Some notes on installing Arch Linux

Duc A. Hoang 26 May 2018 16 Dec 2018 linux

Install Arch Linux

The official Arch Linux can be downloaded from https://www.archlinux.org/download/. If you are new to Arch Linux, it is better to install Manjaro Linux or Anarchy-Linux. The installation guide can be found at https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/installation_guide. Here, I describe how I install Arch Linux to my ASUS X44H laptop.

Create live USB of Arch Linux

I download the latest ISO from https://www.archlinux.org/download/ and create a live USB with that iso file. In a Linux system, you can use the dd command

dd bs=4M if=/path/to/archlinux.iso of=/dev/sdx status=progress && sync

In a Windows system, my recommendation is Rufus. You can also remaster the install ISO.

Keyboard

I have the default console keymap (i.e., US), so I do not need to re-configure the keyboard layout. To list all available layouts, use

ls /usr/share/kbd/keymaps/**/*.map.gz

To set a layout, use loadkeys command.

Boot mode

To verify if your computer supports UEFI, use

ls /sys/firmware/efi/efivars 

If the directory does not exist, your computer does not support UEFI. In fact, my computer supports both UEFI and BIOS boot modes.

Internet connection

If you connect to the internet using wired network devices (as I do) then you can verify the connection (which is enabled on boot by the installation image) using ping command. See this page for more details on how to configure a network connection.

Time settings

Use the command

timedatectl set-ntp true

to ensure the system clock is accurate.

Disk partitions

The command fdisk -l lists all available storage devices and its partitions. Suppose that I install the system in /dev/sda. To create/delete/re-size a partition in a storage device, I use cfdisk (DOS partition tables). I created three partitions for /, /home, and swap. It is recommended that if you have less than 1GB RAM then you should spend 1GB for swap, if you have 2-4GB RAM then you should spend half of the size of RAM for swap, and otherwise you should spend 2GB for swap. To format a partition, use the command mkfs.filsystem_type /dev/sdax, here filesystem_type can be ext2, ext4, jfs, etc., and /dev/sdax is the partiton number. You should also format and enable the swap partition with the mkswap and swapon commands.

Mount the system

For example,

  • Mount the root partition (mount point /) at /mnt.
  • Create /mnt/home for mounting the home partition (mount point /home).
  • I have Windows OS installed in a partition, so I create /mnt/windows directory for mounting the partition.

Basic packages

pacstrap /mnt base base-devel

I also want to use wifi-menu in my newly installed system, so I also use:

pacstrap /mnt iw dialog wpa_supplicant

Generate a fstab file

A fstab file defines how disk partitions, block devices or remote file systems are mounted into the filesystem.

genfstab -U /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab

The option -U indicates defining by UUID. To define by labels, use option -L.

Configure new system

Change root into the new system with

arch-chroot /mnt

Set timezone

ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/Region/City /etc/localtime
hwclock --systohc # generate /etc/adjtime

For Vietnamese, the Region is Asia, and the City is Ho_Chi_Minh.

Locale

Uncomment en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8 and other needed localizations in /etc/locale.gen, and generate them with:

locale-gen

Set the LANG variable in /etc/locale.conf accordingly, for example LANG=en_US.UTF-8.

Hostname

Create /etc/hostname file

echo my_hostname > /etc/hostname

and matching entries to /etc/hosts

127.0.0.1 localhost
::1 localhost
127.0.1.1 my_hostname.localdomain my_hostname

Initramfs

I modify /etc/mkinitcpio.conf by changing

HOOKS=(base udev autodetect modconf block filesystems keyboard fsck)

into

HOOKS=(base udev autodetect modconf block filesystems keyboard fsck shutdown)

and recreate the initramfs image with

mkinitcpio -p linux

Users

To change root password, use passwd command. To create a new user, use useradd command. For example,

useradd -m -g users -G audio,lp,optical,storage,video,wheel,games,power,scanner -s /bin/bash user

See this page for more details.

Boot loader

My ASUS laptop has Intel(R) Pentium(R) CPU B950 @ 2.10GHz (use cat /proc/cpuinfo to show CPU info), so I need to first install intel-ucode package using

pacman -S intel-ucode

I also have Windows partition, so I need os-prober package.

pacman -S os-prober

I also edit /etc/default/grub by changing

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet"

into

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=""

Now, I can run the grub installation using

grub-install /dev/sda

and finally generate the grub configuration file

grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

Reboot

Exit the chroot environment by typing exit or press Ctrl+D. Unmount all the partitions with umount -R /mnt. Type reboot to restart the system. Remove the installation media and then login into the new system with the root account.

