• Daniel Griffiths (Ghost1227) Contact - "Executive Editor"
  • Lucas Westermann - "Cover Artist"
  • Lucas Westermann - "Contributor"
  • Jonathan Arnold - "Contributor"
  • Gregory Key - "Contributor"
  • Marti Raudsepp - "Comic Artist"

Editors Desk

And we're back! In the aftermath of the holiday season things are slowly settling back down. By my estimates the March issue of Arch Linux Magazine should be back on schedule for release on the first of the month (this issue is only being released three hours later than I originally predicted). Before we get down and dirty with another issue, I have a few things I would like to share with the community.

First off, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to those in the community who have stepped up to help out with the magazine. I received enough contributions this month that I was able to finally start building a backlog for future months when the pickings really may be slim. Second, you might notice the lack of an interview in this issue. Those of you who follow the mailing lists might have caught the announcement that I recently became a Dev. Ironically enough being closer to the Dev team has made it more difficult to get interviews (actually I just had less time), and somehow interviewing myself didn't seem quite right. We'll have the interviews back next month.

Finally, I would like to point out a few new features this month. We have added two new features to the magazine itself: Desk Shots and Comedy Corner. Hopefully we will be able to have both features on a regular basis, but that is dependent on the community. If you submit one or the other, they will be published. If now... Additionally, there are a few new links on the magazine homepage. Directly below the main nav bar there are now links to the current discussion thread on the forums, and the new ALM wiki page. If you are interested in contributing, translating, or the like, that is the best place to start.

I hope that all our readers enjoy this issue of Arch Linux Magazine, and I am looking forward to bringing you another great issue next month!

Daniel J Griffiths (Ghost1227) (On behalf of the Arch Linux Magazine Team)


  • The TU/Dev community recently did a massive list of rebuilds against the newest libjpeg and libpng releases. With several hundred packages, I think they did an outstanding job. However, there may be a few bugs leftover from this rebuild. If you haven't updated yet, watch out! (Read more)
  • The KDE development team has finally announced the longawaited release of KDE 4.4.0. As usual, a package is available for Archers who wish to try it out. Unfortunately it's not as easy as a simple Syu. Read the news article for details before you try updating. (Read more)
  • A discussion has begun regarding the Perl packaging guidelines. For those of you who aren't aware, there is a program called pacpan, which functions as a CPAN wrapper for pacman. This little gem has been kept up to date and is now being considered for inclusion in the standard Perl packaging guidelines. (Read more)
  • For those of you who haven't already heard, I was recently afforded the honor of being voted into the Arch Dev team! Of course now I have a couple hundred more bugs to worry about... (Read more)

Arch Linux Schwag Report

Contributed by: Dusty Phillips

Wow, it's been so long since I wrote an Arch Schwag update that I'm not sure where I left off... or where to begin! Perhaps with a small anecdote on the history of the word 'Schwag.' A lot of people argue that it should be spelled 'Swag,' which is true, in my opinion. But, I kept the word 'Schwag' because the original Arch Linux store was named 'ArchLinux Schwag,' (it's still open at if you want a nostalgic logo) and who am I to argue with tradition, especially when such tradition came from the great man himself.

I met Judd (and several other Archers) at Christie's Pub in Victoria last November, and took the opportunity to ask him where the term 'schwag' came from. His answer, typical of the pragmatic heads of Arch Linux we've seen everywhere was something like, "I don't know, I must've seen it on the web for someone else's shop."

So why is it called Schwag? Because it always has been, of course! Now we know. I've come to appreciate the name. The different spelling makes the shop stand out from other online merchangs, and as a Canadian, I can't (honourably) argue that inserting extra letters into a word is a bad thing.

Sales of Arch Schwag have been picking up; things dropped to a trickle through the recession, but they're quite brisk now. I am ever grateful for the support of this wonderful community. I have been able to reinvest funds in a whole bunch of exciting new inventory, and was able to send a $400 donation to the Arch Linux donations fund.

If you're curious about where Schwag money is going, I do take a small profit for myself, though I think it works out to about $3 an hour against the time I put into it! :D The bulk of it goes to product inventory; as items get sold off, I reinvest the money in more products. Higher income means it's less risky to do larger minimum orders of items, so I can expand into products that used to be offlimits. In addition, last year I sent about $1000 to the Arch Linux project, including purchase of a new external hard drive when we needed to do some backup work on the server.

