I'm interested in I.T. since I was 9/10 years old. For this time, I have been using many OSes, including many Linux distros. Few month ago, on my workspace I've installed The Right Honourable Lord Master of Linux Distributions – magnificent Arch Linux. Like many people probably know, this is the OS for self-configuration. It has got great described tutorials, but still, some people (unfortunately the majority of) are afraid of pure, dark bash. There is a solution for them, but this will be at the very end.
This text is not strict and it's a little simplified, because I want non-geeks to understand it as well.
Ok, but why Arch is so awesome, and why should you install it?
I know, that nobody wants to have irrelevant crap installed on its PC. If you do not care, you will probably care when I tell you that you can save many GiB on your HDD. And if you use SSD... seriously, what are you waiting for? Ok, maybe I'm wrong, and EVERYTHING from your Ubuntu or Windows is necessarily for you. Including WordPad, Windows Performance Monitor, Windows Journal, Windows Memory Diagnostics, xdiagnose, Landscape... should I continue?
In Arch Linux, you have to install everything by yourself. This allows you to control all your packages, to control everything you want to have on your computer. Since I installed Arch, I have no gedit, no Abiword, no Icewheasel etc, but I have only Sublime Edit, Libreoffice Writer and Nightly – all of them I use, all of them are comfortable for me, and they do not annoy me. Of course, I (sometimes) can remove crappy software, but this is unpractical and unnecessary. Having control on your stuff is great. Well, it's neither handy nor comfortable unless you have a appropriate tool, but…
Arch Linux has the bestestest package manager system I've ever used. It's fast, configurable, clear, simply to use and scriptable. Pacman (because this is the name of Arch's package manager) is a very powerful tool in advanced hands and a simply and easy to learn in this less experienced. Arch community offers many repositories (databases with software – author's note), but three main repositories, which are added automatic to your sources list (in /etc/pacman.conf, yeah, some things are automatic even in Arch, but just a few), contains much necessarily and handy software. But this is not the most pleasant element of Arch Package Empire…
…because the greatest thing is AUR (Arch User Repository). When you can't find something in repos, you have to download a package, extract it in exact directory… or even download a compressed code, compile it etc. It is absolutely annoying and in most cases (at the time when I was using Ubuntu or Debian) I've been giving up. In Arch everything is different. AUR gives you a monstrous repository of packages prepared to install. In this community loveliness is everything. I'm Deadly Serious. Everything. If it exist and is for Linux, it is on AUR. Including developing version of, e.g. XFCE, and other programs. And fonts packages. And icons, gtk3 styles. All the things. In addition, you are not supposed to install them by yourself. You can use yoghurt… I mean yaourt – made by community to simplify installation process. It's an overlay on Pacman, which first compile, and then install new software by pacman. You can just write yaourt -S packageName, like in pacman. Yaourt looks for this package in Arch User Repository and starts the whole process.
Of course, there are people who make this magic possible to exist, Arch developers and the second (but not worse) branch of this coalition: community. Because…
They do the things right. They can help you with every trouble. They maintain all unofficial packages. They make also repositories with software. They create software. Power of Linux is its community. Especially Arch's one. AUR is though a user repository. This thread contains tools created by users. People for people, for free. Another guy bought and made a blog engine for people to create their very own scribbles about Arch, which contributed to the huge amount of Linux tips. Wiki is mainly developed by them – and this is a precious help. There are: newbies help, packages decriptions, tutorials, specifications, the answers for most common questions and more.
A bulletin board is worth billion words, so I just leave the link to the Arch forums, which contains many examples of this unstoppable power. One thing is certain: if you decide to use Arch in your everyday life, you will get both developed manual and (unless you rug around) substantive help from more experienced users.
There are three types of Linux distros. Very stable, but widely not up to date (Debian Stable for example). Still stable and partially updated (Ubuntu, Debian Testing) and rolling releases, which gets updated without testing or checking. Arch is in the third category. It means that it is theoretically less stable than Debian Stable or Ubuntu. It doesn't mean that it's unstable. This is, at last, a Unix-type operating system. Actually, unless something goes wrong, your updated software will be even more stable than out-of-date one.
And I think I'm not supposed to add that up-to-date software is safer. For example, when critical security hole of bash was discovered, Arch has been updated a few hours later.
I think this is clear. Configuring all by yourself gives the absolute control on everything. It is possible to install any window manager, any desktop environment, any other program. In Arch you can change every option it is possible to change. This is the best advantage of Linux, but especially Arch advantage.
Well, Arch Wiki is the answer. In Beginners' guide everything is described thoroughly, so even a newbie in Linux can can cope.
And that's not obstacle too. Linux fits to everyone because it's forkable. There are many Arch Linux based distributions, which are more or less advanced. Of course, they won't give you all advantages that Arch gives, but they still will be configurable, still be rolling and still will have the best software manager ever discovered.
Because Arch Wiki is always the answer, there is also a list of Arch based distros. From my site, I can propose you Antergos. It has implicitly installed Gnome, configurable desktop environment (but kind of huge), but you can threw everything out and install your very own software.
In conclusion, I hope I persuaded you to install The Precious or derivatives. Paraphrasing - why Arch is so awesome and why should you install it?
Because empire. Arch Empire.
Thanks for reading!