I love arch and the speed of it. I enjoy reading configuration files and editing them and all around screwing with my install. Yet, most people i know who use computers, see them as a necessary evil, one they have to deal with. I have over the course of the past 2 months, had to set up a few friends and relatives with Linux, either their windows was becoming a pain to manage, they kept using a computer naively and were installing virus and spyware, or they just received some old hardware and wanted to set up a computer for the first time since they were in school. That is awesome for Linux, and i enjoy showing people things and knowing i helped out. Yet, each time, i had to spend way to much time installing, icewm or openbox, then setting up their menu, setting wallpapers, and forgetting about pdf files etc and having to go back, because i wasn't confident that some of them could handle the CLI and things of that nature. So i want to remaster arch, with a WM, Applications, custom menu, folders already pre-fabbed. I just wanted to know if anyone else see's this not as a problem, but maybe an opportunity to fill a niche, that could really get some use. Here is what i have so far in the planning department.
Window Manager - Openbox.
- A light weight, pre configured, desktop, that is fast, but still resembles windows enough to be easy to use from a converted windows users perspective.
I plan to create this look by having tint pre-installed with a config file already present, one set up for light backgrounds, others for dark, telling openbox to give me 15 pixels of free space at the top. This will allow the user a small transparent panel, while allowing them to right click to open the menu. So we take a 'different' look, and make it somewhat friendly with the pseudo panel.
Menu - I would like an installed menu, that only contains single nested entries. (example)
Sound - app1
This allows for easy navigation, but also serves the purpose of making editing it with obmenu a breeze, a new user can easily see 'audio', drop that menu open, and add a new item to it. Its a minor thing, but could really make the menu easier to edit with obmenu for the newbie. I would also want to edit obmenus code, or maybe i can create a script that actually launches obmenu, that backs up the menu file before its edited, that way a newbie can revert back an old config
I would like to program a feh frontend, one that just shows you all the images in a directory (~/.wall) and allows to to select an image, and a style (scaled, tiled etc) and hit apply and will launch a feh --bg-scaled(tiled) /path/to/image
This will overcome the problem a newbie gets when he wants to change the background.
The next thing iwanted to tackle was File Manager. To me, something like gentoo, or emelfm, works best. I might want to waste some resources here, for teh sake of the persons adjustment. First Dual pane isnt popular in windows. Second, i want to easily set up automounting of drives. So i was thinking of using Thunar as a the Filemanager, and have the volume plugin installed from the get go.
Another problem i see is with music. I want this distro to be as light as possible, so i want a command line music player. I see mpd + ncmpc as a very useable lightweight option. The only problem i see is that mpd needs to be set up, so i need to make the mpd file know the name of the proper user and home folder. If this isnt possible to set up, i will have to install cplay from source, as it doesnt need set up.
Web browsing will be with kazehakase, using the script from their wiki to delete history at launch. Mplayer +plugin will allow watching movies in the browser, VLC will handle movies outside of the browser.
xarchive and xpdf will need to be set up already. As will mirage with images. pidgin will be the default IM software, with Xchat installed as well.
P2P is a big deal with users now, so i would want to install nicotine, DC++ and frostwire. Frostwire has java problems, so the correct java will need to be preinstalled. I want the home directory to already be set up with the following folders.
/.wall - for the feh frontend to look for the wallpapers in.
/.torrents so rtorrent knows what folder to watch
/music so mpd or cplay knows where to look for music at
/images for images
/documents for typed files
/files for all other downloads
Email will be handled with Sylpheed. File editing with be with the Open Office suite and Leafpad.Burning is the biggest problem, k3b is by far the best, yet its kde and slow. If i use Hal/Dbus and then use an alternative file manager, maybe i can get bashburn pre setup. Another front end i would like to be able to set up, would do nothing more than edit the gtkrc.mine file, it would be nice to just tell this program, where the icon set is installed, say /home/justin/.icons. selecting that path in the program will edit the line in the gtkrc file to match the one we just selected. That way we are still editing the file for configuration, but the users hand is held somewhat in that they have a GUI to do this task for them.
Can anyone give me more ideas, and maybe want to help out? I know some basic coding, but i don't really know how to turn arch, into a pre configured distro that someone can install. I know their are some other distros out there with openbox etc, but the arch base allows for speed. It also allows this newb distro to be turned into a full fledged distro once that user is more comfortable in linux.