Welcome, weary traveler. I sense you have become frustrated with your distribution of choice, for incessantly reinventing the wheel, trying to adopt all the worst practices of Apple and Microsoft, providing poor documentation and/or really supporting only the most basic of setups. Fear not, for there are light-weigth, flexible, well-documented no-nonsense alternatives available.
A combination of Ubuntu nausea and a harddisk crash gave me the necessary kick in the ass to set up Arch Linux, SLiM and awesome yesterday. Rather than reiterate a bunch of commands and copy-pasteable configuration which would be obsolete in an Internet day, I'll point you to the documentation and some resulting user configuration:
- The installation guide looks daunting at first sight, but is actually very straightforward. Follow the steps (and the links) and you'll be set up in no time.
- Use SLiM and awesome WM instead of GNOME/Unity.
- Use xterm instead of GNOME Terminal.
- Use XScreenSaver instead of GNOME Screensaver.
- You can use GNOME Keyring Daemon with a few lines of configuration (below).
- Run 32-bit applications on a 64-bit installation.
My current configuration: