Posts tagged ‘Arch Linux’

Arch Linux Schwag site is back up (a comment on privacy)

Hey all, has been down for at least a week. I’m really sorry about that. I’ve been working on transferring to a new web host and they were having trouble getting all the Python dependencies I needed.

My old host was based in the United States, and while they provided exceptionally good service for the price, I have become uncomfortable with storing any data in the US. The websites are not private, of course. However I am also hosting e-mail on these domains. As a Canadian citizen, I am not covered by the NSA’s (possibly false) claim that they do not spy on US citizens, so I felt that I should store it in my own country.

I don’t do anything that is currently illegal, but I don’t know that these arrogant governments aren’t going to change their laws to restrict my freedoms. I may not be a person of interest today, but I am outspoken about freedom, privacy, and transparency. This is currently legal and acceptable, but that may not always be the case and I want to be proactive about keeping my private data out of the hands of those who would use it against me.

Arch Linux Community on Gittip

I’d like to invite members of the Arch Linux community to join the new Gittip Community I set up for Arch Linux. Communities are a great idea that helps make Gittip more global and more local at the same time.

Gittip is a platform to use generosity to crowdfund kickass content creators, from musicians to artists authors (like me) to developers like these. The communities feature allows us to see what other Archers are doing for their distro.

I want to strongly encourage our developers, Trusted Users, and even the retirees (including me) to join the community so we can start funding you. As Arch Schwag maintainer, I — perhaps more than anyone — know just how generous this community is with both their time and their money. Let’s start sharing our money with those users who are willing to share their time with us.

Arch devs are a pretty humble bunch, for the most part who might not think they deserve funding. So please encourage them to set up gittip profiles so that we can tip them. Over time, I hope some of them will be earning enough from gittip to take some time from their day jobs and help Arch improve at an even faster, bleeding edge pace.

Finally, I’d like to note that Chad Whitacre, founder of gittip has mentioned a plan to support funds, a way to tip entire organizations or communities such that the funds are distributed by the crowd. When this is implemented, I intend to donate Arch Linux Schwag income to this vessel, rather than through the Arch Linux donations page, as I have done for years. The Arch Schwag funds are not actually terribly useful to the project, aside from offsetting server costs and the like. I believe that tipping our developers directly will be much more beneficial to the project. Indeed, I can imagine the Arch Linux team funneling some of the donation money back into the gittip community in the future.

Arch Linux Laptop Sticker Price Reduction

I recently ordered a new batch of Arch Linux laptop stickers. However, because they have been selling so well, I ordered three times the number that I usually stock! I was able to get a much better price by ordering a larger bulk quantity and I’m excited to pass the savings onto all the loyal Arch Linux users out there.

The price for a single Arch Linux Sticker has dropped from $1.90 to $1.35. The savings are even greater if you purchase in bulk; you can now order 20 stickers for 80 cents a piece!

Arch Linux Laptop Sticker

Head over to to order your stickers and other Arch Linux goodies. If you’re interested in more generic Arch Linux branded items, check out our Zazzle shop.

New Arch Linux Laptop Sticker Design

I’ve tweaked the design on the incredibly popular Arch Linux Laptop Stickers available through the Arch Linux Schwag store. I’ve taken the black outline of the sticker for both a more modern look and to alleviate problems when the decal cutters don’t quite line up with the border. I hope you like the effect!

My camera isn’t top of the line, so if someone would supply me some quality photos of these new stickers in action, I’d be happy to include them on the Arch Schwag website.

Thank you for supporting Arch Linux.I am always eager for new ideas to put in the Arch Schwag store. I’

Arch Linux Handbook 3.0

After some unexpected delays, I am proud to present the latest version of the Arch Linux Handbook: This Handbook is based off the Arch Linux Beginners’ Guide as it was on June 10, 2012. Due to complaints with previous editions, I put extra effort into the interior of this version, removing the styling on things that look like links to other wiki pages, and ensuring that such links at least give a hint as to what you should search for on the Arch Wiki for further information.

Even so, the handbook is little more than a printout of the Beginners’ Guide. It does not contain any new information aside from a short forward I authored. However, if you are looking for a paper copy of the Beginners’ Guide in a convenient handbook size, this book is exactly what you are looking for.

As with version 2.0 of the handbook, the cover design for version 3.0 was done by Branko Vukelic, a gifted artist, designer, and web developer.

