6 Best Arch Linux Based User Friendly Distributions of 2019

If you’re an avid Linux user you probably know by now that it is no Operating System for the weak at heart (well sometimes). The chances of you getting crushed when trying to install a Linux-based Operating System or learning the usual curves in your first week are pretty high.

On the other hand, if you’re starting your trip into the world of Linux you will probably be using one of the mainstream distros out there – Ubuntu and Linux Mint, for example. Yes, these are excellent distro choices as is suggested by the Google results of the typical keyword search, but if you are explorative enough, you would have already started craving for something that is radically different from what the mainstream has to offer and this is when Arch Linux comes to the rescue.

Arch Linux is a lightweight rolling release Linux distribution for x86-64 architecture-based computers. It is open-source and contains both libre and proprietary software because of its flexibility-based philosophy. As much loved as Arch Linux is, word on the blog streets is that it has a steep learning curve and new users end up searching for derivatives that are less developer-centric or switch to trying out a different Linux distro line completely.

If you want to give Arch Linux a try or are in the mood of enjoying the Arch Linux experience from a different angle here is a list of the 6 best Arch-based distros of 2019 to check out.

1. Manjaro

Manjaro today stands out as one of the main Arch-based distributions essentially because it has an active development team with a large user base and community with the added advantage of being one of the very first distros to go with an Arch – which of course means it has been around longer than the rest.

Manjaro is yet another user-friendly Arch-Linux based distro that completely revamps the whole idea of Arch – but most importantly lends an easier and more intuitive approach to Arch Linux for newcomers.

Manjaro Linux Distribution

Manjaro Linux Distribution

Manjaro is available in the listed flavors below with the Xfce and KDE variants been the officially supported bases.

  • XFCE
  • KDE
  • E17
  • Cinnamon/Gnome
  • Fluxbox
  • KDE/Razor-qt (a Manjaro Turkey project)
  • LXDE
  • Enlightenment
  • Netbook
  • LXQT
  • PekWM

Choose your preferred Manjaro edition from the official website here: Download Manjaro Linux OS.

2. ArcoLinux

ArcoLinux (formerly ArchMerge) is an Arch Linux-based distro that enables users to run Linux in several ways using any of its 3 release branches:

ArcoLinux Distribution

ArcoLinux Distribution

  • ArcoLinux: a full-featured OS with Xfce as its desktop manager.
  • ArcoLinuxD: a minimal OS that allows users to install any desktop environment and application with a built-in script.
  • ArcoLinuxB: a project that allows users to build and customize unique versions of the OS using pre-configured desktop environments, etc. This is what has birthed several community-driven derivatives.
  • ArcoLinuxB Xtended: a project that further extends the flexibility of ArcoLinuxB to enable users to experiment more with Tiling Window Managers and other software.

ArcoLinux is free, open-source, and available to download from here: Download ArcoLinux.

3. Chakra

Chakra is a user-friendly Arch Linux-based distribution with a focus on KDE and Qt software to encourage the use of KDE/Qt as a replacement for other widget toolkits.

Chakra Linux Distribution

Chakra Linux Distribution

Although it is based on Arch Linux, it classifies as a half-rolling release because it allows users to install their favorite applications and updates from its Arch-based system core while enjoying the latest version of the Plasma desktop environment.

The latest version of Chaka GNU/Linux images are available on its official website here: Download Chakra Linux.

4. Velt/OS

Velt/OS is an experimental Arch Linux-based distro built by merging a set of components that make up a Material design-themed Linux desktop environment. It was intended to be designed completely by users voting to choose the aesthetics of the OS but this has been indefinitely disabled due to an extended period of slow development.

Velt Linux OS

Velt Linux OS

Velt, on its own, is a desktop environment that can be used on top any *nix-based distro just as is the case with GNU/Linux. It is available through an Arch Linux-based ISO which contains a GUI installer with the option to install Arch Linux along with Velt packages on any UEFI system.

You can give a try to Velt through an Arch Linux-based ISO here: Download VeltOS Linux.

5. Anarchy Linux

Anarchy Linux is a free and open-source project that exists to enable interested Arch Linux users to enjoy all the best of the distro without the hassle that typically comes with it – especially during the installation phase. It does this by shipping with several automated scripts that facilitate its easy setup using Arch’s package base while featuring a custom repository with additional packages.

Anarchy Linux Desktop

Anarchy Linux Desktop

Anarchy Linux is distributed as an ISO that can run off a pen drive, uses Xfce 4 as its default desktop environment, and its users benefit from all the goodies of the AUR. If you’re interested you can learn more about Anarchy Linux here.

The latest version of Anarchy Linux ISO images are available on its official website here: Download Anarchy Linux.

6. ArchBang

ArchBang is a minimalized, general-purpose live Linux distribution based on Arch Linux. It is a rolling release under the GNU General Public License, ships with Pacman as the default package manager, and OpenBox as the window manager.

Archbang Linux Distribution

Archbang Linux Distribution

ArchBang has been around for a while now and is still in active development where it is built to run Standard Systemd with speed and stability especially even on low-end hardware.

You can grab the latest ArchBang Linux iso images here: Download ArchBang Linux.

Conclusion

There are several common factors in all the above-mentioned distros. User-friendliness, customizability, beautiful aesthetic design, benefits of the Arch User Repository and the Arch Wiki, a welcoming community, documentation, tutorials, etc. One thing that will make one distro significantly stand out over the others is your list of requirements and I hope this list is helpful.

What distribution are you rocking right now? Have you come to a conclusion on your Arch-based distro of choice? Or perhaps there other top-notch Arch Linux-based distributions we should know about. Share your experience with us in the comments section below.

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Martins D. Okoi

Martins Divine Okoi is a graduate of Computer Science with a passion for Linux and the Open Source community. He works as a Graphic Designer, Web Developer, and programmer.

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19 Responses

  1. Josue Segui says:

    Where is Antergos !?

  2. Mark says:

    Your distro suggestions, all ease the pain of tackling Arch directly. I follow this technique in a larger multi-boot (rEFInd) environment:

    • ArcoLinux for Arch,
    • SparkyLinux for Debian,
    • Porteus for Slackware (ultra-awesome portable derivative),
    • GeckoLinux for openSUSE,
    • Calculate Linux for Gentoo,
    • pcLinuxOS, Void (cool originals),

    Each distro gets its own HD partition and shares the 1 swap partition. They are close enough to their parent distros, to use the parent’s vast repositories, plus their own goodies.

  3. dragonmouth says:

    “Arch Linux is a lightweight rolling release”.

    First and foremost Arch is a do-it-yourself Linux distro, similar to Linux from Scratch, Source Mage or Gentoo. There is no Arch.ISO that can be installed. The prospective user must build the distro from the ground up, using configuration scripts provided by Arch developers.

    Arch is not inherently either “lightweight” or “heavyweight”. It is as heavy as you want to make it. It’s “weight” depends on the packages you include during the build process.

    The major shortcoming of Arch and its derivatives is that they use systemd as the init program.

    • Martins Okoi says:

      You’re correct, thanks.

      Concerning systemd, some Linux users either don’t mind using it or prefer using it so it’ll be a major shortcoming to those who want to use it but don’t want systemd.

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