History of Arch Linux
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, Polish Linux Distribution, 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.