Yesterday, I decided to install Archlinux. Ranked number 20 at distrowatch, Arch is optimized for i686 (Pentium 2+) processors and uses the pacman package manager. It is like Gentoo, because it compiles all packages from source. So here is how I thought Arch Linux was.
Installing Arch Linux is very difficult. There is no graphical or even ncurses install at all. Everything is text based. I partitioned my HDD to make room, and then I proceded to install the base system. While X packages and such are on the cd you must install the base system first and then install x and gnome later. I found a great guide here that was very useful.
When you boot Arch, there is no splash screen, making you think: "Great I messed it up." There is no splash in Arch because it aims to be simple, cutting-edge, and fast. Boot was very fast too. My computer started in about 25-30 seconds (from just after grub to a fully usable desktop) because Arch compiles everything from source, optimizing it for your system. It was great having something so fast.
Installing something from source is as easy as running "pacman -S program." Arch uses the pacman package manager and it was great. It was fast, simple, and it gets the job done. In seconds the program I wanted was installed and ready to use.
Arch is very nice but it is very difficult to setup. I couldn't get my wireless working with ndiswrapper, due to a problem in the Arch kernel. On top of that, Arch did not detect my USB devices such as my PSP and Ipod.Setting up the system
Arch is great but it is still getting there. It's really great but a little complex and difficult to use. My rating of Archlinux is 8/10. Now, I am getting ready to try Gentoo.