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#1 2008-01-31 17:09:15

axion419
Member
Registered: 2007-04-12
Posts: 185

Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

I love arch and the speed of it.  I enjoy reading configuration files and editing them and all around screwing with my install.  Yet, most people i know who use computers, see them as a necessary evil, one they have to deal with.  I have over the course of the past 2 months, had to set up a few friends and relatives with Linux, either their windows was becoming a pain to manage, they kept using a computer naively and were installing virus and spyware, or they just received some old hardware and wanted to set up a computer for the first time since they were in school.  That is awesome for Linux, and i enjoy showing people things and knowing i helped out.  Yet, each time, i had to spend way to much time installing, icewm or openbox, then setting up their menu, setting wallpapers, and forgetting about pdf files etc and having to go back, because i wasn't confident that some of them could handle the CLI and things of that nature.  So i want to remaster arch, with a WM, Applications, custom menu, folders already pre-fabbed.   I just wanted to know if anyone else see's this not as a problem, but maybe an opportunity to fill a niche, that could really get some use.  Here is what i have so far in the planning department. 

Window Manager - Openbox.
- A light weight, pre configured, desktop, that is fast, but still resembles windows enough to be easy to use from a converted windows users perspective.

I plan to create this look by having tint pre-installed with a config file already present, one set up for light  backgrounds, others for dark, telling openbox to give me 15 pixels of free space at the top.  This will allow the user a small transparent panel, while allowing them to right click to open the menu.  So we take a 'different' look, and make it somewhat friendly with the pseudo panel.

Menu - I would like an installed menu, that only contains single nested entries.  (example)
Openbox
Sound - app1
           -app2
Web    -app1
          -app2
Admin -app1
          -app2

This allows for easy navigation, but also serves the purpose of making editing it with obmenu a breeze, a new user can easily see 'audio', drop that menu open, and add a new item to it.  Its a minor thing, but could really make the menu easier to edit with obmenu for the newbie.  I would also want to edit obmenus code, or maybe i can create a script that actually launches obmenu, that backs up the menu file before its edited, that way a newbie can revert back an old config

I would like to program a feh frontend, one that just shows you all the images in a directory (~/.wall) and allows to to select an image, and a style (scaled, tiled etc) and hit apply and will launch a feh --bg-scaled(tiled) /path/to/image

This will overcome the problem a newbie gets when he wants to change the background.

The next thing iwanted to tackle was File Manager.  To me, something like gentoo, or emelfm, works best.  I might want to waste some resources here, for teh sake of the persons adjustment.  First Dual pane isnt popular in windows.  Second, i want to easily set up automounting of drives.  So i was thinking of using Thunar as a the Filemanager, and have the volume plugin installed from the get go.

Another problem i see is with music.  I want this distro to be as light as possible, so i want a command line music player.  I see mpd + ncmpc as a very useable lightweight option.  The only problem i see is that mpd needs to be set up, so i need to make the mpd file know the name of the proper user and home folder.  If this isnt possible to set up, i will have to install cplay from source, as it doesnt need set up.

Web browsing will be with kazehakase, using the script from their wiki to delete history at launch.  Mplayer +plugin will allow watching movies in the browser, VLC will handle movies outside of the browser.

xarchive and xpdf will  need to be set up already.  As will mirage with images.  pidgin will be the default IM software, with Xchat installed as well.
P2P is a big deal with users now, so i would want to install nicotine, DC++ and frostwire.  Frostwire has java problems, so the correct java will need to be preinstalled.  I want the  home directory to already be set up with the following folders.

/.wall - for the feh frontend to look for the wallpapers in.
/.torrents so rtorrent knows what folder to watch
/music so mpd or cplay knows where to look for music at
/images for images smile
/documents for typed files
/files for all other downloads

Email will be handled with Sylpheed.  File editing with be with the Open Office suite and Leafpad.Burning is the biggest problem, k3b is by far the best, yet its kde and slow.  If i use Hal/Dbus and then use an alternative file manager, maybe i can get bashburn pre setup.  Another front end i would like to be able to set up, would do nothing more than edit the gtkrc.mine file, it would be nice to just tell this program, where the icon set is installed, say /home/justin/.icons. selecting that path in the program will edit the line in the gtkrc file to match the one we just selected.  That way we are still editing the file for configuration, but the users hand is held somewhat in that they have a GUI to do this task for them.

