Journey with Arch Linux: Day 1 – Installing to boot bareboned

Greetings everyone,

I haven’t posted anything yet for the longest time because I was occupied with life in general. So I decided to go with a series of posts about a journey to install Arch Linux on my Samsung Series 9 laptop to share my experience with a noob-like steps since I’m a noob myself when it comes to Linux.

Now, I choose Arch for two reasons:
1) It’s not Ubuntu
2) I’ll have to build it up package by package. That’ll give me a good insight on how things works

So, Arch Linux on Samsung Series 9… Whats so special about it?
1) SSD
2) As thin\light as Macbook Air (If not less)… Not comparing, I just need mobility.

Alright, less talk, more geek.

Explaining what I’m going for:
Since my main laptop (More like a portable fridge… So heavy yet powerful enough) has everything I wanted and needed, I decided to wipe out whatever existed in my Samsung laptop. And because I have an extra USB stick laying around, it’ll be better using that instead of a USB-CDDRIVE… Why? BECAUSE KEEFY!

No really, I just felt like using that… And USB sticks are usually faster (Unless yours are from the stone age, thats a different case).

What you need:
First, download this. Yes, going torrent style!
This is an offline image to install core packages, well, offline… There’s a NETIMAGE there, but why should I go for that if it’ll take me 10 minutes to download an offline image, right?

Well, leave it to download and go to Image Writer Page and download their Binary package to use it to write the ISO file on your USB stick.

Done downloading? Now:
1. Extract the image writer file somewhere
2. Run the software
3. Choose the drive (In my case, it was I: )
4. Load the file
5. Choose “*.*” instead of “*.IMG”
6. Click on “Write”
7. When done, plug out the USB stick, plug it to your laptop (Or other machine) and let it boot from there.

IF USB stick method was a hustle for you, you might want to do the ol’ traditional way of burning that image in a CD.

I’ll assume you’ve figured the booting issue and now, well, time to get cranking!

When the USB stick\CDROM boots and you get the “[root@archiso ~]#” part, read the box above, first line… If you haven’t, write this:

When you pass the welcome screen, Choose options in the following sequence
1) Select Source
1.1) “core-local”

2) Set Editor
2.1) “nano” … I love nano, you can use vi if you want

3) Set Clock
3.1) Select region and timezone
3.2) Choose your region (Mine is Asia/Kuwait)

4) Set time and date (Just to make sure things are correct… And usually things aren’t initially)
4.1) Choose “UTC”
4.2) Read the time. If things are bonkers, choose “manual” and set things.
4.3) If not (Or fixed time), choose “return”
4.4) “Return to main menu”

5) Prepare hard drive(s)
5.1) Auto-Prepare (Thats my case because I’m wiping my laptop and Auto-Prepare uses the whole drive. If you don’t want that, struggle with “Manually Partition Hard Drives”)
5.2) /dev/sda (Thats the SDD drive in my case, could be a different thing on your case so you better be careful)
5.3) Enter size for “/boot” partition. It recommends 100MB, I’ll choose 256MB. Why? Because Keefy! (No really, no good reason)
5.4) Enter size for “/swap” partition. It recommends 256MB, I’ll choose 1024MB (1GB). Why? Because Keefy! AGAIN! (No really, no good reason)
5.5) Enter size for “/” partition. It recommends 7500MB, I’ll choose 20480MB (20GB). Why? Because who knows, you might need space there and you don’t want your OS to goes bonkers if you ran out of space in “/”
5.6) Choose “Yes” to use the rest for “/home”
5.7) Choose “ext4″… Why? Well, its better than ext2 and ext3… Kinda (Here’s why according to the beginner’s guide that I’m using.
5.8) Choose “Yes” to wipe the whole drive out… If you’re not quite sure, don’t! Just check your partitioning settings again (Or back up your data then do so)
5.9) Return to Main Menu

6) Select packages
6.1) Choose “grub”… Thats what I did and what I really recommend because they’re easier to deal with and configure
6.2) Choose “base”… Why? I could go with base-dev which would install more packages. But why should I? I want the hard way to learn
6.3) There’s a huge list of packages to install. You can choose whatever you want, I’m not choosing a thing, going bareboned