Ah, and 30% of the profit for book sales currently goes to the US government, as I'm having trouble getting the IRS to send me the forms I need to prove to Createspace (who does my printing) that I am a Canadian citizen. Canada and the USA have a tax treaty that means they should be taking 0%, but I have to prove my citizenship first. I don't begrudge the US government the money right now though, they have a huge deficit to pay down! Speaking of taxes, a portion of sales is also going to that dirty task. This year, I'm using Gnucash to manage my accounts, so I'm hoping to feel much less disorganized in my accounting.

In previous Schwag reports, I listed all the new Schwag on the Zazzle site since the last newsletter. I don't know what those products are, so I'm just going to direct you to the New Products page.

I'll be cleaning out the new products page on February 15th to make room for new items. Don't forget to get in touch with me with ideas that go well on a tshirt, mug, or mousepad!

In other Schwag ( I spent a lot of money on new products in December. Case badges, which had been sold out, have been ordered again, and should be shipping by the time you read this. I've also ordered stock of some elegant blue and gold pens featuring our favorite Linux Distribution.

Also, after at least a year of repeated requests, I finally found a supplier for 'Powered by Arch Linux' laptop stickers. These are the perfect replacement for the WinXP and Vista stickers that came with your machines. The printing and cutting quality is absolutely fantastic, and they look more professional than even the Intel sticker that came with my laptop!

Some other products that we've had in stock for quite a while include handmade wooden sculptures, keychains, and coasters, as well as gorgeous sculptures cut from blue soapstone. I make all of these myself; I have been woodworking since I was twelve years old, and thought it was high time I mix my two interests.

In addition, Arch Linux lanyards were requested back in October, and are now available. They've been selling well, but there are still plenty left. They feature a blue lanyard with the logo repeated in white. The hook is designed so you'll never lose your keys or flash drive.

Last, but not least, I entered the world of self publishing last year with a print form publication of the Arch Linux Beginner's Guide. Titled the Arch Linux Handbook, you can order it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and probably, your local bookstore (give them the ISBN and they will order it.) The most profit for Arch Linux, however, comes if you purchase the book through the online store at CreateSpace.

The handbook has been extremely popular; approximately 200 copies have sold since it became available in October, and it continues to sell at a rate of about one copy per day.

That's all from me for this month. It's been so long, I'm sure I missed some items, so feel free to browse the two Schwag sites!

Community Contributions

  • Not a full-featured file manager in the strictest sense, PCFM is still surprisingly advanced. If you live on the command line, or find yourself frequently using SSH, this is a very interesting script that is worth a look! (Read more)
  • The community asked, willxtreme delivered! ArchBang showcases a fullfeatured, Openbox based Arch live CD. Additionally, for a persistant setup, you can put the ArchBang image on a thumbdrive and take your desktop with you! All our Openbox fans definitely need to check this one out! (Read more)
  • Not exactally the kind of thing we usually feature, but I found it amusing so here it is. Archer Lexion has released Cookie, a chatbot which has organizational commands, a pacman frontend, and integrated shell access. It can even learn commands through a stimulous-reply system! (Read more)
  • Everyone knows the classic notification-daemon, and it works quite well for many users. But what about those who use minimalistic window managers such as DWM or WMII? The tried-and-true standard introduces dependencies that users might not want, not to mention many consider the notifications themselves bloat. Thankfully, one resourceful Archer has released Statnot, a minimalistic, text-only notification daemon specifically designed for lightweight window managers! It integrates quite well with the standard dbus and desktop notifications that we are used to, and is definitely worth a look! (Read more)
  • While it is far from complete, a group of enterprising Arch users have begun a monumental undertaking. Started by Barrucadu and Allan, the Arch Hurd project is an attempt to cross-compile a fullscale Arch Hurd distro. Sticking to only free software, the group has made great strides toward their goal, but they need your help! Whether you are looking for a good challenge or just like their ideals, interesed users should read through the forum post and get started compiling! (Read more)

On Persistent Devices

Contributed by: Jonathan Arnold

Those of us who have multiple hard drives will inevitably boot up one morning to find the naming scheme for these drives has changed. What once was /dev/sda is now /dev/sdb and vice versa. Your computer won't boot and fsck complains about an unknown or mismatched filesystem type. This is especially true after a kernel upgrade, and nothing can really be done about it, as it is all in the timing. But how can you fix the problem?

