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Why Should I Use Arch Linux?

If you haven't tried Arch Linux, then you're missing out a lot. I often get asked "Why should I use Arch Linux?", be my guest and I'll answer this with almost details.

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“I use arch btw”. You will find this quote used by multiple Arch Linux users who are so proud of their choice of Linux distribution. But the question is what you get in return for complex manual installation.

I mean Arch Linux is one of the most complicated distros to install as it requires manual installation where users have to partition disks, manage the network and install packages, all by themselves. But still, you’d notice Arch community is thriving like never before.

But why? Is it because you can say “I use Arch btw” or are there other reasons as well? Yes, there are plenty of reasons.

I use Arch btw
That’s me (yes, I use Arch btw)

After using Arch Linux for more than two years, I can share a few reasons explaining why I use Arch Linux.

8 reasons why you should use Arch Linux

In my usage, I’ve always found Arch to be the most practical choice for low-end computers as Arch is more like a DIY project where you install packages that you require. No bullshit, no bloatware.

It might also come as a surprise but Arch never broke for me. Arch being a rolling-release distro has a reputation for being unstable but that’s only when you don’t know how to use Arch in the first place.

Here are seven reasons to answer “Why should I use Arch Linux?”

1. Cutting-edge software + A rolling release model

upto date software in arch linux

Arch Linux uses a rolling release model, ensuring users always have access to the latest software versions without major system upgrades.

Due to this characteristic, Arch Linux is considered to be one of the best gaming Linux distros available in the market as seamless gaming requires users to have the most recent version of gaming libraries.

This approach offers Arch users to access new features and security updates before any other Linux distribution users. Furthermore, it also eliminates the need for periodic system updates due to its rolling release nature.

And no, the rolling release does not necessarily mean an unstable system as long as you update your system frequently. A Reddit user mentioned that his experience with Arch was rock solid and never encountered stability issues.

2. DIY nature for unparalleled customization options

Unlimited customisation in arch

Arch Linux is renowned for its “Do It Yourself” (DIY) approach so users get to decide what packages are going to be installed, right from the beginning. This is the reason why you will find Arch being used in most posts shared in r/unixporn (a Reddit forum where users share their custom desktops).

The DIY nature is also loved by advanced users who want to fine-tune their Linux distribution based on hardware requirements and Arch is one of the best Linux distributions for this job.

Due to its DIY nature, Arch is known as bare bone distro where you are given a blank terminal for installation and you set up an internet connection, partition drives with a preferred filesystem, install required packages and decide how your system should behave.

3. AUR: Arch User Repository

AUR - Arch User Repository

By far, this is the most important feature of Arch Linux as most of the Arch users can not live without AUR. For those who don’t know, AUR is the unofficial repository of packages and while writing, there are 92744 packages available in AUR.

But why AUR is so important? Let me explain ✋.

If you are on Ubuntu and want to use a package which is not available in the official repository, you have two options. You can either use an external repository or build a package from the source and none of these two methods are convenient.

On the other hand, AUR probably contains everything you’ll ever need in your lifetime! No, I’m not kidding. Users who were not able to find the package build a package and avail others through the AUR.

The best part is you don’t have to manage these packages separately as the package manager will take care of the AUR as well reducing the probability of a system crash.

4. Efficiency of the Pacman package manager

pacman in arch linux

Arch Linux’s package manager, Pacman, is widely known as one of the best in the Linux ecosystem. It offers fast and efficient package installation, removal, and upgrades, with a simple syntax for common operations.

The most important and least talked about part of Pacman is how efficient it is for dependency resolution.

Apart from dependency resolution, it is known for being one of the best package managers in terms of readability. If you compare AUR with apt (Ubuntu’s package manager), you will notice how better Pacman is in terms of displaying the output of what is being done with the package manager.

Furthermore, Pacman is also blazing fast compared to other package managers. A user reported that Pacman was far superior to Yum as Pacman only took 1 minute to install Firefox whereas Yum took about 15 minutes to complete the same task.

5. Arch Wiki: The best place to learn Linux, period.

arch wiki

It’s a public secret that Arch Linux is actually a documentation project first, and a Linux distro second. That’s the only way I can explain why Arch Wiki is so good!

You will find several users on the internet who reported that they were able to get Arch up and running within a few hours after reading Arch Wiki. That too in the first time!

But that’s not it. Arch Wiki, being the best Linux documentation on the planet, is used by non-Arch users as well because there’s so much to learn about not just Arch but Linux in general.

6. You start to understand your Computer better

Understand your computer better with arch linux

Using Arch Linux gives an opportunity to learn about the inner workings of a Linux system. The manual installation process teaches fundamental Linux concepts. Whereas ongoing system management provides you with a hands-on experience with various aspects of Linux administration.

While installing, you partition disks by yourself, install the Linux kernel, choose and configure a bootloader and chroot into the installation environment for additional changes.

Yes, this is what you go through while installing Arch Linux and it teaches you a lot about how a computer works.

7. Pragmatic, No-Nonsense Philosophy

Arch Linux follows KISS principle

Arch Linux follows the KISS principle: “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” While it may sound complex, the way it gives you choices and overall how it works is pretty simple. Linux itself follows the KISS principle (for the most part) and Arch makes it better.

A simple package manager, rolling release distribution and the ability to fine-tune everything from the core as per your liking are some of the core features that I discussed earlier and prove how Arch follows the KISS principle.

Sure, when Arch Linux chose to use systemd, some users were not happy about this change as they believed systemd is bloated but systemd has a straight and simple way of handling processes.

But if you want to use Arch Linux without systemd, you can go with Artix Linux which aims to simplify the Arch Linux installation through GUI and doesn’t ship with systemd.

8. Surprising stability for a rolling release

rock solid software support in arch linux

Arch Linux is for some reason blamed for its unstable nature. But that’s not the case. Most users feel Arch is on par or even more stable than the LTS distros like Ubuntu. The instability is often caused by a bug present in the Linux kernel instead of Arch Linux or unmet dependencies.

A Reddit user said “Arch Linux has been very stable and reliable for me, for years (at least nine years)” while sharing his experience with Arch Linux in terms of stability.

During my usage, I faced only one system crash and that was because of unmet dependency. We can’t blame Arch for the issue as the same can happen to any LTS distro and cause a system crash.

Should I use Arch Linux?

If you love freedom and want to learn more about how Linux works while customising every bit of your computer then Arch Linux is for you. But remember that it takes time to learn and adapt so you have to be patient to have a taste of its offering.

For me, the only reason why I used Arch was AUR and the ability to configure the system from scratch. The ability to install any package from AUR without any hassle made my life easier and that is why I love Arch Linux.

I use Arch btw and you should too!

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A tech journalist whose life revolves around networks.

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