So in my previous release blog post I made mention that 2017.09 was probably our last major release for the year…….I told porkies…..
2017.10 was going to be just an ISO refresh as Arch has just released one themselves but as it happens, when you are chipping away at settings and configs, they take on a life of their own. We decided that we had added too many cool things and tweaked enough that to call 2017.10 a mere “refresh” wasn’t really a fair description or representation.
But, before I carry on about the new release I would like to welcome to the ArchLabs team as a collaborator, Josiah Ward. He brings with him a ton of Linux knowledge. Josiah is a part of the Revenge distro and was kind enough to help us out with a few things.
Also, a shout out to our friend Jody James. His health isn’t the best and we wish him a full and quick recovery. A great guy who really deserves the support. Get well soon Jody!
A major change is the move to the LTS Kernel, hopefully this will provide us with even further stability as there are less frequent updates and changes to the LTS as opposed to the latest kernel.
Another major change is the repackaging of ArchLabs specific packages. These have been signed with our GPG signatures and keyring and added to our own ArchLabs repository. Pacman will still update these packages as normal. This aids in reinstall time as you will no longer have to rely on any AUR packages on a fresh install.
Calamares has been updated to the latest version, this brings a new User creation section, fixes and improvements to language, locale and keyboard support.
In this release, we have a brand new greeter, originally from this post at /r/unixporn. You’re going to have to either turn off autologin or logout to check it out!
Two new default themes have been created from the Base16 colours Ocean-Dark and Ocean-Light. Aptly named ArchLabs-Dark and ArchLabs-Light. On the topic of themes, Geany, Termite and Tint2 have all been given a consistent look in keeping of your preferred AL theme.
To complement the new GTK/OB themes we have also added two default icon themes. Combining as our icon themes ArchLabs-Dark and ArchLabs-Light are Paper and Papirus! Thank you to the amazing original creators.
i3lock-fancy is still our lockscreen and still has the very cool blurring effect when locked
Polybar has gone under some massive changes. Rather than your default config being a rabbit warren of modules and colours and configs it is now a very basic config, hardlinked to two seperate config files, master.conf and modules.conf. This keeps everything nice and tidy.
Another excellent addition to the desktop is the workspace switching. Basically what happens is when you open say Thunar, you are taken straight to the folders desktop. Open Geany and you are beamed over to the editors desktop! If you get lost middle mouse click the desktop to bring up a quicklist of the desktops and open windows.
The Al-Hello welcome script has had some extra loving, XFCE4, BSPWM and Awesome WM have been added as additional post install options.
Added to the obmenu is a new entry, the panel switcher. With this super handy utility you can switch between Polybar or Tint2 with ease. Epic work from Nate and Josiah there.
All of our scripts and programs are setup by default including polybar, compton, tint2, and conky editors, no need to mess around once installed. Just get straight into whatever it is you do on your computer.
Opensnap has also been included. This brings a Windows Aero styled snapping to windows. Once snapped and you want to return the window to its original state, just mouse click the title bar and drag! Job done.
I’m not going to say what it is but there is a bit of an Easter Egg in there for you i3wm users. It’s not enabled by default but if you know what you are doing you should be okay. Dig around the configs to see what you can find.
Feel free to post at the forum with your screenshots when you find it! We look forward to seeing the results!
Touchpad handling has also been improved with more feature being enabled by default for you laptop users out there.
You can download ArchLabs 2017.10 from our Sourceforge page, any bugs or issues, please post them at the forum. One thread per bug please. Click the logo below to take you to the download page.
We are still on the hunt for translators so if you can fluently speak another language and would like to get involved, please send us a message.
Thanks for checking out this release. We hope you love it!
A special mention to Nate on this release, he has been nothing short of brilliant. His skill and willingness to leard never fails to impress me, really glad to have you on the team!
Matt, Nate, Brett, Rajat and Hari