Actually, it's a pretty easy fix. Instead of using /dev/sd? in places like grub's menu.lst file and the all-important /etc/fstab, use a special label that doesn't change. I find using UUIDs to be the best solution.

There are a couple of ways to get the UUID of a hard drive. The easiest are to use the blkid command from the command line or through a simple ls command as is shown below:

$ blkid
/dev/sdb1: UUID="0e9c1455-4993-4ddf-a86a-a3dac116a5cc" TYPE="reiserfs"
/dev/sda1: UUID="71712106-eef9-48c3-840f-20fb77173a9d" TYPE="swap"
/dev/sdc1: UUID="260834A7083477BF" LABEL="Media" TYPE="ntfs"

$ ls -l /dev/disk/by-uuid/
total 0
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Feb 1 00:00 0e9c1455-4993-4ddf-a86a-a3dac116a5cc -> ../../sdb1
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Feb 1 00:00 71712106-eef9-48c3-840f-20fb77173a9d -> ../../sda1
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Feb 1 00:00 260834A7083477BF -> ../../sdc1

You may notice that FAT and NTFS partitions have unusual UUIDs, but they should still work for our purposes. Now you just need to replace all references to the various /dev/sd? names with the correct UUID. This will remove all the "randomness" from the boot order. Even if you currently have only one hard drive, you really should go to this persistent method of naming partitions.

To edit the fstab and menu.list files, use the following guide:

  • In /etc/fstab, replace /dev/sd? with UUID="[uuid]".
  • In /boot/grub/menu,list, replace /dev/sd? with /dev/disk/byuuid/[uuid].

For more information, take a look at the Arch wiki page on the subject here.

Gimp Grunge

Contributed by: Lucas Westermann

Lately, I've been noticing a large number of "grunge" type wallpapers featuring the Arch Linux logo. Since I created a similar style wallpaper for myself not too long ago, I thought other people might want to play around and create a semi-unique one for themselves, and so I decided to write this howto. This tutorial isn't too difficult to follow, but there are an infinite number of combinations you can come up with. Therefore, what I will focus on is more the process, and not the final result. Chances are good that your wallpaper will be much different from mine. A quick note, the "final result" is actually the wallpaper I made earlier, of which I didn't save the settings.

Things you'll need to start with:

  • Arch Linux logo (in the archlinux-arwork package)
  • Concrete-style texture (can be readily found online, try google)
  • An empty GIMP canvas (I usually start with about 2560x1600)

Step one: Resizing/cropping the texture

You will need to ensure that the texture you choose is as large as, or larger than, the canvas, as otherwise the bump mapping we do later will not be suitable. Once you have resized the texture, save it for future use.

Step two: Create the underlying pattern

In your blank canvas you need to create a plasma rendering. To do so, go to Filters > Render > Plasma. Below are the settings I used:

Of course, you can choose whatever you want. Choose something that you find nice.

Third step: Desaturate

This isn't required for colourizing it, but I find you get the best results if you desaturate the canvas before moving on. To do so, go to Colour > Desaturate.

Fourth step: Colourize

Now we want to choose the colour we'll be using for the wallpaper. Go to Colour > Colourizing, and play with the settings to get the colour you want. I decided on a nice blue, and these were my settings:

It gave me a nice, dark blue that I thought suited the Arch logo nicely. If you decide you'd like to darken/lighten a specific spot on the layer, you can do so using the dodge (to lighten) and burn (to darken) tools.

Fifth step: Bump map

Now's the time to get that nice "grunge" effect on the wallpaper. To do so, go to Filters > Map > Bump Map. You need to make sure that you select the concrete image (which has to be open in GIMP to appear in the list), and then you can play with the settings as you like. Once you are happy with the bump map settings, just hit "ok" and let it render. Once it's done, you can decide if you like the look, or if you want to redo it (I did it once or twice before being happy with the result). I went with the following settings:

Sixth step: Add the logo

Now's the time to open the Arch logo of your choice in GIMP, and once it's open, you can "move" it to the wallpaper you're working on (using the move tool). Once it's copied over, make sure it's on a separate layer! You will generally want to resize the logo depending on the wallpaper, so do that now.

