ArcoLinux — An Unrehearsed One Minute Review

So today (May 20th 2022) the ArcoLinux team lead hit and run the DLN Chattiverse matrix room to announce new stuff and boasted about 30 ISO images. I decided to review.

I downloaded the IceWM ArcoLinuxB iso, completely at random.

I ran the 100% offline install (nice!) which, despite warning me about potential missing features, installed flawlessly.

(Start the 1 minute review timer)

Upon reboot sudo pacman -Syu failed.

Ok. (Pause 1 minute timer)

So a minor setback so I tried no.

Not one to be daunted by two minor setbacks, I tried something else.

This magic set of answers brought me further. As soon as we update and reboot I’ll restart the 1 minute timer.

I ran into a PGP error. Since I’m in a throwaway VM I just imported the unknown PGP key by selecting Y. This brought me to the classic and beloved all these packages are corrupted error.

As you can see I then manually updated the Arch Linux keyring package. I retried the update with my magic answers.

Updates seemed to work so reboot time and login, launch terminal, and resume the timer.

A quick pacman -Sl *reponame* | grep installed shows that there are 83 extra non-Arch default packages installed 41 from the arcolinux_repo_3party repo and 42 from the arcolinux_repo. This is probably my least favorite thing about Arch Linux derivatives and so-called installers. I’m not sure how all these extra installed packages further the agenda of helping people learn how to use Linux but hard drive space is there to spare these days and they can just sit there without bothering anyone.

neofetch is launched by default when you open the terminal, just in case you forget what distribution you’re running, and it is reporting that the IceWM spin is using 434 MiB idle. top says 415.1 MiB used. This seems much but probably isn’t.

OK, so the desktop theming itself is very nice looking. It’s got a little kind of dark mode thing going on which people like. I like the cursors and you can select motif as a theme. :100:

It looks like it comes with a variety of apps alacritty never launched for me but as I dictate this I realize it probably won’t in the VM.

What else? It’s Arch-based so it has all the Arch stuff.

I installed LibreOffice and it didn’t play well with the theming but I was able to manually select LibreOffice Dark and a Dark icon set.

Timer dings. That’s what it is.

Patrick’s Arch-based distribution Builder Tweaks Withheld (BTW) Rating:

This rates about how much vanilla Arch still exists in a particular build. So, on a scale from Borked (0%) to Arch (100%), could you remove all the non-Arch packages (pacman -Rns *all non-arch packages*) and repositories, reset pacman and associated conf files, replace wanted packages which were removed during the scorched earth removal with their vanilla counterparts, and still boot into a usable, ostensibly vanilla, Arch Linux system?

Yes but there are a bunch of artifacts left by (mainly theming) packages I know were removed. Also whatever IceWM was using for it’s Application menu is missing, probably an easy fix.

Also libpamac-full and pamac seemed to be installed on Arco but not from a repository. I’m sure this is just my poor reading comprehension and not anything real.

BTW score: ★ ★ ★ ☆ (3 out of 4 stars)

Review, in short:

  • I liked the themes, and the cool SDDM theme.
  • It’s just another Arch with opinions and that is okay.
  • I’m not sure why we need Pamac, yay, and paru installed by default.
  • I’m not sure exactly who this is for and how this furthers the mission of teaching somebody Linux.
  • I love the offline installers. It is kind of nice to have around even if the claim of 30 isos as a selling point sounds kind of dumb.

Score: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ (2 out of four stars) — ArcoLinux is an okay Arch-based distribution with a variety of offline capable installers and nothing new to the table. Targeted to new users but somewhat confounding to navigate. The project website and welcome screen reflects this as well.


love the hostname

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This is a no-go. I guess some small distributions are not really well crafted.

Thank you for the review.

I still think people should install Arch if they really want and the only derivative that I like is Endeavour. But more choice, why not, 30 isos! Also I never was an Arch fan to begin with, so I am not the target group.