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.