debate showed a definite winner, plus from the perspective of a developer it makes more sense.

Hey!
I may have a reason to try Shift again!!

Although I first tried Linux using Ubuntu, it didn't take me long before I realised what a piece that was!!

I've used Arch since then, and it is a very sweet distro.

Beastage said,
Good! ubuntu is stuck in place for some time now and 8.10 was giving me endless problems in both 32bit and 64bit.

Never ever gave me problems. Have more problems with KDE and Kubuntu than Gnome and Ubuntu. 8.10 was much improved. See no reason to change yet. Not that I used Shift that much. I prefer ubuntu straight on.