About aleph.gr

Yesterday, a friend of mine told me that my posts here are targeted to a very limited audience and most of the people don’t understand them. So… what am I really talking about for things like Linux, Antergos, GNOME, DE etc. ? Plus a bump to my first post here.

First of all, most of my posts are related to my time using Linux. What is Linux ?

Quote from the Wikipedia article :

Linux is a Unix-like and mostly POSIX-compliant computer operating system (OS) assembled under the model of free and open-source software development and distribution. The defining component of Linux is the Linux kernel,[13] an operating system kernel first released on 5 October 1991 by Linus Torvalds.

Essentially is a collection of layers over the Linux kernel that provide the end-user with a usable environment for the use of his/her computer. Due to the open nature of Linux, each user (or group of users) took the opportunity of creating their own custom Operating Systems (called Distributions) resulting to a plurality of choices on all the aspects of computing.

The most known Distributions, that spearhead Linux’s development are Debian, Arch, Ubuntu (currently based on Debian), OpenSUSE, Red Hat Linux, CentOS. Each one of them targeted to different audiences.

A Distribution should not be confused with a D(esktop) E(nvironment). A DE is – quote from the Wikipedia article again – :

In computing, a desktop environment (DE) is an implementation of the desktop metaphor made of a bundle of programs running on top of a computer operating system, which share a common graphical user interface (GUI).

The biggest DEs on Linux are GNOME and KDE, with forks of them like Cinnamon, MATE, Unity (Ubuntu only), having a big user base.

Most of my posts are about me using Antergos Linux – my favorite Distribution – and messing with some Desktop Environments (Cinnamon earlier, GNOME now), getting to know ways of customizing them, using new software, being happy for not destroying my machines etc.

Later… Getting to know Antergos Linux!

System consistency

I have been using Cinnamon as my primary Desktop Environment for some time now, and believe it to be the one that fits my needs the most. The only thing that puts me off sometimes, is that being GTK based, it has a lot of its’ core applications based off GNOME, which now uses client side decorations, like the following :

gedit's client side decoration

gedit’s client side decoration

But what I want is a uniform style for all the apps, which uses classic titlebar like GNOME terminal’s :

GNOME Terminal uses the classic title bar

GNOME Terminal uses the classic title bar

When I installed my new system, after tweaking some of it’s features (swappiness, vfs_cache_pressure and more) I removed some of the non essential applications (bijiben aka GNOME Notes, gnome-photos and gnome-music – plus pidgin and cmake). Now on my system are the following applications that need De-GNOMifying with their respective alternatives (?) :

CSD Apps Alternatives
gnome-disks (Disks) gParted
evince (Document Viewer) ePDFview
gedit (gedit) Leafpad
gnome-screenshot (Screenshot) ?
gnome-calculator (Calculator) ?
totem (Videos) VLC
eog (Image Viewer) Viewnior

My only “concern” is that VLC installed qt4 as a dependency. I removed baobab because everything it shows, I can also see it from the command line. Now the only two applications sporting CSD are gnome-screenshot and gnome-calculator. My / partition uses 5Gb of space for the whole OS and applications and startup finished in 2.195s (firmware) + 1.403s (loader) + 4.250s (kernel) + 1.191s (userspace) = 9.041s

There..and back again

Distrohopping sessions are over…and we are back to Antergos Cinnamon! Why is that? My distrohopping was mainly targeted to migrating to a *big* Desktop Environment like GNOME and KDE. The reason behind it was that there is a focus from developers to creating applications for these two DEs.

But GNOME has a more touch focused environment with the Activities overview and the design of its’ core applications. It feels like a DE for use on handhelds (Phones and Tablets) rather than a Keyboard and Mouse centric Interface. Because of this (I think), GNOME is not tweak-friendly, on the contrary it is made to work as provided, and the Add-ons are not enough. Non-GTK apps all fell out of place, due to the presence of the headerbar on all GNOME Apps. Plus : the drawer for non compatible apps…What THE HELL?? Who thought that was a good idea?

KDE on the other hand, is made to be tweaked with, to the point that it is overwhelming. Also it is bloated with applications… and for me, a self-proclaimed minimalist, it is an application nightmare trying to sort them out. For all my tenure on Linuxland I have been using GTK applications and Desktops so all QT apps feel a bit strange to me. Plus : KDE was so crash prone all the time I used it, it was one more reason that put me off using it.

So Cinnamon, which is in the middle between GNOME‘s simplicity and KDE‘s bloated-desktop oriented nature, feels like the perfect solution. And what better Linux distribution than an Arch based, mostly vanilla, distribution? Always up to date, every piece of software on the tip of your hands – through AUR – and easy to install.

The installation procedure with Cnchi (Antergos’s installer) was a breeze, my steps can be seen on the slideshow below :

Synapse Setup :

  • Operating System : Antergos
  • Desktop Environment : Cinnamon
  • HDD Partition :
UEFI Boot (/boot/efi) 512mb
System (/) 46gb
Storage (/home) 80gb
Swap 2gb
  • Extra Features : AUR / Bluetooth Support / Samba / LibreOffice / Firefox (over Chromium)

The installation process took roughly around 20 minutes (configuration / partitioning / package downloading). My first boot time (by the systemd-analyze command) : Startup finished in 2.055s (firmware) + 1.458s (loader) + 4.254s (kernel ) + 1.618s (userspace) = 9.387s

So we are back on our “Shire“… Let’s see how it goes this time around.

Synapse Tweaking (November ’15 edition)

It is this time of the month to show my monthly tweaking. This time I didn’t do any radical changes, still Antergos Cinnamon, based on the Arc theme and the Papirus icon-pack. Other than the icons, I also added conky with the conky-lua-Arch theme, modified to integrate with my desktop’s colors.

Cinnamon Desktop :

Desktop View

Desktop View

Menu View (tweaked a bit with alternative system buttons) :

Main Menu

Main Menu

Antergos is working perfectly, updated daily. The only thing worth mention, is that the system partition (/) has slightly increased, from 4,7Gb to 5Gb. All in all, another smooth month.

P.S : I’m intrigued to check out OpenSuse‘s Leap edition.

Synapse Tweaking (October ’15 edition)

My new theme of Antergos Cinnamon, based on the Arc theme and the Moka icon-pack.

Cinnamon Desktop :


Main Menu :


Calendar Applet :


Nemo :


Gnome Terminal :


Network Connections :

Network Switches

With some slight modifications on the .css files and the icon pack, Cinnamon feels more modern now. A couple of glitches will be sorted when I find time.

Tweaking, theming and playing with Cinnamon has, kind of, made me reconsider distro-DE-hopping as I have blogged here.

Antergos is here to stay, for now!