Seventh step: Add transitional effect

I found it kind of bland to just have the logo on top of the plasma background, and so I figured I'd add a little bit of effect to the text. In order to do this, just add a layer mask to the logo layer, and fill it with white. Now choose a "fuzzy circle" brush (I chose a large one scaled by a factor of 7, but you may decide to use a smaller one). Make sure you set the opacity of the brush to less than 100% and choose black as the colour, and just stroke slowly over the lower section of text, or whatever you want to fade (within the layer mask). Continue until you are happy with the effect.

Eighth (and final) step: Create a nice border

This step is optional, but I felt it gave the wallpaper a nice look, and would be useful for my transparent conky. What I did was add a path to the top (just two points on the corners, and then bend the path up or down, depending on your preference). Once the path is the way you like it, choose what kind of brush you want (I went with a fuzzy brush, scaled by a factor of 2, and 80% transparent). Then you want to stroke the path. To do this, go to Edit > Stroke Path, and choose "Stroke with Paint Tool".

Once that's done, you can choose to stop, or to warp the border a bit, like I did. This is just a quick trip to Filters > Distorts > IWarp. I chose "move" and just created the uneven pattern you see in the wallpaper. I'll just let you play around with that one. The final result? Check below!

Motorcycle With A Twist

Contributed by: Gregory Key

I believe it was last year that the first Linux sponsored race car showed up in the professional realm. Unfortunately, after making it to the big times it had some mechanical issues and didn't finish. But it paved the way for further mass media promotion of Linux. Today, there is another company out of England "sponsoring" Linux in the form of a fully Linux controlled Electric Motorcycle with a top speed of 130MPH, max 100HP, builtin web server, USB ports, and a WLAN for the pit to monitor the dynamics of the bike during the race as well as make adjustments on the fly.

This bike was unveiled recently in Las Vegas as the Mavizen TTX02. It will have a limited production of 50 bikes, for a cool $40,000 in Q1 2010. They have three battery packs at present named after a race called the "Isle of Man." This race is described as a winding and mountainous course over 38 miles of grueling terrain.

The manufacturer hopes to revolutionize racing not only in the current electric racing realm, but overall. Thereby allowing people to enjoy the sport without the hastle of fumes in an environmentally friendly fashion with lots of speed!

Desk Shots

Contributed by: Lucas Westermann

As you can see, my desk is in chaos, and I won't lie and say it's organized either! What you see here: My Samsung N110 netbook on the left, my Logitech G11 keyboard in the center, my Logitech G5 laser mouse and the flexible keyboard I use "on the go" and with my XBox360 on the right.

Second row of stuff: My CD stand (all music), my Logitech 2.1 speakers that are hooked up to both my PC and XBox360, my Acer x223w 22" monitor, my XBox360 (hooked up via hdmi to DVI to my monitor, and via composite to my speakers), my Wacom Bamboo Tablet, and a stand with paper, paperclips, thumbtacks, etc.

Below the desk: Fritz! Box 7270, extension/splitter cord, subwoofer and my custom built PC.

I feel I have to apologize for my PC... yes, it's running Windows 7. It does dual-boot with Arch, but I'm usually too lazy to reboot, so I either do what I need to in a VM, or on my netbook (just Arch Linux, nothing else). Off to the side of my desk is a filing cabinet that I'm using just to hold stuff, and above that on the wall is a magnetic board. To the left of my desk is another filing cabinet where my old laptop rests until it is called upon (it's an HP dv6545eg, running Ubuntu Server and Arch).

Comedy Corner

Contributed by: Marti Raudsepp


And so closes yet another Arch Linux newsletter. We sincerely hope you enjoyed the newsletter this month as we enjoyed creating it for your reading pleasure. Please, contact us with your opinions and/or suggestions for improvement. Also, we love user contributions so feel free to submit your article for consideration.