Official Arch Linux Install Guide Appendix

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Adding a Window Manager/Desktop Environment

See Window Manager and Desktop Environment

Boot Scripts

See Arch Boot Process

User & Group Management

See Users and Groups

Internet Access

Due to a lack of developers for dialup issues, connecting Arch to the Internet with a dialup line is requiring a lot of manual setup. If at all possible, set up a dedicated router which you can then use as a default gateway on the Arch box.

There are quite a few dialup related documents in the Arch Linux Wiki

Analog Modem

To be able to use a Hayes-compatible, external, analog modem, you need to at least have the ppp package installed. Modify the file /etc/ppp/options to suit your needs and according to man pppd. You will need to define a chat script to supply your username and password to the ISP after the initial connection has been established. The manpages for pppd and chat have examples in them that should suffice to get a connection up and running if you're either experienced or stubborn enough. With udev, your serial ports usually are /dev/tts/0 and /dev/tts/1.

Instead of fighting a glorious battle with the plain pppd, you may opt to install wvdial or a similar tool to ease the setup process considerably.

In case you're using a so called WinModem, which is basically a PCI plugin card working as an internal analog modem, you should indulge in the vast information found on the LinModem homepage.


Setting up ISDN is done in three steps:

  1. Install and configure hardware
  2. Install and configure the ISDN utilities
  3. Add settings for your ISP

The current Arch stock kernels include the necessary ISDN modules, meaning that you won't need to recompile your kernel unless you're about to use rather odd or old ISDN hardware. After physically installing your ISDN card in your machine or plugging in your USB ISDN-Box, you can try loading the modules with modprobe. Nearly all passive ISDN PCI cards are handled by the hisax module which needs two parameters; type and protocol. You must set protocol to '1' if your country uses the 1TR6 standard, '2' if it uses EuroISDN (EDSS1), '3' if you're hooked to a so called leased-line without D-channel, and '4' for US NI1.

Details on all those settings and how to set them is included in the kernel documentation, more specifically in the isdn subdirectory, available online. The type parameter depends on your card; A list of all possible types is to be found in the README.HiSax kernel documentation. Choose your card and load the module with the appropriate options like this:

 modprobe hisax type=18 protocol=2

This will load the hisax module for my (Dennis) ELSA Quickstep 1000PCI, being used in Germany with the EDSS1 protocol. You should find helpful debugging output in your /var/log/everything.log file in which you should see your card being prepared for action. Please note that you will probably need to load some usb modules before you can work with an external USB ISDN Adapter.

Once you confirmed that your card works with certain settings, you can add the module options to your /etc/modprobe.conf:

 alias ippp0 hisax
 options hisax type=18 protocol=2

Alternatively you can only add the options line here, and add hisax to your MODULES array in the rc.conf. Your choice, really, but this example has the advantage that the module will not be loaded until it's really needed.

That being done you should have working, supported hardware. Now you need the basic utilities to actually use it!

Install the isdn4k-utils package, and read the manpage to isdnctrl, it'll get you started. Further down in the manpage you will find explanations on how to create a configuration file that can be parsed by isdnctrl, as well as some helpful setup examples.

Please note that you have to add your SPID to your MSN setting separated by a colon if you use US NI1.

After you configured your ISDN card with the isdnctrl utility, you should be able to dial into the machine you specified with the PHONE_OUT parameter, but fail the username and password authentication. To make this work add your username and password to /etc/ppp/pap-secrets or /etc/ppp/chap-secrets as if you were configuring a normal analogous PPP link, depending on which protocol your ISP uses for authentication. If in doubt, put your data into both files.

If you set up everything correctly, you should now be able to establish a dialup connection with isdnctrl dial ippp0 as root. If you have any problems, remember to check the logfiles!


These instructions are only relevant to you if your PC itself is supposed to manage the connection to your ISP. You do not need to do anything but define a correct default gateway if you are using a separate router of some sort to do the grunt work.

Before you can use your DSL online connection, you will have to physically install the network card that is supposed to be connected to the DSL-Modem into your computer. After adding your newly installed network card to the modprobe.conf or the MODULES array, you should install the rp-pppoe package and run the pppoe-setup script to configure your connection. After you have entered all required data, you can connect and disconnect your line with

# /etc/rc.d/adsl start
# /etc/rc.d/adsl stop

respectively. The setup usually is rather easy and straightforward, but feel free to read the manpages for hints. If you want to automatically dial in on bootup, add adsl to your DAEMONS array, and put a ! before the network entry, since the network is handled by adsl now.

Package Management


See pacman

Accessing Repositories

See Official Repositories

Arch Build System (ABS)

Binary vs. Source

See Arch Build System

Synchronizing Your ABS Tree

See Arch Build System

How to Build Packages

See Creating Packages

Package Guidelines

See Arch Packaging Standards

Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQs listed here are only covering any problems that may keep you from booting or installing an initial Arch Linux system. If you have questions regarding further usage of the system utilities, X11 setup, etc. or how to configure your hardware, please head over to the Wiki. If you think an issue is not covered here that should be, please notify the author of this document, whose address is to be found at the very top of this file.

