The latest and greatest release of ArchLabs Linux Mínimo.
First things first though, along with the new branding and release comes the return of some former team members, Rajat and Brett. Nate and I welcome them back with open arms and we hope you do too.
How can less be more? It’s impossible unless you use ArchLabs.
Changes since the last Mínimo release:
Mínimo has under-gone some fine tuning, mainly with the addition of a brilliant Hello/Welcome script written by Nate. Known as AL-Hello, this script will aid in (for those of you who are in a hurry, or just can’t be bothered installing one by one) the addition of extra software that we don’t include out of the box. You can install up to 60 different apps and utilities, including image and video apps, web browsers, editors office apps and many more.
As well as installing apps with the new AL-Hello script you can choose your default panel, be it Tint2 or Polybar. Install Nvidia or Bumblebee drivers as well. Super easy.
Pro tip: Keep a spare of undies handy when checking out the ArchLabs-Hello script, its so amazingly easy to get a fully expanded desktop you might not be able to contain yourself.
By the way, running the script isn’t mandatory to have a running system, its there to make life a bit easier.
Polybar, which is the default panel in Mínimo has been tweaked and fiddled with until we had something we loved. Conky is still not included by default in Mínimo and probably never will be, Polybar provides a fine replacement.
On the topic of Polybar, there are some pretty cool additions. Just click some of the icons or values on there and see what happens. The window count tie in with Skippy-XD is especially cool, if you click the number count you get and exposé styled spread of the currently open windows. A middle mouse click on Polybar will achieve this also.
Audacious is back as the default music player and MPV is included for movies and video. We are wanting to keep a nice light footprint, hence the inclusion on this latest release. Speaking of media and music, you can control the volume just by scrolling anywhere on the Polybar, makes for easy volume control!
The VirtualBox modules have been included by popular demand. If you wish to remove these there is a step in ArchLabs-Hello that will do this for you. Also making a return is LXAppearance. A great little app to change up your themes and icons.
Upon opening your web browser for the first time, you will notice our new ArchLabs Homepage, aptly named ArchTabs. Assembled by the very talented Duncan Pringle. The homepage has links to all things ArchLabs and Arch related.
The comments below are search !bangs, click one relating to your query, enter your search and hit enter. Using these bangs will limit your search to a more specific query. DuckDuckGo employ these handy additions so if you want to know more, have a read here.
As previously mentioned, we want to keep a light footprint so there has been a real focus on removing cruft. The live ISO contains 780 packages, after install you end up with 646 packages! Here is a list of the included packages. The ISO is around 950MBs in size, which is a nice reduction from the old bloat that was R2-D2 which hovered around 2GB.
Along with the new wallpaper we have an updated icon thanks to ututo from the BunsenLabs forum, our appreciation goes out to him, cast your eyes upon this:
Some little tweaks to help Thunar show the user home directories in the side panel automatically have been added for ease of use.
We had originally intended to bring two releases, Mínimo and Máximo but as our welcome script progressed we realised we don’t need the Máximo edition. You can get that using the script, so why create more work for ourselves?
The lock-screen has gone through an upgrade, supplied with the latest Mínimo is i3lock-fancy. This provides and epic blurred lock-screen, it is also tweaked for those of you who are dual headed.
There are many options for you to play around with, you just need to play around with the way you launch it, see the i3lock-fancy GitHub page for more info. Super+k will launch the lock screen from the keyboard, or use the Polybar or Obmenu entries.
The lock screen won’t activate immediately, it takes 3-4 secs.
To unlock, just type your password.
Rofi caused us a minor hiccup with the recent update making our themes not play nice. Not to worry though, as we have created some new themes that look just amazing. Rofi can be launched by pressing just the Super key. Super (LOL) easy.
Tint2 is included as an optional panel, you can choose this from AL-Hello. Choosing this will give you the option to have either Tint2 or Polybar as your default panel. If you would like the old original R2-D2 Tint2 themes, you can clone them from our github. Copy them to your Tint2 folder. If you don’t know how to use git, you can either click the download as a zip button or enter the following in your terminal
This will download to your home folder, just copy to the Tint2 theme folder at
You may notice a sparse selection of themes and icons compared to previous releases? Is it an oversight? Not at all. We wanted to bring the cleanest set of themes and icons we could, we wanted the focus to be on speed and reliability not appearance. Saying that though, ArchLabs in our humble opinions looks pretty damn sharp.
What you see is what you get, to be honest if there was a theme there we didn’t require, it wouldn’t be included. The default theme is Lila, but here you see United-ArchLabs-Dark in action.
Anyone can add themes and extra icons so we would rather bring a more minimal download then have it overloaded with easily added later items which just add to the size you need to download.
As an option in AL-Hello, you can install Oomox, this is a nifty little app to make your own GTK3 and sometimes Openbox themes (depending on the theme you choose). You can base your theme either on Numix of Flat-Plat. There are dozens of themes to choose from to create your own custom.
