After 1 year of Garuda, my feedback

Hello!
So after using Garuda for one year as a daily driver along side Mint and Windows.

I'll talk about the things that I liked, and didn't liked.

Likes:

  • Installed/Provided tools (BTRFS tools, Garuda Assistant, etc...)
  • Painless Nvidia install
  • It's style that it comes by default
  • The huge choice of DE's
  • Ease of use

Dislikes:

  • Breaks often (3-4 reinstalls in one year)
  • RAM usage, compared to other distros (more on that later)
  • Battery usage/life

Longer version
Since I moved to vanilla Arch, the Nvidia drivers (and Optimus) install was almost as easy as on Mint, compared to Arch, and it worked out of the box.
But the problem is that I had to reinstall Garuda 3 or 4 times, now, this could be my fault, doing something wrong... but I have the feeling that the distro breaks over the time. I used Mint for a whole year without reinstalling it a single time. I remember that just opening Alactritty/Fish showed errors. And some basic stuff that doesn't work quite well, like user switching, were sometimes the system took eternity to load, or didn't loaded at all. More recently, my audio broke and I still haven't managed to repair it.
About battery life, if I remember correctly, in battery mode, I often saw the CPU setting at 2.4GHz, (3.9GHz plugged in), now, there are some tools and demons to put it down, but honestly, if there are already so much tools that come with Garuda, why not include a program for better battery management? I also saw sometimes Xorg eating whole cores (again, after updates or regular use), along with Baloo_file_extractor which ate a whole core too... so battery life wasn't that great.
For the RAM, sure, unused RAM is wasted RAM, but some programs/projects, like Blender, every MB is important.
Now, this could been Nvidia and/or Plasma bugs, and maybe my Arch install will break someday too, I would still recommend Garuda for people who want a Mac-a-like experience with Arch and Plasma.
Again, every issue that I encountered could be produced by my fault, and I'm not saying that Garuda is trash.

And a huge thanks on the whole team for keeping the project alive, even if there are some bugs, I really like Garuda.

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There is enough mitigation system by default with Garuda, that is why it comes with Timeshift/Snapper.

If that does not cut it (since app changes are recorded inside .config folder under user's home directory), a user can create system image in a separate hard disk for full restoration. I have not reinstalled my Garuda system since day 1, I just use my external system image from my usb hard disk if I encounter problems with the system after a failed update.

Being often updated with cutting-edge versions of packages and being super stable are conflicting concepts. That is why Debian stable is the most stable Linux distro right now, but the catch is you have to be satisfied of using old version of packages.

Linux users have all the options on our hands to pick and choose how our chosen Linux distro behaves. That is the principle of Open Source software.

Finally, Nvidia and Linux do not belong in the same sentence. Yes, you can use it - but YMMV, and it will always will be as long as they remain stubborn and keep their drivers closed-source.

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That we never like, right. There could be countless reasons non-related to Garuda for this, however.
For exemple, I am running KDE since Dec 2020 and never thought of reinstallating cuz it was flawless and I have an NVIDIA card not even using drivers provided by Garuda.

Since it was working fine with Mint, have you tried, with Garuda, a different kernel and/or one with different specific specs (for exemple a lower or higher timer frequency in case your system prefers latency or throughput over the other)?

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You do not use Garuda?


If you are not very experienced with a rolling release OS, study the forum first before you update. If something goes wrong because a component is faulty, there are snapshots to restore the system in Garuda Linux.
Always the Problem Exists Between Chair And Computer
No matter if user or developer. :smiley:

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May I ask what method you use to create this system image? I know of a few like dd and gnomehtools but just curious on your method as the way I do it seems to give errors sometimes

Stay on topic please :slight_smile:

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Not to try to pile on, but this is more a reflection on the user than the distro. Generally, most users new to the Arch universe will end up reinstalling a couple of times out of inexperience. If you are having to reinstall every 3 months you are not doing things properly.

I am no dev, and I am certainly not an IT professional, (or ever even recieved any accredited Linux training). I am simply a long time Linux user, and I almost never need to reinstall an Arch based system.

That's the beauty of Arch. If you know what you are doing you never need to reinstall. You will most likely find that your need to reinstall declines over time. This will not be because Garuda has miraculously become more stable, but because your Arch maintenance skills have improved over time.

Arch has a steep learning curve, and as they say "Rome was not built in a day".

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Oh come on, that's a bit unfair! I do not take issue with your review as a whole, but this comparison makes me bristle a bit.

Don't get me wrong, I have a great fondness for Linux Mint. It's just that while Garuda puts tremendous effort into pulling in the freshest packages, LM's primary focus is making the distro as stable and user-friendly as possible. It is very difficult to break, and bugs are quite scarce. The trade-off is you do have to settle for older software--the most recent LM release is shipping with the 5.4 kernel!

In general, as you get closer to bleeding edge it becomes more difficult to maintain a stable system. What you have touched on here is an exaggerated example of how this can play out, with two distros that are on nearly opposite ends of the spectrum.

To me, this comparison is a bit like saying "Well I rode in the speed boat for a while, and I found it quite bumpy. Conversely, I found riding in this row boat not bumpy one bit!"

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Funny that you had this experience on Garuda - or at least it seems like it to me. I have never had to re-install Garuda - although I did do a second one when I switched from XFCE Ultimate (since dropped) on ext4 to an xfce build with btrfs more than 14 months ago.

Of course, I keep my data separately (on a zfs data drive) - and am lucky enough to have built my own machine, so it's all AMD (which reduces problem likelihood considerably) which might explain it. Also, if something misbehaves (rare), a day contemplating it (ok lazily waiting for someone to fix it first :grin:) is usually enough. Thrashing around trying to fix something before fully understanding it is my primary source of troubles!...

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here are my 2 cents regarding the stability issues you have: i am pretty convinced that most of them can be related to the fact that this distro uses the zen kernel as default. that kernel may or may not play nicely with some hardware, as i experienced first-hand.

maybe defaulting back to the vanilla kernel might ease up things.

either way selecting snapshots from the GRUB is a life saver

Totally, kernel plays a very important part in stability issues most of the time. At least to my experience as well.

The Zen kernel runs on all, 5 (from 2008-2021) devices for me, so there is no reason to change that. :smiley:

Just like bloat or not bloat, too colorful or too gray, you can never please everyone.

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Nice !!
But when I installed Garuda for the first time then I broke my system by my own self for the first time in just 20 minutes but I will like to say that these mistakes improved my IQ :sweat_smile:

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Again - I doubt that is the case for most of us. the zen kernel is so stable that I migrated to using it on my other builds (Arco, Endeavour, Arch etc). I did skip out on the tkg(?) kernel experience, though.

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The only time I have ever had any issues with Garuda was when I decided to go messing with the default snapshot tool(I switched from snapper to timeshift and then back again, so when I did get a bad update I was unable to use my snapshots because I didn't reinstall the grub updating package for snapper) and before I discovered the built-in update alias. Once I fixed my snapshot problem and started using the update alias, I haven't had a single system breaking issue.

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The Zen kernel runs on all, 5 (from 2008-2021) devices for me, so there is no reason to change that. :smiley:
Just like bloat or not bloat, too colorful or too gray, you can never please everyone.

Just because my computer doesnt work nicely with the zen kernel doesnt mean i said zen kernel is bad.

if i wasnt "pleased" i would use a different distro. the desktop is beautiful.

I was just expressing surprise that you were having difficulties with it! Just about anything is conceivable though... It seems pretty tame as such things go... I never took it as criticism of the zen line.... (after all - I run ryZEN processors :grin:)

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