Tagged: archlinux

Installing Arch Linux: LVM on top of an encrypted partition [[UPDATED]]

Years back, I was using Arch Linux on my notebook but gave up at some point after upgrading Arch Linux made my notebook unbootable. After some distro hoppings, I settled down with Debian Linux and it has been my friend since then. But now, out of a whim, I decided to give another try on Arch.

I'll be installing Arch Linux on the same notebook and I wanted the encryption on a disk/partition like before. I looked around some options from the Arch Linux Wiki. I read up on LVM on LUKS, LUKS on LVM, and Plain dm-crypt and decided to go with LVM on LUKS again. One of benefits for LUKS on LVM is that it can have encrypted volumes span multiple disks. It's nice but I don't need it since there is only one disk for the notebook. Plain dm-crypt can encrypt an entire disk and this is nice and ideal but having a USB flash memory around is a bit overkill for me. So, I'll stick with LVM on LUKS again.

I then followed my old post, Installing Arch Linux: LVM on top of an encrypted partition. What do you know? The information on that page was not wrong but was a bit confusing or hard to follow (not to mention about the number of typos. Sheesh!). So, I decided to re-do the whole steps, including the base installation of Arch Linux on LVM. Most of the information here will be duplicates from old one but please bare with me.

Disclaimer:
Information below is gathered mostly from the Arch Linux Wiki page and changed here and there for my liking. This information below is solely used for my purpose and may not be suitable for others.

Erasure of the Hard Disk:

Information (data) on a Hard Drive is written in chunk here and there. Re-partitioning or reformatting a disk does not really removes (erase) the data. It merely remove the system structure that used to identify where the original data was located. This leaves the actual data on a disk.

To securely erase a disk, you could either:

  • Fill with zeros
  • Fill with random bits

Both methods overwrite data on a disk but the first one fill with zero's leaving easily (to some extent) identify where the encrypted data ends. So, I follow the second method. # dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/<drive> bs=1M Just to be warned, this takes a long, long time.

Partitioning a Disk:

There is a way to encrypt the /boot partition with GRUB (for details, see Pavel Kogan's blog), but for simplicity, I'll stick with having the /boot partition separated from the encryption and LVM. # fdisk /dev/sda

Partition Layout:
/dev/sda1 -> /boot (bootable) - 300MB should be enough.
/dev/sda2 -> LVM (8e) - the rest of the disk

Configuring LUKS:

cryptsetup is used to interface with LUKS for formatting, mounting and unmounting encrypted partition.

First make sure the device mapper kernel module is installed: # modprobe dm-mod

Then format it as an encrypted LUKS partition: # cryptsetup --cipher aes-xts-plain64 --key-size 512 --hash sha512 luksFormat /dev/sda2

  • --cipher: defines the cipher type
  • --key-size: defines the key size
  • --hash sha512: hash algorithm used for key derivation.

It looks like AES cipher in XTS mode (XTS-AES) is most popular these days.

Unlocking/Mapping LUKS partition with the Device Mapper:

To access the encrypted volume, It needs to be unlocked. # cryptsetup open --type luks /dev/sda2 lvm

LVM:

Create a physical volume (encrypted volume) and a group volume. # lvm pvcreate /dev/mapper/lvm # lvm vgcreate lvmvg /dev/mapper/lvm

Create logical volumes on this new volume group. # lvm lvcreate -L 10G -n root lvmvg # lvm lvcreate -L 500M -n swap lvmvg # lvm lvcreate -l 100%FREE -n home lvmvg

Format the filesystems on each logical volume. # mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/lvmvg-root # mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/lvmvg-home # mkswap /dev/mapper/lvmvg-swap

Mount the filesystems. # mount /dev/mapper/lvmvg-root /mnt # mkdir /mnt/home # mount /dev/mapper/lvmvg-home /mnt/home # swapon /dev/mapper/lvmvg-swap

Prepare the boot partition. # mkfs.ext2 /dev/sda1 # mkdir /mnt/boot # mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot

Configure Wireless Network:

Network connection needs to be configured before the installation can take a place. Since my notebook uses WiFi, I need to configure wireless network.

Check for the network interface and whether udev has loaded the driver. # iwconfig -------------------- eth0 no wireless extensions. lo no wireless extensions. wlan0 IEE 802.11bgn ESSID:off/any Mode:Managed Access Point: Not-Associated Tx-Power=14 dBm Retry long limit:7 RTS thr:off Fragment thr:off Encryption key:off Power Management:on

It looks like wlan0 is available.

