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Arch Linux is a rolling release GNU/Linux distribution focussed on minimalism, simplicity, and elegance. Arch is often used by advanced users in light of its relatively difficult installation process. Arch is a distribution favored by the /g/ community for ricing.
- Minimalist installation process
- Near-complete customization
- Excellent package management
- Offers bleeding-edge software; always up to date (hence, rolling-release)
- The very complete Arch User Repository; every package you want is highly likely to be either in the official repositories or in the AUR
- Godlike wiki
In addition to the advantages of using Arch Linux, there are also a number of costs, including:
- Offering bleeding-edge software can cause stability issues
- When Arch Linux breaks, it is often difficult or time-consuming to repair
- A minimalist installation process can often confuse new users
- Smaller community than other distributions, for example, Ubuntu
- Software in the AUR isn't always to be trusted to be safe or up to date
Arch's installation process is a fully command-line process. If you can't into command-line, you won't into Arch. See installers or lesser distros such as Architect, Antergos, Manjaro, or Archbang for an automated install.
The Arch Linux website supplies ISO files that the user may burn to a disk, or use on a USB flash drive to install. In the past, Arch offered a graphical interface throughout the installation, however, it doesn't offer it anymore. For beginners, it is recommended to use the Arch Beginners Guide which helps providing a well documented and easy to follow installation process. For average or advanced-level users, a Wiki page is offered on the Arch Wiki that describes the install process from scratch.
pacman is the package manager for Arch. This uses the repos specified in
yaourt is one of many pacman wrappers that manages packages from the Arch User Repository. Beware, this software is not maintained by the distro maintainers.
Architect Linux is basically the new Arch installer with ncurses interface, without any Antergos/Manjaro add-ons/bloats (Yes, although the links are leading to SourceForge, it hasn't been infested with adware, yet.).
Parabola GNU/Linux-libre is an FSF-endorsed Arch derivative which repositories only contain free software.
Antergos is a preconfigured Arch Linux derivative, formerly known as CinnArch. Desktop environments available include: Cinnamon, Gnome, KDE, MATE, Openbox and XFCE.
Manjaro is an XFCE/KDE Arch based distro. It simplifies a lot of the usual installation of Arch Linux. The Manjaro devs screen software so it is slightly less bleeding edge than Arch.
Chakra Linux is a fully KDE distro. It was based on Arch, but pacman is the only thing left now, since they have their own repository, and build their own packages. Semi-rolling release.
ArchBSD is a minimal FreeBSD fork with pacman as a package manager. Currently only supports i686 and x86-64 architectures.
Many channers call Arch Linux a "meme OS". This is mostly due to the fact that it does have a package manager, however it is very glitchy and most Arch users compile. Furthermore, a large number of users in their community are underage and in a middle school grade level. There have been many criticisms for Arch Linux for not using the GNU coreutils and instead using busybox for its userland. This is mostly a criticism of followers of the Free Software Foundation, and users of Arch Linux (and members of the Open Source community) often refute it by stating that the GNU coreutils are bloated in their coding.
The complexity of Arch Linux makes it unusable for a beginner's distro, however its use makes it good as an advanced distribution.