Can anyone give me more ideas, and maybe want to help out?  I know some basic coding, but i don't really know how to turn arch, into a pre configured distro that someone can install.  I know their are some other distros out there with openbox etc, but the arch base allows for speed.  It also allows this newb distro to be turned into a full fledged distro once that user is more comfortable in linux.

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#2 2008-01-31 17:25:53

axion419
Member
Registered: 2007-04-12
Posts: 185

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

i think i found a solution for the wallpaper.
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php? … ost4243211

Also, it seems like this can be done, by using a install script, that tells pacman what packages to grab, i would also just need to set up the menus, and configure thunar and mpd.  I wonder if their is a wway to automate that.  I dont want a new distro, i want arch, that installs the way i want it to be set up each time.  Without no input by me other than the normal install procedure.  Hope this makes it clear, i dont want a a Ubuntu that is based on debian and uses diff repositories.  I want to be arch, that is just easier to install and walk away from for newbs. 
So my next question would be, is there a way to include a file, probably a bash script, that will tell thunar that xarchive, xpdf, feh wallpaper setter, etc are all installed and to use those programs to open files?  Or would it be easier to install arch, set it up this way, and somehow take a snapshot of it, that i can use to install?


--------
http://archie.sunsite.dk/wiki/doku.php?id=mkliveiso

it seems i could use the scripts from archie(which seems dead sad )  and do what i want very easily.

Last edited by axion419 (2008-01-31 18:17:45)

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#3 2008-01-31 19:16:14

Bestiapeluda
Member
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: 2007-10-16
Posts: 180

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

For the walpaper thing, use nitrogen. Its light and does everything (even dualscreens)

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#4 2008-01-31 19:23:12

Sigi
Member
From: Thurgau, Switzerland
Registered: 2005-09-22
Posts: 1,123

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

Try larch for the remastering if you want to create a LiveCD/DVD/USB. You'll end up with a Live-system which can be installed as a normal ArchLinux system w/ or w/o your changes. gradgrind put a lot of work into this scripts. See my sig for the link...

Last edited by Sigi (2008-01-31 19:24:35)


Haven't been here in a while. Still rocking Arch. smile

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#5 2008-01-31 22:48:47

venky80
Member
Registered: 2007-05-13
Posts: 1,002

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

can the remastered live CD be used to do HDD install? there is one more distro called March linux based on Arch but it does not have a way to install to HDD.
I am looking for something like this too, please update this thread if you were able to get something working.
Thanks


Acer Aspire V5-573P Antergos KDE

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#6 2008-01-31 23:10:18

SiD
Member
From: Germany
Registered: 2006-09-21
Posts: 729

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

Bestiapeluda wrote:

For the walpaper thing, use nitrogen. Its light and does everything (even dualscreens)

I also use nitrogen to set my background in openbox.
It's lightweight and easy to use.

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#7 2008-02-01 00:20:11

Sigi
Member
From: Thurgau, Switzerland
Registered: 2005-09-22
Posts: 1,123

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

venky80 wrote:

can the remastered live CD be used to do HDD install?

It can. The larch scripts even provide the install tool to do so. You're able to choose if you want a unmodified Arch install or one which includes the changes you made to the Live system. I built a few such LiveCDs about a year ago but could release them because they contained things like the vpn group key of my school. It's really easy to build your own Live-"whatever". Try it out...


Haven't been here in a while. Still rocking Arch. smile

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#8 2008-02-01 01:05:50

axion419
Member
Registered: 2007-04-12
Posts: 185

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

yeah, im looking into it now.  Posted over on the larch forums.  I read the guide, but wasnt sure about the live cd being able to be set up for installs for many different users.  I want to set up the configs and everything, so when a user installs he can have the scripts in his ~/ directory.  I didnt know how this worked, since when i make the distro, the configs would be under my username, and when you install it is only a root user, then you add a user.  still thinking this up.

