Arch Based Distributions

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Revision as of 13:41, 19 October 2009 by Gog (talk | contribs) (March Linux)
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Active Distributions

Arch Linux Mobile

Arch Linux Mobile provides an ARM optimised port to run on the OpenMoko Freerunner, an open-source smartphone. It is currently undergoing early but active development.

ArchLinux PPC

The goal of the Archlinux PPC porting project is to make our favourite distribution, Arch Linux, available for the PPC architecture. Our strong community is diverse and helpful, and we pride ourselves on the range of skillsets and uses for Arch that stem from it. Please check out the forums and mailing list to get your feet wet. Also glance through the wiki if you want to learn more about Arch.


ArchPwn is a security based Linux Live CD/DVD system that aims to be a fully working swiss army knife for pentesting purpose. It is based on the Arch Linux distribution, and follows the Arch philosphy. We keep the original system intact, and create on top of it a package repository with all tools that a pentester needs.


Archboot is designed for installation or rescue operations. It provides both the i686 and x86_64 architectures on one CD. It uses hwdetect and a different install script from the official Arch Linux install images. It runs in RAM using iniramfs, without any special filesystems like squashfs, thus it is limited to the RAM which is installed in your system.


Archlive is a Simple-Chinese live system based on Arch GNU/Linux. It is distinct from the Arch Live! distribution, adding Chinese language software and packages, but it is based upon Arch Live!


"Our goal with Chakra is to provide an operating system for desktops that is easy to use, but still has all the functionality, clarity, power and speediness of a KISS operating system. In the long term, we want to build an operating system based on Arch Linux that meets most requirements desktop users have today, like easy installation of software, graphical system administration, configuring power management on mobile devices, or sharing an internet connection."

The creators of the KDEmod project have created Chakra, based on Arch and KDEMod (of course). Tools like Shaman and Arxin show the gradual shift towards a more graphical UI oriented Arch derivative. Nonetheless, the project maintains the KISS principle of Arch, even though the Tribe installer on the Live CD provides more of the 'you don't have to know what's inside' philosophy. The installed system however is a pure ArchLinux + KDE4 + Shaman, with some artistic touches.


Chaox is a live environment based on Arch Linux focusing on pentesting and forensics. We feature current snapshots of aircrack-ng, the dedected toolkit and forensic applications such as testdisk or foremost, along with the usual tools.

Firefly Linux

Firefly Linux is a lightweight operating system designed with netbooks in mind. Firefly Linux Float, the main edition of Firefly, comes with the small and fast LXDE desktop environment. It also includes many popular applications to help the user get the most out of a netbook. Firefly Linux is powerful and is not limited to a "netbook-oriented" interface. Being relatively lightweight, Firefly can also be used for low-end systems.


LinHES (Linux Home Entertainment System) is a distro based heavily on Arch and centered around MythTV, with the expressed goal of being a HES-appliance. Utilizing open source software and off the shelf hardware, you'll be able to assemble a box that can serve as a PVR, Jukebox, Image Viewer, and Game Station. Users can go from a blank hard drive to fully functional MythTV system in literally 15-20 min. For more information, please see the LinHES wikipage.

The linuX-gamers Live DVD is a bootable medium with a collection of popular 3D games. It contains both the NVIDIA and ATI proprietary Linux drivers and includes the following games: BzFLag, Enemy Territory, Glest, Nexuiz, Sauerbraten, Torcs, Tremulous, True Combat: Elite, Warsow and World of Padman. Although the live DVD is based on Arch Linux, it does not offer any desktop Linux functionality except gaming.

Maryan Linux 2

The Maryan Linux 2 Project is designed to enable older hardware to run a fast and beautiful dekstop. For this reason, Maryan uses Enlightenment 17, which is a lightweight and very visually appealing desktop environment. The Maryan Linux developers strongly believe that this desktop environment is mature, stable (most of the time), and one of the most efficient for minimal computer resources usage.

Mesk Linux

Mesk Linux is a project aiming at showcasing Arch to Arabic-speaking users . The project is also working on localizing Arch tools and documentation .

Meta Distributions


archiso is a very simple set of bash scripts that allow for building live bootable CD/DVD/USB images based on Arch Linux. It uses a small uncomplicated code base and is actively developed. archiso is the tool used by Arch Linux to generate the official CD/USB images. It is a very generic tool, so it could potentially be used to generate anything from rescue systems, to install disks, to special interest live systems, and who knows what else. Simply put, if it involves Arch on a shiny coaster, it can do it.


