Antergos: First impressions

Much as I’ve enjoyed using Frugalware, my love of all things shiny has led me to start looking around for another rolling release.

Cinnarch was an attempt to combine the Cinnamon desktop with Arch Linux. This never appealed to me as I do like Gnome 3 and have very little interest in Cinnamon (or several other desktops, for that matter). However, Cinnarch has now evolved into Antergos which is more desktop agnostic, providing out of the box support for Gnome, XFCE and Razor-QT. It also, rather nicely includes the Arch official repositories along with the Arch User Repositories along with the distributions own repositories, so the range of available applications is (or should be) huge.

Arch has a reputation for expecting its users to know what they’re doing in order to install it, which is why I’ve avoided it so far. Antergos, on the other hand comes with a nice, simple to use, graphical installer. Even I can cope with pointing and clicking.

It has to be said, that the graphical installer is still very much a work in progress and it did freeze up on me a couple of times. It’s easy enough to restart, though, and once I knew enough to be able to avoid the back button, the process did go very smoothly.

The install itself is very fast indeed and, because I always do this, here is a screenshot of the unmodified desktop.

While many (if not most) distributions seek to give you a full set of applications out of the box, Arch (the distribution on which Antergos is based, in case I didn’t clarify that earlier) seeks to put the user of the system in control of his or her computer. How they do this is explained in The Arch Way, which is worth a read, and the Antergos developers appear to have adopted this while acknowledging a wider range of user competencies.

The result is that, while the install itself is both quick and painless, the number of applications installed out of the box is pretty small. You can see what I mean below.

This is not a problem as I do tend keep going back to the same applications regardless of my operating system. Which means that now is probably a good time to start installing and configuring.

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