Arch Linux has been my operating system of choice for over 5 years and I have been a fan since the day I did my first installation. It is clean, transparent, fast, powerful and provides fine grained control over everything. This article highlights a couple of things that make Arch Linux my preferred OS.
The Arch Way
Arch Linux developers and users believe that trying to hide the complexities of a system actually results in an even more complex system, and is therefore to be avoided. This is just one sentence from The Arch Way (linked below), a very interesting read which resonates strongly with me.
Most operating system installations roughly follow this pattern: you pop in a DVD, answer some questions and the computer will be busy for a while after which your system is pretty much ready to go.
With Arch Linux however the installation process is different. The installation medium boots up a live Arch Linux environment, and that's it. You have to take it from there, telling your computer exactly what to do to create your new system. This requires a bit more effort but ensures you know your system inside out.
Rolling release with Pacman
One of the tools you use during installation is Pacman, the package managing software of Arch Linux. It keeps track of the software that you have installed, allowing you to update everything with a single command, whenever you want. There is no Arch Linux 1 and 2 in the sense that there is a Windows 7 and 8. Arch Linux uses a rolling release model, meaning that software packages are updated individually and those updates are made available immediatly.
[Arch Linux] is what you make it. - Judd Vinet, Arch Linux project founder
Server, workstation, media centre, whatever you want you can create an Arch Linux setup that is perfectly tailored for that purpose and your preferences. The fine grained control is ofcourse also present when building your GUI, so whether you'd like a Windows 7-like start menu, a Mac OSX like dock or something else, you can make it so.