14 Nov 2017

Antergos 17.11 – the Antagonist

Arch is one of the core distributions that became the base for many offspings. The reason is that installation and basic configuration of Arch is not so simple. Off-springs simplify that. Manjaro is currently one of the most famous distributions as per the Distrowatch list. There was also CTK Arch.

Antergos is an operating system that has Arch as its predecessor too. This is a rolling release distribution, which means that updates come directly to the OS.

The most recent version, Antergos 17.11, was released in November 2017. The ISO image of this Linux operating system is about 1.9 GB in size and available to download from the site or via torrent. The minimal ISO is also available.

I downloaded the ISO image and burnt it to my USB stick using the dd command.

The USB stick is in the port of my laptop Dell Inspirion 17. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!


Booting up

Once the boot process of Antergos 17.11 starts, you have a choice between booting from your HDD, booting in Live mode, and booting without graphical environment. This screen also allows you to choose keyboard layout and screen resolution.

I selected the second option, Live boot, and soon I landed onto the desktop again, but there was still another question between the Live and Install modes. The pop-up message at the top of the screen informed me that I need an Internet connection in order to install Antergos. In any case, I was planning to use Antergos in Live mode, so clicked the Try button.

The web site of Antergos announces that the ISO image contains 6 different desktop environments, however I have not found the way to choose my DE in Live mode. The choice is apparently made during the installation process.

First impressions

Antergos 17.11 by default boots into the GNOME 3 standard desktop. It is version GNOME 3.26.
Antergos 17.11 welcome screen
There is a panel at the top with an Activities button and the active application name on the left, clocks in the middle and notification area on the right. That notification area only contains network, volume and battery indicators. All the other elements, including the reboot / shutdown buttons, Settings, user log out and some more are hidden in the drop-down menu.

There is a dock / panel on the left that disappears when not in use. It contains buttons for Cnchi (Antergos installer), file manager, Chromium, Pidgin and Music player. Of course, there is a Menu (Show Applications) button.

As usual, the right panel with a list of virtual desktops appears in Activities mode, together with the previews of active applications.

The default wallpaper is a photo of grass, and there are couple dozen alternative images available out of the box. Some of these images are really nice while others are questionable.
Antergos 17.11 resources

The freshly booted system took 1.2 Gb of memory, which is way too much in my opinion. It even beats Ubuntu 17.10.

Network Connection

Antergos 17.11 correctly recognized and configured the Intel-based wireless network card of my laptop. I only had to make four clicks (sic!) before seeing my network name in the list and being able to enter the password for it. Just a usual GNOME 3 blunder, nothing unusual here.

Keyboard layout

Even though I selected English UK keyboard layout on the boot screen, Antergos 17.11 booted with English US layout. If you want to change the layout, you need to go the the Region and Language section of the Settings panel. Here you can add or remove layouts.

The switch shortkey is configured in the Devices - Keyboard section of the Settings Panel. As usual in GNOME 3, you need to use at least one "real" key for the shortkey combination, so my favourite Ctrl-Shift was out of the question.

Multimedia

Antergos 17.11 comes with necessary codecs to play MP3 and video files.
Videos from YouTube, Vimeo played well in Chromium browser too.

Antergos 17.11 multimedia
It means that at least all your multimedia activities can start in this operating system without any additional installations or configuration.

Applications

GNOME 3 desktop environment in Antergos 17.11 Live session does not provide any grouping of applications in the Applications List. The list itself is not too large although.
Chromium 62 is default and the only available browser. There are also Transmission torrent client, Polari IRC client and Pidgin internet messenger.

There is no productivity tools in the default distribution. That is frustrating to say the least.

Multimedia tools include Music and Video players from GNOME set of applications, Brasero disk burning utility and Cheese webcam.

Of course, there are standard utilities like Calculator, text editor, screenshot and so on.
There are some applications that are not listed in most other distributions: Avahi SSH and VNC servers, dconf editor, Qt test utility etc. Do you often use them? How many other users do? Why are these applications in the menu while Libreoffice or at least Abiword is missing?

There are two separate applications in the menu for updates and for software management.

Just to see the applications available in the repositories, I started the Software Management tool and searched there. Here are some results:

  • LibreOffice - yes
  • Skype - no
  • Firefox - yes
  • Thunderbird - yes
  • Kdenlive - yes
  • VLC - yes
  • Kazam - no
  • Openjdk 7, 8 and 9 - yes

As you can see, the results are rather mixed. From the positive side, Antergos supports AUR packages from other Arch-based distributions, so you may have luck in finding the applications you need.

I tried to install VLC player from the repositories. The installer listed another dozen of dependent packages. The installation process was very quick and soon VLC appeared in the application list. However, all my attempts to use VLC failed. It simply did not start.

Conclusion

Antergos shares the same roots with Manjaro. Both these distributions are in the Top 5 of Distrowatch list. However, my feelings from these operating systems are very different.
I liked Manjaro very much, and I felt disappointed by Antergos.

To certain extent, the disappointment was due to GNOME 3 desktop environment being used by default. I still dislike it, and it goes against my workflow. But there are some very Antergos-specific "features" that made me frown. Just to name a few: absence of office software in the default distribution, problem with software installation, huge memory usage.

Manjaro and Antergos. Such close brothers, so much difference.

Do you want to try Antergos yourself? You can order your disk from BuyLinuxCDs.co.uk web site, and it will be delivered to your mailbox.

Video used on screenshot https://vimeo.com/125573350

13 comments:

  1. I haven't tried Antergos with GNOME, but the distro used to be called CinnArch, so I tried it with the Cinnamon desktop. It worked pretty well, and I liked the fact that I could choose from LTS or Mainline kernels. Not as many kernel choices as Manjaro (my favorite), but more choice than most.

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  2. Antergos use the Arch repositories and not much costumized.

    Manjaro (which i use since 2 years) has it's own repositories with little bit customization. Updates are more stables (more tested)...

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    1. Yes, I agree that Antergos is not so much customised and too rough...

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  3. The main strength of Antergos is possibility to choose from many different desktops during install time so your argument is not valid - they had to use some desktop in Live session but then the choice is yours.

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    1. Thanks for the confirmation of my thoughts. I suspected that the choice is available at the install time.

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    2. You're reviewing a distribution that you haven't even installed?

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    3. You really have to install it with your chosen DE to appreciate Antergos. I installed it with KDE and it works flawlessly, the best Plasma desktop by far.

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    4. I will really welcome your guest post about this topic on my blog.

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  4. VLC doesn't work (yet) under Wayland ... that's it:) your Antergos live cd does.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the update! Really appreciate it!

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  5. DarkDuck, yet, I suppose its possible to run VLC from Antergos live CD. Logout, chose Xserver option @ Lightdm screen, log in again and you may me ok.

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