History of Arch Linux
Judd Vinet, a Canadian programmer and occasional guitarist, began developing Arch Linux in early 2001. It's 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 the lack of package management; 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 early Arch community grew steadily, as evidenced by this chart of forum posts, users, and bug reports. Moreover, it was from its early days known as an open, friendly, and helpful community. In late 2007, Judd Vinet retired from active participation as an Arch developer, and smoothly transferred the reigns over to 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 unsual 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.