- 1 Post Install
- 1.1 Update
- 1.1.1 Configure the network (if necessary)
- 1.1.2 Update, Sync, and Upgrade the system with pacman
- 1.1.3 /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist
- 1.1.4 Get familiar with pacman
- 1.1.5 Update the System
- 1.2 Adding a User
- 1.1 Update
- 2 Part IV: Extras
- 2.1 Sound
- 2.2 Graphical User Interface
- 2.2.1 Install X
- 2.2.2 Install video driver
- 2.2.3 Install input drivers
- 2.2.4 Configure X (Optional)
- 2.2.5 Testing X
- 2.2.6 Install Fonts
- 2.2.7 Choose and install a graphical interface
- 2.2.8 Methods for starting your Graphical Environment
Congratulations, and welcome to your new Arch Linux base system!
This section will cover various must-do procedures after installation such as updating your new system and adding a regular, non-root user.
Your new Arch Linux base system is now a functional GNU/Linux environment ready for customization. From here, you may build this elegant set of tools into whatever you wish or require for your purposes.
Login with the root account. We will configure pacman and update the system as root.
Configure the network (if necessary)
If you properly configured your system, you should have a working network. Try to
ping www.google.com to verify:
If you have successfully established a network connection, continue with Update, Sync, and Upgrade the system with pacman.
If, after trying to ping www.google.com, an "unknown host" error is received, you may conclude that your network is not properly configured. You may choose to double-check the following files for integrity and proper settings:
Template:Filename - Specifically, check your HOSTNAME and NETWORKING section for typos and errors.
Template:Filename - Double-check for format, typos, and errors.
Template:Filename - If you are using a static IP. If you are using DHCP, this file will be dynamically created and destroyed by default.
Check your Ethernet with
# ifconfig -a
All interfaces will be listed. You should see an entry for eth0, or perhaps eth1. These examples will use eth0.
If required, you can set a new static IP with:
# ifconfig eth0 <ip address> netmask <netmask> up
and the default gateway with
# route add default gw <ip address of the gateway>
Verify that Template:Filename contains your DNS server and add it if it is missing.
Check your network again with
ping -c 3 www.google.com. If everything is working now, adjust Template:Filename as described above for static IP.
If you have a DHCP server/router in your network try:
# dhcpcd eth0
If this is working, adjust Template:Filename as described above, for dynamic IP.
Please see Wireless Quickstart For the Live Environment for details on connecting to a wireless network. Although you are no longer running off the installation media, the commands are the same as long as you installed all related wireless packages during package selection. Remember, your wireless device may need firmware in order to operate. For troubleshooting, check the detailed Wireless Setup page.
If you are behind a proxy server, edit Template:Filename and set http_proxy and ftp_proxy in it.
Analog Modem, ISDN, and DSL (PPPoE)
See Internet Access for detailed instructions.
Update, Sync, and Upgrade the system with pacman
Now we will update the system using pacman. Pacman is the package manager of Arch Linux. It manages your entire package system and handles installation, removal, package downgrade (through cache), custom compiled package handling, automatic dependency resolution, remote and local searches and much more. Pacman will now be used to download software packages from remote repositories and install them onto your system.
pacman will attempt to read Template:Filename each time it is invoked. This configuration file is divided into sections, or repositories. Each section defines a package repository that pacman can use when searching for packages. The exception to this is the options section, which defines global options.
# nano /etc/pacman.conf
Repositories are described below; enable all desired repositories by removing the # in front of the 'Include =' and '[repository]' lines.
Arch currently offers the following 5 repositories readily accessible through pacman. All of them contain binary packages, are pacman accessible, and, with the exception of [community], and developer maintained:
- The simple principle behind [core] is to provide only one of each necessary tool for a base Arch Linux system; The GNU toolchain, the Linux kernel, one editor, one command line browser, etc. (There are a few exceptions to this. For instance, both vi and nano are provided, allowing the user to choose one or both.) It contains all the packages that MUST be in perfect working order to ensure the system remains in a usable state. These are the absolute system-critical packages.
- The Core installation media simply contains an installer script, and a snapshot of the core repository at the time of release.
- The [extra] repository contains all Arch packages that are not themselves necessary for a base Arch system, but contribute to a more full-featured environment. X, KDE, and Apache, for instance, can be found here.
- The [testing] repository contains packages that are candidates for the [core] or [extra] repositories. New packages go into [testing] if:
- They are expected to break something on update and need to be tested first, and/or
- They require other packages to be rebuilt. In this case, all packages that need to be rebuilt are put into [testing] first and when all rebuilds are done, they are moved back to the other repositories.
