The Arch Linux project was started by Judd Vinet in his attempt to create his own ideal distribution. He wanted to make a lightweight and simple system aimed at power users. I believe that Arch is an excellent flavor of Linux that hasn't got the share of publicity and attention if deserves from the community yet.
To install Arch you can just type /arch/setup and the installer will come up. I found the Arch installer simple and straightforward, but you have to be pretty experienced with Linux to figure out what to do. If not, check out the official installation guide that will help you through the process. I installed a base system, configured the kernel and installed Grub. That was all done in less that 15 minutes.
After installation all you will get is a Linux prompt. Using the excellent wiki, I configured my network, installed X.org, nVidia drivers and Alsa and decided to install Gnome among the programs I usually prefer.