Arch Linux is a Linux distribution for computers based on x86-64 architectures. Arch Linux is composed of nonfree and open-source software, and supports community involvement. The design approach of the development team follows the KISS principle ("keep it simple, stupid") as the general guideline, and focuses on elegance, code correctness, minimalism and simplicity, and expects the user to be willing to make some effort to understand the system's operation. A package manager written specifically for Arch Linux, pacman, is used to install, remove and update software packages. Arch Linux uses a rolling release model, such that a regular system update is all that is needed to obtain the latest Arch software; the installation images released by the Arch team are simply up-to-date snapshots of the main system components. Arch Linux has comprehensive documentation in the form of a community wiki known as the ArchWiki.
4.63 average based on 43 reviews
4.65 average based on 52 reviews
3.21 average based on 34 reviews
3.48 average based on 23 reviews
Have happily used Arch with zero breakages for at least 3 years. I have a full KDE Plasma desktop with fewer than 700 overall packages. I check out KDE Neon now and again to see if I'm missing out on any goodness and I'm not. Bleeding edge or go home.
I am with Arch for over 2 years, it's installed on both of my computers (desktop with gnome and laptop with i3). I love that have no problem playing Windows only titles (mainly WoW, SC2 and Battelfield V). Arch has a steep learning curve, but once you overcome it, it becomes really easy to use. I love Arch wiki and forums they are immensely helpful for solving problems, forgot to mention AUR! The only problem with it is that it's a rolling distribution, so you will encounter some hiccups here and there. If you want to learn Linux and want community support Arch has all of it! Enjoy!
As a solid Linux user for 2 years now I have tried all the main variants but find Arch and xfce4 to be by far my very favourite. I manually installed vanilla Arch until I could do it nearly without any guides except for the Arch wiki. As an old programmer I like to install Lazarus and find it works best under xfce4 , gtk2 or qt5 frameworks for the applications I build. I now install Arch the smart way using the Zen installer. This morning I installed my favourite Arch with the Zen installer in 30 minutes.
Once you have Arch installed and configured, it's a great system. I haven't done it for a while, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who wasn't willing to learn and tinker. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who wasn't an intermediate to advanced Linux user also. I am aware that there are setup scripts that people have written to configure Arch for you, but that kind of defeats the purpose of installing Arch to some extent. If you were going to go that route, you may as well have just used Manjaro or Endeavor OS. I plan to do another Arch build in future, but in the meantime, I plan to try a Linux From Scratch build sometime in the not to distant future.
It's very difficult to give Arch an objective rating as a desktop experience, as what you will get out of Arch will largely be dependant on 3 factors. 1. How experienced are you with administrating linux systems? 2. How much time and effort are you willing to put into each installation? 3. How customizable and up-to-date do you need your operating system and it's software packages to be? I'm fairly experienced with Linux but have little professional experience, I'm willing to put a half-day into getting my Arch experienced tuned to my liking and backing up the configs to use on other systems, and the main draw to linux for me is being able to use the latest offerings of the community at large. Therefore, whilst this review is tailored to my perspective of Arch, I expect that a user who has little time to configure their system or has little experience would write a very different review. Installation This is without a doubt where Arch falls short of many other distros. From the live media, the user is provided with a Install.txt containing instructions such as how to set the keyboard layout, sync the realtime clock, partition and format the disks, mount them, install the Arch and any required packages among many other tasks. All of these tasks have to be performed manually by the user (unless the user utilizes a script from an unknown source or writes their own). Personally, I've done so many Arch installs I'm now familiar with these steps and don't refer to Install.txt too much, however this doesn't make performing each of these steps manually a good use of my time. I understand why there isn't an installer, I've seen people get their heads bitten off within the community for suggesting such a thing, however I can't help but feel that there's a way to introduce a text-based installer to save those who know what they're doing time without comprimising on the overall values of the distro. Desktop Experience The user experience you have with Arch will be dependent on the Desktop Environments, Window Managers, Compositors, Display Managers and icon packs you choose. These are all installed using pacman (my favourite package manager of all time), or an AUR helper such as yay (which also depends on pacman and makepkg). For me personally, this is one of the reasons I choose Arch - the ultimate knowledge that I choose the exact packages installed on my system, tailoring my own user experience. If you don't do any of this installation and customisation, your user experience will basically just be bash. Software Availability Software availability on Arch is the best of any Linux