2 days ago, Archbang 2011.10 was released and unlike the former bloated versions, this time Archbang 2011.10 really rocks. Archbang in short is a Linux distro based on Arch Linux (the geekiest Linux distro nowadays in many people's opinion) but it already got a desktop environment (Openbox) and some other softwares preinstalled. Installing Archbang is really eaiser than Arch Linux ( it took myself more than 2 days and many times of reinstallings to run Arch Linux successfully the first time I tried) but somewhat harder than Ubuntu or other newbie distros ( but not really hard). In this newest version of Archbang, many bugs are fixed and the ISO is less than 460MB. Archbang got all the cool features of Arch Linux and as the creator of Archbang said, it's really simple, fast and stable. So if you havent tried or are afraid of trying Arch Linux, Archbang should be your choice. And I can guarantee that after you step into the world of Arch, you wont want to go back to Ubuntu or Linux Mint.
Archbang can run quite well out of the box, however, you may face many problems and find it quite ugly if you are unexperienced with Linux. To fix these problems and make Archbang better and more beautiful, here are 10 things I did after installing Archbang 2011.10.
Update: for the new release, here is my review for Archbang 2012
1. Update the mirror list
This is the first thing you should do after installing Archbang because the maximum download speed you can get from the default mirror is 50kb/s. By updating new mirror list, downloading packages will be really faster. To do so, go to the mirror generator page and grap the newest list of mirrors that are nearest your location. If you dont know how to use Jumanji (the default browser of this version of Archbang), hit ALT + F2 and run this command
Next, use rankmirror to find the fastest mirror. After updating the mirrorlist, you now can go to the next step.
2. Update system
This is mandatory whenever you install a new Linux distro, but it's easy, just run
it wont take much time after you got the fastest mirror.
3. Get some other web browsers
Jumanji is cool and awesome but really hard to use. So I think you should install some other browsers.
To install firefox, run
pacman -S firefox
To install chromium, run
pacman -S chromium
To install opera, run
pacman -S opera
Note: if you got problems with Jumanji in step 1, you should consider doing this step first. But expect that it may take over 20 minutes to finish downloading firefox or opera :D.
4. Install CPU frequency scalling
This is very important because your CPU will run at highest (nominated) frequency after you install Archbang. That will waste power and generate a lot of heat and can be a very big problem if you install Archbang on a laptop. ( You wont notice this problem if you're a Ubuntu user, Ubuntu and many other distros have cpu frequency scaling preinstalled).
To install and configure cpu frequency scaling, go read read this article on Arch wiki. If you're using a laptop another option is to install laptop mode tools.
5. Install proprietary drivers for the video cards
Although Archbang offers the open-source drivers for all the graphic cards by default, you should always install the proprietary drivers if you are using an ATI or Nvidia graphic cards. Even when I am a big fan or open source softwares, I still have to admit that the open-source drivers cannot hold a candle to the proprietary drivers. You will notice an improvement in graphic and you CPU temperature will decrease after you install propieraty drivers for your graphic card.
For ATI cards, learn how to install ATI catalyst here
For Nvidia cards, the article is here
Note: Skip this step if you have an onboard graphic card.
6. Your desktop deserves a better theme and icons
It may be a matter of taste but I dont like the default theme and icons of Archbang. My choice for GTK theme would be Atolm and Area is always my favorite icon set.
Note: Atolm requires equinox egine and murrine engine
Here is my desktop with Atolm Gtk theme and Area icons
The default tint2 panel is really ugly, you should change it as soon as possible. To learn how to configure your tint2 panel, read this article . If you are too lazy and think my tint2 panel in the above image looks good. Just copy paste my tint2rc to yours, the pastebin of my tint2rc is here
Note: my tint2rc requires DS-Digital and Sansation fonts, you can download them from dafont.com. After you copy pasta my tint2rc to yours, hit ALT+F2 then run
pkill tint2to kill the current tint2 panel, hit ALT+F2 once more and run
tint2to display the new tint2.
8. You need a launcher
You can rightclick and choose applications from the openbox menu, but to save time, I recommend you to use Synapse, a very fast and lightweight launcher. To install Synapse, get the AUR package of Synapse here.
Note: if you want to install Synapse in Archbang, you have to install libzeitgeist and gtkhotkey first.
9. Change or remove the default conky
Like the tint2 panel, the default conky of Archbang is ugly. Check my article about beautiful conky setups to get some real beautiful conky. To disable conky on startup, use leafpad to edit ~/.config/openbox/autostart, remove the line "conky -p &".
10. You need an IM client
This step is not really necessary, but I love the number 10 so I include it here. Archbang doesnt come with an IM client so you should install one. Pidgin is always my choice. To install pidgin, run
pacman -s pidgin