Interface activation:

Not required for mine but here is how to activate # ip link set wlan0 up

Access point discovery:

I know my network information like ESSID, Encryption key, etc..., but here is how to list available access points # iwlist wlan0 scan | less

Or, for the new netlink interface # iw dev wlan0 scan | less

Association to the access point

Now a configuration file, /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf, needs to be created for my access point. # vi /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf -------------------- ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=wheel eapol_version=1 ap_scan=1 fast_reauth=1

These options are explained in /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

Append the passphrase and PSK to the file # wpa_passphrase SSID_NAME "PASSPHRASE" >> /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf

Manual connection:

The WiFi interface should be up by the earlier command ip link set wlan0 up, so now tell wpa_supplicant the driver (wext - Linux Wireless EXTensions), the SSID specified in /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf and the wireless interface. # wpa_supplicant -B -Dwext -i wlan0 -c /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf

  • -B : Run in the background
  • -D : Driver information. Default is WEXT
  • -i : Wireless interface
  • -c : Configuration file

Request an IP address to DHCP server. # dhcpcd wlan0

Check assigned IP address. # ip addr show wlan0 wlan0: mtu 1500 qdisc mq state UP qlen 1000 link/ether 00:00:00:00:00:00: brb ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff inet 192.168.1.6/24 brb 192.168.1.255 scope global wlan0 inet6 fe80::ffff:ffff:ffff:ffff/64 scope link valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

Select installation mirror:

Before installing, you may want to edit /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist such that your preferred mirror is first. This copy of the mirrorlist will be installed on your new system by pacstrap as well, so it's worth getting it right.

Install the base system and other package groups:

The base system is installed using the pacstrap script. pacstrap is a script that installs packages to the specified new root directory. If no packages are given, pacstrap defaults to the "base" group.

Required X Window Systems packages for openbox will be installed in post-installation configuration.

The system uses wireless network, so install the required wireless network packages. # pacstrap /mnt base base-devel wireless_tools wpa_supplicant wpa_actiond

Configurations:

Let's configure the primary configuration files.

Generate an fstab file:

The fstab file contains static filesystem information. It defines how storage devices and partitions are to be mounted and integrated into the overall system. It is read by the mount command to determine which options to use when mounting a specific device or partition.

Check the resulting file afterwards, especially watch for the swap entry. # genfstab -p /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab # vi /mnt/etc/fstab -------------------- ... /dev/mapper/lvm-swap none swap defaults 0 0

Chroot into the system (Change root into the new system):

# arch-chroot /mnt

Editing /etc/rc.conf:

/etc/rc.conf is the configuration file for Arch's initscripts. Some of options in this file has been obsolete and they now have own configuration files (ex: hostname, etc...). /etc/rc.conf still configures daemons to start during boot-up and some networking and storage information.

Since LVM is used on this system, I need to enable it so that the kernel knows about it.

# vi /etc/rc.conf -------------------- USELVM="yes"

Hostname:

Configuring hostname requires updating two files, /etc/hostname and /etc/hosts

Add hostname in /etc/hostname # cat > /etc/hostname archy64 ^D

Add hostname in /etc/hosts # vi /etc/hosts -------------------- 127.0.0.1 localhost.localdomain localhost archy64 ::1 localhost.localdomain localhost archy64

Console fonts and keymap:

The console, meaning a terminal running with no X Window System, uses the ASCII character set as the default.

A console font is limited to either 256 or 512 characters. The fonts are found in /usr/share/kbd/consolefonts/.

Keymaps, the connection between the key pressed and the character used by the computer, are found in the subdirectories of /usr/share/kbd/keymaps/ # cat > /etc/vconsole.conf KEYMAP=us FONT= FONT_MAP= ^D

  • KEYMAP - the default (us) is ok
  • FONT - the default (blank) is ok
  • FONT_MAP - the default (blank) is ok

Timezone:

Available time zones and subzones can be found in the /usr/share/zoneinfo/<Zone>/<SubZone> directories.

