Installing Arco Linux B – Step by Step

This article was last updated on Monday, March 30th.
Changes
Originally, I set out to document the installation process of ArcoLinux B which is a slimmer version of the full distribution which, by default, includes Openbox and the i3 tiling window manager in addition to XFCE which is the one I am actually using.
If you have never heard of ArcoLinux then you are in for a treat. For freelance web and graphics designers, ArcoLinux is by far the best operating system you can get your hands on.

ArcoLinux website link: https://arcolinux.com/

Disclaimer

Although I test and double check the eBook contents constantly, I do not take any responsibility if you experience data loss by following my instructions. Please evaluate the steps before you perform them.

About me

I am the creative director at the Little Composers School of Music and Composition which is located in Vancouver Canada. I specialize in web and graphics design which is extremely demanding because we constantly develop new software which needs documentation and explainer videos. In short, it’s a huge job but manageable with the help of opensource software running on the best Linux distribution available in 2020.

Arco Linux B – Because Less is More

PLEASE note that the index listed below is a work in progress. The list points which are linked contain the actual instructions. I will illustrate all of the steps and once others have tested and provided feedback, present the final result in a FREE downloadable eBook.

Introduction

Chapter I : Install

  1. Download and verify the ISO
  2. How to create an Arco Linux B bootable USB stick
    When done, you have a ready-to-use USB stick
  3. Boot Arco Linux B
    Explains all the steps to boot ArcoLinux B
  4. Partition the hard drive
    Covers preparing the hard drive
  5. Install Arco Linux B
    Actual install of ArcoLinux B

Chapter II : Configure

  1. Firewall
    Installation and configuration
  2. Update (x2)
    Everything you need to know about updating
  3. Wallpaper
    Personalize ArcoLinux B
  4. Firefox
    Preferences, uBlock Origin and bookmarks
  5. Reboot
  6. Check firewall status
    Make sure that the ufw is running after rebooting
  7. Package management (optional)
    Remove Wallapapers arcolinux-wallpapers-git 20.2-1 arcolinux_repo
    variety (wallpaper changer)
    , sardi, breeze icons and arcolinux-arc-themes (over 200 Meg)
    Install: firejail (sandbox), pwgen
  8. Configure Libre Office Fresh
    Fix spell checking and icons

Chapter III : Settings Manager

  1. SAMBA Local Network Setup (optional)
    Connect all of your computers to see each other
  2. Configure Plank
    Settings > Session and Startup > Application Autostart
    + Add Dock – command = plank (trigger “on login”) > OK
  3. Configure panel
    Move to top, add items: CPU Graph and Network Monitor
  4. Install a new theme
    To get the polished OS X look, I download and insteall the best XFCE theme I know of
  5. Install matching icons
preview home directory icons
Image 1 Preview of my home directory after installing new icon theme

Timeshift

After I am finished with all of the tweaks and configurations, it is time to back up the system with Timeshift. For working professionals, backups are more important than the actual work because losing content is extremely costly.

Grsync

While Timeshift protects the integrity of the operating system, Grsync handles the task of copying everything I create to an external drive. Without Grsync, data backups would be a full-time job. Last but not least, unlike me, Grsync does not forget anything.

The image below illustrates the external backup drives. Everything that is important is stored on those drives. In rare cases, Timeshift can not restore the system. If that happens, then I reinstall and import all of my backups and configuration settings which takes about 20 minutes tops.

computer setup diagram
Image 2 Setup diagram

Bonus chapter

There are a ton of software out there but I only install what I need for my work. Here is what I use on a daily basis for CAD, graphics and web design. Please note that web design required audio and video creation and much more.

plank dock icons final arrangement
Image 3 Here is a screenshot of my dock to give you a better idea of the final result.

My graphics workstation is loaded with the following apps:

  • Thunar
    File browser and much more
  • Terminal
    The heart of my operation
    *xfce4-terminal –drop-down shortcut F12 > Pause
  • USB Writer
    Reliably writes iso files to USB sticks
  • Timeshift
    Automated system back ups
  • Grsync
    Backs up data to external drives
  • Reaper
    Full-blown DAW plus Audacity for fast edits
  • Blender > FreeCAD
    The best free 3D suite
    *Change drop-down terminal shortcut to Pause
  • FreeCAD > 3D Printer
    Precision drafting and exporting to CURA
  • Screenshot
    Documenting software would be hard without this utility
  • Gimp
    The best of the best for web and gfx design
  • LibreOffice Writer
    The best office suite for Linux
  • Calibre
    Custom install via terminal
    sudo -v && wget -nv -O- https://download.calibre-ebook.com/linux-installer.sh | sudo sh /dev/stdin
  • Firefox
    I don’t want to feed the trackers and Firefox assists me nicely in this task

On a different machine, I run:

  • Thunderbird handles all of my email needs
  • Shotcut is a very capable video editor for editing YouTube content
  • OBS Studio or SimpleScreenRecorder are amazing choices for making explainer videos
  • SublimeText3 which is my to-to text editor.

Besides the software already listed, I make heavy use of the terminal.
Here are a few must-know goodies:

There are many more utilities that run in the terminal. In time, I will augment the list with the ones I use like shh and many many more.


arcolinux ebook libreoffice
Image 4 LibreOffice screenshot

If you have read this far then please know that right now, I am working on the individual chapters which I am planning on publishing as a free eBook. This will take some time but I’ll update on a daily basis and link entries as they become available.

If you have questions, suggestions and recommendations of what else to include please post below. I will evaluate each comment and implement everything as best I can.

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