Packages and Configuration

Enable Networking

sudo systemctl start dhcpcd
sudo systemctl enable dhcpcd
sudo systemctl start NetworkManager
sudo systemctl enable NetworkManager

Enable Printing Service

sudo systemctl start org.cups.cupsd.service
sudo systemctl enable org.cups.cupsd.service

Time Setting

To avoid time display error between Arch Linux and Windows, use

sudo timedatectl set-local-rtc 1 --adjust-system-clock

Desktop Environments

sudo pacman -S --needed --noconfirm gnome gnome-extra gnome-flashback cinnamon 
sudo pacman -S --needed --noconfirm xorg xorg-server

Packer/Yaourt/Pamac

In Arch Linux, users can add and install their favorite packages from AUR, aka Arch User Repository via the pacman package manager. Since AUR contains about 44,000 packages, for most of them, one need to manually download, check, and install. This is where packer or yaourt come in handy. Here is how I install yaourt. (The original guide is here).

sudo pacman -S --needed --noconfirm base-devel git wget yajl
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/package-query.git
cd package-query
makepkg -si
cd ..
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/yaourt.git
cd yaourt
makepkg -si
cd ..
sudo rm -dR yaourt/ package-query/

If you need a GUI, install pamac-aur.

Update (2018-11-14): Both packer and yaourt are outdated and discontinued. Use yay (yet another yogurt) instead.

Theme

yaourt -S --needed --noconfirm arc-gtk-theme paper-icon-theme

Enable GDM

To enable GDM (GNOME Display Manager), use

sudo systemctl start gdm
sudo systemctl enable gdm

Oracle Java & Eclipse

yaourt -S --needed --noconfirm jdk jdk8 jre8
sudo archlinux-java set java-11-jdk # set default Java environment
sudo pacman -S --needed --noconfirm eclipse-java

As eclipse-java and eclipse-cpp are in conflict, to use C/C++ Development Tools, I install CDT 9.5.5 for Eclipse Photon and 2018-09 in eclipse-java by choosing Help > Install New Software..., add the CDT repository http://download.eclipse.org/tools/cdt/releases/9.5, and install the CDT Main Features and CDT Optional Features.

SoftMaker FreeOffice 2018

Download from http://www.freeoffice.com/en/download. You need to register to get a product key (free of charge). Let say you download softmaker-freeoffice-2018-931-amd64.tgz, then the installation steps are

tar -xvzf softmaker-freeoffice-2018-931-amd64.tgz
sudo ./installfreeoffice

If you want to uninstall FreeOffice 2018, you can just simply run /usr/bin/uninstall_smfreeoffice2018. For more information, see this page.

Missing Firmware

When running mkinitcpio -p linux, if you get the warning

==> WARNING: Possibly missing firmware for module: wd719x
==> WARNING: Possibly missing firmware for module: aic94xx

then simply install the wd719x-firmware and aic94xx-firmware packages using yaourt and run mkinitcpio -p linux again.

Downgrade

Install the downgrade package using yaourt. This package helps you install some previous version of a current package, which is very useful in case of conflicted dependencies. If you want a specific version of a package, say netpbm-10.73-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz (a dependency for latex2html), you can go to https://archive.archlinux.org/packages/ to look for the package at https://archive.archlinux.org/packages/n/netpbm and install using

sudo pacman -U https://archive.archlinux.org/packages/n/netpbm/netpbm-10.73-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz

(Vanilla) TeXLive 2017

There is no trouble installing Vanilla TeXLive, but I want to add some note: Install texlive-dummy via yaourt in order to tell pacman that you’ve already installed TeXLive. You can also install TeXLive using

sudo pacman -S --needed --noconfirm texlive-most texlive-lang texmaker biber

LaTeX2HTML

If you use perl >= 5.26.0, you need a workaround: add PERL5LIB=$PERL5LIB:.; export PERL5LIB to /etc/bash.bashrc. The reason is that LaTeX2HTML uses module cfgcache.pm from the installation directory, but since version 5.26.0, perl no longer includes the current directory in @INC path (see this page).

pdf2htmlEX

To compile and install pdf2htmlEX, I use poppler and poppler-glib version 0.59.0-1, fontforge version 20141126-3, together with the pdf2htmlex-git package.

