There are way too many new things to discover in Arch. Here are the first few awesome features new users meet and appreciate.
Arch Is Lighter Than Your Favorite Anorexic
And twice as energetic. The distro is very minimal. It is the user’s prerogative to find and install the applications they need, so what you get is purely and only what you need. This is fantastic for folks with obsolete and/or older hardware that can’t handle too much stress.
Arch has a very simple, step-by-step installation process that even basic users can do by themselves (so long as they have a live internet connection and the power of Google to back them up). The trouble begins post-install when the new user finds themselves face-to-face with a blank screen and must install their basic requirements.
With full-fledged Linux distros that work straight from the box like Ubuntu, Sabayon or Mepis, the user can work things out without ever needing the command line. They can mostly use the provided graphical user interface (GUI) to configure their system. If you aren’t familiar with the way Linux works or know at least a few open source apps, this step becomes tough, hence the noob alert on Arch.
Pacman, The Package Manager
The first Arch feature most new users meet and can’t stop raving about, is Pacman. Not the game, the binary package manager (and builder!) used to keep an Arch system up-to-date and running smoothly. Pacman is to Arch, as APT is to Debian and emerge is to Gentoo. Used from a terminal, it is a single command that downloads and installs the latest version of most programs the average user needs.
Arch User Repository Or AUR
The Arch User Repository is a place where Arch users can share their own packages with each other. The makepkg command allows users to compile packages from scratch using source codes from the AUR. This is where many official Arch packages are born.
Great Learning Tool
For Linux toddlers like yours truly, Arch is a pivotal point. It is the distro that forces you to lose your fear of the command line and move on to the next stage. A full-fledged distro like Ubuntu or Sabayon gives users more than one way to avoid using the terminal, but minimal Arch is very different. The first thing you learn, is to set up your network, configure your drivers and install a window manager; all from the command line. The Arch documentation takes you through this, step-by-tottering-step, a journey that clarifies concepts and teaches the basic Linux user many-a-trick. It’s a long way before your Window Managers come into play and you are able to relax and just …point and click. But by the time you get there, you’ll have learned a lot more.
You Are Never Alone
The Arch manuals are very thorough and up-to-date. They are written by geniuses to help their peers as well as absolute idiots. In other words, they are entirely understandable and easy to follow.
In the worst case scenario, the Arch user community will bail you out. You can find them everywhere; on forums, social media pages or groups, the Arch website, personal websites, wikis and they are all willing to help. Just leave a query and check out the quick responses. Beware though, don’t go posting every little doubt you have as most frequently asked questions have already been answered before and can be found on-line easily. Linux users take time out especially to help each other and they don’t appreciate spending time on solved problems nor do they suffer fools too well. So google your error messages and do your research before you go knocking on any doors.
Next Linux Post: Linux Distros For The Windows User