I used Debian and Ubuntu, but it does not have where I look for anymore.
Currently, with the Lenny situation in Debian, upgrading to later versions of applications has ground to a halt, even in Sid. Same goes for Ubuntu, who freezes for a half year before a next frozen release comes out.
So I searched for something more on top of current packages, and tried Mandriva Cooker, I liked it but was not stable enough for my needs. I tried Foresight, it was closer to my needs, but preformed in a sluggish way on my laptop. I tried Paldo, it preformed great but missed choice of packages. And Gentoo… been there done that.
It was time to try Arch Linux, the installation was ncurses based, and many settings had to be edited and/or checked manually with vi or nano, no pre-cooked installation scripts! The wiki and installation docs helped me out, as did the wonderful people on IRC ; #archlinux on freenode, and managed to install a fully functional, lean and mean, bleeding edge Gnome desktop/workstation .
Arch Linux is not for a beginning Linux user, but with some experience and some aid it can be installed without many problems.
Once installed and properly set up, meaning that after install you still have to install and setup xorg, your preferred desktop manager, and more, its a rock solid system, and never has to be re-installed again.
Arch is a rolling release distro, and updates as new packages come in, first added to testing for a few days and if nothing goes wrong, most current stable packages, including kernel-upgrades, will be in the main repositories within a week, staying close to bleeding edge. If you want to stay on top of bleeding and like to take risks, you can also add the testing repository after install.
Freezing a release does not exist in Arch; The releases of the new Arch iso’s are updated installers, with a snapshot of the ‘at that moment’ current Arch. So if you install it, select the ftp or http option to install, to avoid an extra upgrade, specially when the iso is a bit old.
Arch uses Pacman as its main packagemanager, its easy to use and versatile.
AUR is the ‘ArchLinux User-community Repository ‘, It contains package descriptions that allow you to compile a package from source and then install it via Pacman.
ABS is the Arch Build System. It is a ‘ports-like’ system for building and packaging software from source code.
I’ll be using Arch for a while, and probably longer then a while; its the best distro I ever used .