Difference between revisions of "Install from existing Linux"

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(Fix the pacman signature keyring)
(Fix the pacman signature keyring)
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This is done using
This is done using
  # pacman-key --init # read the note below!
# pacman-key --init # read the note below!
  # pacman -S archlinux-keyring
  # pacman -S archlinux-keyring
  # pacman-key --populate archlinux
  # pacman-key --populate archlinux

Revision as of 12:44, 18 June 2013

This guide is intended for anybody who wants to install Arch Linux from any other running Linux -- be it off a LiveCD or a pre-existing install of a different distro.

This is useful for:

  • remotely installing Archlinux (e.g. a (virtual) root server)
  • creating a new linux distribution or LiveCD based on Archlinux
  • creating an Archlinux chroot environments
  • rootfs-over-NFS for diskless machines

This guide requires that the existing host system be able to execute the new target Arch Linux architecture programs. In the case of an x86_64 host, it is possible to use i686-pacman to build a 32-bit chroot environment. See Arch64 Install bundled 32bit system. However it is not so easy to build a 64-bit environment when the host only supports running 32-bit programs.

Note: If you are already using Arch, instead of following this guide, just install arch-install-scripts from the official repositories and follow the Installation Guide

This guide provides additional steps to the Installation Guide. The steps of that guide must still be followed as needed.

Prepare the system

Follow the Installation Guide steps, until you have your partitions, keyboard and internet connection ready.

Setup the environment for pacman

You need to create an environment where pacman and the arch install scripts can run on your current linux distro.

Note: Choose one of this methods to create an environment able to execute the arch install scripts. That environment is not your final installation. You still need to do the rest of steps

There are in principle two different methods to prepare that environment: either by installing pacman natively (Method 4 below) on your linux distro or by setting up a chroot environment. The latter way will generally be easier and is discussed next:

  • Using chroot as an installation environment: The prepared Archlinux chroot environment will be used temporarily to set up the actual Archlinux installation using the arch-install-scripts. This is a bit more work and takes longer but once you set up the installation system you can quickly install several Archlinux systems. However, if you want to set up only a single Archlinux this might be overkill. You are actually setting up the system twice, have a lot more network traffic and especially need a lot more RAM and disk space, mostly due to the quite big iso image.

The best advice is probably to use Direct bootstrapping to set up only a small number of systems. If you set up many Archlinux systems the chroot install environment or even the native pacman installation might suit you better.

Method 1: Chroot into LiveCD-image

It is possible to mount the root image of the latest Archlinux installation media and then chroot into it. This method has the advantage of providing you with a working Arch Linux installation right within your host system without the need to prepare it by installing specific packages.

Note: Before proceeding, make sure the latest version of squashfs is installed on the host system. Otherwise you will get errors like: FATAL ERROR aborting: uncompress_inode_table: failed to read block.

  • The root image can be found on one of the mirrors under either arch/x86_64/ or arch/i686/ depending on the desired architecture. The squashfs format is not editable so we unsquash the root image and then mount it.
  • To unsquash the x86_64 (or i686 respectively) root image, run
# unsquashfs -d /squashfs-root root-image.fs.sfs
  • Now you can loop mount the root image
# mkdir /arch
# mount -o loop /squashfs-root/root-image.fs /arch
  • Before chrooting to it, we need to set up some mount points and copy the resolv.conf for networking.
# mount -t proc none /arch/proc
# mount -t sysfs none /arch/sys
# mount -o bind /dev /arch/dev
# mount -o bind /dev/pts /arch/dev/pts # important for pacman (for signature check)
# cp -L /etc/resolv.conf /arch/etc #this is needed to use networking within the chroot
  • Now everything is prepared to chroot into your newly installed Arch environment
# chroot /arch bash

This chroot is able to execute the arch install scripts. The destination partitions should be mounted under the /mnt directory from this chroot.

when chrooting Debian based host systems the /dev/shm points to /run/shm . /run/shm does not exist in the chroot environment , the link is broken and pacstrap returns an error. create a directory /run/shm in the chroot environment when chrooting from debian based host systems

Method 2: Bootstrapping the arch installation scripts

Contrary to the other methods, this method is one-step only; you only have to execute the script below and thats it.