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#9 2008-02-01 01:30:29

venky80
Member
Registered: 2007-05-13
Posts: 1,002

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

please let me know if you do make a general live cd with minimal packages


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#10 2008-02-01 02:25:04

DonVla
Member
From: Bonn, Germany
Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 997

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

hi axion419,

actually, the first part of your thread looks like a newbie out-of-the-box config of openbox. and the second one is setting up a desktop environment. the question is if there is a need for an "arch de". else you could directly install xfce and there you have a light-weight de which fits the major needs. even kdemod runs really fluent on my 1.2ghz celeron (with konqueror not firefox it hardly uses more then 200mb ram), so this also would be a good low-resources option for a newbie.
of course, larch is a great idea for setting up "your archlinux". it would be cool if the larch site would also provide isos made by users with thoughtful configurations of arch (such as yours). but this maybe needs to much server capacity.

vlad

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#11 2008-02-01 05:21:21

Sigi
Member
From: Thurgau, Switzerland
Registered: 2005-09-22
Posts: 1,123

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

axion419 wrote:

yeah, im looking into it now.  Posted over on the larch forums.  I read the guide, but wasnt sure about the live cd being able to be set up for installs for many different users.  I want to set up the configs and everything, so when a user installs he can have the scripts in his ~/ directory.  I didnt know how this worked, since when i make the distro, the configs would be under my username, and when you install it is only a root user, then you add a user.  still thinking this up.

I'm building a new LiveUSB just while typing this (for the first time since a quite long time). Just to be up to date what the defaults and possibilities of larch are. For your request about the configs:: try to set up descent defaults in /etc/skel (respectively ./overlay/etc/skel). That way every new user you add starts with the same default configs. Or do I miss something here?

I'll report back how my own LiveUSB thingy does smile

edit: Well, the first try was a good start so far. I wrote a Live-system on a USB with grub as bootmanager and pretty used most of the choices of the default profile. Great work gradgrind, nice new grub-background wink  I think I'm going to replace this one with one featuring the new arch logo soon and try to trim down the size of the current ISO (it's 594MB atm)

Last edited by Sigi (2008-02-01 05:50:39)


Haven't been here in a while. Still rocking Arch. smile

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#12 2008-02-01 06:07:30

venky80
Member
Registered: 2007-05-13
Posts: 1,002

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

cool sigi, I agree with DonVla there should be a way for people to post their custom ISOs. Me personally I am looking at some way of installing Arch which has least amount of packages + x windows and an out of the box working wireless network manager (wicd or something which has minimum dependency) then, I think people will be able to download/install whatever they want, so in essence we would have a working live cd which is very light but after install it will be as good as the normal arch(nearly a core install) install.


Acer Aspire V5-573P Antergos KDE

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#13 2008-02-01 06:46:40

gradgrind
Member
From: Germany
Registered: 2005-10-06
Posts: 921

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

Yes, it would be nice to have an iso-sharing possiblity, but this is not something that berlios is designed for. If anyone has any suggestions, please don't keep them secret!

At the moment I am working on a new hard drive installer for larch, with gui and simple automatic mode for newbies.

And venky80, as a larch system is Arch, it will also be Arch after installation.

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#14 2008-02-01 10:21:03

venky80
Member
Registered: 2007-05-13
Posts: 1,002

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

ya I am going through the larch documentation, it is really good work gradgrind, and yes a gui and a simple automatic CD creation with HDD install option would be amazing.
Meanwhile I am a newbie but I love arch.


Acer Aspire V5-573P Antergos KDE

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#15 2008-02-01 13:16:59

genisis300
Member
From: Uk
Registered: 2008-01-15
Posts: 284

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

in stead of sharing the iso's could there be a PKGBUILD type system for the LARCH scripts that would reduce the load needed on the server but make it easy for people to take a preconfigured "ISO" and modifiy it some more if thats is what they wanted todo, They could then compile the iso image on there local machine and play.

i can't say i have used Larch just yet was going to play with it tonight just to see how it works.

it would probably bring 100 diffrent typs of archs for all different people.


