Arch Linux (or Arch) is a Linux distribution intended to be lightweight and simple. The design approach of the development team focuses on simplicity, elegance, code correctness and minimalism. "Simplicity", according to Arch, is defined as "...without unnecessary additions, modifications, or complications.." and is defined from a developer standpoint, rather than a user standpoint.
Inspired by CRUX, another minimalist distribution, Judd Vinet started Arch Linux in March 2002. Vinet led the project until 1 October 2007, when he stepped down due to lack of time, transferring control of the project to Aaron Griffin. The Arch in Arch Linux is pronounced [ɑːrtʃ] in rhotic English accents or [aːtʃ] in non-rhotic accents (as in archer or parchment)
Arch is largely based around binary packages. Packages are targeted for i686 and x86-64 microprocessors to assist performance on modern hardware. A ports/ebuild-like system is also provided for automated source compilation, known as the Arch Build System.
The Arch focus on simplicity and economy for developers means, among other things, that the main effort in assisting the user is not expended in crafting GUI configuration tools — the package manager, for example, does not have an official graphical front-end — but making well-annotated configuration files and extensive use of shell scripts. This has earned it a reputation as a distribution for "intermediate and advanced Linux users who aren't afraid of the command line".
Little video with a installation howto from YouTube
Arch uses a BSD-style init framework, a tradeoff of flexibility for simplicity. It also includes and permits use of System V runlevels and the inittab file, but there is little differentiation between runlevels. This is because the modules and daemons loaded at startup are arranged very simply as arrays in the central configuration file, /etc/rc.conf, as opposed to System V's system of a directory for each runlevel containing a numbered symbolic link for each daemon. There is also the ability to start processes asynchronously, which neither the original BSD init nor the original Sys V init have. See init for more detail on the differences between the two systems.
The Arch Linux website supplies both CD (ISO) and USB (IMG) images for ease of use. The Arch Linux installer is a shell script using dialog for user interaction. The default install is slim. Further system customization and expansion (adding a window manager, desktop environment, etc.) must be done manually, installing packages downloaded from online repositories. Arch is therefore generally considered relatively involved to install, in comparison to other operating systems.
An alternative to using CD or USB images for installation is to use the static version of the package manager Pacman, from within another GNU/Linux operating system. The user can mount his or her newly formatted drive partition, and use Pacman with the appropriate command-line switch to have it use the mountpoint of the device as root for its operations.
This way the base package group and any additional packages can be installed on the newly formatted partition by having Pacman retrieve them from its mirrors. However, there are further actions that need to be taken before the system is ready for use after this process; most notably installing a bootloader, and making various configurations to the new system.
I also tried Arch linux on one of my laptops, and i was really surprised how fast it worked. The clean install took me about 10 minutes, and i had my gui working in about 20 minutes with all the correct drivers. I really suggests this distro to anybody who loves a fast system, and also wants to work with a Graphical User Interface.
The second thing i liked about Arch is, it has its own package manager (Pacman) and a lot of other packages within AUR