An accessible Arch Linux derivative

Distro Walk – EndeavourOS

© Photo by Jiroe on Unsplash

© Photo by Jiroe on Unsplash

Article from Issue 254/2022

As an outgrowth of the now-defunct Antergos community, EndeavorOS offers a customizable Arch Linux derivative that's easy to install with the added benefit of community support.

In the past few years, distributions based on Arch Linux have become more popular. Perhaps their popularity reflects the growing expertise of Linux users, but both Antergos and Manjaro have both been in the top five for page views on DistroWatch. In the past year, EndeavourOS [1], a distribution based in the Netherlands, has also appeared in this spot, holding steady in second or third on the list.

EndeavourOS occupies a definite position among Arch derivatives. Where Manjaro offers an Ubuntu-like desktop experience, Endeavour's focus is on getting users to a successful command-line install with less difficulty than Arch Linux and then assisting with all the resources needed for customization. Similarly, where Arch seems arcanely advanced, EndeavourOS emphasizes the pleasure of learning and doing things your way. As the project's front page says, "If you like to roll up your sleeves and go on an adventure, then you might want to give us a try." Recently, I talked with Bryan Poerwoatmodjo, one of EndeavourOS's founders, about where the distribution has been and where it's going.

Linux Magazine (LM): How did you come to be involved with free software?

Bryan Poerwoatmodjo (BP): All the founders (Joe Kamprad, Manuel, Fernando Omiechuk Frozie, and I) had an early interest in Linux and FOSS. We'd met on the forum of Antergos, an Arch-based distro that offered more or less the same options EndeavourOS is offering now. Subsequently, we all became forum moderators. In particular, Joe, Manuel, and Fernando became some of the trusted faces on the forum for solving issues or sharing shortcut scripts on the forum.

LM: What prompted the founding of EndeavourOS?

BP: It never was our intention to start a distro, but when Antergos announced their end in May 2019, the community was taken by surprise. Through their existence, Antergos not only built a distro with an easy GUI Arch installer (Figure 1), but they also were surrounded by a friendly community that went beyond technical support. It was a place where online friendships developed.

Figure 1: The Calamares installer is one of the major features of EndeavourOS. It produces a command-line installer with some of the tools needed for further customization.

I opted for a new forum where we could carry on Antergos's community legacy, and Joe Kamprad was the first to join me in that quest. At that point, creating a distro wasn't the plan, but when Fernando Omiechuk Frozie joined, the whole plan changed. He had already developed an unofficial offline Antergos installer with Xfce as its main DE [development environment], and when we approached Manuel, who already created some handy scripts to either solve issues or just for convenience's sake, the project changed from preserving a community to the birth of a new distro that was developed with the existing Antergos community in mind.

LM: How does EndeavourOS interact with Arch Linux?

BP: Package-wise, there is no difference. All our packages and updates are directly coming from the Arch repositories, without any alterations. The only difference between an Arch installation and an EndeavourOS one, besides the use of the Calamares installer, is that we provide the user a jumpstart with some basics like a browser (Firefox) and working network, sound, and graphics for most systems. It is just ready enough for a user to start to customize the system to their liking, without having to deinstall a bunch of unwanted packages we think a user should need. This also means that the user has to be hands-on from the get-go to get features such as Bluetooth, printer drivers, and specific settings, like Gaming or NAS setups, working.

LM: What sort of user is Endeavour directed at?

BP: The majority of our users have been around the Linux block, so to speak. There are two types of users: The first one already knows what they need to customize a system to their specific needs, and the other one is willing to dive into the deep end to learn and discover the possibility an Arch-based distro can offer. [By contrast], a lot of Arch-derivatives either provide an out-of-the-box experience with a separate ISO for each DE, or they are offering a command-line installer. We provide the user a graphical installer that will install an almost vanilla system.

I have to say, occasionally, it confuses some new users, thinking we provide the same out-of-the-box experience that our fellow Arch derivatives provide. Luckily, our community is there to more than try and give such users a lot of support to help them further.

LM: How is EndeavourOS organized and governed?

