Linux Distributions

ArchBang Linux Review – An Arch-based Linux Distro

ArchBang Linux

There are so many distros popping out of everywhere. But for most distros out there, they use Debian or Fedora as Base. And In Recent times, we see Arch being the new alternative to those two ages old distros.

Arch was intended for experienced Linux users from its start. And developers, being good from inside, want to make things easier for normal people.

They create distros like Manjaro and Antergos, so, ordinary people can use and see what it is like to live with Arch. But Manjaro and Antergos, though making it easy for users to install Arch, are heavy resource-demanding distros. Here, we discuss an alternative OS, which has a lot of advantages over other Arch-Based Distros.  

​“ArchBang Linux is a lightweight distribution based on Arch Linux. Using the Openbox window manager, it is fast, up-to-date and suitable for both desktop and portable systems
​~ distrowatch

​How To Install ArchBang Linux?

I am mostly a Debian person and new to Arch. But when I installed Arch for the first time, It was practically a disaster as I never even imagined installing an OS on the command line. Practically everything was to be configured manually. And ArchBang won my heart in this part. I was impressed by the command line based installer which felt like a cakewalk compared to Arch. You can start the installer by typing “sudo abinstall”.

install archbang linux abinstall

It guides you at each step and asks you for your preferences by giving you a list of options to choose from.

partition for archbang installation
archbang linux partition
archbang linux select timezone

But more than the simplicity of the installer was the speed, which is worth mentioning.

archbang linux installation
archbang linux bootloader

​It took no more than 7 minutes to install the system completely on a preformatted hard disk.

start archbang installation

In a regular install, you just need to know how to partition via the command line. Seriously, that is the only thing that slows down the whole process, which is the reason most people use GParted or other graphical partition managers.

command line based archbang installer

ArchBang Linux Desktop

The desktop is really simple and Minimal. The background is a hill view giving you a pleasant feel. The component which usually uses the most resources on a system is the Desktop environment. So, there is no DE in ArchBang. Instead, ArchBang uses Openbox window manager. So, the system is super-responsive and fast with no clutter. There are launcher icons in the bottom left corner. You can access the applications from the pop-up menu by right-clicking on the desktop.

archbang linux Desktop

Applications

Keeping its policy of lightweight distribution, the default apps provided are very few. We get firefox for internet browsing. Spacefm is the default file manager. Leafpad is the default text editor. Deadbeef is the music player. There are no apps other than these. But do not forget that it has access to a huge app database called AUR ( Arch User Repository).

Under The Hood

ArchBang has pacman as the package management system. It uses systemd, but, there is also an alternate iso with OpenRC as init.ArchBang uses 4.8.4 kernel as of now and has pretty much all the packages to the latest as soon as we update for the first time. The first update takes about 195 MB Download. There are two workspaces by default and we can switch between them by moving the mouse pointer to the desktop and scrolling.

Also Read – 5 Best Arch Based Linux Distributions

Support

The forums are active and can be found at http://bbs.archbang.org/. There are categorized by applications. There are two special categories for Fluxbox and iw window manager related issues. I needed help regarding the installation and I joined the forums and I received help soon. People were friendly. There was a minor bug though. The installer went on showing the installation status until 186%.

archbang stucked at 186%

Pros

Fast, lightweight, up-to-date, easy and fast setup, window manager,  AUR.

Cons

  • Command based partitioning.
  • No application for settings or configuration.
  • Handle networking with the command line which is a pain if you use wireless.

Conclusion

ArchBang is a pretty straight forward distro. You get what you see. Nothing less and nothing more. It is stable, fast, and pretty simple. It is almost the same as Arch, but removing all the hurdles of the steep learning curve. It is an option for the Arch users who want to install Arch quickly. It is not suitable for a Linux newbie, but, it is for the Linux enthusiasts who would like to try Arch the painless way, with low system resources.



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