Arch Linux is well known for being one of the most complicated distributions out there. Although not on the level of difficulty of Gentoo, Arch poses many challenges for those new to the world of Linux.
However, several developers in the Linux community have seen what the combination of Arch and a user-friendly experience can deliver. Since that time, there have been many Arch spin-offs aimed at making the distribution accessible to more and more users.
One of these spin-offs is called Bluestar Linux and makes Arch Linux very easy and beautiful to use. Bluestar Linux’s goal is to create an operating system that offers a wide range of features and ease of use, without sacrificing aesthetics. There are three different “flavors” of Bluestar Linux:
- Desktop: For basic desktop use
- Deskpro: for more advanced office use
- Developer: Suitable for developer use
Also: How to Choose the Right Linux Desktop Distribution
Bluestar Linux uses the KDE desktop environment and depending on the flavor you choose will be a basic KDE desktop to a more advanced version. For example, on the Deskpro install I tested, the KDE desktop includes a live desktop dashboard (a Konky) showing system usage, as well as a weather gadget, desktop icons for specific folders, a desktop pager, and a pantheon-like dock at the bottom of the screen.
There is a rather tricky part of the Deskpro desktop that users might not be aware of. If you examine the Latte Dock at the bottom of the screen, you’ll notice there’s no app menu button. Without an app menu, how do you open the apps you want to use (that aren’t already added to the dock)? If you hover your cursor at the top center of your screen (just on the edge), you’ll see a bluish glow. Keep moving your cursor up and another dock will appear. On the left edge of the new dock, you’ll see the app menu button. Click on it to display the menu.
What about dark themes?
Something I never fully understood was the whole trend of dark themes. Yes, it’s all a matter of taste, so my penchant for lighter themes doesn’t mean it’s the best opinion. But the dark theme of Bluestar Linux is shocking. When you see this pillar of white against the almost entirely black system theme, it’s hard to work with. Discerning toolbar icons can also be a bit tricky.
Luckily, to switch from the dark theme, just open system settings and then go to Appearance. Find a theme that better suits your tastes, and when prompted, click Apply. You can now close the System Settings app and enjoy this lighter theme.
Also: The Best Linux Distros for Beginners
Software updates and installation
System updates are easily accessible to the Bluestar Linux user, via the hidden top dock. If you reveal this dock, you will see a blue A. Click on it to open the update notification window which will include an Update System button. Click this button to open the Kalu Upgrade Tool. Click Upgrade System and the upgrades will begin.
Installing the new software was where I ran into my first problem. The Arch Linux GUI tool for installing the software is Octopi, found in Application Menu > System > Octopi. The application to install applications does not start. When I tried to run Octopi from the command line, I received a symbol search error.
What does that mean? Well, until the fix for this problem is made available through a system upgrade, the only way to install apps is through the command line. For example, if you wanted to install the audio editing tool Audacity, you would issue the command:
New users don’t want to have to. The problem is known, it is simply not solved. Until then, I don’t know if I could recommend Bluestar Linux to anyone who isn’t comfortable with the command line. I expect this problem to be fixed soon, so even if you have installed a version of Bluestar that suffers from the problem, an upgrade or two will probably fix the problem.
Also: How to Install Linux Apps from the Command Line
Beyond the Octopi issue, I found Bluestar Linux to work quite well. Not only do apps open quickly, but I can also run the Firefox browser with many tabs open and work with other installed apps without the OS bothering. In addition, I did not encounter any stability problems. Bluestar Linux is as predictable as it is capable, even with full desktop animations and effects in-game.
Who is Bluestar for?
Bluestar Linux may not be perfect, but it’s a very solid entry into the desktop Linux space. This distro would be a great option for anyone who likes the idea of combining the rock-solid nature of Arch Linux with the user-friendliness of Kubuntu or KDE Neon. Even with the ongoing Octopi issue, I found Bluestar Linux to be a real gem of a desktop operating system. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to Linux or have been in the open-source block a time or two, I’m confident that Bluestar will make a great desktop operating system for just about anyone.
Remember, if you are facing the same Octopi issue then check for daily updates and hope the developers fix an issue which might be a deal breaker for some.
#Bluestar #Linux #Arch #Linux #easy #beautiful