The release of R2-D2 or ArchLabs 5.0


Matt, Hari, Raniel, Nathaniel, Laurent and Erik are super excited to present ArchLabs 5.0 or R2-D2.

In the months that have passed we have seen what creative people can do with ArchLabs and I must say that makes us proud. Some of the ArchLabbers have stepped forward and helped us create this wonderful release contributing their time and talent with new openbox themes, new rofi themes and new tint2 themes. Special thanks to Duncan Pringle and Smoke King for pitching in.


Clean install or not

We get this question quite often. We are a rolling release. Arch Linux is rolling and in the meantime we have our own packages on the AUR. Any update in these packages will be installed automatically.

BUT as I said in the interview about ArchLabs the magicthe soul – the beating heart is coming from all the theming and tweaks done in your ~/.config folder e.g. 79 termite coloring schemes.

If you update your system, you will not have R2-D2. You will have an updated Yoda.

We feel we have released a mature distro. Meaning next clean install will be for 2018.

Take our advice. Put your data safe away on an harddisk or in the cloud and enjoy R2-D2 to the fullest.

Release schedule and downloads

  • 01/01/2017 Start ArchLabs – there was Brett and Matt and an idea
  • 24/02/2017 ArchLabs Alpha
  • 03/03/2017 ArchLabs 1.0
  • 07/03/2017 ArchLabs 3.0
  • 07/04/2017 ArchLabs 3.4
  • 30/04/2017 ArchLabs 4.0 – number of downloads : 3.313
  • 04/06/2017 ArchLabs 4.1 – Yoda – number of downloads : 8.949
  • 06/07 2017 ArchLabs 5.0 – R2-D2
  • 01/01/2018 ArchLabs 6.0 – Obi-Wan-Kenobi

On 07/07/2017 we have a total of 17.401 downloads and we are grateful for that.


Changes since 4.1

The biggest news is that we will include i3wm with R2-D2

R2-D2 will include an tiling desktop environment, i3wm next gaps.  ArchLabs will continue to use openbox as main desktop environment but now you have a fallback or an alternative environment to watch your movies, surf net or do your work. It is an awesome tool for workflow management. You will get 10 desktops with each their own specialty like browsers, editors, multimedia, music, …

Many tutorials will follow about ArchLabs and i3wm. But actually they are already created. Because i3 is a desktop (tiling) environment that you can install on any distro and use the same configuration file to style it. Here you can find all articles about i3. It does not matter which distro, you are using it on. So you can now already follow some tutorials.

Shortcuts from Openbox will work in i3

Choose your desktop

With the addition of i3wm we have to keep in mind WHAT desktop we want to choose.

When you choose for autologin in Calamares, you will bypass the login screen and go straight to Openbox.

If you do not choose to autologin, remember to choose the desktop you want at the top right.

You have to set this once if you do not autologin. It will remember your last choice.


Remember this shortcut – it will serve you well Super + X


Calamares installs ArchLabs with ease

Our installer, Calamares has been updated and  has received more recent desktop screenshots. ArchLabs is evolving. It will start up automatically in the livecd. It takes 8 graphical and self explanatory screens to install ArchLabs and that under 3 minutes on newer hardware.


ArchLabs is finding her own look, her own appeal.

These will be the images shown in Calamares when you install ArchLabs – they are all 100% ArchLabs. Everything you see will be included in R2-D2. Just point and select.

Besides the installation procedure this tutorial will also talk about :

  • dualboot
  • ArchLabs Hello
  • conky has keyboard shortcuts
  • Right-mouse click for menu
  • exit ArchLabs in menu or Super + S
  • where to go first to tweak the system to your liking



There is also a second installer i.e. The Architect installer.  It is not from us and is not maintained anymore. You will have to install a lot more after your installation. This is not recommended, only if Calamares fails for some reason to install. If you would prefer to use the Architect Installer, open a terminal use the following command:

sudo /abif-master/abif


Theming is our top priority

Every tiny detail of the system has been looked at. When you boot in the live cd. Conky’s are colorful and themes and icons have been choosen to give a bunsenlab impression. A tribute to our roots and our initial idea. What else have we themed?

Conky designers are sharing

Many creative conky builders have agreed to share their conky’s with us. They will just activate with a click. We are grateful that we are allowed to include some of the most beautiful conky’s out there in our release. As usual it will require one click to activate them.

We know the resolution of some of them is too small. It will give you an overview of the 41 conky’s. You will have to install ArchLabs R2-D2 to see them in full glory. We will add more every day after the release. Use the script in your openbox folder to download the latest conky’s from github.

In the folder ~/.config/conky/examples you can check it out before installing.

For copyright reasons you will have to download the special font if necessary for the conky.


Theme designers are sharing

Many rofi themes, tint2 themes and openbox themes have been added thanks to @Smoke King and @Duncan Pringle. Our personal design artists. Some will follow the Arc theme design and others are completely different.

56 tint2 themes to choose from
69 openbox themes to choose from
72 rofi themes to choose from


This means you will be able to tweak your system even more, out of the box. As you know we are a rolling release. These elements will receive more variations and additions and you will get them via updating the AUR.


Wallpaper designers are sharing

Great new wallpapers have been added – 4k resolution! You will have to see them on your system. Putting them here will cost us 10MB or more… These are just the small versions.