- Note: [testing] is the only repository that can have name collisions with any of the other official repositories. Therefore, if enabled, [testing] must be the first repo listed in
- Warning: Only experienced users should use [testing]. If you don't know how to downgrade a package or chroot into an install, don't use it.
- The [community] repository is maintained by the Trusted Users (TUs) and is simply the binary branch of the Arch User Repository (AUR). It contains binary packages which originated as PKGBUILDs from AUR [unsupported] that have acquired enough votes and were adopted by a TU. Like all repos listed above, [community] may be readily accessed by pacman.
- Users running 64 bit arch linux may want to install and use applications that are not available in 64 bit (and most desktop or laptop users probably will). The 32 bit versions of these applications can be used, but require that certain 32 bit libraries are installed. These libraries are available in the [multilib] repository.
- If you wish to use this repository, you should add the lines below to /etc/pacman.conf:
[multilib] Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist
The AUR also contains the unsupported branch, which cannot be accessed directly by pacman*. AUR [unsupported] does not contain binary packages. Rather, it provides more than sixteen thousand PKGBUILD scripts for building packages from source, that may be unavailable through the other repos. When an AUR unsupported package acquires enough popular votes, it may be moved to the AUR [community] binary repo, if a TU is willing to adopt and maintain it there.
- TU maintained
- All PKGBUILD bash build scripts
- Not pacman accessible by default
* pacman wrappers (AUR Helpers) can help you seamlessly access AUR.
Defines pacman repository mirrors and priorities.
Open Template:Filename in an editor and uncomment (remove the '#' in front) a server close to you. Then issue a complete package refresh:
# pacman -Syy
Passing two --refresh or -y flags forces pacman to refresh all package lists even if they are considered to be up to date. Issuing pacman -Syy whenever a mirror is changed, is good practice and will avoid possible headaches.
Alternatively, you can use
rankmirrors is a bash script which will attempt to detect uncommented mirrors specified in Template:Filename which are closest to the installation machine based on latency. Faster mirrors will dramatically improve pacman performance, and the overall Arch Linux experience. This script may be run periodically, especially if the chosen mirrors provide inconsistent throughput and/or updates. Note that
rankmirrors does not test for throughput. Tools such as
rsync may be used to effectively test for mirror throughput after a new Template:Filename has been generated.
Issue the following command to completely refresh package database and install
# pacman -Syy curl
- If you get an error at this step, use the command "nano /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist" and uncomment a server that suits you.
cd to the Template:Filename directory:
# cd /etc/pacman.d
Backup the existing Template:Filename:
# cp mirrorlist mirrorlist.backup
Edit mirrorlist.backup and uncomment all mirrors on the same continent or within geographical proximity to test with rankmirrors.
# nano mirrorlist.backup
Run the script against the mirrorlist.backup with the -n switch and redirect output to a new /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist file:
# rankmirrors -n 6 mirrorlist.backup > mirrorlist
-n 6: rank the 6 closest mirrors
Force pacman to refresh all package lists with the new mirrorlist in place:
# pacman -Syy
If you want to get help from the IRC channel, you will find it easier if you install and use curlpaste:
# pacman -S curlpaste
Mirrorcheck for up-to-date packages
rankmirrors does not take into account how up-to-date a mirror's package list is, it's important to note that one or more of the mirrors it selects as fastest may still be out-of-date. ArchLinux Mirrorcheck reports various aspects about the mirrors such as network problems with mirrors, data collection problems, the last time mirrors have been synced, etc. One may wish to manually inspect Template:Filename, ensuring that the file contains only up-to-date mirrors if having the latest package versions is a priority.
Alternatively, the Mirrorlist Generator can automatically rank mirrors close to your location by how up-to-date they are.
Get familiar with pacman
pacman is the Arch user's best friend. It is highly recommended to study and learn how to use the pacman(8) tool. Try:
$ man pacman
Update the System
You are now ready to upgrade your entire system. Before you do, read through the news (and optionally the announce mailing list). Often the developers will provide important information about required configurations and modifications for known issues. Consulting these pages before any upgrade is good practice.
Sync, refresh, and upgrade your entire new system with:
# pacman -Syu
# pacman --sync --refresh --sysupgrade
pacman will now download a fresh copy of the master package list from the server(s) defined in Template:Filename and perform all available upgrades. You may be prompted to upgrade pacman itself at this point. If so, say yes, and then reissue the
pacman -Syu command when finished.
Reboot if a kernel upgrade has occurred.
