Difference between revisions of "General recommendations"

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===Scrollback buffer===
===Scrollback buffer===
To be able to save and view text which has scrolled off the screen, refer to [[Scrollback buffer]].
To be able to save and view text which has scrolled off the screen, refer to [[Scrollback buffer]].
===Separate programs from shell===
Using [[screen]], you can separate a program from your shell by running it in a screen session. So when you log off or kill the shell, the programm will continue to run and you will still be able to interact with it simply by re-attaching the screen session.

Revision as of 20:01, 7 January 2011

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Template:Article summary start Template:Article summary text Template:Article summary heading Template:Article summary wiki Template:Article summary end

This document is an annotated index of other popular articles and important information. Various pages listed here will require using pacman to install additional packages present in the Official Repositories, and those in the unofficial Arch User Repository by employing makepkg with the optional aid of an AUR helper. As such, the concept of package management should be fully understood before continuing.

Readers are assumed to have read and followed the Beginners' Guide or Official Arch Linux Install Guide to obtain a basic Arch Linux installation. Furthermore, there exist several software packages normally considered crucial requirements for a functional system. For example, if a graphical interface is desired, please read Xorg first, whereas those interested in printing should make reviewing CUPS a priority. All users can familiarize themselves with the file system by reading Filesystem Hierarchy Standard.


This section contains frequently-sought "eye candy" tweaks for an aesthetically pleasing Arch experience. For more, please see Category:Eye candy (English).

Colored output

Even though a number of applications have built-in color capabilities, using a general-purpose, colorizing wrapper such as cope is another route. Install Template:Package AUR or Template:Package AUR, the more often updated Git version, from the AUR. Template:Package AUR and Template:Package AUR are similar alternatives.

Console prompt

The console prompt (PS1) can be customized to a great extent. See the What's your PS1? forum thread for ideas. Also see Color Bash Prompt or Zsh#Prompts if using Bash or Zsh, respectively.

Core utilities

Colorizing the output of specific core utilities such as grep and ls is covered in the Core Utilities article.

Emacs shell

Emacs is known for featuring options beyond the duties of regular text editing, one of these being a full shell replacement. Consult Emacs#Colored output issues for a fix regarding garbled characters that may result from enabling colored output.

Man pages

Man pages (or manual pages) are one of the most useful resources available to GNU/Linux users. To aid readability, the pager can be configured to render colored text as explained in Man Page#Colored man pages.


A plethora of information on the subject can be found in the Fonts and Font Configuration articles.

Console fonts

If spending a significant amount of time working from the virtual console (i.e. outside an X server), users may wish to change the console font to improve readability; see Fonts#Console fonts.

Patched font packages

Font rendering libraries can be patched to provide improved rendering compared to the standard packages; see Font Configuration#Patched packages.


Category:Audio/Video (English) includes additional multimedia resources.

Browser plugins

To enjoy media-rich web content and for a complete browsing experience, browser plugins such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Flash Player, and Java can be installed.


(Coming soon!)


This section contains information pertaining to the boot process. An overview of the Arch boot process can be found at Arch Boot Process. For more, please see Category:Boot process (English).

Backgrounding daemons

Daemons are programs that run in the background, and are typically started during boot. In order to speed up the boot process, certain daemons can be backgrounded, allowing the boot process to continue whilst the daemon loads. See Daemon for a complete explanation.

Hardware auto-recognition

Hardware should be auto-detected by udev during the boot process by default. A potential improvement in boot time can be achieved by disabling module auto-loading and specifying required modules manually, as described in rc.conf#Hardware. Additionally Xorg should be able to auto-detect required drivers using udev, but users have the option to configure the X server manually too.

Num Lock activation at boot

Num Lock is a toggle key found in most keyboards. For activating Num Lock's number key-assignment during startup, see Activating Numlock on Bootup.

Retaining boot messages

Once it concludes, the screen is cleared and the login prompt appears, leaving users unable to gather feedback from the boot process. Disable clearing of boot messages to overcome this limitation.

Start X at boot

If utilizing an X server to provide a graphical user interface, users may wish to start this server during the boot process rather than starting it manually after login. See Display Manager if desiring a graphical login or Start X at boot for methods that do not involve a display manager.