Create a symlink /etc/localtime to zone file. # ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/US/Eastern /etc/localtime

Locale:

Choose the locale(s) from /etc/locale.gen and uncomment them. # vi /etc/locale.gen -------------------- en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8 -------------------- # locale-gen

Setting up system-wide locale:

# cat > /etc/locale.conf LANG=en_US.UTF-8 LC_TIME=en_US.UTF-8 ^D

Set the LANG variable for the ramdisk creation # export LANG=en_US.UTF-8

Hardware clock time:

It's recommended to use UTC. # hwclock --systohc --utc

Create an initial ramdisk environment:

Configure /etc/mkinitcpio.conf for encryption and LVM by adding encrypt lvm2 (in this order) in the HOOKS section before filesystems so that the kernel will find LVM volumes at boot time. # vi /etc/mkinitcpio.conf -------------------- HOOKS="...encrypt lvm2 filesystems..."

Now generate the kernel image. # cd /boot # mkinitcpio -p linux

Install and configure a bootloader:

# pacman -S grub-bios os-prober # grub-install --recheck /dev/sda

Create a grub configuration file. # grub-mkconfig --output /boot/grub/grub.cfg

/boot/grub/grub.cfg

Add cryptdevice=/dev/sda2:lvmvg between root=... and ro in the line starts with linux. This needs to be done for "Arch Linux" and "Arch Linux Fallback". # vi /boot/grub/grub.cfg -------------------- linux /boot/vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/mapper/lvmvg-root cryptdevice=/dev/sda2:lvmvg ro quiet

Root password:

Set the root password now. # passwd

Reboot:

Exit from chroot, unmount the partitions, close the device and reboot. # exit # umount -R /mnt/boot # umount -R /mnt # cryptsetup close lvm # reboot

After rebooting, it should ask you for a passphrase like below:

Post-Installation

Updating the system:

Sync, refresh, and upgrade the entire new system. # pacman -Syu (or pacman --sync --refresh --sysupgrade)

Pacman will now download a fresh copy of the master package list from the server(s) defined in /etc/pacman.conf and perform all available upgrades.

Note: If you get following errors after executing above statement, it most likely you don't have dhcpcd is not running or your network setting is not correct.

error: failed retrieving file '...' from ... : Could not resolve host: ...

Pacman output is saved in /var/log/pacman.log

Adding a user:

Now add a normal user account for daily tasks # useradd -m -g users -G audio,games,log,lp,optical,power,scanner,storage,video,wheel -s /bin/bash ubyt3m3

Set a password for ubyt3m3 # passwd ubyt3m3

X Window System:

The X Window System (commonly X11, or X) is a networking and display protocol which provides windowing on bitmap displays. It provides the standard toolkit and protocol to build graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

Before installing the X11, try to see what kind of video card you have # lspci | grep -e VGA -e 3D

Then install the base Xorg packages using pacman. # pacman -S xorg-server xorg-xinit xorg-server-utils

During the installation, it'll ask you for the type of libgl. Use below information based on the type of video card you have (returned value from the lspci command above), choose a proper driver.

AMD/ATI
xf86-video-amdgpu ... mesa-libgl
xf86-video-ati ... mesa-libgl
catalyst ... catalyst-libgl

Intel
xf86-video-intel ... mesa-libgl

Nvidia
xf86-video-nouveau ... mesa-libgl
nvidia ... nvidia-libgl
nvidia-340xx ... nvidia-340xx-libgl
nvidia-304xx ... nvidia-304xx-libgl

Install video driver:

My system came with ATI Graphics Card, so install the open source raden driver. # pacman -S xf86-video-ati

Install input driver:

Since this install is for notebook, following package is needed for touchpad. # pacman -S xf86-input-synaptics

Are you installing Arch Linux as VirtualBox Guest?

If you are like me, you'd test the installation of OS or software on a virtual system before actually installing on main systems. I use VirtualBox for that. In order for Arch Linux to run X11 within the VirtualBox guest environment, VirtualBox Guest Additions need to be installed. # pacman -S virtualbox-guest-utils

After executing above command, it'll ask you for guest modules. Choose virtualbox-guest-modules-arch if you used linux kernel when you ran mkinitcpio -p linux during the configuration period. For other modules, use virtualbox-guest-dkms

Loading the VirtualBox kernel modules:

Before getting X11 work on the guest environment, VirtualBox kernel modules must be loaded. To do this automatically, enable the vboxservice service. # systemctl enable vboxservice

Load the modules # modprobe -a vboxguest vboxsf vboxvideo

Testing X:

Install the default environment. # pacman -S xorg-twm xorg-xclock xterm

Fonts

Install a set of TrueType fonts, as only unscalable bitmap fonts are included by default. DejaVu is a set of high quality. # pacman -S ttf-dejavu

Now, that's a very base system. If you are interested in installing Openbox, you can follow steps in my post, Openbox (w/ Arch Linux).

