The Host Operating System (Arch Linux)
I knew that I needed to have a lightweight, and stable host system with support for the bleeding edge packages. I immediately saw Debian, and Arch Linux as being the most popular for this type of thing. I had previously used Debian and it was great, no complaints so I wanted to give Arch a shot and even though the installation process isn’t as straightforward, the Arch Wiki makes it dead simple. I had always heard of how difficult it is to get started with Arch but I had less problems getting setting up with Arch than I had with some of my Windows installations.
There’s tons of desktop environments to choose from and from there even more window managers. My host machine would primarily be used for development so the environment must be extremely lean with a focus on pure functionality. Simply put, reduce bloat where you can; within reason. Because of this I decided to go with dwm which is a dynamic window manager. I could make a whole another post about dwm, my setup and dotfiles but that is for another day. The learning curve seemed to be quite steep but after a week or so, it’s going to be very difficult to go back to a standard tiling window manager.
Moreover, the memory footprint was quite small, with my system idling at ~250M of RAM. Everything felt very snappy and that was largely due to dwm. Simply the act of moving around my windows felt powerful. You really just have to try it to appreciate just how much faster it is, and you’ll wonder how you used traditional tiling window managers before this. There have been plenty of great YouTube videos going over dwm, so I would highly recommend checking them out to give you a good overview of why you should consider moving over to dwm.
After everything was said and done, I’m quite happy with my setup, although there is a long way to go when it comes to ricing. Gotta change those default terminal colors… yuck!