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ArchBang 2011 Review

Here is another light, fast, and fun distribution for everyone to try, ArchBang leaves a long-lasting impression. ArchBang delivers a useful Live CD, the OpenBox window manager, and all the basic applications you might need, all on top of the powerful and robust Arch Linux core.

About ArchBang

OpenBox will allow users to experiment with a highly customizable interface that remains relatively simple. And of course everyone will be impressed by the blazing speed this distribution will bring to their system.

ArchBang 2011 Screenshot

Why ArchBang?

Get the most out of your system with this great distribution, ArchBang is another excellent choice for laptops and desktops alike.

ArchBang 2011 Features

  • ArchBang is available in 32bit and 64bit architecture.
  • The OpenBox window manager allows you to customize your interface in many ways.
  • The Conky system monitor is installed by default, though strangely lacking in default configuration.
  • ArchBang is a rolling release distribution based on Arch Linux so your applications always stay up to date.
  • The high-speed Arch Linux core will not leave you disappointed.
  • 445 MB ISO download and 2.6 GB required for default installation.

ArchBang 2011 Applications

  • Gnome MPlayer 1.0.4
  • Geeqie Image Viewer 1.0
  • Leafpad
  • Xfburn 0.4.3
  • Transmission Bit Torrent Client 2.33
  • Xarchiver 0.5.2

ArchBang 2011 Installation

ArchBang 2011 Screenshot

I did not much care for the default installation process, but it was bearable. First you have to boot the live CD, then select install from the desktop right-click menu.

Installation Steps

You can then set up your time and date settings and your disk partitions. The next step is to install and then configure the base system which is not very difficult. Finally you can install the bootloader, quit, then restart.

Final Stages

The whole installation process was very swift, just make sure you do things in the right order. Enjoy your new ArchBang desktop!

ArchBang 2011 Desktop

The ArchBang desktop is left crisp and clean, very close to my personal configuration which is quite convenient. Though I never have cared much for the Tint 2 panel, simply because there is no right-click configuration options.

About The Desktop

Your main menu can be easily accessed by right clicking on an empty spot on the desktop. Conky is also a wonderful addition to the desktop, though I think it could be better used displaying system monitoring information opposed to keyboard shortcuts.

ArchBang 2011 Screenshot

OpenBox Included

This version of ArchBang has certainly raised my opinion of the OpenBox window manager, for that I am thankful.

ArchBang 2011 Menus

ArchBang 2011 Screenshot

The menu structure used in ArchBang is highly efficient, which is common for OpenBox. The menu has quick shortcuts for your most commonly used applications, such as your terminal, web browser, media player, and file manager.

Menu Details

There is a simple sub-menu for all of your installed applications, icons for this area have recently been added, this is a nice touch. There are several sub menus for different option categories.

Configure Your Menus

To configure your menu look in the OpenBox config sub-menu, then click GUI menu editor. Every item in the menu can be configured to your own specifications, new items and separators can also be added at any time.

ArchBang 2011 Panels

The Tint 2 panel actually has an impressive list of configuration option, but sadly no widgets. You can reach these options by right-clicking on the desktop and looking in the tin2 config sub-menu, there you can click Tint wizard.

Tint Wizard Details

The Tint wizard window has several tabs with a large amount of options that will surely satisfy everyone. You can easily display or hide your system tray, configure your clock, or your battery applet settings.

ArchBang 2011 Screenshot

More Panel Options

There are also several options available for tooltips, even the colors can be changed. And of course some users may want to change the position of the main panel which can also easily be done from the Tint2 wizard.

ArchBang 2011 Software

ArchBang 2011 Screenshot

This is where users who are unfamiliar with the command line might get stuck, the default file manager is Pacman. The Pacman package manager is common to Arch Linux systems, and Arch derivatives. Either way Pacman gets the job done efficiently.

About Pacman

For new users, it may take some time to remember all the available commands, but it’s not that difficult. And for everyone who needs some extra help with Pacman, a tutorial will be posted very soon.

Pacman GUI?

I am not sure if there is a graphical front-end for the Pacman package manager, but feel free to comment if you know about one.

ArchBang 2011 File Manager

The default file manager for this distribution is the popular Thunar file manager which is well-known for its speed and functionality. Of course many users are already familiar with this awesome file manager, but here are the basics.

Thunar Details

Thunar has a very simple, yet highly customizable interface. The default window functions in a way that is typical for common and up to date file managers. You have the menu bar at the top, the bookmarks panel for popular locations on the left, and the file display area on the right.

ArchBang 2011 Screenshot

New File Manager

Unfortunately while I was testing this distribution they went and changed the default file manager to PCMan, but I will report more on that later.

ArchBang 2011 Themes

ArchBang 2011 Screenshot

The OpenBox theme and interface customization settings can be found again by right clicking on the desktop, then click user interface settings. You will then see a large list of color schemes for your windows, you can also find several other settings in the tabs at the top of the window.

Window And Icon Settings

You will find available icon themes, there are only two. You can also add mouse cursor themes, only the default is available.

Customize Your Themes

Fonts can be altered, and you can customize themes with your own window and text colors.

ArchBang 2011 Wallpapers

ArchBang also has some fantastic artwork that will certainly leave no one disappointed. Wallpaper options can be found by simply right clicking on the desktop, then you can click on the wallpapers option.

Available Wallpapers

Twelve great wallpapers are available to choose from, most relating to the ArchBang Linux theme. But there are a few beautiful scenery wallpapers as well.

ArchBang 2011 Screenshot

Wallpaper Settings

As for settings, all wallpapers can be scaled, centered, tiled, zoomed in, or zoomed out. If you prefer, you can even use a solid color background. But considering the vast selection available wallpapers, the majority of them are definitely above par.

ArchBang 2011 Synopsis

This is a distribution that I feel most moderately experienced Linux users would enjoy. Users should have at least a general knowledge of the command line before attempting this distribution.

Final Thoughts

ArchBang is lightweight and performed very well, and the highly customizable interface is excellent for experimentation. The OpenBox window manager has not exactly been a favorite of mine in recent years, but ArchBang deploys it well, and makes the interface very functional. Thankfully after running multiple tests, there are no problems to report.

ArchBang Homepage

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