distro currently available. Whilst the official repositories contain pretty much all of the open source software you'd expect, if you can't find it there you'll find it in the AUR (Arch User Repository). The software available from both the official repos and the AUR is typically on the bleeding edge, which might be enough to scare anybody who needs a stable environment away. I can't say that having the most up-to-date software has caused me too many issues in my 2 years of using the distro. Documentation The Arch Wiki is basically a bible in the Linux community. It contains some of the best documentation around the installation, configuration and troubleshooting of Open Source software in existence. If you've had issues with another linux distro, the chances are you've visited the Arch Wiki as part of your troubleshooting process. Daily Use This is what makes it all worth it. I have the exact desktop experience I want, using i3-gaps as my "Desktop Environment". All of my software is easily updatable (I just type "yay" at the terminal to update all of my software - including packages from the AUR). For me, this is simply the purest, richest and indulgent computing experience available. Conclusion If you're a new user, you need stable software releases, you don't have much time to spend configuring and learning or the installation process sounds daunting, this isn't the experience for you. If you're interested in some of the features mentioned in this review, you might want to check out manjaro, which is based on Arch, but ships with everything you need for a full desktop experience out of the box, and whilst it's a also a rolling release, the packages tend to be a little behind those in the arch repos. If you want the ultimate, most bleeding edge and enjoyable experience available on the desktop and everything else here sounds intriguing to you then Arch is your distro.
If you're a control freak like me then Arch is for you. If you like to tear things apart and put them back together, Arch is for you. If you like to play with the latest and the greatest, Arch is for you. Arch is also great for IoT and smaller devices since you only install what you want/need. Arch is great for learning Linux. Arch is terrible for those who just want to set it and forget it or just want it to work with the least amount of effort. Arch is best of course for bragging rights! (BTW, I use Arch)
A distro for snobs with something to prove, namely how smart they are (for being able to install it successfully whatsoever).
I have been using arch for a few years nowand it has been a very stable system for me. I use arch on my personal desktop pc and on my personal laptop. Every time I install arch or gentoo, I am reminded of the 90's when you had to know everything about the hardware in your system. No one cares anymore about partition schemes and locales. they take it all for granted. I use the archfi script now, I have wasted enough time installing arch, gentoo, and slackware over the years. I do not want to run a arch derivative because they slow down the package delivery and enjoy seeing all the updates everyday. It reminds me daily just how much work all these projects do for us.
It has been awhile since I've used this distro. It used to be my daily driver for a long time. I to a degree still love Arch, the starting with a minimal system and installing packages from there, however people often forget that this isn't a unique feature. A lot of distro offer this minimal approach, such as Debian, one could choose to know have it download a desktop environment, etc. My main reason for 3-stars and the review is because most newcomers to linux do not understand the AUR and don't take the time to. This is not Arch's fault. The problem with Arch is the AUR, last year it was shown that it could be compromised with some saying they are surprised it does not happen often. Most packages are not checked for malicious software. The following quote is pulled from the Arch wiki article on the AUR: "Users can share PKGBUILDs using the Arch User Repository. It does not contain any binary packages but allows users to upload PKGBUILDs that can be downloaded by others. These PKGBUILDs are completely unofficial and have not been thoroughly vetted, so they should be used at your own risk. See AUR submission guidelines for details." This distro is great, but it should really only be used by those who are going to take the time to check the integrity of packages. Otherwise, Arch is great. It has one of the best wikis for a linux distro.
Every now and again, I'll try out another distro but I always find my way back to Arch. I'll start with this - the purported difficulty of installing Arch is overstated. Sure, there's no graphical installer, but the install is not that difficult. Having said that, if you've never installed Arch before, I suggest staying away from the official install guides. There are plenty of other guides, both text and video which do a much better job of walking someone through their first install. If I can fault the Arch team anywhere, its in their refusal to allow an install guide which is more than a group of wiki links to be created. Having said that, I can now do a full Arch install to a working desktop environment in 20 to 30 minutes. Once set up, it works flawlessly and the beauty of the minimum system is twofold... Firstly, only the software you want/need is there. And secondly, if you need additional software, you will likely have to do some research and actually learn something along the way. Don't get me wrong - you will likely break your system along the way... but you'll fix it and not only learn but probably have fun along the way.
