tonybaldwin | blog

non compos mentis

CTKArch – LiveCD of Arch Linux

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CTKArch Linux LiveCD

CTKArch Linux LiveCD

I am writing to you from my spare machine, currently running CTKArch, a LiveCD of Arch Linux.  It has the OpenBox window manager, which is my old standby, so nice, and a pretty useful set of packages, including the Midori web browser, and Arora browser (I am writing in Midori, but the screeshot shows Arora). URXVT terminal, gftp, gpicview, pcmanfm, abiword, gnumeric spreadsheets, leafpad text editor, epdfviewer, the GIMP, sylpheed mail client, both xchat and irssi for IRC, pidgin for chat, xarchiver, nano, and all the usual gnu utilites.

The entire interface and all of the applications, as you can see in the screenshot, are all in French! (C’est bon que je peut lire le français, non?).  One cool thing is that this Midori browser has set as the default search engine.  I have translated stuff for Exalead, and do use their search engine sometimes.  Good stuff! (If you install midori in your distro, you can choose the default search engine. Just, the creators of this livecd chose

CTKArch did not automagically grab my ethernet connection on boot, so I had to start dhcp to get that up and running.  I had to do: xsu dhcpcd eth0

I’ve been playing around in here, since.  It has a beautiful openbox theme and some gro0vy wallpapers. Of course, that’s not what makes an operating system.  What makes Arch Linux popular with many seasoned gnu/linux users is that it allows you to install a completely stripped down system, and then add only what you want to it, as opposed to these popular “user-friendly” (read, hunt around and click on stuff, because you don’t know how a computer works) systems, like, for instance, Ubuntu, which is a decent distribution, but annoys people, like me, because it installs stuff in these “metapackages”, so that, when you want one little package, you end up getting 20 more that, in all truth, you really didn’t need.  Then, when you want to uninstall some of that unnecessary bloat, it tries to take stuff you did want with it.  Arch puts the control in the user s hands to configure the system just as they want, without making decisions for the user, or holding their hand, like these big “user-friendly” distros.

Of course, a LiveCD, such as this CTKArch does come with more than a default Arch install.  Nonetheless, I like to take everything for a test drive before installation, so, if a distribution or OS doesn’t have a LiveCd, or I can’t try it on someone else’s hardware, I’m probably not ever going to use it.

This weekend, in truth, I played with a few different alternatives to my usual, and much loved Debian.  I tried Haiku OS, which is a fork of the old BeOS (will write about that another time). I tried Syllable, but after boot it only gave me a blank screen.  I tried GhostBSD, OpenSolaris and StormOS, but none of those three would play with my USB controller, so no keyboard or mouse (not good).  I played a bit with gNewSense, which I will definitely write about some time soon.

Of all of the above, the ones I am most likely to install here are this CTKArch or gNewSense.  Below are a few more screenshots from my picasa album.

From my picasa album:

Written by tonybaldwin

February 13, 2011 at 9:34 pm

7 Responses

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  1. Very nice review ! 🙂
    Note : you can choose the language at the boot menu, it's fully translated in English.

    By the way, I'm alone on this project, that's my little livecd. :p
    Currently working on v0.7, that will released soon, with some improvements!


    February 25, 2011 at 2:44 am

    • I had a little livecd distro for translators going for a while, a couple of years ago, and, likewise, was all alone.
      I did get a few fellow translators to localize some documentation and stuff, but, largely, I handled the entire project…lonely…
      I just think, with my concept, there was not a big demand.
      I did know one could set the langauge during an install. I wonder if I saw that during boot.
      No matter. Je parle français aussi!


      February 25, 2011 at 9:18 am

  2. I've got an extra 320 gb hdd just sitting here, that I bought a couple of years ago and have never used.
    I'm thinking about install that drive in my machine here and install this CTKArch on it.
    The only thing is, THIS machine is AMD64. Will this CD work with that? Is there an AMD64-specific version?
    The machine I used to try this disc for this article is now serving as a webserver (and also doesn't have a SATA interface for this drive, only IDE).


    February 25, 2011 at 10:05 am

  3. Indeed, see the download page at : there is a 64 bit version.


    February 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    • AWESOME! I have a 320 gb hdd sitting here doing nothing…I think I know what I\’m going to do with it now! 🙂 I\’m just waiting on the arrival, now, of the necessary sata interface cable so I can isntall the drive.


      February 28, 2011 at 9:21 pm

  4. This is probably the fastest LiveCD I have ever tried. Like you, it did not start my net connection either.

    "CTKArch did not automagically grab my ethernet connection on boot, so I had to start dhcp to get that up and running. I had to do: xsu dhcpcd eth0"

    I am comfortable on the CLI if I know EXACTLY what to type. So I thank you for the command. Just one question, am I root at that point? Thank you.


    June 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    • My understanding is that "xsu" is like using "sudo" on other distributions. What that means is, it allows you to run one command as root/super user, without logging in as root/super user, so, for the brief instance that you are running that command, yes, you are su, but, once that command is complete, you are back to your regular user, basically.


      June 14, 2011 at 4:34 am

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