During the initial package installation, pacman fails to resolve dependencies for package A because package B is not in the package set

Unless something is very broken and thus very likely to be reported by multiple people soon, you probably just forgot to mount your target partitions properly. This causes pacman to decompress the package database into the initial ramdisk, which fills up quite nicely and ultimatively leads to this error.

Make sure that you use the DONE and not the CANCEL option offered by the Filesystem Mountpoints menu to apply your choices. This error should not happen if you use the Auto-Prepare feature; If it does nevertheless, please report this as a bug.

How can I install packages from the install CD with pacman --sync (so it resolves dependencies for me)?

If you would rather have packages install from the CD instead of downloading them, then mount the install CD somewhere (eg. /mnt/cd) and add this line right below the [core] line in /etc/pacman.conf: Server = file:///mnt/cd

Replace /mnt/cd with the mountpoint you chose. Then use pacman --sync as you normally would - It will now check the /mnt/cd directory first for packages.

How can I create multiple swap partitions during the install?

Naturally you won't be able to use the Auto-Prepare feature if you want to create and use multiple swap partitions. Create the partitions manually instead, and create as many swap partitions as your little heart desires. Go through the rest of the disk preparation steps, don't mind that you're only asked for one swap partition during the mount-point setting. Once you're through with the install and are about to edit your system configuration files, you can edit the fstab file and include a line for every swap device you created earlier. Simply copy the automatically generated swap line, and modify the referenced device according to your setup. The additional swaps will be activated after the bootup when swapon -a is being run by the initscripts. Make sure you ran mkswap on all of your swap partitions manually, or else your system will complain on bootup!

If, for any odd reason, you can not wait until after the installation with activating multiple swap partitions or files, you will have to open a shell on one of the virtual terminals and issue the swapon <device> for every swap drive or file you partitioned/readied before with mkswap. Then continue as explained above with the install.

In case you are honestly contemplating setting up multiple swap files or drives, you should keep in mind that a kernel that needs to swap is actually crying bitterly for more RAM, not more swap space. Please keep your penguin well fed. Thank you.

How do I reconfigure LILO from the rescue system?

As a first step you simply boot from the Arch Install CD or disks. If your partitions are intact and don't need checking, you can try choosing one of the recovery boot options according to your partition layout, or fiddle with the GRUB boot manager settings on your own to get your existing system to boot properly. That will boot directly into your system, and you can skip all but the last step of actually reconfiguring and running LILO.

If you cannot boot your old root directly, boot from the CD as if you were going to start an installation. Once you're in a shell, you mount the root partition of your harddisk into the /mnt directory, for example like this:

 mount /dev/hda3 /mnt

Then you mount any other partitions to their respective mount points within that root of yours, for example a /boot partition:

 mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/boot

Now you need to mount a /dev tree in the /mnt area, where LILO will be able to find it:

 /mnt/bin/mount --bind /dev /mnt/dev

Once everything is mounted, make this /mnt directory your new root with the chroot /mnt command. This will start a new shell and drop you into the /mnt directory, which will be considered your / from then on.

Now you can edit /etc/lilo.conf to your liking and run lilo to fix anything that needs fixing. Simply type exit when you want to break out of this root again, back into the original file tree. You can now reboot and test your changes.

I can't ssh into my machine!

The default configuration will reject all incoming connections, not only ssh connections. Edit your /etc/hosts.allow file and add the line: sshd:all to allow all incoming ssh connections.

How should I load modules during boot now?

If you want to load a module unconditionally without a specific device binding, add the name of the module to the MODULES array of your /etc/rc.conf. For on demand loading on device access, add it as usual with the alias and optioncommands to your /etc/modprobe.conf, in the rare cases that the automatisms employed by udev don't cut it. To pass any options to a module you want to load through the MODULES array, only add the appropriate options line to your /etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf.

Kernel refuses to boot because of "lost interrupt"

Kernel refuses to boot. It locks at: IRQ probe failed for hda hda lost interrupt

This or a similar error occurs for some HD controllers on kernel 2.6.x. A workaround is to pass the acpi=off option to the kernel at boot time.

I get "access denied" errors trying to play music or read DVDs

Add your user to the optical and audio groups.

 gpasswd -a johndoe optical
 gpasswd -a johndoe audio

Logout, then login again as that user (eg. johndoe) so the group changes can take effect, and the device permissions shouldn't be a problem anymore.

If you have a DVD drive, you may want to create a /dev/dvd symlink to your real DVD device. Usually udev does this for you already, but this will serve well as an example for setting up similar symlinks.

For example, if your DVD drive is accessible through /dev/sdc, you can do the following as root:

 cat >>/etc/udev/rules.d/00.rules <<EOF
 > KERNEL="sdc", NAME="sdc", SYMLINK="dvd"
 > EOF
 mount /dev/pts
 mount /dev/shm