- 1 Extra
- 1.1 Sudo
- 1.2 Sound
- 1.3 Graphical User Interface
- 1.3.1 Install X
- 1.3.2 Install video driver
- 1.3.3 Install input drivers
- 1.3.4 Configure X (Optional)
- 1.3.5 Testing X
- 1.3.6 Fonts
- 1.3.7 Choose and install a graphical interface
- 1.3.8 Methods for starting your Graphical Environment
- 2 Appendix
- 3 See Also
You should now have a completely functional Arch system which will act as a suitable base for you to build upon based on your needs. However, most people are interested in a desktop system, complete with sound and graphics. This part of the guide will provide a brief overview of the procedure to acquire these extras.
Sudo can make administering your system as a non-root user a much simpler proposition.
The Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) is included with the kernel and it is recommended to try it first. However, if it does not work or you are not satisfied with the quality, the Open Sound System is a viable alternative. OSSv4 has been released under a free license and is generally considered a significant improvement over the older OSSv3 which was replaced by ALSA. Instructions can be found in the OSS article.
If you have advanced audio requirements, take a look at Sound for an overview of various articles.
Graphical User Interface
The X Window System (commonly X11, or X) is a networking and display protocol which provides windowing on bitmap displays. It provides the standard toolkit and protocol to build graphical user interfaces (GUIs).
Now we will install the base Xorg packages using pacman.
Install the base packages:
# pacman -S xorg-server xorg-xinit xorg-server-utils
Install mesa for 3D support:
# pacman -S mesa
The 3D utilities glxgears and glxinfo are included in the package. Install if needed:
# pacman -S mesa-demos
Install video driver
Next, you should install a driver for your graphics card.
You will need knowledge of which video chipset your machine has. If you do not know, use the
$ lspci | grep VGA
For a complete list of all open-source video drivers, search the package database:
$ pacman -Ss xf86-video | less
Use pacman to install the appropriate video driver for your video card/onboard video. Example for the Savage driver:
# pacman -S xf86-video-savage
NVIDIA Graphics Cards
NVIDIA users have three options for drivers (in addition to the vesa driver):
- The open-source nouveau driver, which offers fast 2d acceleration and basic 3d support which is good enough for basic compositing (note: does not fully support powersaving yet). Feature Matrix.
- The open-source (but obfuscated) nv driver, which is very slow and only has 2d support.
- The proprietary nvidia drivers, which offer good 3d performance and powersaving. Even if you plan on using the proprietary drivers, it is recommended to start with nouveau and then switch to the binary driver after you have X set up and working. Nouveau often works out-of-the-box, while nvidia will require configuration and likely some troubleshooting. See NVIDIA for more information.
The open-source nouveau driver should be good enough for most users and is recommended:
# pacman -S xf86-video-nouveau
For experimental 3D support:
# pacman -S nouveau-dri
ATI Graphics Cards
ATI owners have two options for drivers (in addition to the vesa driver):
- The open source radeon driver provided by the radeon feature matrix for details. package. See the
- The proprietary fglrx driver provided by the AUR. It supports only newer devices (HD2xxx and newer). It was once a package offered by Arch in the extra repository, but as of March 2009, official support has been dropped because of dissatisfaction with the quality and speed of development of the proprietary driver. See ATI Catalyst for more information. AUR package located in the
The open-source driver is the recommended choice. Install the radeon ATI Driver:
# pacman -S xf86-video-ati
SiS Graphics Cards
SiS cards are not officially supported on Linux. Despite this fact 3 more or less outdated drivers can be installed from the official repositories:
# pacman -S xf86-video-sis
# pacman -S xf86-video-sisusb
# pacman -S xf86-video-sisimedia
If none of them works for you, searching in the AUR and compiling a driver (with possible downgrading of ) is the only option.
Install input drivers
Udev should be capable of detecting your hardware without problems and evdev () is the modern, hotplugging input driver for almost all devices so in most cases, installing input drivers is not needed. At this point, evdev has already been installed as a dependency of Xorg.
If evdev does not support your device, install the needed driver from the xorg-input-drivers group.