"is adult entertainment killing our children or is killing our children entertaining adults?" Marilyn Manson

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#16 2008-02-01 14:35:38

Sigi
Member
From: Thurgau, Switzerland
Registered: 2005-09-22
Posts: 1,123

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

genisis300 wrote:

in stead of sharing the iso's could there be a PKGBUILD type system for the LARCH scripts that would reduce the load needed on the server but make it easy for people to take a preconfigured "ISO" and modifiy it some more if thats is what they wanted todo, They could then compile the iso image on there local machine and play.

That's exactly the way larch works. Check it out...
4 simple steps to create your own larch LiveUSB:

1. add the larch repo to /etc/pacman.conf, above all the other repos:

[larch]
Server = ftp://archie.dotsrc.org/projects/archie/larch/larch4

2. Install larch

pacman -S larch

3. Create Live-ISO

mklarch -p default -g

4. Install Live-system to usb

mklarch -p default -u -i -g

Use an usb-stick to try out your live system. It's performance is way better than the one of a LiveCD/DVD or emulation. Speaking of emulation, use the following code to emulate your ISO with qemu:

qemu -boot d -cdrom /usr/share/larch/larchroot/.larch/mylivecd.iso

Cheers Sigi

Last edited by Sigi (2008-02-01 14:36:44)


Haven't been here in a while. Still rocking Arch. smile

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#17 2008-02-01 15:04:23

Mr Green
Forum Fellow
From: U.K.
Registered: 2003-12-21
Posts: 5,825

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

no one mentioned Faunos?


Mr Green

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#18 2008-02-01 15:18:39

axion419
Member
Registered: 2007-04-12
Posts: 185

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

ok it seems i need to right a wrapper to the command useradd 

I need the wrapper to go o0o0o, useradd, that means copy these files to some pre determined place.  I can use the ./overlay/etc/skel to put things into the home directory.  So the wrapper will only need to mess with the openbox menu and rc file, the visibility configuration file and the rc.conf file.  Also, for the background, is nitrogren lightwieght?  Ive seen some threads where people had problems with it saving the background.  it would be nice to just hack feh's code, so when you are viewing images with it, a certain keystroke will execute the feh --bg-scale command on it.  I also need to figure out how to tell thunar that xarchive, xpdf, are present and to use them on tar/pdf files respectively.  As for music, can the mpd configuration file be set up so that any user can use it?  I seem to remember having to take the file, and put in user specific things, like the username of the person who will be running mpd.  I know i can tel teh mpd config file to load things ~/ so that isnt a problem.  Hopefully this weekend i get some work on this.  If anyone has any ideas about the wrapper, or anything, please post because so far everyone has been a big help.

Last edited by axion419 (2008-02-01 15:21:33)

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#19 2008-02-01 15:48:35

Sigi
Member
From: Thurgau, Switzerland
Registered: 2005-09-22
Posts: 1,123

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

I'm not sure what you need the wrapper for. Your thoughts about /etc/skel are correct so far. But can't you just put the other mentioned files in /overlay/etc?


Haven't been here in a while. Still rocking Arch. smile

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#20 2008-02-01 16:58:28

axion419
Member
Registered: 2007-04-12
Posts: 185

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

this is from gradgrind on the faunOS larch forums.

As someone suggested in the Arch forum, you could put stuff in /etc/skel, which would then be copied to the new user's home directory when it is created. If you need to do more than just copying, I would suggest writing a wrapper for the 'useradd' command.

