Archive for December 2012

10 things to do after installing Archbang 2012.12

Installing Archbang is WAY too easy, so you might wonder what to do next … here’s some ideas ;)

  1. Optimize mirrorlist – the Arch wiki has a script that generates a mirror list sorted by speed and update status. Run the script and copy the result to /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist (don’t forget to make a backup copy of the old list with all mirrors)
  2. Enable multilib – if you want to install 32 Bit binary packages (like e.g. printer drivers) you need to enable multilib support in /etc/pacman.conf – for details consult the Arch wiki
  3. Install Pepper Flash - unfortunately Adobe only supports Flash on Linux for Google, so get google-chrome or chromium-pepper-flash-stable from the AUR. It really makes a difference, especially on low end hardware like a netbook
  4. Install fontsttf-droid and ttf-liberation will significantly improve the looks of your web pages (and Google docs). If you absolutely need Windows fonts, install ttf-ms-fonts and ttf-vista-fonts (the latter will extract newer MS fonts like Calibri from Powerpoint viewer)
  5. Lock on lid close – suspend works out of the box, but the computer isn’t locked. To fix this, you have to create a new systemd service that will be triggered on suspend / hibernate, as described in this blog post (translation here - but copy the source code from the original post). After enabling the service with systemctl enable slock you laptop should lock on close. If not, you probably forgot to fill in your username instead of the placeholder
  6. Locking screensaver – to automatically lock your screen e.g. after 7 minutes, install xautolock and add the following line to your autostart.sh: xautolock -time 7 -locker slock
  7. Sync clock – install NTP and enable with systemctl enable ntpd – now your clock should be synced over the internet
  8. Extend the menu – these 2 additional menu entries might come handy (use “execute” action in the graphical menu editor) …
    - Refresh Application Menu: bash -c “(openbox-menu -p -o abapps.xml -t ‘lxterminal -e’) & (sleep 3 && killall -e openbox-menu) &”
    (works without the ‘kill’, but you end up with a lot of openbox-menu processes over time)
    - Restart tint2: bash -c “(killall -e tint2) && (sleep 1s && tint2) &”
  9. Logout with Super+X – if you are an old Chrunchbang user like me, you don’t want to miss the Super+X shortcut for logout – you can easily configure this using the graphical menu editor from the Preferences/Openbox menu, and change the execute- action to oblogout. The desktop help text can be changed in ~/.conkyrc
  10. Install pcmanfm – spacefm might be a great file manager, but after accidentally deleting my home directory while trying to remove a favorite, I decided to go back to pcmanfm. After installing, you have to change the Super+F shortcut with the Keyboard Editor from the Preferences/Openbox menu. To enable auto mount for USB sticks etc., add the following line to your autostart file: dbus-launch pcmanfm -d –no-desktop &
That’s it, should be enough to get you started. There’s always room for improvement, and an Arch system is never really finished anyway, so be creative (and share your ideas in a comment, if you like).

Archbang 2012.12

Archbang Screenshot, by archbang.org

Archbang is back – the Archbang team has accepted the “Pepsi challenge” from the likes of ArchPup, Nosonja, Bridge, CinnArch and Manjaro, and strikes back with an excellent update release (although, admittedly, CinnArch and Manjaro look very promising, and one of them could, over time, turn into something like the “Mint of Archlinux”, i.e. a stable, beginner- friendly, Arch- based Ubuntu alternative).

But back to the matter at hand – the software selection of Archbang is, as usual, reduced to the essentials – a perfectly configured Openbox desktop with Tint2 panel and dynamic application menu, a browser, some tools, and that’s it. Archbang of course includes packer for instant AUR access. The biggest visible change is the spacefm file manager, a fork of pcmanfm with a lot of additional features like multi- panel layout (view screenshots for details). Gparted is also included, making Archbang the only LiveUSB I need.

There are more changes under the hood, AB! 2012.12 is now “state of the Arch”, i.e. uses systemd and grub2. Luckily they kept the (text- based) installer, allowing you to install Archbang without a second internet device for Wiki reading (unlike “real” Arch – check out my post for an idea what it means and how to get started). My hardware was recognized perfectly, and the network problems I experienced in vanilla Arch 2 months ago seem to be solved, too, either Archbang is smarter in that regard or the issue has been fixed in the Kernel anyway. Of course Archbang uses the official Arch repos and the AUR, and there is no branding except a wallpaper and the browser pointing to archbang.org (you can change this in the menu entry) – there’s no way to get closer to “the real thing” without installing vanilla Arch, actually Archbang is not so much a distribution as a shortcut to working Arch with Openbox.