There seems to be a mini-trend of making more user friendly Linux distributions based on Arch. During the last few years we have seen Antergos, Manjaro, and now Apricity OS comes with their first stable release known as 2016.07 “Aspen”.
Apricity OS comes with two desktop options, Gnome and Cinnamon - I choose Gnome. I don’t know why people hate it so much - I find it to be the best alternative on my laptops. Apricity comes with somewhat decent looking desktop and theme. Personally I dislike the round icons as they lack the shape information of different application icons, therefore making it more difficult to spot the one you are looking for. The default wallpaper is not very good technically, as it has some rough edges, but Apricity is loaded with beautiful nature themed background photos to choose from. Gnome’s dash menu has been moved to the bottom, acting as an OSX-like dock.
Apricity is loaded with software, this the download size is around 2 gigabytes:
- Google Chrome (not Chromium)
- PlayOnLinux (Wine)
- Full set of media codecs
- and many more…
Just about everything an everyday user needs is pre-installed. This gets you up and running very quickly, but personally I like a minimal approach where one can easily install what ever is needed on top of the core operating system.
The thing that troubles me in this “Ubuntu-like” Arch based distributions in the foundation they are built on. While the distro developers have made the installation easy and out-of-the-box experience compelling, Apricity and others are still based on the rolling release package base of Arch. This means that a stream of updated packages are constantly delivered to the operating system and at some point of time in the future there will be an update that either breaks things, or requires advanced user interaction to succeed.
This means that your entire system will receive updates on a regular basis, avoiding any frustration with out-of-date software while maintaining its security and stability.
The above statement from Apricity website is simply wrong. The most stable Linux distributions are the exact opposite of rolling releases, providing older but well tested packages and are conservative with their updates (RedHat/CentOS, Ubuntu LTS, Debian…). There is a reason why very few people use Arch as a server, especially for mission critical workloads such as a WWW-server. When you need stability and reliability, you do not go for a rolling release.
I do do like the way how Manjaro is tackling the issue - they are using their own repositories, instead of directly utilizing Arch-updates. Manjaro releases their updates as frequent snapshots, which at least gives them an opportunity to spot if there is an incoming update that might break things in a typical Manjaro setup.
Overall Apricity OS left me rather unimpressed. There is no compelling reason to choose Apricity over the alternatives and it is definitely not a system to recommend for less technically advanced people. Arch itself is an awesome project, but I recommend going to the source if you wan’t to explore it, or choose Manjaro and their middle of the road approach regarding updates.