One can also install poppler from source

sudo pacman -S --needed --noconfirm poppler-data
wget https://poppler.freedesktop.org/poppler-0.59.0.tar.xz
tar -xvf poppler-0.59.0.tar.xz
cd poppler-0.59.0/
./configure --prefix=/usr --enable-xpdf-headers
make
sudo make install

and fontforge from the GitHub repository https://github.com/coolwanglu/fontforge

sudo pacman -S --needed --noconfirm libxkbui libxi pango giflib libtool libspiro desktop-file-utils gtk-update-icon-cache libunicodenames gc python shared-mime-info zeromq
git clone --depth 1 https://github.com/coolwanglu/fontforge.git
./bootstrap

Then, edit the newly created file configure by finding the lines (~ line 18431)

for am_cv_pathless_PYTHON in python python2 python3  python3.9 python3.8 python3.7 python3.6 python3.5 python3.4 python3.3  python3.2 python3.1 python3.0  python2.7 python2.6 python2.5 python2.4 python2.3 python2.2 python2.1  python2.0 none; do
	  test "$am_cv_pathless_PYTHON" = none && break

and replace the first python in for am_cv_pathless_PYTHON in python python2 python3 with python2.7.

Then

./configure --prefix=/usr
make
sudo make install

If you get the error

[ 94%] Linking CXX executable pdf2htmlEX
/usr/bin/ld: warning: libreadline.so.6, needed by /usr/lib/gcc/x86_64-pc-linux-gnu/8.1.1/../../../../lib/libfontforge.so, not found (try using -rpath or -rpath-link)
/usr/bin/ld: warning: libzmq.so.4, needed by /usr/lib/gcc/x86_64-pc-linux-gnu/8.1.1/../../../../lib/libfontforge.so, not found (try using -rpath or -rpath-link)
/usr/lib/gcc/x86_64-pc-linux-gnu/8.1.1/../../../../lib/libfontforge.so: undefined reference to `readline'
/usr/lib/gcc/x86_64-pc-linux-gnu/8.1.1/../../../../lib/libfontforge.so: undefined reference to `add_history'
collect2: error: ld returned 1 exit status
make[2]: *** [CMakeFiles/pdf2htmlEX.dir/build.make:580: pdf2htmlEX] Error 1
make[1]: *** [CMakeFiles/Makefile2:356: CMakeFiles/pdf2htmlEX.dir/all] Error 2
make: *** [Makefile:141: all] Error 2

and you have readline >= 7.0.005-1 and zeromq >= 4.2.2-2 then create symbolic links

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/libreadline.so.7.0 /usr/lib/libreadline.so.6
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/libzmq.so.5.1.2 /usr/lib/libzmq.so.4

Tor Browser

When I installed tor-browser (via yaourt), the following error occurred

tor-browser-linux64-7.0.8_en-US.tar.xz ... FAILED (unknown public key D1483FA6C3C07136)

To fix this, simply import the missing PGP key, as follows.

gpg --recv-keys D1483FA6C3C07136

Foxit Reader

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/gstreamer0.10.git
cd gstreamer0.10
makepkg -si
cd ..
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/gstreamer0.10-base.git
cd gstreamer0.10-base
makepkg -si
cd ..
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/foxitreader.git
cd foxitreader
makepkg -si
cd ..
rm -r gstreamer0.10 gstreamer0.10-base foxitreader

VMWare Horizon Client

yaourt -S --needed --noconfirm openssl098 gstreamer0.10-base vmware-horizon-client

IPE extensible drawing editor

I often use IPE for drawing graphs in my papers. To install IPE in Arch Linux, you can just simply use yaourt -S --needed --noconfirm ipe (assuming you’ve already installed yaourt). Several useful tools (pdftoipe, figtoipe, ipe5toxml, svgtoipe) for IPE can be found in the ipe-tools-git package. I also use the ipelet ipe2tikz to export IPE pictures to TikZ code. One thing you may want to remember when using the generated TikZ pictures is how to scale your TikZ picture to fit the paper size. Several other useful ipelets are also available. Finally, for convenience, I also create the file /usr/share/applications/ipe.desktop and make it executable.

