Arch Linux is an independently developed Linux distribution geared towards experienced Linux users. Its main aim is on simplicity and minimalism. There are not many packages installed by default, basically just what the system absolutely needs in order to run. There isn't even a desktop environment unless you install one yourself.

The result of this approach is a lean and mean operating system with a lot of options for customization. Arch is recommended for Linux veterans that want more control over their system. If you're brand new to Linux, Ubuntu and Linux Mint are designed to give you an easier introduction. For other most popular Linux distributions please visit our dedicated linux download page.

Arch Linux sits close to the bleeding edge, making it more suited for a desktop computer or Raspberry Pi, etc. Arch Linux only has a command line interface by default, but there are a lot of desktop environments that it officially supports, including GNOME, Xfce, KDE, and many of the other most common choices for Linux users.

Manjaro is based on Arch Linux, taking its best features and adding a dash of user friendliness. It's a good distro to check out if you appreciate Arch's ideals but are a little intimidated by the complexity of configuring things from the ground up.

Arch Linux running KDE desktop manager
Arch Linux running KDE desktop manager

Arch Linux Release Schedule


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Arch Linux uses a rolling release system, which means updates just flow regularly and there are no newer versions that you need to upgrade to. Being that Arch is so big on simpilicity, it makes sense that the developers chose the most simple route for upgrades.

Arch uses the Pacman package manager, made by the Arch developers themselves, to deliver updates and new software. Even though Arch doesn't include a lot of user conveniences by default, Pacman is easy to use and will resolve package dependencies for you automatically like most other package managers. Contrast this to Slackware, which has an even harsher learning curve in this respect.

Download Arch Linux

Arch Linux is available for download from the Arch download page. There is only one ISO file available, as there are no separate editions of Arch Linux.

Arch's Pacman package manager is used to update the operating system with a single command. You won't need to download a new copy of Arch in the future unless you want a fresh reinstall.

Closing Thoughts

Arch Linux will yield you a speedy and reliable system with minimal packages and endless customization. In the spirit of simplicity, Arch doesn't offer many user conveniences, like a default desktop environment. Arch expects that the user knows their way around a Linux system and is comfortable with installing all the things they need.

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