Pacman output is saved in Template:Filename.
See Package Management FAQs for answers to frequently asked questions regarding updating and managing your packages.
After executing the command
pacman -Syu, the entire system will be updated. It is possible to prevent a package from being upgraded. A typical scenario would be a package for which an upgrade may prove problematic for the system. In this case, there are two options; indicate the package(s) to skip in the pacman command line using the --ignore switch (
pacman -S --help for details) or permanently indicate the package(s) to skip in the /etc/pacman.conf file in the IgnorePkg array. For more information, please see the pacman wiki entry.
Please note that the power user is expected to keep the system up to date with pacman -Syu, rather than selectively upgrading packages. You may diverge from this typical usage as you wish; just be warned that there is a greater chance that things will not work as intended and that it could break your system. The majority of complaints happen when selective upgrading, unusual compilation or improper software installation is performed. Use of IgnorePkg in /etc/pacman.conf is therefore discouraged, and should only be used sparingly, if you know what you are doing.
The Arch rolling release model
Keep in mind that Arch is a rolling release distribution. This means there is never a reason to reinstall or perform elaborate system rebuilds to upgrade to the newest version. Simply issuing
pacman -Syu periodically keeps your entire system up-to-date and on the bleeding edge. At the end of this upgrade, your system is completely current. Remember to reboot if a kernel upgrade has occurred.
Adding a User
Linux is a multi-user environment. You should not do your everyday work using the root account. It is more than poor practice; it is dangerous. Root is for administrative tasks. Instead, add a normal, non-root, user account using the
# useradd -m -g [initial_group] -G [additional_groups] -s [login_shell] [username]
- -m Creates user home directory as /home/username. Within their home directory, a user can write files, delete them, install programs, etc. Users' home directories shall contain their data and personal configuration files, the so-called 'dot files' (their name is preceded by a dot), which are 'hidden'. (To view dotfiles, enable the appropriate option in your file manager or run ls with the -a switch.) If there is a conflict between user (under /home/username) and global configuration files, (usually under /etc/) the settings in the user file will prevail. Dotfiles likely to be altered by the end user include .xinitrc and .bashrc files. The configuration files for xinit and Bash respectively. They allow the user the ability to change the window manager to be started upon login and also aliases, user-specified commands and environment variables respectively. When a user is created, their dotfiles shall be taken from the /etc/skel directory where system sample files reside.
- -g The group name or number of the user's initial login group. The group name must exist. If a group number is provided, it must refer to an already existing group. If not specified, the behavior of useradd will depend on the USERGROUPS_ENAB variable contained in /etc/login.defs.
- -G A list of supplementary groups which the user is also a member of. Each group is separated from the next by a comma, with no intervening spaces. The default is for the user to belong only to the initial group.
- -s The path and filename of the user´s default login shell. Arch Linux init scripts use Bash. After the boot process is complete, the default login shell is user-specified. (Ensure the chosen shell package is installed if choosing something other than Bash).
Useful groups for your non-root user include:
- audio - for tasks involving sound card and related software
- floppy - for access to a floppy if applicable
- lp - for managing printing tasks
- optical - for managing tasks pertaining to the optical drive(s)
- storage - for managing storage devices
- video - for video tasks and hardware acceleration
- wheel - for using sudo
- games - needed for write permission for games in the games group
- power - used w/ power options (e.g.: shutdown with power button)
- scanner - for using a scanner
A typical desktop system example, adding a user named "archie" specifying bash as the login shell:
# useradd -m -g users -G audio,lp,optical,storage,video,wheel,games,power,scanner -s /bin/bash archie
Next, add a password for your new user using
An example for our user, 'archie':
# passwd archie
(You will be prompted to provide the new password.)
Your new non-root user has now been created, complete with a home directory and a login password.
Deleting the user account:
In the event of error, or if you wish to delete this user account in favor of a different name or for any other reason, use
# userdel -r [username]
- -r Files in the user´s home directory will be removed along with the home directory itself and the user´s mail spool.
If you want to change the name of your user or any existing user, see the Change username page of the Arch wiki and/or the Groups and User Management articles for further information. You may also check the man pages for
Install and setup Sudo (Optional)
# pacman -S sudo
To add a user as a sudo user (a "sudoer"), the visudo command must be run as root.
By default, the visudo command uses the editor vi. If you do not know how to use vi, you may set the EDITOR environment variable to the editor of your choice, such as in this example with the editor "nano":
# EDITOR=nano visudo
If you are comfortable using vi, issue the visudo command without the EDITOR=nano variable:
This will open the file /etc/sudoers in a special session of vi. visudo copies the file to be edited to a temporary file, edits it with an editor, (vi by default), and subsequently runs a sanity check. If it passes, the temporary file overwrites the original with the correct permissions.