This method provides a chroot enviroment from where to execute the arch install scripts (similar to Method 1), by using a bootstrapping script.

The script below is going to create a directory called archinstall-pkg and download the required packages there. Then, is going to extract them into the archinstall-chroot directory. Finally, is going to prepare mount points, configure pacman and enter into a chroot.

Note: This is only an enviroment to execute the arch install scripts: this is not your final installation.

This chroot is able to execute the arch install scripts. The destination partitions should be mounted under the /mnt directory from this chroot. After that, continue with the next step, which is #Fix the Pacman Signature Keyring.

CHROOT_DIR=archinstall-chroot Must Change First, or you might ruin your /etc/

# This script is inspired on the archbootstrap script.

PACKAGES=(acl attr bzip2 curl expat glibc gpgme gnupg libarchive libassuan libgcrypt libgpg-error libssh2 lzo2 openssl pacman xz zlib pacman-mirrorlist coreutils bash grep gawk file filesystem tar ncurses readline libcap util-linux pcre arch-install-scripts)
# Change the mirror as necessary
# You can set the ARCH variable to i686 or x86_64
ARCH=`uname -m`
mkdir -p "$DIR"
mkdir -p "$CHROOT_DIR"
# Create a list with urls for the arch packages
for REPO in core community extra; do  
        wget -q -O- "$MIRROR/$REPO/os/$ARCH/" |sed  -n "s|.*href=\"\\([^\"]*\\).*|$MIRROR\\/$REPO\\/os\\/$ARCH\\/\\1|p"|grep -v 'sig$'|uniq >> $LIST  
# Download and extract each package.
for PACKAGE in ${PACKAGES[*]}; do
        URL=`grep "$PACKAGE-[0-9]" $LIST|head -n1`
        FILE=`echo $URL|sed 's/.*\/\([^\/][^\/]*\)$/\1/'`
        wget "$URL" -c -O "$DIR/$FILE" 
        xz -dc "$DIR/$FILE" | tar x -k -C "$CHROOT_DIR"
# Create mount points
mkdir -p "$CHROOT_DIR/dev" "$CHROOT_DIR/proc" "$CHROOT_DIR/sys" "$CHROOT_DIR/mnt"
mount -t proc proc "$CHROOT_DIR/proc/"
mount -t sysfs sys "$CHROOT_DIR/sys/"
mount -o bind /dev "$CHROOT_DIR/dev/"
mkdir -p "$CHROOT_DIR/dev/pts"
mount -t devpts pts "$CHROOT_DIR/dev/pts/"

# Hash for empty password  Created by doing: openssl passwd -1 -salt ihlrowCo and entering an empty password (just press enter)
echo 'root:$1$ihlrowCo$sF0HjA9E8up9DYs258uDQ0:10063:0:99999:7:::' > "$CHROOT_DIR/etc/shadow"
echo "root:x:0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash" > "$CHROOT_DIR/etc/passwd" 
touch "$CHROOT_DIR/etc/group"
echo "myhost" > "$CHROOT_DIR/etc/hostname"
test -e "$CHROOT_DIR/etc/mtab" || echo "rootfs / rootfs rw 0 0" > "$CHROOT_DIR/etc/mtab"
[ -f "/etc/resolv.conf" ] && cp "/etc/resolv.conf" "$CHROOT_DIR/etc/"
sed -ni '/^[ \t]*CheckSpace/ !p' "$CHROOT_DIR/etc/pacman.conf"
sed -i "s/^[ \t]*SigLevel[ \t].*/SigLevel = Never/" "$CHROOT_DIR/etc/pacman.conf"
echo "Server = $MIRROR/\$repo/os/$ARCH" >> "$CHROOT_DIR/etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist"

chroot $CHROOT_DIR /usr/bin/pacman -Sy 
chroot $CHROOT_DIR /bin/bash

Method 3: Install pacman natively on non-arch distro (advanced)

Warning: This method is potentially difficult, your mileage may vary from distro to distro. If you just want to do an arch installation from another distro and you are not interested in have pacman as a regular program under such distro, is better to use a different method.