BP: EndeavourOS is run by five admins: Joe, Manuel, Pudge, Alpix, and I. Fernando left the team due to a career opportunity, which left him with less time to stay involved with the project. Joe is in charge of the development of Calamares and the ISO, Manuel is the developer of our native apps, Pudge is in charge of EndeavourOS ARM, Alpix is our mirror admin, and I'm the community manager and general project leader.

There are also groups of moderators for the forum, Telegram group, and Reddit; translators for our announcements, the Welcome app, and very soon our websites; and a group of developers who are responsible for our community editions Sway, bspwm, and ARM. There are new community editions in the pipeline, and they will be released when ready.

For the Calamares installer, we are actively working together with the Calamares developers and the developers of several distros that are using the installer. Only together we can improve it. For our infrastructure, hardware purchases, and donations to other FOSS projects, we are purely funded by donations from our community. We do keep an eye on our available budget and discuss very often among the admins on how to spend the donations wisely. Unnecessary purchases or paying for too highly priced services are things we want to prevent. In the end, it is the community's trust we are spending, so our spendings are transparently displayed on our Open Collective page [2].

LM: Do you have any statistics about things like the number of downloads and regular contributors?

BP: The number of regular and one-time contributors are transparantly displayed on our Open Collective page. At the moment, we are using a handful of mirrors, offered by community members or nonprofit organizations, and also GitHub and GitLab to make our ISO publicly available. We do not ask those mirror admins for actual numbers of downloads; this may sound strange, but numbers of downloads and numbers of members aren't our priority. We are a group of enthusiasts who like to share our work with the community, just for the fun of it, and also for the interaction with the Linux and FOSS community.

Our experience so far is mainly very warm and positive. Prior to this distro, none of us had any experience in creating and running a project like this, and we are learning every day. This community is a beautiful example of how open, inventive, and friendly the FOSS community can be.

LM: Why is Endeavour described as "terminal centric"?

BP: It was actually born out of necessity. Because of the Calamares installer, some users expected an out-of-the-box experience after installation with a GUI software center, despite the info on our website. So after our second release, we decided to add this tagline, just to make the nature of the distro clear.

LM: What are some of EndeavourOS's unique features?

BP: The Welcome app (Figure 2) is the most distinctive app from us, likely because you will see it by default. Welcome is meant to provide a reasonable amount of information about EndeavourOS for users that are using it for the first time. Later it has grown to include many more features that we think are beneficial for the users.

Figure 2: Endeavour's Xfce desktop environment, showing the handy Welcome app.

Then there are other smaller apps (listed in no particular order):

  • eos-apps-info: an easy-to-use documentation about EndeavourOS apps (with a GUI)
  • akm: a small kernel manager (with a GUI)
  • eos-log-tool: for troubleshooting potential problems (with a GUI)
  • eos-pacdiff: a small script to make using pacdiff easier on all desktops
  • nvidia-installer-dkms: for installing drivers for NVidia cards (this originated from Antergos)
  • paccache-service-manager: a small GUI app to configure package cache management
  • reflector-simple: a small GUI wrapper for Reflector, a mirror management tool
  • UpdateInTerminal: a package updater that also supports the Arch User Repository; it has special NVidia support, which helps detect potential problems from upstream updates in the Linux kernel packages on a machine with an Nvidia graphics card

and many smaller scripts to make users' lives a bit easier. Some of the apps have a simple GUI, and others are purely terminal apps. We have used a GUI for cases where a GUI seems to be of help to users. The Welcome app has most of the above apps integrated and usable with a simple click.

LM: What future directions are planned?

BP: To be honest, the project is developing a bit organically, moving further on how the circumstances are directing us. EndeavourOS is a labor of love in the end. Having said that, we do have plans to enhance the ARM installation experience, perhaps by including the installation scripts on our ISO, and we do have plans to improve the way we are going to release the ISOs, but that is in a very early stage, and I can't reveal too much of it at this moment.


  1. EndeavourOS:
  2. EndeavourOS Open Collective page: @IE

The Author

Bruce Byfield is a computer journalist and a freelance writer and editor specializing in free and open source software. In addition to his writing projects, he also teaches live and e-learning courses. In his spare time, Bruce writes about Northwest Coast art ( He is also co-founder of Prentice Pieces, a blog about writing and fantasy at

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