In the previous section we added your user to the "wheel" group. To give users in the wheel group full root privileges when they precede a command with "sudo", uncomment the following line:
%wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL
Now you can give any user access to the sudo command by simply adding them to the wheel group.
For more information, such as sudoer <TAB> completion, see Sudo.
Part IV: Extras
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 give a quick run down to getting these extras working.
If you want sound, proceed to Advanced Linux Sound Architecture for instructions. Alternatively, proceed to the next section (installing a GUI) first, and set up sound later (it usually works out of the box, so you'll just need to unmute it).
The Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) is included with the kernel and it's recommended to try it first. However, if it doesn't work or you aren't 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 OSS 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 version 11 (commonly X11, or just simply X) is a networking and display protocol which provides windowing on bitmap displays. In laymens terms, it provides the standard toolkit and protocol to build graphical user interfaces (GUIs).
Now we will install the base Xorg packages using pacman. This is the first step in building a GUI.
Install the base packages:
# pacman -S xorg
Install mesa for 3D support:
# pacman -S mesa
The 3D utilities glxgears and glxinfo are included in the mesa-demos 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
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 experimental 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's recommended to start with nouveau and then switch to the binary driver, because nouveau will almost always work 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
Or, for 3D support (highly experimental):
# pacman -S nouveau-dri
Create the file Template:Filename, and input the following contents:
Section "Device" Identifier "n" Driver "nouveau" EndSection
This is required to ensure that nouveau driver is loaded. Xorg is not yet smart enough to do this by itself.
ATI Graphics Cards
ATI owners have two options for drivers (in addition to the vesa driver):
- The open source radeon driver provided by the xf86-video-ati package. It fully supports Radeon chipsets up to X1950 (latest R500 chipsets). Cards up to the 9200 series are fully supported, stable, and provide full 2D and 3D acceleration. Cards from 9500 to HD4000 feature full 2D acceleration, and stable/partly implemented 3D acceleration, but lack certain features provided by the proprietary driver; power management is under development and in an advanced stage, but not on par with catalyst. HD5000 support is currently a work in progress. Supports KMS and HDMI with audio output since kernel 2.6.33. Feature Matrix.
- The proprietary fglrx driver provided by the catalyst package located in the AUR. It supports only newer devices (HD2xxx and newer). It was once a package offered by Arch in the
extrarepository, 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.
The open-source driver is the recommended choice. Install the radeon ATI Driver:
# pacman -S xf86-video-ati
Install input drivers
Udev should be capable of detecting your hardware without problems and evdev (xf86-input-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 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 Template:Filename:
Section "InputClass" Identifier "evdev keyboard catchall" MatchIsKeyboard "on" MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*" Driver "evdev" Option "XkbLayout" "be" EndSection
This section will explain how to start the very basic graphical environment included with in the xorg group in order to text it. This uses the simple default X window manager, twm.
The default X environment is rather bare. This section below will deal with installing a desktop environment or window manager of your choice to supplement X.
If you installed Xorg before creating your regular user, there will be an empty .xinitrc file in your $HOME that you need to either delete or edit in order for X to start properly. If you do not do this X will show a blank screen with what appears to be no errors in your Template:Filename. Simply deleting it will get it running with a default X environment.
$ rm ~/.xinitrc
# pacman -S dbus
To start automatically on boot, you should add dbus to your DAEMONS array in Template:Filename:
DAEMONS=(syslog-ng dbus network crond)
If you need to start dbus without rebooting, run
# /etc/rc.d/dbus start
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 (CTRL-Alt-F2, for example), and login blindly as root, followed by <Enter>, followed by root's password followed by <Enter>.
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, then look for errors in Template:Filename. Be on the lookout for any lines beginning with Template:Codeline which represent errors, and also Template:Codeline 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 wgetpaste:
# pacman -S wgetpaste
Use wgetpaste and provide links for the following files when asking for help in your forum post:
Use wgetpaste 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 save time by installing visually pleasing, true type fonts, before installing a desktop environment/window manager. DejaVu is a set of high quality, general-purpose fonts.
# pacman -S ttf-dejavu
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. When you think of a personal desktop, it's usually a DE that you want. See Desktop environments for more information.
Alternatively, you can build your own DE by using a WM and the applications of your choice.
After installing a graphical interface, you'll probably want 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 don't rely on a display manager.