FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions about ArchBang

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Below are some common questions people may have about ArchBang


General Questions

Q. What is ArchBang?

A. ArchBang is a simple GNU/Linux rolling release distribution which provides you with a lightweight Arch Linux system combined with the Openbox Window Manager. ArchBang is the brainchild of Willensky Aristide, aka Will X TrEmE. Will's original pre-ArchBang step by step guide for an Arch + Openbox setup can be found at his blog http://willensky.blogspot.com/

Q. Why would I want to use ArchBang?

A. ArchBang is a fast, stable, highly customizable, bleeding edge distro with a low memory footprint. It is ideal for older computers with slower processors and low RAM. On newer PC's and laptops, ArchBang literally flies and who doesn't want a fast computer?

Q. What is the difference between Arch Linux and ArchBang?

A. Arch Linux is an independently-developed i686/x86-64 community distribution, based on a rolling-release model and targeted at competent GNU/Linux users. Arch provides a minimal environment upon installation, (no GUI), compiled for i686/x86-64 architectures. Arch is lightweight, flexible, simple and aims to be very UNIX-like. Its design philosophy and implementation make it easy to extend and mold into whatever kind of system you're building - from a minimalist console machine to the most grandiose and feature rich desktop environments available.

ArchBang is a derivative (spinoff) of ArchLinux using a minimal Arch system and adding the Openbox Window Manager with ArchBang scripts and configuration files. ArchBang is a separate entity to Arch Linux and is in no way affiliated. All Archbang specific questions should be addressed in the ArchBang Forum.

With Arch Linux, there is still a fair amount of post-installation work to be done to build a functional desktop environment once the base Arch system is installed. With ArchBang, the installation includes the base Arch system and Openbox desktop environment and the ArchBang user skips the post installation work to have a functional desktop. This has been a point of contention between Arch and ArchBang.

Q. I'm a Linux noob. Is ArchBang a good distro for me?

A. The straight answer is NO!! You may have difficulties because of driver installation, screen resolution, video cards, sound cards, wifi and other hardware issues, package updates, kernel updates, etc. and your system may break at some time requiring YOU to fix it. If you are a beginner wanting to use ArchBang, just be warned that you must be willing to learn as well as accept the fact that ArchBang is largely a do-it-yourself distribution after installation and designed for someone who is at least an intermediate/competent user. The Arch base system is already assembled for you with an Openbox desktop once your installation is complete. Now it is up to you to learn your system and trust me, you will need to learn your system. Recommended reading before your installation is the Arch Linux Beginner's Guide. The Post Installation section will be of particular importance. If you are looking for pretty GUI's and software centers and the like that come with other distros you may well be disappointed. Please read The Arch Way for an explanation.

Before asking any questions in the Forum, you should do your own independent research by Googling, searching the ArchBang and Arch Linux Wikis and Forums. Demonstrating that you have already tried to solve your problem goes a long way in receiving answers to your questions in Forums. You will not be lead by the hand to solve your problem most of the time but will be given guidance, suggestions and links for you to independently follow up. If this sounds too difficult or unappealing to you then ArchBang is probably not the right distro for you.


Q. I've just installed ArchBang. Now what?

A. Assuming you have connected via wicd or network manager, test your connection by opening a terminal and entering

 $ ping -c 3 google.com

If you have successfully established a network connection, continue with choosing and updating your mirrors if you have not already done so during the original installation. http://www.archlinux.org/mirrorlist/all/ has the latest mirrorlist. Copy the freshly generated list to /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist before you continue.


Use cd to switch to the /etc/pacman.d directory:

 # cd /etc/pacman.d

Backup the existing /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist:

 # cp mirrorlist mirrorlist.backup

Edit mirrorlist.backup and uncomment mirrors within your geographical proximity to test with rankmirrors.:

 # nano mirrorlist.backup

Next, rank the mirrors. Operand -n 6 means only output the 6 fastest mirrors:

 # rankmirrors -n 6 mirrorlist.backup > mirrorlist

Finally, refresh the new fastest mirror's package lists with the command:

 # pacman -Syy

You are now ready to upgrade your entire system.

Sync, refresh, and upgrade your entire new ArchBang system with:

 # pacman -Syu

After you have upgraded your system you can now start adding/deleting packages to customize ArchBang to your taste. You will probably want to check out Common Applications. Enjoy creating your own personalized ArchBang!!

Q. Where is the option to install syslinux instead of GRUB as bootloader on the ArchBang installation?

A. At the moment, there is an option with the Archbang installer to choose syslinux over GRUB2 but you need to use ext 2/3/or 4 with syslinux in ArchBang.

Pacman and Package Management

Q. Pacman is updating very slowly. What's wrong?

A. Your first mirror in your mirrorlist maybe out of sync. See Set Up Your Fastest Mirrors to improve pacman's speed.

Q. An update to package ABC broke my ArchBang system

A. ArchBang is a lightweight, rolling-release, cutting-edge distribution based on Arch Linux with the Openbox Window Manager. Package updates that ArchBang receives from Arch Linux are available as soon as they are deemed stable enough for general use. However, updates may occasionally require user intervention due to configuration files needing to be updated, dependency changes in a package or kernel, packages that require a forced upgrade, etc. You may experience breakage of your system due to these circumstances from time to time, but generally, Arch systems are stable even though cutting-edge.

It is important not to "blindly" update your system. Always read the list of packages to be updated. Note whether "critical" packages are going to be updated (linux, xorg-server, and so on). If so, it is usually a good idea to check for any news at http://bbs.archbang.org and at http://bbs.archlinux.org. Scan recent forum posts to see if people are experiencing problems as a result of an update. If there is no news, then post a question on the appropriate forum and give details as to which updated package(s) broke the system and some details about your system if pertinent to solving the problem. You may need to downgrade packages to restore your system. If you don't have a copy of the downgrade package in your /var/cache/pacman/pkg then you can download the package from http://arm.konnichi.com/. Please remember NOT to post ArchBang support questions on the Arch Linux forum.

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