Few hints regarding Arch Linux installation for beginners

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Few months ago I finally gave a try to Arch Linux on VirtualBox to see how it was. In fact Arch Linux was totally different from all other Linux distributions that I have ever tried since 2005. Arch Linux is an independence Linux distribution and is not based on Debian or Redhat. It has its own repository and package management and as far as I have noticed everything in this distribution is different even installing process.

At first I had little problems with that but after searching on the internet about my issues, I could handle all and here I will demonstrate about the solutions for those who have not tried this really nice distribution yet.

Installation process

First of all installation process of Arch is totally and completely different from other Linux distros and even it is different from BSDs. Therefore, it is totally confusing at first and it is not possible to install it without reading about the installation procedure. I found a great video on Youtube which demonstrates installation process visually and I recommend it to watch and get ready.

You can find the video below,

The Internet access

After installing Arch, your computer will boot up in console or text-mode possibly and the first thing you may notice is that you do not have access to the internet. For solving the internet issue you need to run Dhcpcd command with the root user like below,

# dhcpcd

The above command configure your network card (in this case no WiFi just cable network) and loads necessary modules to access to the internet. The reason that I mention this fact is that you need to access to the net for installing packages and also desktop environments.

Desktop environments installation

Now after having internet connection and been able to access to the net you might want to install some desktop environments and have GUI. Fortunately, Arch is really flexible and it has a great package management named Pacman which supports huge repository and allows you to install all kinds of desktop environments such as KDE, GNOME, LXDE, etc. In the following section installing of some desktop environments are described.

For installing Xorg which is has to be installed if you want to have GUI use below command,

# pacman -S xorg

Bear in mind that, if you do not install Xorg package, you will not be able to start other desktop environment and on the loading the system will prompt you errors.

For installing LXDE please type the following command on the console.

# pacman -S lxde

For installing Xterm use the following command,

# pacman -S xterm

For IceWM use below command,

# pacman -S icewm

For other desktops like Gnome and KDE you can use Pacman with the name of your desirable desktop to install.

Configuring X to load desktop environment

After you finished installing of your desktop environment, you have to configure X in order to be able to load desktop interface. For doing that you should follow below steps.

Copying .initrc which is located in /etc/skel/ to home directory with cp command.

# cp /etc/skel/.initrc ~/

Next step is to edit the copied file and apply changes. For editing you can use Nano, Vi, etc.

# vim ~/.initrc

Add the name of your desktop to the file. For LXDE desktop write,

$ exec startlxde

For Gnome write,

$ exec gnome-session

For KDE write,

$ exec start kde

For IceWM write,

$ exec icewm

Finally save changes and type below command in console,

$ exec startx

Now you should see the GUI is loading.

I will try to complete this page based on my experience in Arch Linux and whenever I find new hints, I will add at the end of this post.

For more information please refer to the following links,