From the Raspberry Pi downloads page:

Debian “squeeze”

If you’re just starting out, this is the image we recommend you use. It’s a reference root filesystem from Gray and Dom, containing LXDE, Midori, development tools and example source code for multimedia functions.

Arch Linux ARM

Arch Linux ARM is based on Arch Linux, which aims for simplicity and full control to the end user. Note that this distribution may not be suitable for beginners.

But this isn't much to go on, so what are the benefits of using Arch Linux on the Raspberry Pi over the standard Debian build from the Raspberry Pi foundation?


1 Answer 1


I've never used Arch, so this list of advantages is based on reading their documentation, and summarising it as follows:

  1. Whilst Debian has a bigger repository of software, the Arch repositories include packages that wouldn't qualify as 'free' according to GNU (and therefore wouldn't be included in Debian repositories).

  2. Arch packages tend to be current, more comparable to the versions of software found in Debian unstable. Debian Squeeze is currently the stable release, so two versions of Debian behind.

  3. Arch release is rolling, whereas the Debian release is frozen, meaning in Debian packages are patched only, not upgraded.

  • 6
    Rolling release is the biggest advantage
    – Jivings
    Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 19:04
  • @Jivings Perhaps I should note that the list of advantages given above are in no particular order... ;-)
    – ToniWidmo
    Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 19:05
  • I'll have some more to add to this soon :)
    – Jivings
    Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 19:09
  • Can you give an example of item 1 - what kind of software might I miss out on if I switch to Arch? Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 16:49
  • 1
    @SalimFadhley You probably wouldn't miss out on anything. First Arch has a User Repository that includes a lot of the missing software, and second you can always install manually.
    – ToniWidmo
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 21:12

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