This is my first time being around the community for a new version of my Desktop Environment being released. Specifically I’d be going from GNOME 42 → 43. I have really liked what I’ve seen around the new features and am excited to try them out.
I’m new to Arch as well, but it has a reputation for being bleeding edge. That being said, about how long does it typically take for a new DE version to arrive on my pacman -Syu , and is it always a good idea to update right away? Can I expect glitches?
It takes a lot of time to update the Gnome stack and that all falls on one single Arch maintainer. Depending on their schedule (this is all volunteer work of course), in the past it has taken about 2-4 weeks after it is released before Arch gets it. In some cases, it’s not released on Arch until a point release, which would be a bit of a longer wait. Gnome 43 is not a huge step up, but nonetheless still requires time and work to update the stack. Remain patient and try to focus on familiarizing yourself with what you have currently have already.
For starters, I would suggest only update on weekends OR only update when you know you have the time to troubleshoot in case anything goes wrong. Also, always always have backups.
Expect bugs yes. Everyone’s hardware, setups, and workflow is different, so some may have less issues than others, but Gnome is a mixed bag sometimes. Gnome 42 was riddled with bugs on release, but Gnome 40/41 on the other hand upgraded with minimal issues. Gnome 43 is not reinventing the wheel, so I dare say the new release should be a smoother transition than the last.
Any of the top, most popular extensions are typically available from day one. General rule of thumb though, is not to rely on too many extensions. I typically use about 10 myself, but others use fewer. The more extensions you use, the more likely you may run into issues, like system lag, slowdowns, or occasional freezes, though these cases are rare. Some extensions that aren’t updated officially may still work with newer versions, it’s a hit or miss though in that case. And if there’s an extension you like or want updated but hasn’t yet, you can always visit the extensions GitHub or GitLab and ask if they will be supporting the new Gnome version or not.
At least it’s a real backup, as opposed to a snapshot with Timeshift. Also keep a copy of your dot files. They can save you a lot of time when you don’t need an entire image restore just to get working again.
Good question, I used it 20+ years ago and it was klunky and slow, and I did not like it. I did not give it a chance to survive. When I first installed in February this year, I did the KDE version, and I found it too time consuming to get the workflow the way I needed it.
Then I tried converting to KDE to Gnome 41 on the same user account (that’s a no-no), but there were too many conflicting files with KDE remnants blocking things. Since I have everything backed up like you, I decided to bite the bullet and installed a fresh with Gnome 42 on a BTRFS system and have never looked back.
As Scotty said you might need some extensions, but I have a workflow for me that is die for. It saves me hours at the keyboard every day and everything is exactly where I want it.
So, once you have such a perfect system and its running super fast on a 7 year old Acer laptop with 8GB ram, I am pretty hesitant to dive headlong into 43 until at least the point release, and I work out what what extensions will be redunadant since Gnome is incorporating the good ones slowly, and which ones are breaking for other more adventurous folks.
I am already hearing stories from Fedora users with broken extensions, so just use what works for you and don’t jeopardize your studies with a broken working tool, just to try the latest.
Use a KVM if you are curious to try out Fedora with Gnome 43 default on btrfs, but I have firmly planted the flag on
This is a fantastic fail safe for a system backup. I use Timeshift in case I need to revert most things, but a regularly completed disk image from Clonezilla is an absolute, restore it like it was fall back that will get you running in 10 mins or less. I would use alternate means for data backup purposes but you already mentioned it’s all in the cloud (separate philosophical discussion on that front).