Photo: Jack Wallen
Photo: Jack Wallen
Arch linux It is well known not only for being incredibly stable but also for being more challenging than many other distros. For this reason, many developers (and teams of developers) have tried to make Arch accessible to those without years of Linux experience.
One of the latest distros to attempt this feat is Crystal Linux. This new distribution not only helps make Arch Linux easier, but also introduces some tweaks to the GNOME desktop using a user interface that the developers have dubbed Onyx. Onyx integrates the GNOME Dash To Dock extension to help make the GNOME desktop environment more palatable for users who might be leaving the Windows desktop operating system.
Crystal Linux includes automatic backups (via Btrfs snapshots), zRAM support, and a Pacman file, called Amethyst, which makes installing applications from the command line even easier. You can also download different versions of Crystal Linux, each with a different desktop environment, such as:
- onyx (default)
- KDE Plasma
I downloaded a virtual version of Crystal Linux and ran around to see what all the fuss was about and came up with a mixed set of conclusions. Let’s see how it performed.
What’s good about Crystal Linux
One of the things I appreciate about Crystal Linux is that it installs as little software as possible. Because of this, I can install only what I want on the operating system and not have to worry about removing a bunch of programs that I won’t use.
This default list of Crystal Linux programs is really just bare bones. Out of the box you will find:
- fire fox
- Gnome weather
- gnome tablets
- Disk Usage Analyzer
- Document Viewer
- time change
This is pretty much the bulk of user-facing applications. Fortunately, there is an Amethyst wrapper for Pacman’s package manager (which isn’t as easy to use as apt or dnf). For example, if I wanted to install the LibreOffice office suite from the command line with Pacman, this command would be:
sudo pacman -S libreoffice
No, it is not difficult to operate it. But when it’s time to upgrade, you’re looking to remember:
Installing LibreOffice with Amethyst looks like this:
Note that there is no use of sudo with a file Mom ordering. This is by design, because running the command with root privileges could cause it to crash. Should the Mom The command requires sudo privileges, it will prompt you when necessary.
Another thing I can appreciate with Crystal Linux is the use of the Dock To Dash. However, that comes with a caveat. Out of the box, the Dock to Dash is installed, but not enabled. Fortunately, it is very easy to open the extension tool and click the ON/OFF slider for Dash To Panel to have it on.