Question

What's up with not providing Archlinux?

The title says it all. Your job is to provide infrastructure (a VM) on which we should be free to run whatever OS we want.

Why can’t I provide a custom ISO to boot the droplet from and continue the installation, or better, why can’t I log into a recovery shell from which I can mount the / partition and install whatever I want?

Linode provides Arch by default and allows you to access a recovery shell from which you can install whatever you want by mounting the root partition and copying the files manually.

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In the past we did provide Arch Linux as an option. Unfortunately for several reasons including a larger burden on our support team we do not offer it as an official image anymore. ISO imports have been a major requested feature for quite a while and may be available at some time in the future but not in the immediate future. However, there is an un-supported option to run Arch on a droplet. This script, written by an outside developer will convert a standard Debain droplet to Arch. After running this script you should be able to create a snapshot of your droplet, which would give you a ready to go Arch image for your own use.

Also, we do provide a recovery ISO image which our support team can mount for you (this is a debian based livecd image) which will allow you to affect changes to your partition table (again, not a currently supported option). If you open a ticket with the support team they will be happy to boot your droplet to this recovery environment.