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Arch Linux + XFCE
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XFCE is a lightweight Desktop Environment Which bridges a nice gap between LXDE and GNOME 3 or KDE.
Lightweight environments don’t have to be ugly and you have to give credit to Xubuntu and Lubuntu as well as others for taking a super lightweight environment and creating a thing of beauty for new and old computers alike.
ArchLinux doesn’t add any extras on their installs they leave that to the user. So I can add packages which I find useful and nothing more.
On my list of Must have packages wmctrl for creating keyboard shortcuts for function keys or even resizing windows.
Flashplugin (to watch youtube) as well as the gstreamer plugins for audio support
Exaile Music Player is a lightweight music player which supports playlists and streaming.
Design Tweaks Window Manager Tweaks > Compositor Tab allows for adding shadows and transparencies.
I also added Zukitwo-Dark to style the windows the with a nice muted blue, black and gray.
I added Faenza-Ambiance to replace the tired looking Gnome2 icons with something a little more modern.
Additionally I added the much loved arch linux logo to my Applications menu and a 50% black version
XFCE can take a lot of customization and I think most Gnome2 fans will find it worth the effort because your choices will become unique to your own system.
Lightweight, Fast and and easy to customize
ArchLinux has a learning curve but is worth the effort with XFCE and LXDE both are pretty ugly to start but can be tweaked pumped for both new and old computers alike.
Becuase ArchLinux is so a rolling release distribution that prides itself in being cutting edge you can get a lot of new packages and support for a new system. However, it also requires a little toubleshooting if things don’t work as expected.
If you’re new to ArchLinux I suggest installing ArchBang first and adding XFCE to get everything working a little quicker.
Not a fan of Arch? Well don’t worry XFCE can be found in a nice lightweight easy to install version of Sabayon 7 which is Gentoo based. It’s easy to install and i find it a nice substitute of you don’t care for Xubuntu I rather like both. Xubuntu is currently installed on my old MacBookPro (I like Gwibber what can I say.)