ArcoLinux is a distribution based on Arch Linux which was created with the aim of educating people on how to use Linux. It is also a functional distribution that you can install on your machine and use for daily work. This ArcoLinux review explains how it works, who it is for and if it is recommended.
Many distributions like Ubuntu and Fedora have different flavors (mainly different desktop environments) of the same Linux kernel. ArcoLinux, on the other hand, has three different versions – ArcoLinux, ArcoLinuxB and ArcoLinuxD – which meet different needs. The main ArcoLinux comes with all graphical interfaces and all the subtleties, while ArcoLinuxB and ArcoLinux D are minimal distributions that come with a single desktop or none. They are more similar to Arch Linux and are designed to help users learn more about Linux so that they can manage a more command-line experience in Arch Linux.
This ArcoLinux review focuses on the ArcoLinux ISO.
The ArcoLinux ISO has a size of 2.1 GB. It is not a small ISO and requires a 4 GB USB disk (if you are creating a Linux Live USB).
Usually with Arch Linux you will need to be comfortable with the command line as you have to perform all of the steps from the command line.
With ArcoLinux, the entire installation process is carried out with Calamares, a universal installation framework.
Following the on-screen instructions, click “Run GParted” to delete and create your partitions. You should, however, know how to use GParted, as there are no instructions on how to resize your hard drive. Once the partitioning is complete, exit GParted to return to the main screen and click on “Execute Calamares” to start the installation of ArcoLinux.
The first step in the installation is your choice of kernel. There are different kernels to choose from, and you need to select based on your GPU chipset.
Then, it prompts you to select the communication tool you want to include in the office. Software like Slack, Skype, Teamviewer, Zoom, etc. are available.
The following screens are selections of software from different categories. There are just too many options that can be overwhelming for a beginner.
The final screens involve selecting your location, keyboard layout and partitioning. If you don’t know what to do in the GParted screen earlier, this partitioning screen provides options on how to manage your partition.
Generally, the installation process is easy and smooth, but there are a little too many options for choosing the components and applications you want to install. It’s practical but it was a bit overwhelming for me.
It seems to me that if it’s easier to just install the basics, then worry about installing more apps after the installation is complete.
Desktops and programs included
The default installation of ArcoLinux is supplied with Xfce, Openbox and i3. You can select the desktop environment / window manager in which to boot.
ArcoLinux includes several default applications. For example, Conky displays information such as processor statistics and your battery status on the desktop.
Plank is the default dock in Elementary OS.
It is also easy to install any additional software you may need. Just go to the settings and select “Add / Remove Software”.
It is difficult to assess the performance of a Linux distribution, as it is highly dependent on your hardware and the underlying software. All Xfce, Openbox and i3 are known to be lightweight, so it’s not surprising to see that ArcoLinux uses only about nine percent of the available memory and five percent of the CPU during inactivity.
With multiple videos playing, memory usage was 31% and processor usage hovered around 50%. I was still able to use Inkscape comfortably, but it could have been difficult if I had tried to do a lot more, as I noticed that the CPU had reached 90%.
Just to clarify, I installed ArcoLinux on a virtual machine with 4 GB of RAM, 1 CPU and 15 GB of storage space. This meets the requirements you need for comfortable performance.
User-friendliness and appearance
In general, ArcoLinux has a dark theme by default. It looks modern and looks smooth and streamlined. You can also spice things up by displaying widgets with Conky, which installs with ArcoLinux.
ArcoLinux’s goal of “educating users on Linux” is primarily about installing software and packages, not using the desktop. I would appreciate more if they provided on-screen tutorials on how to use Xfce, Openbox or i3. While the ability to select (tons) of apps during installation is good, it can be overwhelming for beginners.
Meanwhile, you can discover some of the best distributions based on Arch Linux.
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