ArchLinux installation

Two years ago (TWO YEARS!! auch) I wrote this tutorial of Archlinux installation (in Spanish). At that time, I kept using MBR instead of GPT (recommended).

Some weeks ago, Kaleidos renewed our computers, so I had to install ArchLinux again. It happened I tried several times before finding the “key” (dammed key!). So here is a new brand tutorial to install Archlinux with GPT to save some of your precious time.

Disclaimer: this tutorial covers the manual installation of ArchLinux. If you want to make it easier, I recommend you to try Manjaro Linux, which is an Arch with an assistant for the installation.

Disclaimer: some of the readers may have their own locale configuration; this tutorial is set in spanish, and it’s your responsability to choose your own language settings.

1) Get the source

You can download the iso from the official page. Then you need to copy to a pendrive:

    dd bs=4M if=/path/to/archlinux-dual.iso of=/dev/sdc && sync

Achtung!!: I wrote /dev/sdc but it’s your responsability to find the device (maybe it’s in /dev/sdb). Also, you don’t copy into a specific partition inside the drive but in the whole drive; and all the information in the drive will be deleted with this command.

2) Load this OS from USB

3) Set the keyboard display

$ loadkeys es

4) Let’s make the partition table

$ gdisk /dev/sda # usually is /dev/sda but make sure!

# and in the interactive console
> ? # for help
> n # for new partition
> particion number # enter for recommended
> starting sector (xxx) # enter for recommended sector
> ending sector # +1MB
> type # ef02 (bios boot)

In my case, I created these partitions:

  • /dev/sda1 - 1Mb - EF02 (bios boot). this is a mandatory partition for GPT
  • /dev/sda2 - 2Gb - 8200 (swap)
  • /dev/sda3 - 50Gb - 8300 (linux system). This is the / (root) particion
  • /dev/sda4 - 250Gb - 8302 (home). This is the /home partition

After creating the partitions, enter w to save changes.

5) Format the partition table and enable swap Given the former partition table, you will need to formart partitions 3 and 4:

$ mkfs.xfs /dev/sda3
$ mkfs.xfs /dev/sda4

Also, you need to enable the swap partition:

$ mkswap /dev/sda2 # set the swap area
$ swapon /dev/sda2 # Enable swap.
# This last step is optional because systemd
# will enable automatically the swap after reboot.

6) Mount the partitions

$ mount /dev/sda3 /mnt
$ mkdir /mnt/home
$ mount /dev/sda4 /mnt/home

7) Let’s install! For this step you need internet. If you use ethernet connection, the computer is connected automatically; if you use WiFi, you can use wifi-menu to connect to a network. And then:

$ pacstrap /mnt base base-devel

(you may wait a little… be patient)

8) Done! Now we are going to create a fstab file

$ genfstab -Up /mnt > /mnt/etc/fstab

9) We leave the ISO environment and enter the fresh installation

$ arch-chroot /mnt

Congratulations!! You have just installed ArchLinux. Now it’s time to grab a coffee and walk the dog. Next steps are mostly about configuration and details.

10) Set the hostname of the machine

$ vi /etc/hostname
# add the name for your machine. I chose "aran"

11) Set the timezone (Spain for my case)

$ ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Madrid /etc/localtime

12) Configure locales

vi /etc/locale.conf
# and write the following

vi /etc/vconsole.conf
# and add the following

vi /etc/locale.gen
# In this file, it's necessary to uncomment
# the locales we want to be available;
# at least, we need to uncomment the
# locales used in the `locale.conf` file.

After this editions:

$ locale-gen

13) We need to create a boot image

$ vi /etc/mkinitcpio.conf
# we add necessary MODULES. At least,
# we have to add all filesystems we are using
MODULES="libata ext3 ext4 xfs"

After this edition:

$ mkinitcpio -p linux

14) Now, it’s grub time

$ pacman -S grub
$ grub-install --target=i386-pc --recheck /dev/sda

After installing, we create the configuration:

$ grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

15) Set root password

$ passwd
# and enter a new and secure password, for instance dragon,
# mom, password or the very very secure p4ssw0rd

(well, it’s a joke, those are not definitely secure passwords)

16) And…

$ exit
$ umount /dev/sda4
$ umount /dev/sda3
$ shutdown -r now # reboot!!

As you can see, there are some steps, but all of them are small, so be patient and read carefully. Would you like to continue? :)

17) Create new user and give it some privileges group related

$ useradd -m -g wheel -s /bin/bash yami
$ usermod -aG network yami
$ usermod -aG video yami
$ usermod -aG audio yami
$ usermod -aG optical yami
$ usermod -aG storage yami
$ usermod -aG power yami
$ usermod -aG dbus yami

18) Enable multilib repository for pacman

$ vi /etc/pacman.conf

# and uncomment next lines
#SigLevel = PackageRequired
#Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

And update the system:

$ pacman -Syu

And that’s all! From this point, you may want to install a desktop environment like Gnome or a window manager like DWM, and your themes and favourite applications.

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