I use Arch...!, but I pronounce it Ark. This is my proudest Linux contribution. It's just the best.
An excellent learning tool. Far too fragile for server or IoT requirements. Very flexible for people seeking a distro construction kit.
Archlinux is great for anyone who wants to build their system up piece by piece, and isn't afraid to learn how its all put together along the way. Guaranteed, you will make some mistakes, but the archwiki is probably the best practical linux documentation resource on the internet(its even useful for other distros). I also love the stability I get with Arch( this is not a popular opinion), but I find that updating every day keeps me working longer and with less issues than doing a major release upgrade every 6 months. As well, you need look no further if you always want the latest and greatest versions of software. The AUR is a great resource for community maintained software( just don't blindly trust it). My server's uptime is amazing, and it just keeps going without ever really needing a massive overhaul.
If you want an OS that doesn't give you bloat then this is the one. You are in control of what is put into your system. That being said you have to know what you are doing as its not the easiest to install.
Arch is my favorite Linux distro, and I run it as my daily driver. I have switched off of Windows entirely and haven't looked back. Installation: Its may not be the best option for beginners, but if your up for a challenge and are willing to make some mistakes, break your installation, and learn from those mistakes go for it. Its tough to install and customize the first few times but it gets easier. There are scripts out there that can help with installation (my favorite is Archfi) if your not into doing it manually.. but you may want to do it once or twice manually just for the experience. :) Rolling Release Distribution: Arch is a rolling release distro, which basically means your getting frequent software updates with the latest changes but you don't have to update if you choose not to perhaps, for compatibility reasons. You won't have to reinstall Arch to get the latest changes their development team is working on. Repositories: Arch has plenty of packages you may need in its official repositories, but if the software package your looking for is not officially supported, Arch has what is called the Arch User Repository(AUR), a community driven repository for Arch users. Packages in the AUR aren't officially supported, but the maintainers put a lot of effort into their work and they generally do an excellent job. I find the AUR to be extremely helpful as I've found drivers for my printer, my wifi adapters, and other software packages that I needed but couldn't find in any of the official repositories. It may be helpful for beginners to use an AUR helper(I use pamac), to install packages from the AUR but its not difficult to manually build packages and AUR helper's don't work in every situation. Arch users should know how to build packages from the AUR manually. Customizability: One of my favorite features of Arch is how highly customizable it is. You can tailor it to your needs. I run GNOME as my desktop environment because I think its highly mature and stable, but I know people who run other desktop environments such Openbox or XFCE because they leave a smaller footprint on your systems resources. Arch is what you make of it. It can be a frustrating experience because you have to setup a lot of things manually that we take for granted in other distros. Or it can be a fun learning experience, where you learn what really goes into a distro and how to do all of that manually. Arch is exactly what you want it to be. I use it for my desktop as a daily driver, and I used it on a raspberry pi once to build a handheld tablet. Server: When we talk about Arch on a server we have to be specific. Are we using a system that is simply hosting a website for personal use and experimentation? Or are we talking about a web server that is being used in a production environment for a large company? I wouldn't recommend Arch for production use, because frequent updates may lead to instability, and in a production environment system stability is typically more valued than bleeding edge features. But if your just using a server for personal fun and are familiar with Arch.. ehh why not give it a go? TLDR; Arch may not be for beginners due to difficult installation and system maintenance requirements, but its highly resource efficient, customizable, and it comes with large repositories of software packages. Not ideal for servers. Overall great distro. Your experience with Arch will be whatever you want it to be.
Arch offers a wonderful combination of flexibility and bleeding edge software. Although many people seem to suggest Arch is somehow unreliable because of it’s bleeding edge nature, I have found this to be incorrect in practise. I’ve been running Arch for a year now on several laptops and it’s been very reliable. Add in dwm, st and some other suckless fun and you’ll be all set! :)
I moved to Arch Linux over a year ago. I finally found my home! All the complaints I've had about Ubuntu and Fedora are now SOLVED! Always-current packages and excellent documentation. Community-driven Distro that I can now participate in! I'm working on a Arch Installer in Bash as a project.