That's all!
-gibb

Openbox: Customizing to My Liking

In another post, I mentioned that I love Openbox for its minimal overhead, few dependencies, customizable menu and key-binding, and speed. I use it on my home system and decided to use the same configuration on my new notebook. Here is how I currently configured my system(s).

Disclaimer: The information below is the result of my researches in the Internet and of my experiences. It is solely used for my purpose and may not be suitable for others.

ObConf:

ObConf is the Openbox configuration tool which easily change themes of menus and windows. I happen to like 1977 Openbox theme available from Box-Look.org or here. $ mv 1977-Grey.obt /tmp $ obconf & ------------------------ Theme -> Install a new theme... -> 1977-Grey Appearance -> Button Order: IMC Appearance -> Active Window Title: Sans 4

Theme:

I use Morning Glory (GTK 2.x theme) available from Gnome-Look.org and customized it for my liking. My customized one is available here. Once downloaded it, un-tar it and move it to the .theme directory. Use lxappearance to select it as the theme. $ tar -xzvf MorningGlory.tar.gz $ mv MorningGlory ~/.themes $ lxappearance & ------------------------ Widget -> MorningGlory

Panel:

I use tint2 for my panel. My titn2rc is available here. $ tar -xzvf tint2.tar.gz $ mkdir ~/.config/tint2 $ mv tint2rc ~/.config/tint2/ $ tint2 & (or put it in autostart.sh)

Conky:

Conky is a fee software system monitor for X11 and is able to monitor system resources like CPU, memory, processes, disk usage, network interfaces, and much more. My conky is very simple and it displays system resources at the bottom of screen, looks much like a panel. My conkyrc file is available here. $ tar -xzvf conkyrc.tar.gz $ mv .conkyrc ~/ $ conky & (or put it in autostart.sh)

Autoscript:

When Openbox is launched with the openbox-session command, the environment script will be executed to set up the environment, and then the autostart script can launch any applications you want to run at startup, such as a panel, setting up a desktop wallpaper, etc... Once Openbox starts, the system-wide default script, located at /etc/xdg/openbox/autostart, will be run. Then the user script at ~/.config/openbox/autostart is run afterward. This is my autostart.

File managers:

I use Thunar; a fast, light-weight and easy-to-use file manager. It is the file manager for Xfce. I started using sunflower. It is available in AUR, so it needs to be built: $ mkdir ~/builds $ mv sunflower.tar.gz ~/builds $ tar -xzvf sunflower.tar.gz $ cd sunflower ------------------------ Check for PKGBUILD and any install files ------------------------ $ makepkg -s # pacman -U sunflower-<version number>-<package revision number>-<architecture>.pkg.tar.xz $ pacman -Qm

Icons:

Icons theme that I use is Faenza 1.2 available from Gnome-look.org. It comes with "zipped" format so I need an unzip program to extract it. $ mkdir icons; mv faenza_icons_by_tiheum-d2v6x24.zip icons/; cd icons $ unzip faenza_icons_by_tiheum-d2v6x24.zip $ ./INSTALL There is an INSTALL script for this so execute it and follow the instruction.

Wallpaper:

On my home system, I use nigrogen to draw wallpapers on my dual-head display, but I like feh for its lightweight and powerful image displaying capabilities. This is how to use it as a desktop wallpaper manager. $ feh --bg-scale /path/to/image.file As an image viewer: $ feh /path/to/image.file To browse images in a specific directory: $ feh -g 320x240 -d -S filename /path/to/directory
  • -g : Forces the images to appear no larger than 320x240
  • -d : Draws the file name
  • -S filename : Sorts teh images by file name
My current wallpaper for Arch Linux is available here.

Terminal:

I use rxvt-unicode (urxvt). It a terminal emurator forked from rxvt and supports unicode. It is highly customizable via ~/.Xdefaults and its complete reference is available from here. My .Xdefaults file is available here.