Console improvements

This section applies to small modifications that better console programs' practicality. For more, please see Category:Command shells (English) and Category:Utilities (English).


Users can define shortcuts for frequently-used commands using a built-in shell command. Common time-saving aliases can be found in Core Utilities#alias.

Bash additions

A list of miscellaneous Bash settings, including completion enhancements, history search and readline macros is available in Bash#Tips and tricks.

Compressed files

Compressed files, or archives, are frequently encountered on a GNU/Linux system. Tar is one of the most commonly used archiving tools, and users should be familiar with its syntax (Arch Linux packages, for example, are simply xzipped tarballs). See Core Utilities#extract for other helpful commands.

Mouse support

Using a mouse with the console for copy-paste operations can be preferred over GNU screen's traditional copy mode. Refer to Console Mouse Support for comprehensive directions.

Scrollback buffer

To be able to save and view text which has scrolled off the screen, refer to Scrollback buffer.

Separate programs from shell

Using screen, you can separate a program from your shell by running it in a screen session. So when you log off or kill the shell, the programm will continue to run and you will still be able to interact with it simply by re-attaching the screen session.


This section contains popular input device configuration tips. For more, please see Category:Input devices (English).

Configure all mouse buttons

Owners of advanced or unusual mice may find that not all mouse buttons are recognized by default, or may wish to assign different actions for extra buttons. Instructions can be found in Get All Mouse Buttons Working.

Keyboard layouts

Non-English or otherwise non-standard keyboards may not function as expected by default. To define the keymap in virtual consoles, the KEYMAP variable must be set in rc.conf. For Xorg users, the required changes are described in Xorg#Keyboard layout.

Laptop touchpads

Many laptops use Synaptics or ALPS "touchpad" pointing devices. These, and several other touchpad models, use the Synaptics input driver; see Touchpad Synaptics for installation and configuration details.


This section is confined to small networking procedures. Head over to Network for a full guide. For more, please see Category:Networking (English).

Clock synchronization

The Network Time Protocol (NTP) is a protocol for synchronizing the clocks of computer systems over packet-switched, variable-latency data networks.

Disable IPv6

Not only does the IPv6 module take around 250k of memory, it has also been reported that disabling the feature notoriously speeds up network access for programs that erroneously try to query servers with this newer version. Incidentally, Firefox is listed among the affected applications. So until the widespread adoption of IPv6, one may benefit by disabling the module.

DNS speed improvement

To improve load time by caching queries, use pdnsd, a very simple DNS server that does not attempt to fill every need. Or install dnsmasq, a broader choice which also supports turning the system into a DHCP server.

DNSSEC validation

For better security while browsing web, paying online, connecting to SSH services and similar tasks you should consider using DNSSEC-enabled client software which can validate signed DNS records...


This section aims to summarize tweaks, tools and available options useful to improve system and application performance.


Benchmarking is the act of measuring performance and comparing the results to another system's results or a widely accepted standard through a unified procedure.

Maximizing performance

The Maximizing Performance article gathers information and is a basic rundown about gaining performance in Arch Linux.

Package management

This section contains helpful information related to package management. All users should at least be familiar with the pacman package manager. For more, please see Category:Package management (English).

Aliases for pacman

Aliasing a command, or a group thereof, is a way of saving time when using the console. This is specially helpful for repetitive tasks that don't need significant alteration to their parameters between executions. Various time saving pacman aliases are organized in pacman Tips, besides other suggested tools.

Arch Build System

Ports is a system initially used by BSD distributions consisting of build scripts that reside in a directory tree on the local system. Simply put, each port contains a script within a directory intuitively named after the installable third-party application.

The ABS tree offers the same functionality by providing build scripts called PKGBUILDs, which are populated with information for a given piece of software; integrity hashes, project URL, version, license and build instructions. These PKGBUILDs are later parsed by makepkg, the actual program that generates packages cleanly manageable by pacman.

Every package in the repositories along with those present in the AUR are subject to recompilation with makepkg.