[Desktop Entry]
Type=Application
Encoding=UTF-8
Name=IPE
Comment=IPE extensible drawing editor
Exec=/usr/bin/ipe
Icon=/usr/share/ipe/7.2.7/icons/ipe.png
Terminal=false
Categories=Graphics

ClamAV

sudo pacman -S --needed --noconfirm clamav clamtk # installation
sudo systemctl enable clamav-daemon # enable clamav-daemon
sudo systemctl start clamav-daemon # start clamav-daemon
sudo freshclam # update virus database

Docker

sudo pacman -S --needed --noconfirm docker
sudo systemctl enable docker
sudo systemctl start docker
sudo usermod -aG docker $USER # if the group `docker` does not exist then create it using `sudo groupadd docker`

pass password manager

yaourt -S --noconfirm tree pass pass-import dmenu

If you get the error

pass-import-2.3.tar.gz ... FAILED (unknown public key C5469996F0DF68EC)

then run

gpg --recv-keys C5469996F0DF68EC

One can also install the latest pass-import from its GitHub repository as follows

git clone https://github.com/roddhjav/pass-import/
cd pass-import 
sudo make install

See this page for a guide on how to use pass with docker.

Some other packages

A non-exhaustive list of packages I installed (using yaourt) are:

tlp lsb-release smartmontools ethtool
ibus ibus-unikey ibus-anthy guake firefox thunderbird google-chrome gedit-plugins
gparted testdisk partimage xfsprogs reiserfsprogs jfsutils ntfs-3g dosfstools mtools grub-customizer hwinfo
openssh subversion git mercurial gufw filezilla openvpn mlocate
unace unrar unzip zip lrzip p7zip sharutils uudeview mpack arj cabextract file-roller
goldendict pdfshuffler calibre djview shutter shotwell cups cups-pdf system-config-printer
vlc mplayer alsa-utils pulseaudio
dropbox-cli nautilus-dropbox skypeforlinux-stable-bin telegram-desktop messengerfordesktop pidgin irssi
zotero visual-studio-code-bin
gnupg1 veracrypt secure-delete tree
sagemath octave
ttf-vietnamese-tcvn3 ttf-vietnamese-vni ttf-hannom

For a recommendation, see this page or this page. See this page for a list of available applications.

List of installed packages

Keeping a list of installed packages is useful when you want to speed up installation on a new system or backup a working system. The command

pacman -Qqe > pkglist.txt

generates a list of installed packages (including packages from AUR). The command

yaourt -S --needed - < pkglist.txt

One can also use the reflector package for retrieving and filtering the latest Pacman mirror list. See pacman/Tips and tricks for more information.

Resolving issues

Error ``Pacman is currently in use, please wait’’

sudo rm /var/lib/pacman/db.lck

Accessing JAIST or eduroam wifi

JAIST provides two wireless network services with SSIDs JAIST and eduroam. The instruction is for Windows, MacOS X, and Android. I figure that it can also be used for Arch Linux (and maybe some other Linux distribution). Basically, the wifi security information for accessing these wifi SSIDs (I use NetworkManager for managing network connection) is as follows.

  • Security type : WPA & WPA2 Enterprise

  • Authentication : TLS

  • Identity : [Your JAIST account]@jaist.ac.jp (for students, sXXXXXXX@jaist.ac.jp)

  • Domain : [Leave it empty]

  • CA certificate : Use the file /etc/ssl/ca-certificates.crt (make sure that the package ca-certificates-utils is installed)

  • User certificate : Use the digital certificate provided from JAIST

  • User private key : Use the digital certificate provided from JAIST

  • User key password : [Your password for reading the provided digital certificate]

Note: Put your digital certificate in some place where the path to it contains no file/folder whose name containing blank space.

Using JAIST SSL-VPN

JAIST also provides an SSL-VPN gateway system. In Arch Linux, I download F5 Linux CLI (command line interface) Edge Client Installer (file linuxsslvpn.gz) and install as follows.

tar -xvf linuxsslvpn.tgz 
sudo ./Install.sh # Answer `yes` for both questions

To use JAIST SSL-VPN, from the Terminal, you can use the command

f5fpc --start --host vpn.jaist.ac.jp --cert /path/to/your/jaist/digital/certificate

You will have to input your password for reading your digital certificate (provided from JAIST), your username (for student, sXXXXXXX), and the password of your JAIST’s account. After you successfully start the connection, you can use f5fpc --info to check the connection status. At the time of writing this post, JAIST provides two VPN networks /Common/jaist-vpn1-na and /Common/jaist-vpn2-na (as shown when using f5fpc --info). The vpn1 only passes accesses to JAIST through VPN, while vpn2 passes all accesses through VPN.