Arch is a fantastic platform. However, I will start with a caveat: It is not for the uninitiated or for those who don't like to get in deep. The documentation is some of the best I have seen anywhere (not just from the FOSS world, anywhere). From the install, Arch helps you learn and love Linux. There's no GUI installer, you get to install your instance piece by piece. Then, once you get up and running, the AUR (Arch User Repository) has some of the largest collection of software available to an open source desktop. While it is very needy as far as upkeep, as long as you keep up, its an awesome experience.
I used Arch as my primary desktop driver for about 4 years. It's a great distro and as long as you keep it up to date nothing breaks beyond the point that you can't fix it. That said, it is not necessarily a smooth ride. You will end up troubleshooting software that works fine on other distros. Some software is targeted for Ubuntu, some for Fedora, those that "target Arch' are really targeting Linux in general. That being said - there is no software you won't be able to run, you will just have to be prepared to "tweak" it from time to time to get it to run/keep it running.
Great distro, for some reason has some "Myths" associated with it, for eaxmple "it will break after a few updates" or "it will break if you don't update regularly" both is completely untrue, It is a very stable distro. Other "Myths" include "Its hard to install", this wil ofcause will depend how much interest YOU decide to invest into it reading the arch wiki or a faster alternative reading/watching a user tutorial on how to install arch. the package manager is the probably one of the best features with arch linux, also the ability to only install what you need and use thus removing bloat and clutter for a leaner running machine.
great cutting edge distro... recommend only for desktop use, not large scale server deploy... this distro is a service to the community because it allows those who choose to live on the “bleeding edge” to serve as beta testers for the vast majority of users of desktop linux as well as server and iot... recommended for any and all advanced users, but beginners and the less tech savvy should stick to more stable and slower iterating distros like Ubuntu or Debian
Arch Linux is a place where many Linux enthusiasts and gamers will end up calling home. The daily operation of the distribution is a treat for individuals who are excited about having new versions of their favorite software (especially drivers). Inside the Arch Linux repositories, you have access a vast collection of software, and if it's not in the main repositories, then it is almost certainly in the community-based and natively integrated AUR (Arch Linux User Repository). The installation of Arch is daunting because it is non-graphical and is not menu or option driven. Rather it is a blank slate where you follow a Wiki (a very nice one mind you) and build your system one terminal command at a time. You learn will learn a lot, but you will also make mistakes. There is no need for spins or flavors. You make your own flavor. There is no need to reinstall your whole OS when a new version comes out. You are always the newest version. What power! Arch Linux will require daily updates; bugs might slip in, bugs are also fix. For personal desktop use (gaming and productivity), the "Arch Way" is a very fluid way to live. Whenever you are in trouble, the Arch Wiki and the Arch community are there to help. Since the nature of Arch is staying current, so is the help you will find. Forum post and the Wiki pages are routinely updated to solve CURRENT problems. It sure beats hunting through ancient Ubuntu forum posts from 2009 to try and diagnose a problem in 2019. So in short, the Arch journey can be described as: Learn, Grow, Thrive, Enjoy.
Arch is an awesome desktop distribution for every day use. The barrier to entry may be a little high, but if you know your way around Linux, Arch is the way to go in my opinion. It requires frequent maintenance (aka you have to update frequently, like once or twice a week and you're good) and for some that can be a problem. The thing about Arch is that you can get the latest and greatest software directly from your repositories, once it's tested and included in the repos. Many think that this brings instability, but to be honest, I've only once broken my Arch install and it was because I was messing around with stuff and broke it. Another thing that I greatly appreciate is that Arch packages are as close as possible to upstream. There are some downstream patches here and there, but they're rare and used only when the alternative is a broken package. The best use cases I see for Arch are: gaming, content creation and software development of any kind. As for Server and IoT, while Arch is surely capable enough to work for those scenarios, its fast moving nature makes it a not-so-good choice for something that needs stability (note: stability as in "it doesn't change much or often") like Sever or IoT. I personally use Arch on all of my desktops/laptops, and Ubuntu on all of the servers I manage.
