Devlog

Arch Linux

Arch Linux is really a great desktop distribution, especially for older hardware like my Asus Eee pc 1015PEM netbook. Windows 7, the OS originally installed on this netbook, is very slow and even Xubuntu is not very fast, though faster than Windows 7.

To install the distribution you have to execute some commands in the terminal so if you want a GUI installation, then Arch Linux is not for you. But as the documentation of Arch Linux is very good, the installation went without a hitch.

After installing you have a minimal Linux distribution. These are the things I normally do to make it a nice and fast desktop environment. Most of these things are not only related to Arch Linux but more to Linux in general, but as I use Arch Linux and most other distributions have more automatically ways of doing things, I guess Arch Linux users will mostly come here 🙂

Wifi

Also see the Arch Wiki Wifi page.

To see your interfaces:

ip link

To bring up one interface:

ip link set [interface] up

View status of interface:

iw dev [interface] link

To scan:

iw dev [interface] scan | less

To connect to an open network:

iw dev [interface] connect [SSID]

To connect to a WEP network:

iw dev [interface] connect [SSID]
  key 0:[KEY]

To connect to a WPA/WPA2 network:

wpa_supplicant -B -i [interface]
  -c <(wpa_passphrase “[SSID]” “[KEY]”)

To retrieve an IP address:

dhcpcd [interface]

Instead of manually enter the SSID and KEY, you can also make a config file and feed that to wpa_supplicant. Because the dhcpd deamon looks for a /etc/wpa_supplicant config file, you need to delete this if you want to use your own. I usually create my own config file in /etc/wpa_supplicant/mywifi.conf and use it like this:

wpa_supplicant -B -i [interface]
  -c /etc/wpa_supplicant/mywifi.conf

To add other SSIDs and KEYS to it, use:

wpa_passphrase [SSID] [PASSPHRASE]
  >> /etc/wpa_supplicant/mywifi.conf

The mywifi.conf file will look something like:

network={
  ssid="ssid1"
  #psk="password"
  psk=717d514e1ce1c53bdc...
}
network={
 ssid="ssid2"
 #psk="password"
 psk=0679fccae88b78eb7a93e...
}
network={
 ssid="ssid3"
 #psk="password"
 psk=868f43b66c15391a8073078cf5...
}

The deamon will connect to the first match in this file!

Openbox

Openbox is a lightweight but user friendly desktop manager. It has no toolbar and desktop icons, but it has a dock in which you can display widgets like the simple clock lal that I added to the ~/.config/openbox/autostart file so it sits on the desktop after openbox started. My autostart file looks like this:

lal -c black &
lxterminal &

UTF8

Sometimes when I copy mp3 files from Windows to my Linux distro, the fonts look like rubbish. Mostly this means an encoding error, because Linux uses UTF8 by default and Windows some ISO… thing.

To convert these rubbish fonts I use:

convmv -f cp1252 -t utf8 -r * --notest

Redshift

Redshift is an application that can control the color temperature of your screen, so you can work in the dark without hurting your eyes. Also good if you have sleep problems 🙂

There are many options that can be set, like the geolocation position etc. But I use it manual to make the light on my screen colder when I need it:

redshift -t 1200:1200

Ssh

To be able to connect I did copy my private and public keys over to the .ssh directory, but still no luck. I had to do the following things:

  • Make sure the permissions where set to 700 to the keys
  • I had to create the config file with the following content:
Host *
    PubkeyAcceptedKeyTypes ssh-dss*,ssh-rsa*

After that everything went okay.

Systemd

Systemd is the default system manager of Arch Linux. To start and stop services like Apache and MySQL, use the systemctl command:

systemctl start mysqld.service
systemctl start httpd.service

Small screens

To decrease the default zoom level for Firefox, you can set 2 settings:

layout.css.devPixelsPerPx

If you want to manually set a zoom level but want to make it count for every page you visit instead of setting it for each tab:

browser.zoom.siteSpecific

Applications

Some nice applications that I use:

  • cmus is a command line music player
  • lxappearance
  • lxterminal
  • rox (filemanager)
  • mupdf is a lightweight PDF viewer
  • lftp is a command line FTP client
  • mpv is lightweight movie player
  • textadept
  • vim
  • With Kega Fusion you can play old classic Sega games (like Sonic and Road Rash). The ROMs can be downloaded from CoolRom.