This method is about installing pacman and the arch install scripts directly under another distro, so they become regular programs on that distro.

This is really useful if you are planning to use another distro regularly to install arch linux, or do fancy things like updating packages of an arch installation using another distro. This is the only method that not imply creating a chroot to be able to execute pacman and the arch install scripts. (but since part of the installation includes entering inside a chroot, you'll end using a chroot anyway)

Download pacman source code and pacman packages

Visit the pacman homepage: https://www.archlinux.org/pacman/#_releases and download the latest release.

Now, download the following packages:

Install dependencies

Using your distribution mechanisms, install the required packages for pacman and the arch install scripts. libcurl, libarchive, fakeroot, xz, asciidoc, wget, and sed are among them. Of course, gcc, make and maybe some other "devel" packages are necessary too.

Compile pacman

  • Decompress the pacman source code and cd inside.
  • Execute configure, adapting the paths as necessary:
     ./configure --prefix=/usr --sysconfdir=/etc --localstatedir=/var --enable-doc

If you get errors here, chances are you are missing dependencies, or your current libcurl, libarchive or others, are too old. Install the dependencies missing using your distro options, or if they are too old, compile them from source.

  • Compile
  • If there were no errors, install the files
    make install
  • You may need to manually call ldconfig to make your distro detect libalpm.

Prepare configuration files

Now is time to extract the configuration files. Change the x86_64 as necessary.

  • Extract the pacman.conf and makepkg.conf files from the pacman package, and disable signature checking:
    tar xJvf pacman-*-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz etc -C / ; sed -i 's/SigLevel.*/SigLevel = Never/g' /etc/pacman.conf
  • Extract the mirror list:
    tar xJvf pacman-mirrorlist-*-any.pkg.tar.xz -C /
  • Enable some mirrors on /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist
  • Extract the arch-install-scripts
    tar xJvf arch-install-scripts-*-any.pkg.tar.xz -C /

Another option is using the alien tool to convert the pacman-mirrorlist and arch-install-scripts (but no pacman) to native packages of your distro.

Fix the pacman signature keyring

It is necessary to initialize pacman's keyring for signature checking.

This is done using

# pacman-key --init # read the note below!
# pacman -S archlinux-keyring
# pacman-key --populate archlinux

However, when connected via SSH you might run out of entropy. In this case you can try something like

# cat /usr/bin/* > /dev/null &
# find / > /dev/null &

before executing pacman-key --init.

It might take some time. If nevertheless all this does help install haveged and run prior to pacman-key --init

# /usr/sbin/haveged -w 1024 -v 1

Setup the target system

At this point, follow the normal steps of Installation Guide. Remember to mount the destination partition under the /mnt of the chroot.

# pacstrap /mnt base base-devel
# # ...

Edit the fstab file

Probably the genfstab script won't work. In that case, you'll need to edit the /mnt/etc/fstab file by hand. You can use the content of /etc/mtab as reference.

Finish the Installation

Now just do the rest of the steps normally.

Tips and tricks

  • In case you want to replace an existing system, but can for some reason not use a LiveCD, since, e.g., you have no physical access to the computer, the following tip might help: If you manage to get ~500MB of free space somewhere on the disk (e.g. by partitioning a swap partition) you can install the new Archlinux system there, reboot into the newly created system and rsync the entire system to the primary partition. Finally don't forget to fix the bootloader configuration before rebooting.