What is Arch Linux?
Arch Linux is an i686-optimized linux distribution targeted at competent
linux users (read: not afraid of the commandline)
Arch Linux is a general purpose linux distribution that can be molded to do
just about anything. It is fast, lightweight, flexible, and most of the parts
under the hood are quite simple to understand and tweak, which can make it a
good distro to "learn the ropes" on. We do not provide any configuration
helper utilities (ie, you won't find linuxconf in here) so you will
quickly become very proficient at configuring your system from the shell
Arch Linux uses i686-optimized packages which gives us improved performance
over some of our i386-optimized cousins. This means that Arch Linux will
only run on a Pentium II processor or higher. We try to stay fairly bleeding
edge, and typically have the latest stable versions of software.
Arch Linux uses the Pacman
package manager, which couples a simple binary
package format with an easy-to-use build system, allowing the users to easily
manage and customize their packages, whether they be official Arch packages
or the user's own homegrown ones. The repository system allows users to build
and maintain their own custom package repositories, which encourages
community growth and contribution.
Pacman can keep a system up to date by synchronizing package lists with the
master server, making it a breeze for the security-conscious system
administrator to maintain. This server/client model also allows you to
download/install packages with a simple command, complete with all required
dependencies (similar to Debian's apt-get).
Arch's official package set is fairly streamlined, but we supplement this with a larger, more complete "extra" repository that contains a lot of the
stuff that never made it into our core package set. This repository is
constantly growing with the help of packages submitted from our strong
Arch Linux does not provide any official support, but you will find a lot of
helpful people on our IRC channel and on our
user forums. Chances are that
some other Archer has had the same problem/question as you and it's already
been answered. Ask around!
Arch Linux uses a "rolling release" system which works like this: We have
two versions of our core package set at any given time, Current and Release.
repository always contains the latest and greatest versions of packages. As soon as
a package is updated it is part of the Current repository, so this is the one to
follow if you want to stay very up to date. The Release repository follows the
semi-regular snapshot releases and does not update until the next snapshot/iso
has been released. For example, the Release repository will point to all packages
on the 0.5 ISO until we release 0.6; then it will point to 0.6 packages until 0.7 is released.
This is useful if you only want to update your system when a new release
So, to sum up: Arch Linux is a workhorse distribution designed to fit
the needs of the competent linux user. We strive to make it both powerful
and easy to manage, making it an ideal distro for servers and workstations.
Take it in any direction you like.