Today we’ll deal with Arch Linux’s principles transferred to other operating systems.
The Arch Way
Arch Linux’s slogan is: A simple, lightweight distribution. There are many people who want an operating system which truly fits their needs – and nothing else. Arch is usually a good choice for them due to its light-weight core system which can easily be expanded in any direction needed.
Sure, there are quite some other distribution worth considering. Gentoo, of course, which allows for even deeper customization thanks to its mighty USE-flag and portage system! But many people prefer to go without the hassle of compiling everything. This is often when Arch Linux comes in as it provides binary packages. If it has to be even more lightweight, there are a few distributions which are really fairly minimal. Alpine Linux is very interesting in this regard and some others like Damn Small Linux and Puppy come to mind.
In most cases though, Arch Linux is a very good choice. And that shows: This distribution has attracted many users over the years and is in the top 10 of the distrowatch rating. Why that? Probably because people like The Arch Way of putting together a distro.
Apart from classic Arch Linux there are some other Arch-based distribution. For example there’s ArchBang which combines Arch Linux with the OpenBox WM to provide a light-weight desktop upon installation.
Then there’s Manjaro Linux, an Arch-based distribution which provides graphical tools for everything and aims to be beginner-friendly.
If you’re interested in more of them, here‘s a list on the Arch Linux wiki.
Actually people seem to like The Arch Way so much that they miss it even when working with a system which is not Linux-based. For that reason some projects have arisen which kind of copy the Arch principles over to other systems!
The former is not exactly a new project – it was founded in early 2010. It made a lot of progress in a short time but seemed to have stalled by the end of 2011. There’s no news item on the project site after August of that year and while still new packages were created that also came to a halt about one year later. In the meantime even the wiki had disappeared.
Fortunately the project isn’t dead and after a while during which it only lived on in mailing list posts, at least the wiki is back again (which actually was the cause that made me write the previous and this post after I discovered it). Currently progress is still very slow which is due to problems with updating glibc. After the new toolchain is built the whole core repository needs to be rebuilt. So there’s enough work to be done there.
The new wiki has a severe spam problem right now. But I’m sure that can be taken care of sooner or later. And the most important thing is surely that the project is still alive!
The other project is still very new. While the idea exited for a while, the site for it was put up in January 2013. ArchBSD is progressing nicely and considering the short time it exists, it already got pretty far in bringing the familiar Arch feeling to an OS using the FreeBSD kernel!
Right now it’s far to early to say whether this blend is to survive on the long run or not. Currently it looks good with quite some development taking place. And compared to ArchHurd it also has much newer packages in general (which however is no wonder since it started with later ones).
In the next post I’ll take a brief look at ArchHurd and ArchBSD.