10 reasons why Debian is better than Arch

I want to encourage a debate between the Debianese and the Archians. So here’s my two cents to show why Debian is better than Arch

  1. Installation for Apps
    Arch’s installation for Apps like firefox are only via terminal. Debian’s is both terminal and app store

  2. Family
    Arch’s family only is Arch and Manjaro, whereas Debian has Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Devuan, etc.

  3. Updates
    Debian can be unstable via Unstable Debian, but the normal one is stable. Arch’s is only unstable and it can blow up at times

  4. Community
    “btw, I use arch” is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. Debian has a way nicer community, and doesn’t shitpost with “btw, I use debian”. I understand, this is a meme, but still

  5. Desktop
    Debian has so much choices for desktop, Arch not so much

  6. Beginner Friendliness
    I mean Arch has Manjaro, but Arch relies on another distro to be “beginner friendly”. Debian is very beginner friendly. This is like comparing Rust to C.

  7. Universal-ness
    Debian’s distros are the most used(e.g. Mint, Ubuntu), Arch’s not so much. Debian’s “sudo apt install x” is better than “sudo pacman x” used in Arch. It can be used in Ubuntu, Mint, etc.

  8. Flexibility
    Arch is a bit rigid at times when coming to many things I’ve presented(app installation, learning curve, updates factor), Debian is flexible in these areas, and because of customization, Debian is better

  9. Purity
    Ok, this one is also a poor one like No.4. When I say purity, I mean how close is it to the terminal(aka the heart of linux). Debian is closer to it than Arch, but easier than Arch. How the heck

  10. Installation
    Debian is quicker and better to install than Arch, and although it feels satisfying to install Arch, it feels the same for Debian

To contribute to this topic, debate why Arch would be better than Debian, counter my reasons why Debian is better than Arch, or support it.


I Agree with some of your Reasons others not so much. Debian does have many derivatives But arch has more than a few itself. EndeavourOS for one. Those listed here though not as well know as some based on Debian they are available.

Arch family
so That argument is not entirely accurate.

# 8 also Arch can be very flexible. So I think that is subjective and not accurate. Though I’m no Arch lover. We should be a accurate as possible.


Hi, :wave:

in the following when talking about Debian it´s Debian Stable which I´m referring to.

I guess download data for updates may - in certain scenarios - be an argument against Arch.

With me it´s this case:

Due to some special circumstances my internet connection is established via a 4G-stick exclusively.
My monthly high-speed data amounts to 5 GB (to be exact: 5 GB per 28 days).
That would be about 178 MB/day.

In actual fact this works out alright for me and I can even afford to get regular updates for my BodhiLinux and Debian virtual machines (plus updates for Lubuntu as my daily driver) :wink: .
All three of them are fixed release models (as opposed to rolling releases like Arch).

Sure, there aren´t many youtube films or stuff like that included but I can get all my important stuff done. :slightly_smiling_face:

Big difference there …

Not so long ago I asked the author of a dedicated article on “reasons in favour of rolling releases” (Gründe für Rolling Releases # in German):


What about the amount of download data?
Does a rolling release “consume” more data than a fixed release?
My Internet access consists of a 4G stick (5 GB high-speed/28 days). That’s fine with Lubuntu 20.04.4.
There is usually more than 1 GB of data left at the end.
Would a rolling release “cost me more data”?


Yes, a rolling release downloads significantly more data.
For me, that’s about 1 GB per week (as a rule of thumb).
Thats understandable because the updates come continuously from all packages ( in Manjaro it´s “timed” or “clocked” because it’s curated-rolling)
With LTS, you have ongoing security updates, but no new versions of applications. That’s much less.

I also discussed this topic with the very kind user @nevj and he could confirm from experience that downloads are significantly higher for rolling releases. (thx again @nevj :kissing_smiling_eyes: )

So bearing that in mind I´d say:

At least for users who have to watch their data usage: a clear plus-point for Debian stable as opposed to Arch. :yum:

Many greetings
Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:


As I think, that different things have different purposes, so it is often the case, that neither is better, but each serves different purposes.

Now, I am, as many here know, a heavy Debian (server) user. I almost never used Arch. All my Arch knowledge is based on what friends told me, as there are some heavy Arch users among them.

That said, I have questions about the arguments to begin with and would like to address the topic at hand on a higher meta level.

How is Arch harder than Debian? I do a lot of hard stuff on Debian and I think it’d be the same (more or less) on Arch.

One of my friends showed me their daily Arch usage and it looked just as simple as using an Ubuntu (Debian) desktop.


