Arch Linux is an independently developed GNU/Linux distribution utilising a rolling-release system optimised for i686 and x86_64 that leaves all software choices up to the user. By default, it has no desktop environment and Xorg is not installed. Arch was inspired by Crux, but is not a fork or derivative of it.
Design Philosophy - The Arch Way
Arch Linux defines simplicity as a lightweight base structure without unnecessary additions, modifications, or complications, that allows an individual user to shape the system according to their own needs. In short; an elegant, minimalist approach.
- Code Correctness
Simplicity, code-elegance, and minimalism shall always remain the reigning priorities of Arch development.
Arch Linux uses simple tools, that are selected or built with openness of the sources and their output in mind.
Arch Linux targets and accommodates competent GNU/Linux users by giving them complete control and responsibility over the system.
By keeping the system simple, Arch Linux provides the freedom to make any choice about the system.
Arch Linux uses a text based installer capable of CD or FTP installation. After installtion, the user has a minimum of utilities, and must install almost all programs from a terminal, includng Desktop Environments/Window Managers, the 'sudo' command, and any other utilities which users of other Linux Distros may expect to be in a minimum install of any system.
Arch Linux configuration is done by hand. That is, configuration of the system is done through manual editing of config files. For this reason, Arch is not recommended for new users unfamiliar with GNU/Linux. Even so there is a manual book for beginner and it's quite simple.
Package Management - pacman, ABS, and AUR
Software packages are managed by the command line tool pacman, and the Arch Buld System (ABS) allows for compiling packages. Software packages are gzipped tarballs that have the extension .pkg.tar.gz. ABS is a ports-like system for making packages that can be installed using pacman. Unsupported software is available through the Arch User Reposiory (AUR) as scripts for ABS. Several wrappers or pacman exist that incorporate integrated support for ABS and AUR.
Notes and references