So i took that as things in /etc/skel/ are put into a users home directory.  So anything i stick in that directory will be moved into /home/user/

which would work for anything that gets put into a users home directory.  I also need a couple folders created.  So I am thinking that just writing a bash script would work.  When i run this bash script it will add a user, set his password, move the files from /etc/skel/ to where i need them.
-Ive never really used bash to write a script, i googled around and saw some ways of getting user input stored in a variable, and i know the mv commands so here is my untested wrote from work attempt at the script


#!/bin/bash

# create a user
echo -n "Enter your username and press [ENTER]: "
read name

echo -n "Enter your password [ENTER]: "
read password

"useradd -m -s /bin/bash  $name"

"passwd $name"

"$password" <--i want this to run when prompted, do i need to use another language for that.
"$password"

# I don't want  to run this as root ? so how would I run it as the new user?

Cd
Mkdir  ~/.config/openbox/
Mv /etc/sklay/menu.xml ~/.config/openbox/menu.xml
Mv /etc/sklay/rc.xml ~/.config/openbox/rc.xml
Mkdir ~/.config/visibility
Mv /etc/sklay/visibilityrc  ~/.config/openbox/visibilityrc
Mkdir ~/.images
Mkdir ~/.scripts
Mkdir ~/.files

edit. actually if inside i /etc/skel/ i put a /.config/openbox/menu.xml that will move into the new users home directory correct, doing exactly what i want it to do.  so i could load /etc/skel/ with all those folders and configs and i would be good to go?

Last edited by axion419 (2008-02-01 16:59:49)

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#21 2008-02-01 19:11:14

Sigi
Member
From: Thurgau, Switzerland
Registered: 2005-09-22
Posts: 1,123

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

axion419 wrote:

#!/bin/bash

# create a user
echo -n "Enter your username and press [ENTER]: "
read name

echo -n "Enter your password [ENTER]: "
read password

"useradd -m -s /bin/bash  $name"

"passwd $name"

"$password" <--i want this to run when prompted, do i need to use another language for that.
"$password"

# I don't want  to run this as root ? so how would I run it as the new user?

Like this? ->

su $name
axion419 wrote:

edit. actually if inside i /etc/skel/ i put a /.config/openbox/menu.xml that will move into the new users home directory correct, doing exactly what i want it to do.  so i could load /etc/skel/ with all those folders and configs and i would be good to go?

Exactly

Last edited by Sigi (2008-02-01 19:12:11)


Haven't been here in a while. Still rocking Arch. smile

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#22 2008-02-01 20:06:33

axion419
Member
Registered: 2007-04-12
Posts: 185

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

thank you thank you

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#23 2008-02-01 21:32:55

Sigi
Member
From: Thurgau, Switzerland
Registered: 2005-09-22
Posts: 1,123

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

You're welcome! smile

I'm kind of confused. My test with the LiveUSB was successful but I ended up with a ext2 filesystem on the stick. I was somehow under the impression that I was able to access the stick from windows on my tryouts in the last year. Am I completely wrong about this issue?


Haven't been here in a while. Still rocking Arch. smile

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#24 2008-02-02 00:07:12

axion419
Member
Registered: 2007-04-12
Posts: 185

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

when im building the desktop for the live cd, how do i handle the users? will the livecd save the root password and everything? and should i make a guest account that i would set up for the live cd? if i created the user 'joe' and then ran the larch scripts, would i have a livecd with the user joe on it? if i tell it to install does it install everything that is running on the livecd, or is it just a normal arch install?

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#25 2008-02-02 01:54:40

Sigi
Member
From: Thurgau, Switzerland
Registered: 2005-09-22
Posts: 1,123

Re: Remastering Arch Linux into a Newbie Friendly Lightweight Desktop

Sigi wrote:

You're welcome! smile

I'm kind of confused. My test with the LiveUSB was successful but I ended up with a ext2 filesystem on the stick. I was somehow under the impression that I was able to access the stick from windows on my tryouts in the last year. Am I completely wrong about this issue?

To answer myself: raymano in the faunOS-forum gave me the right hint, I built a LiveUSB with grub, which is only supported on ext2. If you choose isolinux, the USB drive will feature a fat filesystem. Cool 8)

edit: Created a new isolinux bootsplash, hope you like it.
Thats what the bootmenu looks like:
screenshotlarchbootmenuog0.th.png
And here is the bkgd.jpg:
bkgdae6.th.png

Last edited by Sigi (2008-02-02 08:10:37)


Haven't been here in a while. Still rocking Arch. smile

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