This is my personal review of a Linux distro called Antergos. It is Arch Linux with a nice twist.
First a little bit about my Linux experience so you can get an idea of my skill level. I started getting in to the Linux world probably around 6 years ago when a friend introduced me to it. For awhile I would switch between just having Windows to dual booting. At the time though, getting ATI drivers to work properly on my two monitor setup was impossible. Eventually one distro did advance enough where I could finally use it as my main operating system. That distro was of course Ubuntu just before Unity was released.
Since then I have dumped Windows completely and tend to redo my system with different Debian based distributions, like Kubuntu, Linux Mint KDE/Mate and so on with currently Xubuntu as my OS of choice. I have never delved deeply into Linux though, putting me closer to the beginner side of the skill level than the expert side so with that said let me begin my review.
A week or so ago I came across a YouTube video on Antergos and when I saw how easy the installer was I knew I had to try it. I attempted to give Arch a try some months back but I was completely lost near the beginning of the installation and never tried again.
I first installed Antergos inside of VirtualBox. Installation went great, I was very impressed with the choice of desktop environment to install. I have said to my friend many times that I wish the makers of distributions would have a option screen during installation for choosing desktop environment and software. To me, having default software installed is a pain for those who do not use those items.
Once installation was completed using the KDE desktop, I installed package hardinfo which is System Profiler and Benchmark utility and I was shocked by the amazing CPU Blowfish benchmark score of 3.76.
Last month I installed a total of 8 distributions based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. The best score was Kubuntu at 12.64 so seeing such a great number with Antergos I knew I had to do more testing.
I installed Steam and Wine. Steam would not load at all but after much searching on the net, it turns out I had to add a special command to the launch command for Steam so it would launch. This is different than when I installed the XFCE but I will get to that in a bit.
Installing Blizzard Battle.net desktop app went well but would not load after installation. Spent hours trying to find the answer with no luck.
Although I had trouble getting Steam to work and not being able to get Battle.net app to work, I was still impressed with the benchmark score and thus just had to try it on my laptop.
Formatted my Windows 7 laptop with Antergos but this time I chose the XFCE desktop rather than KDE. Reason is simple, in hope to get more speed on a laptop running Intel graphics.
Just like with the KDE install inside of VirtualBox, everything went great, however there appears to be problems that I just can not seem to find answers to.
Like with the KDE, I installed hardinfo to see benchmark score which was just under 4.0 but after updates and installing Steam then Wine, the number jumped to just over 4.0. Still a great score for a laptop if you ask me.
I then installed Steam, Wine and of course Battle.net app. Steam worked right away, no need to edit the launch command to make it work. Battle.net unfortunately still would not load after install. Again I searched and searched. I installed the Wine-gecko and Wine-mono but still no luck. Come 1am and I somehow came to the conclusion on installing package lib32-ldap. I don’t remember how I came about that given how damn tired I was but that was the package the Battle.net app needed to launch.
Once the Battle.net app was working I immediately started the download and installation of World of Warcraft to see what its performance is like compared to Windows 7. I was sadden to see the FPS for video setting “Fair” was 5-7. I lowered the screen size resolution and lowered setting to “Low”, the lowest setting possible in WoW and this increased the frame rate to 30-35 inside my level 3 garrison.
More updates were installed and again the benchmark score rose, this time to 5.76 which raises the question, will this score continue to get worst the more updates that get installed? I will continue to use Antergos on my i3 laptop for the time being before I decide if I should reinstall Windows 7 and deal with its constant “Upgrade to 10” nagging messages.
One other problem I did have with the XFCE Laptop installation is the clock. Whether I chose America/Toronto or the proper GMT time zone, the clock would be off by 3 or more hours. I did choose the correct location during the install process but the only way I could get the clock to display the correct time was to set time zone at just GMT. No values at all and there was no way of changing the actual clock manually.
A feature I also miss from the Ubuntu based distributions is the “Additional Drivers” GUI for choosing between non-proprietary and proprietary video drivers. Currently I have no clue what driver is being used on the laptop. On my main computer, I have found the proprietary drivers work better. This also raises a question regarding whether or not I should change my main system OS from Xubuntu to Antergos. If there is no additional drivers section in system settings, and obviously can not use the newly created Ubuntu Video Graphics Driver PPA, will keeping my system on the latest Nvidia driver be easy or a royal pain in the ass.
Well that is my review so far. My overall reaction to Antergos is indeed positive now that I know how to get Battle.net to work but I do have one suggestion I would like to see added. During the installation, have a bigger list of applications to choose from. Maybe have categories with the top 5 applications which includes dividing Steam and Play On Linux as separate choices.
If you have any Antergos suggestions that can be useful, feel free to tweet me @AndyMcDandyCDN or email andrew at amckinnon dot com.