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Arch Linux

arch linux, arch linux download
Arch Linux or Arch /ˈɑːrtʃ/3 is a Linux distribution for computers based on i686 and x86-64 architectures4 It is composed predominantly of free and open-source software,5 and supports community involvement6

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 operation7 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 components8

Arch Linux has comprehensive documentation in the form of a community wiki, called the ArchWiki910


  • 1 History
    • 11 Repository security
  • 2 Design and principles
  • 3 Installation
  • 4 Package management
    • 41 Pacman
    • 42 Repositories
    • 43 Arch Build System ABS
    • 44 Arch User Repository AUR
  • 5 Derivatives
  • 6 Versions
    • 61 Rolling releases
    • 62 Other platforms
  • 7 See also
  • 8 Notes
  • 9 References
  • 10 External links


Inspired by CRUX, another minimalist distribution, Judd Vinet started Arch Linux in March 2002 Vinet led Arch Linux until 1 October 2007, when he stepped down due to lack of time, transferring control of the project to Aaron Griffin11

Repository securityedit

Until pacman version 40012 Arch Linux's package manager lacked support for signed packages13 Packages and metadata were not verified for authenticity by pacman during the download-install process Without package authentication checking, tampered-with or malicious repository mirrors can compromise the integrity of a system14 Pacman 4 allowed verification of the package database and packages, but it was disabled by default In November 2011 package signing became mandatory for new package builds, and as of 21 March 2012 every official package is signed15

In June 2012, package signing verification became official and is now enabled by default in the installation process1617

Design and principlesedit

Arch is largely based around binary packages Packages are targeted for IA-32 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

Arch Linux focuses on simplicity of design, meaning that the main focus involves creating an environment that is straightforward and relatively easy for the user to understand directly, rather than providing polished point-and-click style management tools — the package manager, for example, does not have an official graphical front-end This is largely achieved by encouraging the use of succinctly commented, clean configuration files that are arranged for quick access and editing7 This has earned it a reputation as a distribution for "intermediate and advanced Linux users who aren't afraid of the command line"18

Relying on complex tools to manage and build your system is going to hurt the end users "If you try to hide the complexity of the system, you'll end up with a more complex system" Layers of abstraction that serve to hide internals are never a good thing Instead, the internals should be designed in a way such that they NEED no hiding

— Aaron Griffin19


The Arch Linux website supplies ISO images that can be run from CD or USB A simple command line script pacstrap is used to install the base system20 The installation of additional packages, which are not part of the base system for example, desktop environments, can be done with either pacstrap, or pacman after booting or chrooting into the new installation

An alternative to using CD or USB images for installation is to use the static version of the package manager Pacman, from within another Linux-based operating system21 The user can mount their newly formatted drive partition, and use pacstrap or pacman with the appropriate command-line switch to install base and additional packages with the mountpoint of the destination device as the root for its operations This method is useful when installing Arch Linux onto USB flash drives, or onto a temporarily mounted device which belongs to another system

Regardless of the selected installation type, further actions need to be taken before the new system is ready for use, most notably by installing a bootloader, creating an initramfs, and configuring the new system

Package managementedit


To facilitate regular package changes, pacman abbreviated from "package manager" was developed by Judd Vinet to provide Arch with its own package manager able to track dependencies22

All packages are managed using the pacman package manager Pacman handles package installation, upgrades, removal, and downgrades, and features automatic dependency resolution The packages for Arch Linux are obtained from the Arch Linux package tree and are compiled for either IA-32 or x86-64 architectures It uses binary packages in the tarxz format,23 with pkg placed before this to indicate that it is a pacman package giving pkgtarxz24


Currently, the following official binary repositories exist:25

  • core, which contains all the packages needed to set up a base system
  • extra, which holds packages not required for the base system, including desktop environments and programs
  • community, which contains packages built and voted on by the community; includes packages that have sufficient votes and have been adopted by a "trusted user"
  • multilib, a centralized repository for x86_64 users to more readily support 32-bit applications in a 64-bit environment

In addition, there also exist testing repositories that include binary package candidates for other repositories Currently, the following testing repositories exist:

  • testing, with packages for core and extra
  • community-testing, with packages for community
  • multilib-testing, with packages for multilib

The staging and community-staging repositories are used for some rebuilds to avoid broken packages in testing

Also, there are a couple other repositories that include the newest version of certain desktop environments

  • gnome-unstable, which contains packages of a new version of software from GNOME before being released into extra
  • kde-unstable, which contains packages of a new version of KDE software before being released into extra

The unstable repository was dropped in July 2008 and most of the packages moved to other repositories26 In addition to the official repositories, there are a number of unofficial user repositories

The most well-known unofficial repository is the Arch User Repository, or AUR, hosted on the Arch Linux site However, the AUR does not host binary packages, hosting instead a collection of build scripts known as PKGBUILDs