7) Install packages
7.1) Watch things being installed…

8) Configure system
8.1) /etc/rc.conf
8.1.a) Change your “HOSTNAME” to whatever you like. I’ma call mine in this example “Potato”. Not what I actually called it, just referring to it as that for this series.
8.1.b) If you’re using DHCP in your network setting, jump to 8.1.g . If not, keep going.
8.1.c) Write “eth0” on your “interface=” part. Usually “192.168.1.XXX” where XXX is a number you choose either randomly or based on what you signed your machine on.
8.1.d) Write down your IP Address in the “address=” part.
8.1.d) Write down your Netmask (The based on your network settings, usually on the “netmask=” part.
8.1.e) Write down your Broadcast IP. If your Netmask is and your IP Address is for example, the broadcast is; the VERY last IP in your network.
8.1.f) Write down your gateway. Which basically means your router… In my case, its
8.a.h) Press CTRL+X, Y then hit “Enter”. Why? To exit, save the file then overwrite existing one.

8.2) /etc/resolv.conf (Skip if you didn’t configure your IP Address manually and went on DHCP [Dynamic])
8.2.a) Write down your DNS settings in this following example: “nameserver” if your DNS server is Do that in new lines anywhere above “# End of file”.
8.2.b) Press CTRL+X, Y then hit “Enter”.

8.3) /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist
8.3.a) Delete the “#” off whichever mirror you like. In my case, I decided to go with because I’m in Kuwait and EU is closer than US. Also, Whichever under “Any” limits traffic to 50Kbps
8.3.b) Press CTRL+X, Y then hit “Enter”

8.4) Root-Password
8.4.a) Write down your desired root password. As a recommendation, it doesn’t have to be as complex as it have to be more than 15 characters long!
8.4.b) Write it down again.

8.5) Done

9) Install bootloader
9.1) OK
9.2) GRUB config file will pop up. Ignore and exit by hiting CTRL+X
9.3) Choose “/dev/sda” since I’m using that drive

10) Exit install

11) Write “shutdown -hP now” and wait for the machine to power down

12) Remove the USB stick\CDROM

13) Start your machine again!

Yep, it’ll ask you to boot either by Arch or Arch failover and will wait for an input for 5 seconds… I don’t personally like that, so here’s how to fix the 5 seconds thing
1) Log in with “root” and write down your password
2) Write down “nano /boot/grub/menu.lst”
3) Look for “timeout” and change the value from 5 to 1 just in case you wanted to failover if something went bonkers… I’ll change it to 0. Because Keefy!
4) Hit CTRL+X, Y then “Enter”
5) Write “reboot” to make sure that your settings are good.

Now things should be running good. One more thing to do and we’ll be done with this post; adding a user for you to use. Its just dumb to use “root” as your main account. You only use it to fix stuff after physically disconnecting every single network interface, locking yourself in a concrete room guarded by monks who shoots lasers using sharks with nightvision…

Really, only user root to fix stuff when you’re physically offline.

Anyway, here’s how to add a new user (No need to tell you to log in from now on):
1) Write “adduser”
2) Choose a username. Mine (In this example only) will be “Onion”
3) Hit “Enter” on User ID and Initial group
4) Write this down in the “Additional groups” part: “audio,lp,optical,storage,video,wheel,games,power,scanner”
5) Hit Enter on the rest until you reach the “This is it… if you want to bail out, hit Control-C”
6) Press “Enter” to make the account and keep on doing that until you reach the “Other []:” part (Such a fun pun… The other part… Heheheheh)
7) Hit enter, and then write down a password for our username (In my case in this example: “Onion”).
8) Reboot (By writing “reboot”… I’ll be saying that from now on).
9) Log in with “Onion”, not root!

Yep, we’re done!

In the next post, I’ll be writing about updating the OS, installing important packages and booting your way to XFCE (I’ll be using XFCE… I love it…)

2 thoughts on “Journey with Arch Linux: Day 1 – Installing to boot bareboned

  1. jus came upon ya site cuz im doin the same thing
    learning arch linux … been on alot of distro
    but i think this is the one
    this is the one u build a business
    a product
    a service around
    ill be lookin for part 2 and beyond
    i think we are on the right track
    arch linux is the future of unix
    keep up the nice work

  2. Sweet!

    I’ll have to build it up package by package. That’ll give me a good insight on how things works

    if you really want to experience the real thing, try Gentoo; you get to compile every application! XD … will take ages to finish X11, GTK, and XFCE- wait, you’re not on a pentium4 PC, lol. … umm, it will be optimized you know! :p


    LOL, awesome reasoning is awesome!

    Oh and, welcome back to linux, kinns. 😉

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