Recently I've been looking at Povray, pyprocessing, and cfdg (version 3.0) as tools for creating digital images. I have branched two separate blogs where I mainly explore ruby/rp5. and processing.py

Friday, 21 September 2012

ArchLinux a more configurable linux

Well actually it is probably no more configurable than many other linux distros, nor is it super stable. However it is designed from the outset to be very user configurable, and also supports using very recent versions of software (cf Debian based distros). The fact that it is so configurable, and possibly sometimes a bit flaky means this distro is not for the average linux user, despite the pretty well thought out documentation. I've yet to get Slim display manager working satisfactorily so I'm struggling on with a pretty crude xdm login.

My advice to anyone installing Archlinux for the first time is not to be too ambitious, I was was aiming for a minimal install of fluxbox desktop with Slim as DM (super customisable), but I ended up installing the xfce4 desktop with xdm as well (I was going to use Terminal and Thunar from xfce4 probably anyway). Problem with xdm choice of desktop is not available at login (previously I found Slim pretty good for this).
The advantage of installing the xfce4 desktop is that will give you a default working configuration (albeit with crappy fonts until you find out that setting up font directories is done very differently on ArchLinux). However persist and you will find that you end with the amazing ability to customize your fonts (by language, by program, by user etc. etc...).

Examples of software supported and probably not readily available with other distros:-

povray-3.7.0.RC6
eric-5.2.5

You might normally need to build both of these applications from source with ubuntu etc (the distro version of povray is 3.6 whereas eric is back in the 4 series, ie pre python-3 support). The current linux kernel is 3.5.4 and there is full support for using the proprietary NVIDIA-304.43 graphics driver, as part of the distro.

Update Sun 22 September 2012:-

I've since started the process of using systemd for initialization. Now I don't know whether this had anything to with it but I've go Slim running after a fashion (menu doesn't seem to work?, just logins into the default fluxbox, instead of the chosen xfce4, however easy to get to xfce4 from fluxbox via menu so not so bad).

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Pembrokeshire, United Kingdom
Consolidating my online identity as monkstone. I am a 64 bit linux user and advocate of open source software, you can sometimes find me on the processing forum.