PS1:

My PS1 is very simple. Since there is only me on this system, I don't need to show the user name. Here is my .bashrc script $ vi ~/.bashrc ------------------------ ID=`id -u` if [[ "${ID}" -eq 0 ]]; then PS1='\]\e[01;35m\]root\]\e[00;31m\]@\h\[\e[00;37m\][\[\e[01;34m\]\w\[\e[00;37m\]]\n\[\e[47m\]\[\e[1;30m\]#\[\033[00m\] ' else PS1='\[\e[00;32m\]\A \[\e[00;91m\]\u\[\e[01;93m\]@\h\[\e[00;37m\][\[\e[01;34m\]\w\[\e[00;37m\]]\n\[\e[47m\]\[\e[1;30m\]$\[\e[00m\] ' fi set -o vi $ vim ~/.bash_profile ------------------------ if [ -f ~/.bashrc ]; then . ~/.bashrc fi

Key Binding:

One of Openbox’s great strengths is that every aspect of the window manager can be configured with keyboard. I'm still experimenting with this feature but here is my rc.xml. At this point, I move the active window with "Super" + l (to left), "Super" + h (to right), "Super" + k (to up), and "Super" + j (to down).

Menu:

My customized menu is here. This menu includes reboot and shutdown. For a regular user to be able run those commands, it needs to be added in the sudoers file:# vim /etc/sudoers ------------------------ [user_name] ALL=NOPASSWD: /sbin/shutdown That's all!
-gibb

Installing Arch Linux: LVM on top of an encrypted partition

IMPORTANT!!!
I now have updated version of Arch Linux with LVM on LUKS, Installing Arch Linux: LVM on top of an encrypted partition [[UPDATED]] with updated contents. Please visit that page!

I recently got a new notebook from my friend. I'm a slackware user but decided to give it a try on Arch Linux for this notebook. Ah... Arch Linux. I like its simplicity and user-centric philosophy. So I was reading up about Arch Linux and came across about encryption. Hmm... I could give it a try and make my notebook secure.

After reading, it looks like setting up LVM on top of the encrypted partition is the best method. So, I'll do that.

Disclaimer:
Information below is gathered mostly from the Arch Linux Wiki page and changed here and there for my liking. This information below is solely used for my purpose and may not be suitable for others.

Erasure of the Hard Disk:

Information (data) on a Hard Drive is written in chunk here and there. Re-partitioning or reformatting a disk does not really removes (erase) the data. It merely remove the system structure that used to identify where the original data was located. This leaves the actual data on a disk.

To securely erase a disk, you could either:

  • Fill with zeros
  • Fill with random bits
Both methods overwrite data on a disk but the first one fill with zero's leaving easily (to some extent) identify where the encrypted data ends. So, I follow the second method. # dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/<drive> bs=1M Just to be warned, this takes a long, long time.

Partitioning a Disk:

Even though Arch Linux version that I'm using (2012.08.04) comes with GRUB2 and this supports having the /boot partition in LVM, the /boot directory has to reside on its own. If the /boot directory is encrytpted (with or without LVM), the bootloader cannot read it; thus, boot failure will occur. # fdisk /dev/sda

Partition Layout:
/dev/sda1 -> /boot (bootable)
/dev/sda2 -> LVM (8e)

Configuring LUKS:

cryptsetup is used to interface with LUKS for formatting, mounting and unmounting encrypted partition.

First make sure the device mapper kernel module is installed: # modprobe dm-mod

Then format it as an encrypted LUKS partition: # cryptsetup -c aes-xts-plain -s 512 -yvh sha256 luksFormat /dev/sda2

  • -c: defines the cipher type
  • -s: defines the key size
  • -yvh sha256: prompts for the password twice and stores it in a 256-bit hash

It looks like AES cipher in XTS mode (XTS-AES) is most popular these days.

Unlocking/Mapping LUKS partition with the Device Mapper:

To access the encrypted volume, It needs to be unlocked. # cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda2 lvm

LVM:

Create a physical volume (encrypted volume) and a group volume. # lvm pvcreate /dev/mapper/lvm # lvm vgcreate lvmvg /dev/mapper/lvm

Create logical volumes on this new volume group. # lvm lvcreate -L 10G -n root lvmvg # lvm lvcreate -L 500M -n swap lvmvg # lvm lvcreate -l 100%FREE -n home lvmvg

Installation of Arch Linux:

Follow my blog entry, Installing Arch Linux on LVM, to install Arch Linux.

Configuration:

There are several configuration files that need to be modified.

