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archbang linuxInstall a lightweight operating system that’s always up to date. Featuring the speedy Openbox desktop and built on the rolling release Arch Linux How To Install Arch Linux On Your Computer [Part 1] How To Install Arch Linux On Your Computer [Part 1] During my couple of months here at MakeUseOf, I've mentioned Arch Linux (hereafter simply called "Arch") a couple of times. However, Arch has never really been covered here, so people may still be a little... Read More , Archbang delivers both minimalism and up-to-date software. Best of all, it’s a lot easier to set up and use than a vanilla Arch installation.

In a world full of lightweight Linux distributions, why look at ArchBang? For one thing, it’s fast. It’s like CrunchBang, only built on Arch instead of Ubuntu. OpenBox is a very lightweight window manager, and Arch is known for its speed. If you dig minimalism, you’ll love ArchBang. This isn’t just a stripped-down system, however. With ArchBang you have access to Arch’s always-up-to-date library of software. Best of all, stability isn’t compromised for the sake of staying up to date, another key feature of Arch.

So while this system isn’t for everyone, ArchBang’s own Linux website sums it up best: “Suitable for both desktop and portable systems, it is fast, stable, and always up to date.”

The Desktop

Boot ArchBang and you won’t see much. There’s a black wallpaper, a list of keyboard shortcuts, and a very simple dock:

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Where is the menu? Simple – just right-click on the desktop. You’ll see the complete selection of applications here:


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Alternatively, instead of using the menu, you can use the keyboard shortcuts listed on the desktop. One you get used to these shortcuts they will become natural to you, and you’ll wonder why you ever bothered with menus before.

Want to change what’s in the menu? A GUI menu editor gives you that power:

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Traditionally OpenBox menus are edited by hand, so it’s nice having an alternative means.

Browse the menu and you’ll find various ways to tweak your operating system. Highlights include turning special effects like shadows on and off, and changing the desktop theme.

Included Software

So what can this operating system do out of the box? If you’re like most people, the web browser is the first thing you’ll be looking for. Good news: ArchBang comes with Chromium, which Chrome users should be more than comfortable with.

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The office applications offered by default include AbiWord, the best free lightweight word processor Abiword - The Best Free Lightweight Word Processor Abiword - The Best Free Lightweight Word Processor Get a lightweight but not underpowered word processor. If you need a program compatible with a wide variety of file formats, Abiword might be the right fit for you. It's not as powerful as Microsoft... Read More , and, of course, image editor The Gimp is offered for anyone needing to edit images:

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Want to know more about included software? Find the complete list of ArchBang software here.

Installing ArchBang

First things first: download ArchBang here. You’ll get an ISO file that works as a live CD.

Once you’ve booted into ArchBang from CD you can install the system. You’ll find the installer in ArchBang’s menu, and it’s relatively self-explanatory if you’ve ever installed Linux. The ArchBang Wiki features installation instructions if you get stuck.


Whether you’re a netbook user looking to squeeze more performance out of your tiny computer or just a Linux enthusiast looking for something new to play with, ArchBang is worth checking out. In fact, it just might become your go-to operating system.

But that’s just what I think. What do you think? Is there a better Arch-based system out there? Or is it best just to install Arch yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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