Archiso-live is a fork of archiso that has since gained a fair bit of complexity in its development. Archiso-live undergoes rapid development with fresh releases posted on the dev blog found on its homepage. It uses a modular design approach based on slax. It even uses the slax initrd as a base module to get the system going. This allows archiso-live to be used in an everyday fashion since it has a full xfce desktop. It can also be greatly customized since it uses modules.


larch is a collection of scripts used to create live CD/DVD/USB-stick versions of Arch Linux. One design aim is easy customization, so that even relatively inexperienced users can build personalized live CDs, containing whatever packages they want and with their own personal configurations. The resulting medium should also be usable for installation purposes, so that one has a customized Arch Linux installation/rescue medium. As the content can be chosen freely, a comfortable working environment is possible, in contrast to the rather Spartan standard Arch installation CD.

Arch Influenced Distros

Alpine Linux

Alpine Linux is a run-from-RAM linux distribution. Its original target was small appliances like routers, VPN gateways, or embedded x86 devices. However, it supports hosting other Linux guest OSes under VServer control, making it an attractive hosting solution as well. Though Alpine Linux may not actually be based on Arch, its build system 1is undoubtably inspired by Arch. 23


Enlisy is an i686 optimized Linux distribution for Pentium 2 based processors and higher. It is also as simple as possible when it comes to the construction of its underlying core. Enlisy uses its own package manager Apport, which is is based on Libpysrc and Libpypac, which are inspired by Arch's package manager Pacman. Enlisy also uses InitNG for the init system.


Frugalware Linux is a general-purpose Linux distribution designed for intermediate users who are familiar with command-line operations. It is based on Slackware, but uses a different package management system, Pacman.

Source: Wikipedia

Discontinued Distributions

Aegis Project

The goal of the Arch Environmental/Geographical Information Systems (Arch EGIS) project was to increase awareness of and accessibility to the very latest, free, open-source GIS applications, sample data and other useful geographical and statistical tools, through the development of an Open Source GIS toolkit.


Archie was a complete live Arch linux system run from a CD/USB-stick, built with the KISS philosophy in mind. It provided a full Arch linux system, yet it delivered fast performance without extensive bloating. Archie used its own hw-detection tool, lshwd, to support a wide range of hardware with fast detection time. Archie also provided extended features such as multiple languages, nesting capabilities, and hd-install.


Arch Linux is an i686 optimized distribution, but sometimes members of the community ask how to install it on VIA C3 (mini-itx systems) or AMD Geode based systems. Since these CPUs are not fully i686 compatible, there is the need for an i586 port. There have been some past attempts to create an i586 port of Arch Linux. Some were successful, but they are not maintained anymore. The goal of archlive-i586 is to have an up to date i586 installation CD, with a reasonably sized package repository with at least 4-5 mirrors.

Borderless Linux

"I'm the founder of Borderless Linux. I am pleased to announce that we in fact are merging into what is currently the Chakra Project. We will be creating a LiveCD based upon Chakra's configurations and optimizations, but with a GNOME GUI. We will be using Larch to build the CD and hope to provide all the same functionality as Chakra, except using GNOME."


FaunOS was a portable, fully integrated Linux operating system with over 600 pre-installed packages. Based on Arch Linux, it was specifically designed to run from a portable USB memory device (such as a USB Flash drive). It could also be configured to boot from other media, such as DVD, and even the internal hard drive. FaunOS was a live desktop system designed to run without setup on most modern x86-based systems.

March Linux

March Linux aimed to be a simple, lean and fast GNU/Linux distribution for the desktop, which urged the users to learn Linux instead of holding their hands at every step. At the same time, it was usable and fully functional with a generous package choices. While it was heavily based on Arch Linux, the author prefered to call March an Arch "distrolet". The default desktop environment in March Linux was Fluxbox.

Shift Linux

Shift Linux was a work in progress that aimed to be a desktop distro based on a solid Arch foundation. As of May 8th, 2009, development ceased. Read more about it here:

"Anyone interested in developing a Linux distro should consider helping out Firefly Linux. It's a great project that spawned from Shift." - Simon on

Underground Desktop

Underground Desktop was a GNU/Linux distribution targeted at the desktop user. It was based on Arch Linux. Its main features were ease of installation, kernel optimisation for modern processors (i686), and the KDE desktop.

Miscellaneous Distributions

These distributions lack sufficient information or available history to merit their own entry, so they are listed here in abbreviated form.

The Arch Linux Embedded Project
A Linux distribution based on Arch Linux and aimed at low-end systems
30 MB micro-LiveCD
The goal of the uArch project was to build super lightweight, scalable and stable micro packages. Suitable for use on Desktops, Laptops, Routers, PDA and Cellphones