ArchCon 2012

In 2010, I helped organize the first ArchCon, held in Toronto. We had a blast, and I considered it a success. Unfortunately life overtook me and I did not have time to organize a second one in 2011. I heard that there was a Polish language conference that used the ArchCon name that year, but didn’t know about it until it was over.

This year, the Polish group is going all out with the first truly international ArchCon. You can view their site in English at (other languages also available). They’re expecting up to 250 people and are planning a terrific after party and workshops. The conference will be held in Warsaw on July 28 and 29.

Sadly, I won’t be able to make it, but I am very excited that the community has grown enough to create this international event. If you’re going to be near Poland at that time, I encourage you to register. ArchCon 2010 was a small event, but it was a lot of fun and to the best of my knowledge, everyone was glad they attended. There’s something special about being surrounded by Archers.

Arch Linux Lanyards Are Back!

Demand for Arch Linux lanyards has been growing steadily. I had intended to have a new order by new years, but I ended up dealing with a different company, and decided to do a completely new design inspired by the updated Arch Linux website. There is a subtle gradient from dark grey to black in the background that looks very dynamic, and the logo itself is crisp and clear. Each lanyard is thin and very light to wear.

The lanyards are $6 for singles, and can be purchased from The Arch Schwag Store.

My Linux Rig Interview

It’s pretty rare for me to link to other people’s articles in this blog. I don’t believe in regurgitating information. However, this link is not regurgitated, it’s an interview I gave to so it’s my own words:

External monitors

When I first started using Linux over a decade ago, dual screen was a pain to set up. When I got my first laptop four years ago, setting up an external monitor was also painful. Then came xrandr and life was good. Now there are nifty little monitor switching GTK apps that allow you to drag screens around just like in Windows or MacOS.

But that’s a lot of fiddling around. For the longest time, my use case has always been either:
a) I am using only my laptop
b) I am using my laptop with my 1920×1080 external monitor connected via VGA (It’s an old laptop)

To accommodate these two use cases, I had connected my “Switch Display” (fn+F7 on my thinkpad) key to the following simple script:

  if ! xrandr | grep VGA1 | grep disconnected  >/dev/null ; then
      xrandr --output LVDS1 --mode 1024x768 --output VGA1 --mode 1920x1080 --above LVDS1
      xrandr --auto

Succinctly, if the external monitor is connected, enable it as “above” my laptop, otherwise, just enable the laptop monitor. All I have to do is plug in or unplug my monitor, hit Fn+F7, and my display would automatically adjust itself.

For the record, I used xbindkeys to connect the button to the script with the following .xbindkeysrc:


This served me well until I bought myself a new television that only operates at 1360×768 on the VGA port. Further, when I’m connecting my laptop to the tv, the television is usually below the laptop monitor rather than above, as my monitor is.

So now, my check_external script looks thusly:

  import subprocess
  positions = {
      "1920x1080": "--above", # Monitor
      "1360x768": "--below" # TV
  output = subprocess.check_output("xrandr", shell=True).decode("utf-8")
  for line in output.split("\n"):
      if external_connected:
          if "+" in line: # + represents the default resolution for that monitor
              resolution = line.split()[0] # + the resolution is in the first column
      if "VGA1 connected" in line:
  if external_connected:
              "xrandr --output LVDS1 --mode 1024x768 --output VGA1 --mode {resolution} {position} LVDS1".format(
                  resolution=resolution, position=positions.get(resolution, "--above")), shell=True)
  else:"xrandr --auto", shell=True)

This is Python 3 code, and works delightfully on my Arch Linux running awesome setup. I still have to do custom xrandr commands if I ever connect to someone else’s projector or monitor (this happens so rarely that I don’t think I’ve done it since Archcon last year), but normally I can get away with a quick “xrandr –auto” in those cases, which usually just clones the display. There are dozens of ways to set up monitors, but this works great for me, and I can normally have my display up and running the way I want it with a couple keystrokes.

New Arch Linux Laptop Bags

My supplier for the Arch Linux Laptop Bags product line has updated her offerings. We have four new laptop bags available, and some of the older models have been dropped or reduced in price. Check out Arch Linux Schwag to review the offerings.

In addition, I’ve reduced the price on Arch Linux pens to below cost, in an effort to liquidate some stagnant inventory.

As always, thanks for supporting Arch Linux!