Dem Bells ‘n’ Whistles

cowbellFor quite a while I’ve been busy with my life and happy with Arch Linux on all of my computers. However, recently I came to a somewhat regretful realization that I hardly have time to tinker with my computer(s) and set everything from the ground up every single time I decide to do a full system re-install. I do like to know what’s under the hood of my operating system and I like extremely minimal setups (bare window manager + most basic tools), but lately I do not have the luxury of time and, to be completely frank, my artistic skills are insufficient to make my desktop look anything, but generic. Hence, I decided to explore various GUI-heavy, user-friendly distributions with their rich offering of pre-installed software.

My first choice was an old love Lubuntu with a possible alternate of Peppermint OS (a new installment was released recently). No surprises here. Contrary to Linux Mint, which I also tested by-the-by, Lubuntu was highly responsive and as always very light on resources. I find the selection of pre-installed software it offers to be just perfect. Firefox has never failed me and I use Pidgin on a daily basis as a multi-protocol messenger tool. As Lubuntu is a lightweight flavor of Ubuntu proper, one has immediate access to the vast repositories hosted by Canonical and its partners. Peppermint OS is equally interesting, because it follows Lubuntu, though with a more cloud-centric twist. The art is eye-catching and some applications have been relocated as browser plugins to reduce system load. The latter is especially valuable due to the current ever-growing reliance on small computers and cloud storage.

My second choice was also unsurprisingly Manjaro Linux. It was my first lightweight Linux distribution with great hardware support and a strong, reliable base in Arch Linux. In fact, Manjaro encouraged me to try Archbang and finally Arch proper. Seeing Arch’s popularity in decline and the multitude of Manjaro’s flavors, I decided to give it a spin. I started with my old-time favorite Openbox edition (previously, the only available edition), but also gave the i3 and minimal Xfce editions a try. I was honestly awestruck by the minimal Xfce edition! For a very long time (save for AntiX) I have not seen such a light and efficient adaptation of Xfce. I liked that desktop environment for its resemblance to old Windows, but always felt it’s heavier on resources than it should be based on its looks. Though here I am, mesmerized by Xfce once more!

To conclude, I greatly appreciate the time I have spent with Arch Linux and the insurmountable amount of experience I have gained from using it. While I regret I no longer harbor the time to utilize it to its full capacity, I look forward to using various established user-friendly Linux distributions with a smile of anticipation…


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