By default Oomox saves the exported themes to ~/.themes. They will show immediately in the theme manager.
Did you know that there is a menu in Polybar that has a shortcut to most of the default apps and frequently used utilities? Click the symbol and you will see a two tier menu unfold.
has shortcuts to your preferred browser, terminal and file manager.
is your power menu. Logout, lock the screen or restart. All options are there.
will cancel and take you back to the menu icon. Simple and very handy.
To connect or change your network, click the wifi symbol, this will launch Rofi with some excellent options. First off, you will see all the available networks and the signal strength. From this menu you can also enable/disable wifi and launch the connection manager.
Once you have selected your network, Rofi will open as blank, just enter your password and hit enter. If your connection is successful the wifi icon will change to white, otherwise it will blink until you are connected.
If you are getting confused with the keybinds/keyboard shortcuts you can view all available shortcuts in the obmenu under Display Keybinds. This gives you a menu where you can back up your current rc.xml and edit it or display the keybinds either in a window or right there in obmenu.
We have had a change from gnome-polkit to XFCE-polkit which has helped in shrinking footprint, also XFCE-polkit has better integration. GVFS and other background processes have been limited to aid in limiting RAM usage.
RAM at boot after first install is ~310m, after second boot with no added software is ~260mb. Of course, opening Firefox or Chromium is going to raise your usage levels, if you are a RAM fiend or are short on RAM try a lighter browser like Midori or Min.
We have thinned out our wallpaper selection and have 6 minimal wallpapers. The default desktop wallpaper is the only wallpaper that comes with this release but you can download the remaining wallpapers via the AL-Hello script.
All wallpapers are in 4k resolution for extra crispness. There is nothing fancy, just some nicely coloured, simple wallpapers. No one keeps the default wallpaper anyway, so the more minimal the selection the better in our very humble opinion. I know personally that is almost the first thing I do upon a fresh install.
There is an option in obmenu for you to switch your menu from a static menu to a dynamic menu. The dynamic menu will add all the applications and utilities that are installed to your obmenu. Just right click the desktop and select Switch Menu from the list in obmenu. To switch back, repeat.
If you need to change your audio settings, you can launch Pavucontrol from the obmenu. You can find this under Preferences, Audio Settings. Alternatively, as with pretty much anything else, launch Pavucontrol via Rofi.
For any bugs, please post them either at the forum under Bug Reports or at our Sourceforge Tickets page. One thread/ticket per issue please, this keeps it nice and easy to track and tick off completed or solved issues. Both are hyperlinked for your convenience.
Now Nate, Raj, Brett and I are putting out the request for help with translations, if you think you can help, please make a thread at the forum and register your interest. It’s time for us to spread our wings and fly.
As usual, Calamares is the installer. It’s a very simple click and proceed styled installer. The hardest part is thinking of a decent password. Encryption is available but…
The only caveat with UEFI encryption is you MUST make sure you set the console keyboard layout to match what you have set for the system
If for any reason you have any issues with Calamares, first step is to kill Calamares,
sudo killall clamares
Failing that, restart your live session. If the error repeats try out the ABIF installer, this is a little more complicated than Calamares but still relatively easy to use.
To launch ABIF, open a terminal (ctrl+t) and enter the following:
Us ArchLabs guys love screenshots and we would love to see yours, customised or vanilla, we don’t care. Post them at the Google+ community or share with us on Twitter. We have a monthly screenshot thread at the forum, this could do with a bit of love so feel free to post there too.
Not only do we love screenshots, we also love configs, themes, wallpapers, tips and tutorials to make our desktops and system that much better. We have a dedicated forum for these wonderful things, if you would like to share your custom configs, please do here, Configs, Scripts, Tutorials and Tips. All are welcome.
There is so much more to talk about……
…but I don’t want to write a novel. I will be following up with a few more blog posts to show off and explain some of the cool stuff implemented in Mínimo and what else Polybar and Rofi bring to the table.
Should we close the G+ page in favour of the forum only?
We are still toying with the idea of closing the Google+ Community page and just using our forums as our place of contact and community. The reasoning behind this is that we have all contributions, bugs, issues, tips etc all in one place rather than spread out over multiple social media platforms.
There is a poll running here to gauge feedback here at G+, your input is appreciated.
It’s easier to keep up to date with ArchLabs happenings via a forum. No decisions are made as yet but keep and eye out for an announcement sometime in the future. We aren’t promising anything as yet in this regard.
Twitter will always be around as it’s a great tool to keep up to date with changes in the Linux community.
You can get your Mínimo downloads from our Sourceforge page. Click the Sourceforge logo below to be transported there immediately.
Where to from here?
Hmm, good question, we have tweaked and trimmed ArchLabs to where we want it to be, for now we will see where this latest release takes us. There probably won’t be another release this year, unless there is something drastic we need to add or take care of.
In the meantime we look forward to hearing from you. We hope you enjoy ArchLabs as much as we do. Thank you for all your support.