Essential parts of ARCHLabs

Let us take a look at ARCHLabs before we attempt any customization of our own. ARCHLabs comes with its own theme and icon set.

There are a few essential parts you should know :

  • desktop
  • conky
  • panel (tint2)
  • and the menu from openbox.



Changing the look of ARCHLabs

We can change any and all elements of ARCHLabs like the icons, theme or fonts. The openbox menu can assist you there.

  • openbox configuration
  • xfce configuration
  • lxappearance
  • qtconfig-qt4

With these 4 configuration tools you can change any and all parts of your system.


Changing the look of the panel aka tint2

There is an easy configuration tool supplied with the installation of ARCHLabs namely Tint2 configuration or Tint2 GUI.

There are a lot of settings to test out and you will not need most of them since there are many templates provided that look already great. You might however be interested to add for example your own applications to the panel like I did with vlc.



Configuration of Openbox

It is important to know what the core files are for openbox and where you can find them.

All core files to configure openbox are in this folder


We will find the following files

  • autostart  – will have a list of all software that you would like to start at bootup like bluetooth, variety, dropbox etc
  • menu.xml  – this file will have our definition for the openbox menu – we can edit it
  • rc.xml – settings of openbox and many shortcuts to start applications or manipulate windows



Changing the conky

A conky is an application that can monitor your system’s settings like cpu usage, ram usage, disk usage etc…
ARCHLabs provides us with a conky chooser to quickly change the conky. You can have different conky’s running at the same time as well.

The standard conky we start with can be found at ~/.conkyrc. It is a hidden file in your home folder. Use CTRL + H to see the hidden files.

The other conky’s can be found and edited at ~/.config/conky.

We will install the Aureola conky on ARCHLabs  in a later stage and use those conky’s.


Caveats of ARCHLabs+3

The software engineers of ARCHLabs have done a major accomplishment in making a new distro in a few months time. It is only normal that some of the keybindings are not working or that some of the applications have not been included in the installation.

All of these caveats have been reported on and you will find solutions and tips there as well. They will be implemented in ARCHLabs+4.

If you find a new caveat, please take the time to report it on the forum so that ARCHLabs can become even better.


  • Screenshooter refers to a folder called “Screenshots” – make the folder and you will have no errors
  • Openshot is installed but the name in the menu is openshot and it should be openshot-qt
  • Gtk-recordmydesktop is not installed and the name in the menu refers to gtk-recordmydesktop and it should be gtk-recordMyDesktop
  • In preferences, the obmenu is not going to be opened since it was forgotten on the installation list – sudo pacman -S obmenu
  • menu lock will not work since slimlock has not been installed. We need to install a special one from the AUR.
  • updating (red star icon) top right does not work yet. We need to edit autostart.

All of the caveats are mentioned on the forum. Check there first.

You will see on the forum that I have reported many of the caveats. In order to fix these caveats I will share my files with you on github.
We will run several scripts to

  • to change some of the items of the menu
  • to change some of the keyboard shortcuts
  • to install extra software
  • to change settings in the autostart file of openbox

Follow the steps in the next tutorials to fix the caveats and completely change the look of ARCHLabs.