Arch Build System ABSedit

The Arch Build System ABS is a ports-like source packaging system that compiles source tarballs into binary packages, which are installed via Pacman27 The Arch Build System provides a directory tree of shell scripts, called PKGBUILDs, that enable any and all official Arch packages to be customized and compiled Rebuilding the entire system using modified compiler flags is also supported by the Arch Build System The Arch Build System makepkg tool can be used to create custom pkgtarxz packages from third-party sources The resulting packages are also installable and trackable via Pacman28

Arch User Repository AURedit

In addition to the repositories, the Arch User Repository AUR provides user-made PKGBUILD scripts for packages not included in the repositories These PKGBUILD scripts simplify building from source by explicitly listing and checking for dependencies and configuring the install to match the Arch architecture29 Arch User Repository helper programs can further streamline the downloading of PKGBUILD scripts and associated building process However, this comes at the cost of executing PKGBUILDs not validated by a trusted person; as a result, Arch developers have stated that the utilities for automatic finding, downloading and executing of PKGBUILDs will never be included in the official repositories30

Users can create packages compatible with pacman using the Arch Build System and custom PKGBUILD scripts31 This functionality has helped support the Arch User Repository, which consists of user contributed packages to supplement the official repositories32

The Arch User Repository provides the community with packages that are not included in the repositories Reasons include:

  • License issues: software that cannot be redistributed, but is free to use, can be included in the Arch User Repository since all that is hosted by the Arch Linux website is a shell script that downloads the actual software from elsewhere Examples include proprietary freeware such as Google Earth and RealPlayer
  • Modified official packages: the Arch User Repository also contains many variations on the official packaging as well as beta versions of software that is contained within the repositories as stable releases
  • Rarity of the software: some new or rarely used programs have not been added to the official repositories yet

PKGBUILDs for any software can be contributed by ordinary users and any PKGBUILD that is not confined to the Arch User Repository for policy reasons can be voted into the community repositories


Main article: List of Arch-based Linux distributions

There are multiple distributions which either build on top of Arch Linux or are based on its repositories, including the following:

  • Antergos – a successor of Cinnarch that defaults to GNOME; uses the stock Arch Linux repositories
  • Apricity OS – a pre-configured variant offering a graphical version of Pacman and a choice of tuned GNOME or Cinnamon editions for lower memory usage33
  • Arch Hurd – an Arch derivative using a different kernel, GNU Hurd
  • Arch Linux ARM – an Arch Linux derivative that tries to port the distribution to many ARM computers, originated from the developers at ArchMobile and PlugApps It has been ported to some ARMv5, ARMv6, and ARMv7 devices, such as BeagleBoard, CuBox-i, PandaBoard, Raspberry Pi, and TrimSlice
  • ArchBang – a variant that uses Openbox as the desktop environment and emphasizes speed
  • BBQLinux – a specialized variant for Android developers, bundled with tools and utilities needed to build AOSP or AOSP-based distributions like CyanogenMod or OmniROM
  • LinHES Linux Home Entertainment Server – designed for use on home theater PCs HTPCs, providing applications for recording TV and acting as a sound and video center
  • Manjaro – an Arch Linux-based distribution with a graphical installer and custom user interface for package managing; besides providing many preconfigured popular desktop environments, it also has its own package repository
  • PacBSD – a FreeBSD derivative, which builds on top of the package system of Arch Linux
  • Parabola GNU/Linux-libre – an Arch community-driven distribution that is fully conformant with the GNU Free System Distribution Guidelines, uses the Linux-libre kernel and excludes all other proprietary software and firmware normally found in Arch


Rolling releasesedit

Similar to Gentoo, and unlike other major distributions such as Ubuntu and Fedora, Arch Linux does not schedule releases for specific dates but uses a "rolling release" system, with new packages provided daily Its package management allows users to easily keep systems updated34

Monthly updated ISO installation images are released on every first week of a month1 It contains the latest software from the stable repositories and stays unchanged until the following month In most cases, older versions of the installation image may be used to install Arch Linux However, the packages installed are as old as the installation image

Occasionally, manual interventions are required for certain updates, with instructions posted on the news section of the Arch Linux website

Other platformsedit

There are several projects working on porting the Arch Linux ideas and tools to other kernels, including ArchBSD35 and Arch Hurd,36 which are based on the FreeBSD and GNU Hurd kernels respectively There is also the Arch Linux ARM37 project, which aims to port Arch Linux to ARM-based devices, including the Raspberry Pi

See alsoedit

  • Free software portal
  • Linux portal
  • Comparison of Linux distributions
  • List of Arch-based Linux distributions
  • List of Linux distributions
  • List of Pacman-based Linux distributions
  • Rolling distribution


