Using the Same Arch Linux Installation for a Decade

As of today, I’ve been using the same Arch Linux installation for ten years on my main computer. I don’t have much to say, but I’m writing this because my experience doesn’t match the common notion that Arch Linux is unstable.1

I installed Arch Linux in August 20122 on a ThinkPad X121e and never saw a need to reinstall. In 2018, I switched to a ThinkPad X220 by moving my SSD. A few months ago, I copied my complete installation to a ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 using rsync. The longest I went without a system upgrade is nine months, but typically I upgrade about once per month.

Now it isn’t the case that nothing ever broke. Most disruptively, X did twice and audio did once. But over ten years, this doesn’t compare too poorly to other operating systems. With Ubuntu, I would’ve had to upgrade to a new release at least three times during the same period to end up with a version that’s currently supported,3 and five times to end up with the latest LTS release.4 And these release upgrades don’t always go smoothly either.

I don’t know what you’re using, but I bet you’ve also spent some time fixing problems with it over the last ten years.


  1. I’m not trying to convince anyone to use Arch Linux. 

  2. slightly before systemd became the default init system 

  3. from 12.04 to 14.04 to 16.04 to 18.04 

  4. from 12.04 to 14.04 to 16.04 to 18.04 to 20.04 to 22.04