Arch is one of the most popular Linux distros around. It's challenging installation process forces you to learn Linux as there is no point and click type installer. If you do decide to brave the Arch install process then by the time you finish with a stable system you should have a solid understanding of what goes into a distro and what makes it tick. You will learn lots of terminal commands and you will become more and more comfortable in the terminal as you go. You are basically building your own system component by component to exactly how you want it. You will make mistakes along the way but the Arch wiki is your guide. The Arch wiki is legendary as a trove of information to help you on this journey. Don't get discouraged if you have to start over from scratch a couple times. And don't rely on any community hand-holding--it's your system so own it. Just follow directions step by step precisely and you will be fine. You may have lots of tabs open at one time and you will want to give up but keep drilling down. It's the journey not the destination that matters. Don't rush. Take your time. Like a dog with a bone just keep chewing away at it. It's a very rewarding experience when you get it all ironed out. Keep in mind that every expert was once a beginner that refused to quit!
A few thoughts for those contemplating the installation of Arch: 1) Review YouTube vids on the subject. (Not to forget, most contributors are self-proclaimed experts.) 2) Prepare a plan of execution. (The Arch wiki sucks in this regard and the community is is less than friendly to noobs.) 3) Set color and verbose in pacman lists. (Remove the respective comment blocking tags in /etc/pacman.conf.) 4) Install with a hardwire connection. 5) Have a second computer, with intenet connection, on hand. 6) Always consult the Arch site before upgradinging to understand the issues known with the most recent upgrades.
BTW...I use Arch. Arch Linux has won my heart. If you're into cutting edge hardware and software there is no better workstation distro out there. Arch Linux users are passionate about the distro for a reason. While the distro is a 'rolling release' meaning you get the latest kernel and software updates it also remains extraordinarily stable. My experience with Arch is based on AMD and Intel based systems. Nvidia users beware the proprietary drivers released from Nvidia could cause instability but you can simply not push every update as it happens. Perhaps one of the greatest features of Arch is the Arch Wiki which contains the most complete and robust knowledge base of Linux and troubleshooting out there. Even people who aren't fans of Arch will tell you the Arch Wiki is simply a masterpiece. I like that Arch gives no preference to proprietary non-opensource platforms like other distro's seem to be doing a lot of lately. The community is knowledgeable but does expect you to try and utilize the Arch Wiki first before posting about issues. Six systems and 6 months rolling I've not experienced a single system stability issue. The installation process is not simple but you will learn a lot in the process. The custom installation method also means you get a system with no bloat and tailored to your preferences and needs. You do have the option to remain on an LTS kernel if you seek stability. Finally, there is the AUR. The Arch User Repository contains a plethora of software and apps that are easy to install and provide the user an ability to look into the code before installing to self validate security. Getting any program, regardless of the distro it was designed for is remarkably easy with the AUR. Many people run Arch as a server but it is not nearly as popular as others non-rolling distros. With LTS kernel options and experience package management a user could easily use Arch as a server solution. Overall, Arch is one of my top distros and to me is a glimpse into the future of the Linux desktop.
I have been using arch linux for several years . I made a server using btrfs raid 10 file system. I use the server as a router, firewall, web server, syncthing, media center, gaming server, squid server, tor server, and I use it as a desktop. I use it on my personal laptop. I also use it on another desktop/media center. All run fast stable and trouble free.
This Distro can easily be formed into exactly what you want out of an OS.
Long time Arch user here and still very happy. The hardest part is of course the installation but once its done its very easy to keep it running for ever. Even my mother uses it (on a bi-weekly update server, so it wont annoy her to get update warnings every day :D) It comes with always the latest software, releases fast and is very stable (as in no-system-crashes). Works best with all open source drivers.
This is the last distro you'll ever hop to.
Not recommended for new users, fantastic rolling distro for those who like to be on the bleeding edge!
Fantastic workstation distro, but requires constant updating / attention. Makes it a little less useful as a low maintenance server, and all but useless in the IoT realm, where updates are seldom if at all.
Arch Linux is exactly the OS you make it. If you want to completely customize your OS, this is the OS for you. The main caveat to this is the install process. It's not as hard as some people believe it to be, but it does require some basic knowledge of partitions and bootloaders. All of this can be looked up on the Arch wiki, however, which is very comprehensive. Any question I've had about how to do something in Arch is in there somewhere. And I can't forget the Arch User Repositories. On other distros, if I can't find what I want in the repos, I turn to flatpaks and appimages. On Arch, there is the AUR. I've yet to not find an app I need between that and the official repos.
I can install multiple packages and never hit a snag. Also having the latest packages is nice for software development. Super lightweight and fast to boot up.