Back to the world of Linux - Running Arch Linux on ThinkPad W520

Windows Hell

Well, after few re-installs (Windows 7, 8) and system failures (Windows 8, 8, 8), I am now coming back to the world of Linux. For me, Windows is slow, noisy and the most important thing: unpredictable. I upgraded to Windows 8 about two weeks ago, and the system unexpectedly crashed yesterday without any warning. It just blue screen and restart again and again. I have to say that a cuter blue screen did not make me feel better. Oppositely, when I see the cute blue screen, I know that Windows is trying to give people a good user experience as if they know that the system will crash.

Luckily I don’t have any sensitive data stored in the system drive, so I can just format the whole solid drive and reinstall another system. Finding a system is a tough choice, which is like when women are trying to decide what to wear. For me, or anyone that use computers in a daily basis, a good operating system means not only efficiency reliability, but also more about feelings and happiness. It makes me feel terrible when my system crashes all the time, and the only thing I can look for is a smile on the blue screen, so again, either make your system less buggy (I will not say bug-free, but please, make it less buggy), or don’t make people debugging the system too difficult or even impossible (a good example is putting a smile face only in the blue screen).

ThinkPad W520

It works generally great with Arch Linux. I have a mSATA SSD as my system drive, which is about 64G, plenty for a Linux installation. I use MATE as my desktop environment because I found KDE and Gnome 3 not are just too complicated for me, and I am really used to the old Gnome 2 desktop environment. Let me summarize the W520 hardware compatibility with Arch Linux:

So in general, everything seems working fine with ThinkPad W520 and Arch Linux. I like Arch Linux especially for its freedom of choice and full range of software you can choose from AUR. Of course if you are not familiar with Linux and how those things work together, you may want to use an easier version of Linux distribution. Ubuntu, Fedora and Mint are all great distributions to choose from.

I was using CentOS at the first time, however, I can’t bare with the old packages and limit choice of software. I know that I can download the source code packages and compile them all by myself, but as a desktop computer, I would still want to save as much time as I can on the administration tasks so that I can spend more time on real things, like writing this blog article.