For a complete list of available input drivers, invoke a pacman search:
# pacman -Ss xf86-input | less
Laptop users (or users with a touchscreen) will also need the synaptics package to allow X to configure the touchpad/touchscreen:
# pacman -S xf86-input-synaptics
Configure X (Optional)
X Server features auto-configuration and therefore can function without an
xorg.conf. If you still wish to manually configure X Server, please see the Xorg wiki page.
If you do not use a standard US keyboard, you need to set the keyboard layout in
Section "InputClass" Identifier "evdev keyboard catchall" MatchIsKeyboard "on" MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*" Driver "evdev" Option "XkbLayout" "be" EndSection
If, for example, you wish to use a variant of the US keyboard, add the following into the same section from the previous example:
Option "XkbLayout" "us" Option "XkbVariant" "dvorak"
/usr/share/X11/xkb/rules/base.lst(see text after line beginning with
! layout). For instance the layout: gb corresponds to "English (UK)".
This section will explain how to set up the default X environment with This section below cover installing a desktop environment or window manager of your choice.in order to test X.
Install the default environment:
# pacman -S xorg-twm xorg-xclock xterm
If Xorg was installed before creating the non-root user, there will be a template
.xinitrc file in your home directory that needs to be either deleted or edited in order to start X. Simply deleting it will cause X to run with the default environment installed above.
$ rm ~/.xinitrc
# pacman -S dbus
Start the dbus daemon:
# rc.d start dbus
/usr/sbin/rc.dis an Arch-specific command which acts as a shortcut for executing daemon actions in place of using the full
Add dbus to the
DAEMONS array in
/etc/rc.conf so it starts automatically on boot:
DAEMONS=(... dbus ...)
xorg.conf, as described here.
Finally, start Xorg:
$ xinit -- /usr/bin/X -nolisten tcp
A few movable windows should show up, and your mouse should work. Once you are satisfied that X installation was a success, you may exit out of X by issuing the
exit command into the prompts until you return to the console.
If the screen goes black, you may still attempt to switch to a different virtual console (Template:Keypress, for example), and login blindly as root, followed by Template:Keypress, followed by root's password followed by Template:Keypress.
You can attempt to kill the X server with
/usr/bin/pkill (note the capital letter X):
# pkill X
If pkill does not work, reboot blindly with:
In case of errors
If a problem occurs, look for errors in
/var/log/Xorg.0.log. Be on the lookout for any lines beginning with
(EE) which represent errors, and also
(WW) which are warnings that could indicate other issues.
$ grep EE /var/log/Xorg.0.log
Errors may also be searched for in the console output of the virtual console from which X was started.
See the Xorg article for detailed instructions and troubleshooting.
If you are still having trouble after consulting the Xorg article and need assistance via the Arch forums, be sure to install and use :
# pacman -S wgetpaste
Use wgetpaste and provide links for the following files when asking for help in your forum post:
Use it like so:
$ wgetpaste /path/to/file
Post the corresponding links given within your forum post. Be sure to provide appropriate hardware and driver information as well.
At this point, you may wish to install a set of TrueType fonts, as only unscalable bitmap fonts are included by default. DejaVu is a set of high quality, general-purpose fonts with good Unicode coverage:
# pacman -S ttf-dejavu
- Refer to Font Configuration for how to configure font rendering and Fonts for font suggestions and installation instructions.
Choose and install a graphical interface
The X Window System provides the basic framework for building a graphical user interface (GUI).
- Window Manager (WM)
- Controls the placement and appearance of application windows in conjunction with the X Window System. See Window managers for more information.
- Desktop Environment (DE)
- Works atop and in conjunction with X, to provide a completely functional and dynamic GUI. A DE typically provides a window manager, icons, applets, windows, toolbars, folders, wallpapers, a suite of applications and abilities like drag and drop. See Desktop environments for more information.
After installing a graphical interface, you may wish to continue with General Recommendations for post-installation instructions.
Methods for starting your Graphical Environment
You might prefer to start X manually from your terminal rather than booting straight into the desktop. For DE-specific commands, please see the wiki page corrosponding to your DE for more information. For more generic X commands, please see the section on the Xorg page.
You might prefer to have the desktop start automatically during boot instead of starting X manually. See Display Manager for instructions on using a login manager or Start X at Boot for two lightweight methods that do not rely on a display manager.
For a list of applications that may be of interest, see Common Applications.
See General Recommendations for post-installation tutorials like setting up CPU frequency scaling or font rendering.