  1. ^ Aaron Griffin is the lead developer of Arch Linux


  1. ^ a b "Arch Linux - Releases" archlinuxorg Retrieved 2017-01-04 
  2. ^ "Licenses" wikiarchlinuxorg 2011-09-24 Retrieved 2011-10-02 
  3. ^ "Pronnounciation sic of our beloved distribution's name" Osdircom 2005-08-24 Retrieved 2009-10-19 
  4. ^ "Arch Linux - About" Archlinuxorg Retrieved 2011-09-27 
  5. ^ "Explaining Why We Don't Endorse Other Systems" Gnuorg Retrieved 2011-09-28 
  6. ^ "Arch Linux" Distrowatchcom Retrieved 2011-09-28 
  7. ^ a b "The Arch Way" Wikiarchlinuxorg 2009-10-09 Retrieved 2013-03-18 
  8. ^ "Rolling with Arch Linux" lwnnet 2010-03-10 Retrieved 2011-09-30 
  9. ^ Smith, Jesse December 21, 2015 "Arch Linux - Feature Story" Retrieved January 17, 2016 
  10. ^ "ArchWiki:About" Arch Linux Retrieved January 17, 2016 
  11. ^ "Arch Leadership" Arch Linux Forums Bbsarchlinuxorg Retrieved 2009-10-19 
  12. ^ "Pacman NEWS file as of 400" Retrieved 2011-10-14 
  13. ^ "FS#5331 - Signed packages" Retrieved 2011-08-07 
  14. ^ "Attacks on Package Managers" csarizonaedu 2008-07-10 Archived from the original on 2010-09-05 Retrieved 2010-09-14 
  15. ^ McRae, Allan 2011-12-17 "Pacman Package Signing – 4: Arch Linux" Retrieved 2012-02-29 
  16. ^ "Having pacman verify packages" Gaetan Bisson 2012-06-04 Retrieved 2012-06-04 
  17. ^ "Install media 20120715 released" archlinuxorg 2012-07-22 Retrieved 2012-08-13 
  18. ^ "Archlinux" Wikipolishlinuxorg Retrieved 2009-10-19 
  19. ^ "Archway" phrakturednet 2007-11-09 Archived from the original on 2015-02-06 Retrieved 2012-01-22 
  20. ^ "News: Install media 20120715 released" archlinuxorg 2012-07-22 Retrieved 2012-08-23 
  21. ^ "Install From Existing Linux" Wikiarchlinuxorg 2009-11-21 Retrieved 2009-12-05 
  22. ^ "Arch Linux: Why It Rocks" osnewscom 2005-03-21 Retrieved 2011-09-30 
  23. ^ Schmitz, Pierre 2010-03-23 "Switching to xz compression for new packages" Archlinuxorg Archived from the original on 28 March 2010 Retrieved 2010-03-23 
  24. ^ "pacman - ArchWiki" Wikiarchlinuxorg Retrieved 2014-03-25 
  25. ^ "Official Repositories" wikiarchlinuxorg Retrieved 2012-11-23 
  26. ^ "Arch Linux Newsletter 08-04-2008" Archlinuxorg 2008-08-04 Retrieved 2009-10-19 
  27. ^ "Arch Build System" wikiarchlinuxorg Retrieved 2009-10-19 
  28. ^ "Makepkg" wikiarchlinuxorg Retrieved 2013-02-15 
  29. ^ "AUR en - Home" Aurarchlinuxorg Retrieved 2014-02-05 
  30. ^ "Arch Linux: Popular KISS distro – Interview – Part II" Hardwareno Retrieved 2009-10-19 
  31. ^ "Using the Arch Build System" librarylinodecom 2011-09-08 Retrieved 2011-09-30 
  32. ^ "Arch Linux" linuxdistroreviewcom 2011-03-08 Retrieved 2011-09-30 
  33. ^ "Apricity OS Is Clean and Classy | Reviews | LinuxInsider" wwwlinuxinsidercom Retrieved 2016-06-18 
  34. ^ "Arch Linux Review" DVD-Guidescom Archived from the original on February 8, 2013 Retrieved 2009-10-19 
  35. ^ "Arch BSD" Arch BSD Retrieved 2014-03-25 
  36. ^ "Arch Hurd" Arch Hurd Retrieved 2014-03-25 
  37. ^ "Arch Linux ARM" Arch Linux ARM Retrieved 2014-03-25 

External linksedit

  • Official website
  • Arch Linux at DistroWatch
  • Interview with Judd Vinet about Arch Linux, a 2003 interview by DistroWatch
  • The Big Arch Linux Interview, a 2005 interview by OSNews
  • Interview: Arch Linux Team, a 2010 interview by OSNews
  • Allan McRae Arch Linux talk on YouTube, at SINFO XX, Lisbon 2013

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