The difference between JAIST vpn1 and vpn2 (© JAIST RCACI)

To use, say vpn2, you can use the command

f5fpc --start --host vpn.jaist.ac.jp --cert /path/to/your/jaist/digital/certificate --fname "/Common/jaist-vpn2-na"

To stop using JAIST SSL-VPN, use the command

f5fpc --stop

Anjuta opens my folders

To fix this, use the command

xdg-mime default org.gnome.Nautilus.desktop inode/directory

Visual Studio Code (VS Code) opens my folders

After installing VS Code (visual-studio-code-bin), anything opened using the “Places” extension in GNOME opens VS Code instead of the default folder/path (as described here). To resolve this issue, I simply add the lines

[Default Applications]
inode/directory=org.gnome.Nautilus.desktop

to ~/.config/mimeapps.list (or just the second line if [Default Applications] already exists).

Auto reconnect Bluetooth devices at boot

The original instruction is available here.

  • Enable bluetooth service: sudo systemctl enable bluetooth.service.
  • Set bluetooth adapter to automatically power on: edit /etc/bluetooth/main.conf and set AutoEnable=true.
  • Set paired devices as trusted: Type bluetoothctl, it will open a new console. In that console, type trust XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX for each paired device (replace XX... with mac address).

Pairing bluetooth devices on dual boot of Windows and Linux

Recently, I’ve bought a HP X4000b Bluetooth Mouse and having trouble when I have to re-pair the device again and again every time I switch between Arch Linux and Windows 10. Luckily, I found this instruction. I describe the steps here.

  • Pair all Bluetooth devices with Arch Linux.
  • Pair all Bluetooth devices with Windows 10.
  • Copy the Windows pairing keys
    • Install chntpw using sudo pacman -S --needed --noconfirm chntpw.
    • Mount Windows system drive.
    • cd /[windowsSystemDrive]/Windows/System32/config.
    • chntpw -e SYSTEM opens up a console. Run the following commands in that console.
	cd ControlSet001\Services\BTHPORT\Parameters\Keys
	ls 
	# shows your bluetooth port's mac address, 
	# for example, the output is as follows
	# Node has 1 subkeys and 0 values
	#   key name
	#   <aa1122334455>
	cd aa1122334455  # CD into the folder
	ls # lists of existing devices' MAC addresses
	# for example, the output is as follows
	# Node has 0 subkeys and 1 values
	# size     type            value name             [value if type DWORD]
	#   16  REG_BINARY        <001f20eb4c9a>
	hex 001f20eb4c9a
	# the output is of the form
	# :00000 XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX ...ignore..chars..
	# the XXs are the pairing key
	
  • Make a note of which Bluetooth device MAC address matches which paring key. In Arch Linux, we won’t need the spaces in-between. Ignore the :00000.
  • Add the windows key to Linux config entries.
    • Switch to root su -.
    • cd to your bluetooth config location /var/lib/bluetooth/[bth port mac addresses)].
    • Here you’ll find folders for each device you’ve paired with. The folder names being the Bluetooth devices mac address and contain a single file info. In these files, you’ll see the link key you need to replace with your windows ones like so.
	[LinkKey]
	Key=B99999999FFFFFFFFF999999999FFFFF
	
  • Once updated, restart the bluetooth service sudo systemctl restart bluetooth.

  • Note: If you Pair all Bluetooth devices with Windows 10 first, and then with Arch Linux, then the key for all systems should be the key of the last system the devices were paired, which is Arch Linux in this case.

GnuPG

Missing PGP keys when installing gnupg1

If you get the error

==> PGP keys need importing:
 -> D8692123C4065DEA5E0F3AB5249B39D24F25E3B6, required by: gnupg1
 -> 46CC730865BB5C78EBABADCF04376F3EE0856959, required by: gnupg1
 -> 031EC2536E580D8EA286A9F22071B08A33BD3F06, required by: gnupg1
 -> D238EA65D64C67ED4C3073F28A861B1C7EFD60D9, required by: gnupg1

when installing gnupg1 then you can import the missing keys with the command

gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys D8692123C4065DEA5E0F3AB5249B39D24F25E3B6 46CC730865BB5C78EBABADCF04376F3EE0856959 031EC2536E580D8EA286A9F22071B08A33BD3F06 D238EA65D64C67ED4C3073F28A861B1C7EFD60D9 

Remove passphrase of a secret key

Let say you want to remove the passphrase of a secret key named PGP-key.asc.

gpg1 --import PGP-key.asc
gpg1 --edit-key [imported PGP key fingerprint]

Then, type passwd in the gpg> command prompt, enter the old passhrase of the imported PGP key, and press Enter for the new passhrase. Answer y when you were asked You don't want a passphrase - this is probably a *bad* idea! Do you really want to do this? (y/N). Finally, type save to save the result and exit the command prompt.