I mean if it is flexible in terms of choosing which way you install apps, the way you update, etc.

Arch has a steeper learning curve than Debian is what I meant.

Could you give examples? The installing process can be a pain, if you do it all manually with stock Arch, but what is difficult to do, after that?

For beginners, most people are used to debian package managing. it will take time to get used to arch’s package managing. Arch’s systemd is a bigger pain in the a** than Debian

Aren’t beginners not used to any package manager, yet? :thinking:

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This is like comparing Apples to Oranges, that doesn’t make any sense. Having used both at, various times, I find one no harder to use than the other. Debian, to me, is boring, Arch can be something new each day, Debian could care less about being updated, for a trouble free Arch, it is in need of updating everyday, no longer than once a week.
Throw in Gentoo or LFS for a real comparison.

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yeah but they usually get their feet wet in Mint/Ubuntu for no reason XD

Arch is fun, but Debian is boring… hmm, but what about an Arch crash? e.g. when an update messes Arch up super badly? Though I might consider the fun part of Arch being something new everyday…

You mean like, with every Ubuntu dist-upgrade or do-release-upgrade? :laughing:

Okay, I know some people here who have no issue updating between minor/major versions of Ubuntu. But these are exceptions. Almost everyone I know has always issues with doing Ubuntu upgrades. One of my friends switched to Arch from Lubuntu a couple of months ago. I was told, it is actually more stable, than when Lubuntu was still in use. If you watch the AUR news and don’t update, when something is unstable (happens very rarely), then you are just as stable & safe, as on Ubuntu or Debian.


I heard from the Arch community and showed them this list. they told me the cons for debian:
-no customization/too static and boring (true)
-Arch is pure like Debian, because they both are independent
-installation isn’t that bad. you just have to make a lot of choices- like a diy os
-Arch is also universal, it’s like “build your house the way you want it”, debian-based(ubuntu, mint) are more like “here’s a house, with a bed, and everything you need”.
-Arch was never hard. The choices honestly scare newbies
-Arch has Asahi, which takes Linux on M1, and makes a supercomputer out of a computer
-Unstability is a good thing, because it keeps you on your toes
-Arch has a big family just like Debian
-Arch is for people like me, terminal dwellers who want to build a fun OS from the terminal.


I recommend Arch for newbies to Linux, they need to know what they want to use linux for and why they want to use linux. Arch will become the face of linux, and might dethrone Ubuntu/Debian/Mint. Someday…

As a heavy Debian (server) user, I cannot sign this point. If you install plain empty Debian, it’s very slim and you can customise it very extensively.

I think, the biggest difference between the two in this regard is, that Arch is way more direct and in your face about customisation. Debian just works, if you don’t customise it. However, with Arch you are kind of forced to, to a degree. So, it’s more obvious and perhaps seems like it’s more customisable, when in fact, both are customisable.

Exhibit A

Is based on Raspbian, which is again based on Debian.

So, Debian is very customisable. It just doesn’t shove it down your throat, if you don’t want to.


@TerminalDweller , @Akito , @kc1di , @4dandl4 , @Rosika

Nobody has mentioned that both Arch and Debian are exclusively systemd distros.
If you want to avoid systemd, then long term the choices are more limited. Depending on the level of stability you need there is

  1. Stable…Devuan
  2. Semi fixed ( or semi rolling?) release … MX
  3. Managed rolling release … Void
  4. Full rolling release … Gentoo

For me, the big debate is where I go long term on that scale of 1 to 4?
As @Rosika noted, the further down that scale you go, the larger the downloads.

I still use Debian at the moment. The debate about Debian vs Arch is irrelevant for me, because they have both committed to a stupid init system, without offering other sane options. Abandoning Debian will be sad. I am hoping that they reconsider and offer alternative init systems.

SystemResuCD uses Arch…
Knoppix uses Debian
They both are good products.



Debian - systemd = Devuan

Arch - systemd = Artix

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Neither Devuan not Artix have my confidence yet. I want to see them survive long term like Debian .
I dont like these forks? I would rather see Debian and Arch offer alternative init systems. It cant be that difficult. Lots of distros offer choice of init system…



My choice of the group would be MX it offers systemd for those that want it but defaults to initv. And It’s been very stable here. Though I’m not totally against Systemd. It does offer some advantages. But don’t like the fact it wants to control so much of my system.
In any event would vote for MX. If I were forced to make that choice. Arch based distros are not my thing and Debian is better for me than RPM based distros. JMHO.