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We have just finished this Arch Linux base installation following this article. The operating system is not meant to be run on a VirtualBox. That is only for educational purposes. You should install it on a proper ssd.

We have chosen to install

Some desktop environments come with their own window manager or you can install additional ones.Then you install lots of applications.



Tips and points of attention

You can clone a VirtualBox and experiment on it without fear to wreck it.

We will download the scripts for an easy and quick installation. Scripts will continue to evolve and improve. They will differ from the video in the future.

sudo pacman -S git
git clone

Mind the xorg installation. Choose the right script depending if you are installing on VirtualBox or on a SSD.

  • Virtual box – use
  • SSD or harddisk – depending on your graphical card (Nvidia, Intel, …)

E.g.: I have an Nvidia Geforce 9600 GT so I would need to install nvidia-340 driver if I wanted to install an Nvdia driver. But I have been choosing the opensource driver xf86-video-nouveau for years now without any issues. But it might be important to tell you that I am no gamer. Here is the link If you need more information about the video drivers like xf86-video-nouveau, xf86-video-intel, … This topic might be challenging depending on your hardware.

Since we are on virtualbox we install a completely different graphical driver (see special virtualbox script) :

sudo pacman -S virtualbox-guest-utils

Logging back in, check the gauge symbol to see in which desktop you will login in.

What can you learn besides how to install Mate on Arch?

  • we will install everything in a i3wm environment on Linux Mint 18.1 cinnamon
  • installing git and do a git clone
  • installation can be done via terminal or via graphical way (after installing the mate desktop)
  • virtualbox on i3 is tricky – you see me trying to get a resolution that is suitable for the tutorial
  • going over all the scripts and telling what they are for
  • tip : if download is slow – stop it – rerun the script


Desktop tuning for Arch Mate

  • variety  will change the wallpaper as many times as you want to.
  • arc colora theme can be used
  • sardi icons
  • breeze cursor
  • fonts selection
  • mate tweak
  • icons on desktop or not
  • different kinds of panels
  • installing aureola conky
  • setting the mateterminal
    • make transparent
  • check out the many scripts to install additional software


Use marco compositor  to get transparent windows, terminal and conky’s


You can activate the Software compositing window manager via the menu “System/Preferences/Look and Feel/Windows and have a transparent conky and transparent terminal with some shadow around your windows. No need to have compton for that. If you want the menu’s to be transparent as well, you will need compton.

Or via

gsettings set org.mate.Marco.general center-new-windows true

Use compton to get transparent windows, terminal, conky’s AND menu’s

WATCH OUT! This was my first attempt to figure out compton and to make it work. I continued to look for an easier way and found it. In the next topic will show you how you can use compton the EASY way.

  • we figure out together where and how to get transparency on our mate-terminal and conky
  • many compton.conf files out there on the net
  • in the mean time I have deleted the graphical gui for compton and rely on my reading skills.


After some more fiddling around in the system here is what you can do to recreate this effect :

  • disable software compositing window manager in System/Preferences/Look and Feel/Windows

  • in System/Preferences/Look and Feel/Mate Tweak choose windows/window manager and take Marco (no compositor)

  • install compton via AUR
    • packer compton
  • check existence of compton.conf in ~/.config/compton.conf after installation and change if you want to
  • make a startup application : compton
    • System/Preferences/Personal/Startup Applications
  • make a startup application : marco  (edit : found the application marco-no-composite.  Sounds even better. Will try it out.
    • System/Preferences/Personal/Startup Applications
  • reboot

With changing some of the settings in compton.conf this can be your result.

Use compton to get transparent opacity, shading and shadow even in menu’s.

This is the EASY way.

The two files of the tutorial are on my github.

All we need to do is, copy/paste two compton.conf files to the hidden folder ~./config

  • marco-compton.conf
  • metacity-compton.conf

Inside we put our settings and we activate them via mate-tweak.

We will go over every window manager (10) and show you what happens to the windows, menu’s and transparent terminal.

More information about mate can be also be found here.