5 of the Best Arch Linux-Based Distributions

Arch Linux Based Distributions Featured

Arch Linux is one of the most popular Linux distributions. It’s also one of the more challenging, with a steep learning curve that can put off even seasoned Linux users. If you’re looking to build your operating system from scratch, Arch Linux is a powerful choice.

If you’d like to harness the power of Arch Linux but don’t want to have to build everything from the ground up, the good news is that there are plenty of Arch-based Linux distributions. They offer the simplicity of GUI-based installation, and each provides its own unique take on Arch Linux.

Here are five Arch-based Linux distributions you can try.

1. Manjaro

Manjaro has all the benefits of Arch Linux but in a more user-friendly package. There’s a graphical installer. which is simple enough to use, even for Linux newbies.

Arch Linux Manjaro Desktop

Manjaro uses the same packages found in the Arch repositories, but it tests them for around two weeks longer than Arch does. The packages are only made available if they have no compatibility or stability issues. Manjaro won’t be as bleeding edge as Arch Linux, but you should find it more stable.

There is also the option to choose from a wide range of desktop environments. There are four official options – Xfce, KDE, Architect, and GNOME. The community has created several more, including MATE, Cinnamon, and Deepin. Manjaro also comes with a 32-bit edition, something no longer offered by Arch Linux – perfect for older machines.

2. Chakra

If KDE is your desktop environment of choice, then Chakra is another good Arch-based distribution for you to consider. It uses Plasma by KDE, which uses widgets to help create a highly-configurable and efficient desktop environment. Installation is also straightforward, with a graphical installer as well as automatic hardware detection.

Arch Linux Chakra Desktop

Chakra uses a half-rolling release model – applications take advantage of rolling updates, while the core gets slower, periodic updates. This means you can have the very latest versions of your favorite applications, but the core Arch OS remains stable.

Chakra comes with KDE, so if you prefer a different desktop environment, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

3. ArcoLinux

ArcoLinux is made up of three major projects each aimed at different user types. The first variant, just named ArcoLinux, comes with a lot of software included and a choice of Xfce, Openbox, and i3 desktops. They describe this as their “have fun ISO.”

Arch Linux Arcolinux Desktop

ArcoLinuxD strips everything back and requires you to install your choice of desktop environments from the terminal, along with any applications you need. For new users, the lack of graphical installer may be off-putting. This what they call their “learning ISO.”

ArcoLinuxB allows you to build your own custom distribution. Your other option is to take advantage of those already built by the community that come preconfigured with desktops such as GNOME, Cinnamon, MATE, Budge, and Plasma.

Although ArcoLinuxD and ArcoLinuxB offer more of a challenge, there are many video tutorials to help you through the process. If you can’t find what you need, you can contact ArcoLinux via social media, and they will create a new video for you.

4. Velt/OS

Velt/OS started out with the intention of being a user-designed OS – the community would vote on proposed features and shape the development of the distribution. This idea turned out to make development incredibly slow, so was eventually scrapped.

Arch Linux VeltOS Desktop

The developers instead focused on making a desktop environment that was developed to be easily installed using Arch Linux as its base. The desktop environment is based around Google’s Material Design approach – Google users should find this familiar.

It comes with an easy-to-use graphical installation tool – just download the Arch-based ISO, or you can convert to Velt/OS on an existing Arch installation if you’d prefer.

5. ArchBang

ArchBang is another lightweight distribution based on Arch Linux, designed to be as simple as possible for users. The distro itself is fast, stable and uses the highly configurable Openbox window manager to give you a clean environment (if GUIs are your thing).

ArchLinux ArchBang Desktop

The initial installation comes with very few apps included, maintaining the Arch ethos of choosing what you need. There’s a text editor, a file manager, a music player, and Firefox for browsing.

You can install whatever additional apps you need from the Arch User Repository database. If you’re looking for a lightweight Arch distro to run on older or lower-resource PCs, ArchBang is a great option.

Try an Arch-Based Linux Distro Today

Any of these distros will let you harness the power of Arch Linux without needing to build everything from the ground up. Once you’re hooked, you may decide it’s time to bite the bullet and learn how to install Arch from scratch.

If you have a favorite Arch-based distro that’s not on our list, let us know in the comments below.

Image Credit: Arch Linux Bildschirmfoto, Velt/OS

Ben Stockton Ben Stockton

Ben is a UK based tech writer with a passion for gadgets, gaming, and general geekiness.


  1. Archman GNU/Linux is an Arch Linux-based distribution which features the Calamares system installer and a pre-configured desktop environment. Archman also features the Pamac package manager to make installing new software easier.

  2. How about BlueStar? Stable KDE DE , rolling release, la5e launchpad. Friendly to my old Lenovo.

  3. Hello Ben,

    Correct me if i am wrong, but in my idea, the Arcolinux team is putting the bits together to make all different versions of Arcolinux (arch) (gnome, plasma, openbox, etc) and not really the community.

    Look at the ArcolinuxB project. There you can choose from more then 10 different DE, put together by the team every month.

    Cheers, E

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