Arch Linux

Publish Date: May 28, 2013    Last Update: Oct 20, 2016

Archlinux is by far the best Linux system I have ever used. It provides a comprehensive wiki, which answers 90% of the questions. The installation wiki should always be opened when performing new installation. This document simplifies the Arch Wiki and provides a procedure tailored for my own needs.


Arch Linux can be installed through USB stick. To prepare the installation media, one should:

$ lsblk
	# Check /dev/sdx is not mounted
$ dd bs=4M if /path/to/archlinux.iso of=/dev/sdx && sync     
  # Copy the image to USB

Since the installation process varies a lot, you can always refer to wiki for detailed information.

Post installation tweaks

  1. Change the root password.
## passwd
  1. Add non-root user and sudo
## useradd -m -g users -G wheel -s /bin/bash newuser
## passwd newuser 
## pacman -S sudo
## visudo // Uncomment the two lines with wheel
  1. fstab auto-mount
lsblk -l
  # Look at available disk
sudo blkid /dev/sda1
  # Look at the UUID of the disk

Desktop & Appearance

Install Xorg

The first step to have a desktop envoironment is to install the Xorg. Note it seems we need to install many xorg-apps group packages manually. Also check out this thread for additional information

## Install Xorg-server
sudo pacman -S xorg xorg-apps
## Install trackpad support
sudo pacman -S xf86-input-synaptics
sudo pacman -S xf86-input-libinput
## Install video card
lspci | grep VGA
sudo pacman -S xf86-video-intel

Next step is to choose the appropriate desktop environments. Current I have two sets of set-ups


i3 is a dynamic tiling window manager. It takes little system resources but is also highly configurable. Along with i3, I utilize the following tools as my workflow:

  1. x-system tools
    1. arandr: for different monitor support
    2. .xinitrc: script to load all the Xresources, Xmodmap
    3. .Xresources: configurations for DPI and URxvt
    4. default fish configuration; startx automatically
  2. feh: background image
  3. URxvt: a very good terminal
  4. thuanr: file manager
  5. xfce4-power-manager: to help manage the power settings for laptop

I use the /etc/fonts/local.conf to set the global settings for sans, sans serif, and monospace fonts.

For GTK2/3 themes, I use numix-gtk-theme. To easily switch between GTK themes, I use lxappearance.



I use aurman as the AUR helper tool. Some basic functions include

aurman -Ss foobar     // Search in remote package repository
aurman -Qs foobar     // Search in local package repository
aurman -Rsn foobar    // Delete this package and orphan dependencies
aurman -Rsc foobar    // Delete package recursively
aurman -Rdd foobar    // Delete package only
aurman -Sw foobar     // Download without installing
aurman -U foobar      // Install local package
aurman -Sc -Scc       // Remove cache

Manual Install

Sometimes when you want to keep an off-line source of yaourt script, just download the file needed, copy it to the /tmp/yaourt-* folder, and modify the script and replace the original source URL.


Setting Up the Sound System

In most cases, you will need alsa to manage the backend of the sound system. I also use pulseaudio as the middle manager.

yaourt -S alsa-utils pulseaudio pulseaudio-alsa

Sometimes I also need to change the default order of sound card. We can achieve this by creating a .asoundrc file. I followed this article mostly.

Setting Up Bluetooth

Follow the office wiki and use bluetoothctl to setup bluetooth devices which connect at boot.



  1. ntfs-3g: this will solve the permission problem for USB drives
  2. file-roller: for openning compressed files
  3. ibus: chinese input
  4. dnsmasq: DNS cacher (follow wiki for configuration)
  5. ntp: sync time with internet server
  6. fish: shell tool; also download oh-my-fish.


  1. google-chrome: from AUR
  2. docker: container tool
  3. vlc: media player
  4. pandoc: file converter
  5. meld: for visualizing diff
  6. pip: manager python modules
  7. texlive: for pdf output
  8. dropbox: Dropbox syncs
  9. insync: Google drive syncs
  10. treesheets: Mindmaping and structuring tool