Arch User Repository

While the ABS tree allows the ability of building software available in the official repositories, the AUR is the equivalent for user submitted packages. It is an unsupported repository of build scripts accessible through the web interface or by an AUR helper.

An AUR helper can add seamless access to the AUR. They may vary in features, but all ease in searching, fetching, building, and installing from over 20,000 PKGBUILDs found in the unofficial repository.


Visit Mirrors for steps on taking full advantage of using the fastest and most up to date pacman mirrors. As explained in the article, a particularly good advice is to routinely check [1] and/or Mirror status for a list of mirrors that have been recently synced.

Power management

This section may be of use to laptop owners or users otherwise seeking power management controls. For more, please see Category:Power management (English).


Users can configure how the system reacts to ACPI events such as pressing the power button or closing a laptop's lid using acpid.

CPU frequency scaling

Modern processors can decrease their frequency and voltage to reduce heat and power consumption. Less heat leads to a quieter system and prolongs the life of hardware. cpufrequtils is a set of utilities designed to assist CPU frequency scaling.


For articles related to portable computing along with model-specific installation guides, please see Category:Laptops (English). For a general overview of laptop-related articles and recommendations, see Laptop.

Suspending and hibernation

Several options are available to users desiring suspend-to-RAM (sleep/stand-by) and suspend-to-disk (hibernate) functionality. pm-utils describes one popular method, while hibernate-script is an older alternative that does not depend on Xorg packages. Tuxonice is an option growing in popularity and, while it claims to have more features than the other two options, requires kernel patching or the use of kernel26-ice available in AUR.

System administration

This section deals with administrative tasks and system management. For more, please see Category:System administration (English).

Log maintenance

By default, log files are rotated using logrotate, which rotates existing log files to an alternatively named file (suffixed with a number) and empties the original log files. Logrotate is typically executed via cron job; users must ensure the cron daemon is running in order to initiate log rotation.

Users of the Template:Package Official syslog daemon may wish to configure ISO 8601 timestamps (yyyy-mm-ddThh:mm:ss-zz:zz) in log files.

Privilege escalation

A new installation leaves users with only the super user account, better known as root. Logging in as root for prolonged periods of time is widely considered to be foolish and insecure. Instead, users should create and use unprivileged user accounts for most tasks, only using the root account for system administration. The su (substitute user) command allows assuming the identity of another user on the system (usually root) from an existing login, whereas the sudo command grants temporary privilege escalation for a specific command.

Users and groups

Users and groups are used on GNU/Linux for access control; administrators may fine-tune group membership and ownership to grant or deny users and services access to system resources. Access to peripheral devices such as optical (CD/DVD) drives and sound hardware often requires membership in an appropriate group.

Windows networking

To enable communication between Windows and Arch Linux machines across a network, users can use Samba; a re-implementation of the SMB/CIFS networking protocol.

System services

This section relates to daemons. For more, please see Category:Daemons and system services (English).

Local mail delivery

A default base setup bestows no means for mail syncing. To configure Postfix for simple local mailbox delivery, see Local Mail Delivery with Postfix. Other options are SSMTP, MSMTP and fdm.

X Window System

Xorg is the public, open-source implementation of the X Window System version 11. If a graphical user interface is desired, the majority of users will use Xorg. See Category:X Server (English) for additional resources.

Desktop environments

Whilst Xorg provides the basic framework for building a graphical environment, there are additional components that may be considered necessary for a complete user experience. Desktop environments such as GNOME, KDE, LXDE, and Xfce bundle together a wide range of X clients, such as a window manager, panel, file manager, terminal emulator, text editor, icons, and other utilities. See Category:Desktop environments (English) for a complete list and additional resources.

Display drivers

The default vesa display driver will work with most video cards, but performance can be significantly improved and additional features harnessed by installing the appropriate driver for ATI, Intel, or NVIDIA products.

Window managers

A full-fledged desktop environment provides a complete and consistent graphical user interface, but tends to consume a considerable amount of system resources. Users seeking to maximize performance or otherwise simplify their environment may opt to install a window manager instead and hand-pick desired extras. An alternative window manager can also be used with most desktop environments. Dynamic, stacking, and tiling window managers differ in their handling of window placement.