While there are many distributions that claim to be lightweight, today’s release of ArchBang Linux 0107-beta represents something that can truly use that term to mean something. It doesn’t use a desktop environment the way that most modern distros do, but rather bases the entire system around Openbox and underlying Arch Linux-based packages.
Some people have brought up the fact that Openbox is somehow dated because it hasn’t received updates in quite a long time. They’ve often mentioned how it seemed that development on Openbox has slowed, but ArchBang doesn’t seem stuck in the past at all.
Openbox is actually a mature software project and is extremely stable, which means that development hasn’t stalled at all. Rather, there aren’t nearly as many known bugs that need correcting. In fact, Openbox is more customizable than the other *box-based window managers, and it’s even the default WM for LXDE and LXQt-based GNU/Linux distros.
ArchBang actually isn’t tethered to legacy hardware at all considering that it only provides builds for the x86_64 architecture. This makes the newest version particularly suitable for high performance use on modern laptops that might have weaker 64-bit processors, at least once 0107-beta turns into a stable ISO file.
Some users have been critical of Arch Linux itself in the past. They praise the stability that a working Arch installation provides, but many people have said that they’ve had difficulty installing the distribution. ArchBang’s new ISO installs very quickly and doesn’t seem to have the installation issues that the parent distro is sometimes known for.
Users are naturally encouraged to test the beta ISO and provide detailed reports about their experience with it. As soon as it gets a general release, the latest ISO will still grant the same flexibility Arch does by allowing users to edit configuration files directly.
Naturally, those who want to try ArchBang right now don’t have to wait at all. It’s a rolling release like Arch is, so as soon as they update their machines users will be able to enjoy the latest version of the operating system regardless of which install media they used to configure it. This takes the headaches out of calculating release dates as well.