Special thanks to Fernando Cruz aka Submicron for letting us share his awesome wallpapers.

Check the slideshow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Theme your termite terminal

79 termite theming configurations have been added. Termite is the standard terminal for ArchLabs.

You can now pimp your terminal with a simple copy/paste. This one is the dracula theme.


Theme your Exit

Oblogout is taking care of this. You are now able to choose between three themes. The keyboard shortcut Super + X is one to remember.

Here you can logout(l), restart(r), shutdown(s), suspend(u), hibernate(h) and lock(l).
Same shortcuts will work in i3 as well.


Theme your lock screen

We have created our own personal 5 slimlock themes.
The only thing you have to do is choose which one or leave it standard.  And you will randomly get one of these lock themes. Super + X and press k for lock



Theme your menu

As in previous releases you can choose for a standard menu.xml or you can use the obmenugenerator to make you menu’s on the fly (including icons or not)

Menu.xml is just a text file you can edit.

Or use obmenu-generated menu that can look like this. All application will have an icon IF you are using Sardi or Surfn icons. Lollypop and Gradio are extra applications that Erik has installed. The obmenu-generated menu follows your installations and de-installations. More info on the website of Erik Dubois.

Furthermore you can theme your openbox menu with the many new themes we have added.
To the right you see all the possibilities.


Theming is serious business

We find it important that all ‘appearance’ tools should be grouped together in order to have a quick access and an overview.
So we added more items to the menu preferences in regards with Appearance.


Rolling release means …

that we have a bunch of packages on the AUR.  All of them are on your R2-D2 iso.

Next coming months we will make

  • more tint2 themes
  • more openbox themes
  • more wallpapers
  • more arc themes
  • more slimlock themes
  • more plank themes
  • more oblogout themes
  • more rofi themes

Just update the AUR and you will get them.

Previous roadmap

We started working on the topics of our roadmap.

  • add i3wm next gaps (tiling manager)
  • laptop settings have been tweaked
  • piping menu’s have been eliminated were possible
  • great new themes for rofi
  • great new themes for openbox
  • great new themes for tint2
  • great new themes for termite
  • Arc Mandy has been created -extra
  • Arc Darker have now a white menu in openbox -extra


Our github commits were at the release of 4.1 at 346. Now we are at 450 commits.

Here is an attempt to summarize our actions besides the ones already mentioned above:

  • extra thunar actions
  • Bunsen Dark He is standard theme as tribute to our roots
  • many config files for apps like clipit, gpicview, viewnior, .. are tuned
  • xbacklight support on i3
  • extra software : grub-customizer, neofetch-git, wttr
  • deleted software : gnumeric, i3lock

We have added a folder scripts to your openbox folder for your convenience. Scripts are created out of necessity of the moment (slow servers, kernel that crashes, …) or just general repetitive tasks you have to perform after every clean install.

If you install ArchLabs on SSD and NOT on virtualbox, remember there is a script to delete all virtualbox applications to make ArchLabs work smoothly on virtualbox.

  • Installing the latest kernel
  • removing virtualbox applications if on SSD
  • changing hard-coded icons
  • getting the latest ArchLabs conky’s from github
  • and – deleting the latest new kernel if things go wrong (issue mid June 2017)
  • and – finding the fastest arch servers

All of these changes and enhancements have contributed to an awesome release.  If you are interested in viewing all the changes, you can view the change-log here:

ArchLabs Releases @ GitHub



Next Roadmap

Soon we will start working on ArchLabs 6.0 or Obi-Wan-Kenobi. Some of the things on the to-do list are:

  • how to switch easily from standard menu to obmenu-generated menu
  • too soon to share all the other wild ideas popping up in our heads

Our roadmap is here.  We will soon be adding more of our plans and intentions.  Check back in a few weeks to see what we have in store.


Check out our gallery section.  There are some very creative people working with ArchLabs. We check google+ on a regular basis and the posts with the most likes are likely to be posted on this gallery. Be creative and see how intuitive and flexible ArchLabs can be. Check out how different each desktop can be.



If, for any reason you have issues, please post in the forum. One post per issue/bug please. If you are familiar with github you can post issues there and even suggest codes/solutions there. On the google+ community we have also a “ArchLabbers helping ArchLabbers‘ category. Help each other out with this diversity of hardware.


Get in touch with us.


As usual you can download ArchLabs from our Sourceforge page:

Get your ArchLabs here!

Thank you

Of course, a mighty “Thank you” to our users and our betatesters!  ArchLabs has always been putting out something that we would use ourselves and to see the positive reception and the support makes it all worth while!

See you all around at Google+ or the forum, we all look forward to seeing your screenshots and reading your feedback.

#archlabs, what did you expect?



10 thoughts on “The release of R2-D2 or ArchLabs 5.0

Add yours

  1. The distribution is excellent! I made the installation in portuguese (Brazil – pt_BR), how do I make the menus stay in portuguese?


  2. “who are those guys?” lol , quote from Butch Cassisdy and the Sundance Kid, you guys have taken it to a new level –thanks much


  3. Your job is great! I do love this distro. It is my daily basis distro. I think the next step would be to make frontends for all the configuration files. If you could manage to do it, this would be the #1 linux distro, not used only by technical guys!


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