Gray Matter


Linux Distributions: Arch Linux and Its Derivatives

Arch LinuxArch Linux, also simply called Arch, is a distro that isn’t designed for new Linux users. Normally, it doesn’t even include a desktop environment of any kind. Other distros, based on Arch Linux, tend to be more user friendly.

I recently figured out how to install it properly, along with a desktop environment, after finding a tidbit in an email newsletter. I copied the command, but I didn’t keep the newsletter, so I can’t tell you which one.

The Easy Way to Install Arch Linux

The website says to follow the documentation, but there’s an easier way. When you install it, and you arrive at a prompt not knowing what next to do, type in “archinstall”. It’s a script that prompts you every step of the way. You have to be familiar with drive device nomenclatures and other aspects of Linux installations to complete it. It’s not new user friendly.

After I went through all the trouble to install it, I couldn’t figure out why it would be any better than Debian, Fedora or Slackware.

Arch Derivatives

Arch Linux itself has been around since 2002. There are quite a few distros based on Arch Linux, a fact you can easily find out for yourself by querying the search database at I’ve already installed and played with Manjaro and EndeavourOS. I can’t see the point of playing around with any of the others. The back ends are the same and there are only minor changes to some desktop environments.

The most popular distros, based on Arch Linux, are not necessarily in the order listed at Their numbers are based on page views.

My Assessment

I don’t know how large the communities surrounding Arch Linux or any one of its derivatives may be, but most Linux beginners would be better off starting with Debian or one of its derivatives. Most people recommend Ubuntu, but not me. Ubuntu uses GNOME as its default desktop environment, and I don’t like it. Not at all.

Image Attribution: ThayerW, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Author: RT Cunningham
Date: August 30, 2021 (UTC)
Categories: Computers
Tags: arch linux, debian, endeavouros, fedora, gnome, manjaro, slackware, ubuntu

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