ro:Arch Linux zh-CN:Arch Linux zh-TW:Arch Linux Arch Linux is an independently developed, i686/x86-64 general purpose GNU/Linux distribution versatile enough to suit any role. Development focuses on simplicity, minimalism, and code elegance. Arch is installed as a minimal base system, configured by the user upon which their own ideal environment is assembled by installing only what is required or desired for their unique purposes. GUI configuration utilities are not officially provided, and most system configuration is performed from the shell and a text editor. Based on a rolling-release model, Arch strives to stay bleeding edge, and typically offers the latest stable versions of most software.
The early years
Judd Vinet, a Canadian programmer and occasional guitarist, began developing Arch Linux in early 2001. Its first formal release, Arch Linux 0.1, was on March 11, 2002. Inspired by the elegant simplicity of Slackware, BSD, PLD Linux, and CRUX, and yet disappointed with their lack of package management at the time; Vinet built his own distribution on similar principles as those distros. But, he also wrote a package management program called pacman, to automatically handle package installation, removal, and upgrades.
The middle years
The dawning of the age of A. Griffin
In late 2007, Judd Vinet retired from active participation as an Arch developer, and smoothly transferred the reins over to American programmer Aaron Griffin, aka Phrakture, who remains the lead Arch developer to this day.
Over the years, the Arch community continued to grow and mature, and has recently received an unusual amount of attention and review for a Linux distro of its modest size.
Arch developers remain unpaid, part-time volunteers, and there are no prospects for monetizing Arch Linux, so it will remain free in all senses of the word. Those curious to peruse more detail about Arch's development history can browse the Arch entry in the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and the Arch Linux News Archives.
Following The Arch Way, Arch Linux is a lightweight, flexible, and simple distribution. Upon installation, a command-line environment compiled for i686/x86-64 architectures is provided: rather than tearing out unneeded and unwanted packages, the user is offered the ability to build on a basic but carefully crafted foundation. Arch's design philosophy and implementation make it easy to extend and mold into whatever kind of system is required, from a basic console machine to feature-rich desktop environments: it is the user who decides what his Arch system will be.
Arch Linux strives to maintain the latest stable release versions of its software as long as systemic package breakage can be reasonably avoided. It is based on a rolling-release system, which allows a one-time installation with continuous upgrades, without ever having to reinstall and without having to perform the elaborate procedures involved in system upgrades from one release version to the next. By issuing one command, an Arch system is kept up-to-date and on the bleeding edge.
Arch incorporates many of the newer features available to GNU/Linux users, including the systemd init system, modern filesystems (Ext2/3/4, Reiser, XFS, JFS, BTRFS), LVM2, software RAID, udev support and initcpio (with mkinitcpio), as well as the latest available kernels.
Arch is backed by pacman, an easy-to-use binary package manager that allows you to upgrade your entire system with one command. Pacman is coded in C and designed from the ground up to be lightweight, simple and very fast. Arch also provides the Arch Build System, a ports-like system to make it easy to build and install packages from source, which can also be synchronized with one command. You can even rebuild your entire system with one command.
Supporting i686 and x86-64 architectures, Arch's Official repositories provide several thousands of high-quality packages to meet your software demands. In addition, Arch encourages community growth and contribution by offering the Arch User Repository, which contains many thousands of user-maintained PKGBUILD scripts for compiling installable packages from source using the makepkg application. It is also possible for users to easily build and maintain their own custom repositories.
Arch provides non-patched, vanilla software; packages are offered from pure upstream sources, how the author originally intended it to be distributed. Patching only occurs in extremely rare cases, to prevent severe breakage in the instance of version mismatches that may occur within a rolling release model.
The Arch community is very dependable, lively and welcoming: all Archers are encouraged to participate and contribute to the distribution, be it helping with the development of the core software, maintaining packages, reporting or fixing bugs, improving the ArchWiki documentation, helping other users solving problems or just exchanging opinions in the forums, mailing lists, IRC channels, or sharing one's knowledge or even self-developed applications. Arch Linux is the operating system of choice for many people around the globe, and there exist several international communities that offer help and provide documentation in many different languages.
See Getting involved if you feel you want to become an active member of the community.
To summarize: Arch Linux is a versatile and simple distribution designed to fit the needs of the competent Linux® user. It is both powerful and easy to manage, making it an ideal distro for servers and workstations. Take it in any direction you like: if you share this vision of what a GNU/Linux distribution should be, then you are welcomed and encouraged to use it freely, get involved, and contribute to the community. Welcome to Arch!