/etc/rc.conf

Change USELVM="no" to USELVM="yes": # vi /etc/rc.conf -------------------- USELVM="yes"

/etc/mkinitcpio.conf

Configure /etc/mkinitcpio.conf for encryption and LVM by adding encrypt lvm2 (in this order) in the HOOKS section before filesystems so that the kernel will find LVM volumes at boot time. # vi /etc/mkinitcpio.conf -------------------- HOOKS="...encrypt lvm2 filesystems..."

/boot/grub/grub.cfg

Add cryptdevice=/dev/sda2:lvmvg between root=... and ro in the line starts with linux. This needs to be done for "Arch Linux" and "Arch Linux Fallback". # vi /boot/grub/grub.cfg -------------------- linux /boot/vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/mapper/lvmvg-root cryptdevice=/dev/sda2:lvmvg ro quiet

Reboot:

Now reboot the system.

That's all!
-gibb

Openbox (w/ Arch Linux)

On my home system, I use Openbox as a stand-alone WM and I love it! It's lightweight and highly configurable. So, I decide to go with Openbox on my new notebook.

Disclaimer:
Information below is gathered mostly from the Arch Linux Wiki page and changed here and there for my liking. This information below is solely used for my purpose and may not be suitable for others.

Installation:

Install openbox package. # pacman -S openbox

Openbox configuration files:

There are four openbox configuration files and they need to be copied to ~/.config/openbox.

Execute below as a regular user, NOT as root. $ mkdir -p ~/.config/openbox $ cp /etc/xdg/openbox/{rc.xml,menu.xml,autostart,environment} ~/.config/openbox

  • rc.xml - Main configuration file. It defines keyboard shortcuts, themes, virtual desktops, etc...
  • menu.xml - It defines the content of the right-click menu.
  • autostart - This file is read by openbox-session at startup. It contains the programs that are run at startup. It is typically used to set environment variables, launch panels/docks, set background image or execute other startup scripts.
  • environment - This file is sourced by openbox-session at startup. It contains environment variables to be set in Openbox's context. Any variables you set here will be visible to Openbox itself and anything you start from its menus.

Executing Openbox as a stand-alone WM

I like its simplicity. So, I run it as a stand-alone WM.

Append the following to ~/.xinitrc $ cat >> ~/.xinitrc exec openbox-session ^D

This is how to start Openbox from the command shell. $ xinit /usr/bin/openbox-session

That's all!
-gibb

Installing Arch Linux on LVM

A good friend of mine gave me his not-needed notebook (HP Pavilion dm3-1130us) since my 10+-year-old notebook started acting up and became unstable. It got a dual-core AMD chipset with 64bit support. Good enough as a spare machine for the road.

I have been a Slackware user for a while and that's what I use on my home system and old notebook. But for this time, I wanted to try other distributions. After a quick research, I decided to go with Arch Linux. I liked its philosophy and simplicity. It seems very stable as well. That's a plus.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still a fan of slackware. I just wanted to see what else is out there.

I decided to use LVM for Arch Linux because I want to try full system encryption (dm-crypt with LUKS) later on. It seems LVM on LUKS is a growing preference nowadays.

Disclaimer:
Information below is gathered mostly from the Arch Linux Wiki page and changed here and there for my liking. This information below is solely used for my purpose and may not be suitable for others.

Configure Wireless Network:

Network connection needs to be configured before the installation can take a place. Since my notebook uses WiFi, I need to configure wireless network.

Check for the network interface and whether udev has loaded the driver. # iwconfig -------------------- eth0 no wireless extensions. lo no wireless extensions. wlan0 IEE 802.11bgn ESSID:off/any Mode:Managed Access Point: Not-Associated Tx-Power=14 dBm Retry long limit:7 RTS thr:off Fragment thr:off Encryption key:off Power Management:on

It looks like wlan0 is available.

Interface activation:

Not required for mine but here is how to activate # ip link set wlan0 up

Access point discovery:

I know my network information like ESSID, Encryption key, etc..., but here is how to list available access points # iwlist wlan0 scan | less

Or, for the new netlink interface # iw dev wlan0 scan | less

Association to the access point

Now a configuration file, /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf, needs to be created for my access point. # vi /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf -------------------- ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=wheel eapol_version=1 ap_scan=1 fast_reauth=1

These options are explained in /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

Append the passphrase and PSK to the file # wpa_passphrase SSID_NAME "PASSPHRASE" >> /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf

Manual connection:

The WiFi interface should be up by the earlier command ip link set wlan0 up, so now tell wpa_supplicant the driver (wext - Linux Wireless EXTensions), the SSID specified in /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf and the wireless interface. # wpa_supplicant -B -Dwext -i wlan0 -c /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf

  • -B : Run in the background
  • -D : Driver information. Default is WEXT
  • -i : Wireless interface
  • -c : Configuration file

Request an IP address to DHCP server. # dhcpcd wlan0

Check assigned IP address. # ip addr show wlan0 wlan0: mtu 1500 qdisc mq state UP qlen 1000 link/ether 00:00:00:00:00:00: brb ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff inet 192.168.1.6/24 brb 192.168.1.255 scope global wlan0 inet6 fe80::ffff:ffff:ffff:ffff/64 scope link valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

Load the module:

dm-mod needs to be loaded before doing anything with LVM # modprobe dm-mod

Partition a Disk:

# fdisk /dev/sda

Partition Layout:
/dev/sda1 -> LVM

Since I'm using GRUB2, the /boot partition is also included in the LVM partition.

Create Physical Volume:

Initialize these partitions so they can be used by LVM. # pvcreate /dev/sda3

Create Volume Groups:

Create a volume group on this physical volume. Volume group name is lvm. # vgcreate lvm /dev/sda3

Create Logical Volumes:

Create logical volumes on this new volume group. # lvcreate -L 100M -n boot lvm # lvcreate -L 10G -n root lvm # lvcreate -L 500M -n swap lvm # lvcreate -l 100%FREE -n home lvm

Configure block devices, filesystems, and mountpoints:

# mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/lvm-boot # mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/lvm-root # mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/lvm-home # mkswap /dev/mapper/lvm-swap # swapon /dev/mapper/lvm-swap # mount /dev/mapper/lvm-root /mnt # mkdir /mnt/boot # mount /dev/mapper/lvm-boot /mnt/boot # mkdir /mnt/home # mount /dev/mapper/lvm-home /mnt/home

If there are no logical volumes under /dev/mapper, run next commands to bring up the modules and to make volume group available: # modprobe dm-mod # vgscan # vgchange -ay

  • vgscan: Scans all disks for volume groups and re-builds caches
  • vgchange -ay: Makes the logical volumes known to the kernel

Select installation mirror:

Before installing, you may want to edit /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist such that your preferred mirror is first. This copy of the mirrorlist will be installed on your new system by pacstrap as well, so it's worth getting it right.

Install the base system and other package groups:

The base system is installed using the pacstrap script. pacstrap is a script that installs packages to the specified new root directory. If no packages are given, pacstrap defaults to the "base" group.

Required X Window Systems packages for openbox will be installed in post-installation configuration

The system uses wireless network, so install the required wireless network packages. # pacstrap /mnt base base-devel wireless_tools netcfg wpa_supplicant wpa_actiond

Generate an fstab file

The fstab file contains static filesystem information. It defines how storage devices and partitions are to be mounted and integrated into the overall system. It is read by the mount command to determine which options to use when mounting a specific device or partition.

Most likely swap partition will have wrong filesystem name, so this needs to be changed. # genfstab -p /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab # vi /mnt/etc/fstab -------------------- ... /dev/mapper/lvm-swap none swap defaults 0 0

Chroot into the system

# arch-chroot /mnt

Configuring the System

Let's configure the primary configuration files

/etc/rc.conf is the configuration file for Arch's initscripts. Some of options in this file has been obsolete and they now have own configuration files (ex: hostname, etc...). /etc/rc.conf still configures daemons to start during boot-up and some networking and storage information.

Editing /etc/rc.conf:

Since LVM is used on this system, I need to enable it so that the kernel knows about it # vi /etc/rc.conf -------------------- USELVM="yes"

Hostname:

Configuring hostname requires updating two files, /etc/hostname and /etc/hosts

Add hostname in /etc/hostname # cat > /etc/hostsname arch64 ^D

Add hostname in /etc/hosts # vi /etc/hosts -------------------- 127.0.0.1 localhost.localdomain localhost arch64 ::1 localhost.localdomain localhost arch64

Console fonts and keymap:

The console, meaning a terminal running with no X Window System, uses the ASCII character set as the default.

A console font is limited to either 256 or 512 characters. The fonts are found in /usr/share/kbd/consolefonts/.

