I have been following your escapades into the often recondite, yet always entertaining plains of Linux for quite some time now–spanning, of course, from Xubuntu Blog and onwards–, frequently recommending your posts/blog(s) to friends, family members, etc. (alongside Geekgirlxx’s blog, who coincidentally links to your Xubuntu blog) inasmuch as I feel as though not only are technically helpbut, yet moreover, give the reader a sense of the excitement, the enthusiasm, the communitarian aspect of becoming a member of a given (insert name of favorite distro/WM/etc. here) UNIX-related community.
1. That said, especially with all of the screencaps, those who I recommend your blog(s) to often wonder which distro/WM you are conjointly using on a given desktop shot–this one being the foremost example. Openbox is visible, as are the themes, but is the distro itself a barebones Ubuntu, or something else?
2. Moreover, and although I am aware that you must have, as I have myself, tried quite the number of distros and GUI combinations, a brief history of your favourite picks with regards to such combinations would leave both myself and them quite pleased. Especially in terms of lightweight options, mind you. Recommendations?
3. Would you, with effectiveness and processing speed in terms (/not/ ease of use), recommend an Openbox/Arch combo? If not, why? And what would you recommend itself?
Thanks immensely: knowing I’ve days off in the near future, I know that your response shall make my days of kernel-compiling all the more decadent in the almost perverse pleasures they induce. 😉
1. My system is actually a computer with Ubuntu preinstalled from thelinuxstore.ca. I got it in November, and stuck with the GNOME desktop for quite some time. However, more recently I’ve began removing the GNOME programs and sticking with Openbox. So technically it’s not a barebones Ubuntu, as I started out with GNOME. However, I have done barebones installations before; I once got a perfectly usable IceWM setup that was under 1GB.
2. I tend not to focus on what DE the program uses, but how well it carries out the task. For instance, I use some GNOME apps like Tomboy, some KDE apps like Amarok, and some XFCE apps like Thunar. However, my maison d’etre would be GTK+ apps with little to no GNOME or KDE dependencies; I find the lightweight solutions more simple and elegant than their heavyweight counterparts. However, this is all personal opinion.
In particular, here’s some of the apps I use:
System monitor: lxtask
File Manager: Thunar (some say pcmanfm for its tabs; however, what sells me over to Thunar is its volume manager and its media-tags plugin)
Text editor: leafpad (for more feature-rich editors I use Gedit or Bluefish. Yes, lighter alternatives exist, but these are my preferences)
Archive manager: Xarchiver
Web browser: Opera
Dock: Simdock (although I will use AWN for its applets)
Image viewer: gpicview (Ristretto if you want animated GIF support)
PDF Viewer: evince-gtk (but epdfview works in a jiffy)
Wallpaper setter: Nitrogen
And that’s just scratching the surface. All in all, I recommend experimenting with distros like TinyMe or Slitaz to see the best that lightweight software offers.
3. Having dabbled in Arch’s waters in 2007, I would whole-heartedly recommend it to someone who wants a lightning-fast bleeding-edge distro and doesn’t mind a little tinkering to get it. Its biggest plus is being a rolling-release distro, which means that all you have to do is run an update, no matter which version you use, and get the latest and greatest apps. I never used it with Openbox, but with XFCE it was quite nice.
I imagine Arch is even easier today. It’s more or less a long process of “pacman -S”ing what you want, but your mileage may vary. I would imagine that my setup on Arch would be much faster, but when your apps load instantaneously anyway, it’s not a big problem. 😉
In my experience, the trade-off of compiling a kernel isn’t worth it. It’s about 5 hours of compiling versus a 5-second faster boot. On my last kernel compile, I lost my sound. If I were more of a speed demon I would fix that and stick with that kernel, but the default kernel does more than enough for me.
Thank you and good luck! Let’s hope your Linux experience is a good one. 😉