Keymaps, the connection between the key pressed and the character used by the computer, are found in the subdirectories of /usr/share/kbd/keymaps/ # cat > /etc/vconsole.conf KEYMAP=us FONT= FONT_MAP= ^D

  • KEYMAP - the default (us) is ok
  • FONT - the default (blank) is ok
  • FONT_MAP - the default (blank) is ok

Timezone:

Available time zones and subzones can be found in the /usr/share/zoneinfo/<Zone>/<SubZone> directories.

Create a symlink /etc/localtime to zone file # ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/US/Eastern /etc/localtime

Locale:

Choose the locale(s) from /etc/locale.gen and uncomment them. # vi /etc/locale.gen -------------------- en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8 -------------------- # locale-gen

Setting up system-wide locale:

# cat > /etc/locale.conf LANG=en_US.UTF-8 LC_TIME=en_US.UTF-8 ^D

Set the LANG variable for the ramdisk creation # export LANG=en_US.UTF-8

Hardware clock time:

It's recommended to use UTC. # hwclock --systohc --utc

Configuring wireless network:

Copy wireless-wpa from /etc/network.d/examples/ to /etc/network.d and rename it something else. This will be a template for my profile. Open it and change ESSID to my SSID name. Delete everything below ESSID. The KEY value needs to be a hex string so it'll be generated by using the wpa_passphrase command: # wpa_passphrase SSID_NAME "PASSPHRASE" >> /etc/network.d/[profile_name]

Open the profile and delete the lines starting with network={, ssid=, #psk=, and }, leaving only the psk line. Then change this psk to KEY, and add IP='dhcp' to the bottom of the line: cat /etc/network.d/[profile_name] -------------------- CONNECTION='wireless' DESCRIPTION='WPA encrypted wireless connection' INTERFACE='wlan0' SECURITY='wpa' ESSID=[SSID_name] KEY=[hex_string_for_passphrase] IP='dhcp'

Now, connect to the profile: # netcfg [profile_name]

If no errors, it should display :: [profile_name] up

Configure the rc.conf file for auto connecting to the wireless network after each reboot: vi /etc/rc.conf -------------------- DAEMONS=(... net-auto-wireless ...)

Make sure /etc/conf.d/netcfg has the following values: cat /etc/conf.d/netcfg -------------------- NETWORKS=(last) WIRELESS_INTERFACE="wlan0"

Create an initial ramdisk environment:

Configure /etc/mkinitcpio.conf for LVM by adding lvm2 in the HOOKS section before filesystems so that the kernel will find LVM volumes at boot time. # vi /etc/mkinitcpio.conf -------------------- HOOKS="...lvm2 filesystems..."

Now generate the kernel image. # cd /boot # mkinitcpio -p linux

Install and configure a bootloader:

# pacman -S grub-bios # grub-install --target=i386-pc --recheck /dev/sda

Create a grub configuration file. # grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

Root password:

Set the root password now # passwd

Unmount the partitions and reboot:

Exit from the chroot environment. # exit

Since the partitions are mounted under /mnt, unmount them. # umount /mnt/{boot,home,}

Exit the install and reboot. # reboot

Post-Installation

Updating the system:

Sync, refresh, and upgrade the entire new system. # pacman -Syu (or pacman --sync --refresh --sysupgrade)

Pacman will now download a fresh copy of the master package list from the server(s) defined in /etc/pacman.conf and perform all available upgrades.

Pacman output is saved in /var/log/pacman.log

Adding a user:

Now add a normal user account for daily tasks # useradd -m -g users -G audio,games,log,lp,optical,power,scanner,storage,video,wheel -s /bin/bash ubyt3m3

Set a password for ubyt3m3 # passwd ubyt3m3

X Window System:

The X Window System (commonly X11, or X) is a networking and display protocol which provides windowing on bitmap displays. It provides the standard toolkit and protocol to build graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

Now install the base Xorg packages using pacman. # pacman -S xorg-server xorg-xinit xorg-server-utils

Install video driver:

My system came with ATI Graphics Card, so install the open source raden driver. # pacman -S xf86-video-ati

Install input driver:

Since this install is for notebook, following package is needed for touchpad. # pacman -S xf86-input-synaptics

Testing X:

Install the default environment. # pacman -S xorg-twm xorg-xclock xterm

Fonts

Install a set of TrueType fonts, as only unscalable bitmap fonts are included by default. DejaVu is a set of high quality. # pacman -S ttf-dejavu

That's the very base system. Installation and configuration of other software will be in another time.

That's all!
-gibb