What’s Arch Linux?

Arch Linux

Arch Linux is a free and open source linux distribution based on the rule Keep it Simple.

Installation

Arch Linux has no graphical installer. You have to install using CLI.

Installation media creation

Go to Downloads page and select a nearby mirror. Download the iso file. If you’re on Windows, you can use rufus to create a bootable media.

On linux, you can use dd:

# dd if=downloaded iso file of=/dev/sdX status=progress

where X is your USB device’s ID. Don’t use a single partition. Use the whole device.

Boot the media

Insert the USB device and reboot the computer. Press the button configured to come boot options up. Choose your USB device from boot options.

Connect to internet

If you have ethernet, Arch linux iso will detect it. If you have a wireless connection, you have to connect it manually.

# wpa_passphrase 'wifi APN' 'wifi password' >> /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
# wpa_supplicant -Bc /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf -i 'wifi interface'
# dhclient

where wifi APN is the access point name you get when you scan for your wifi. And wifi interface you can get using iwconfig. It might be wlp3s0 or wlan0. Or you can use wifi-menu.

Now ping some website abdullah.today to check if you’re connected to internet or not.

Partitioning

There are multiple ways to encrypt the installation. One of them in LUKS on lvm. It’s straightforward.

Assuming you have a UEFI system and sda is your drive where you wanna install archlinux.

# gdisk /dev/sda
GPT fdisk (gdisk) version 1.0.1

  Partition table scan:
  MBR: protective
  BSD: not present
  APM: not present
  GPT: present

Found valid GPT with protective MBR; using GPT.

Command (? for help): o
This option deletes all partitions and creates a new protective MBR.
Proceed? (Y/N): Y

Command (? for help): n
Partition number (1-128, default 1): 
First sector (34-242187466, default = 2048) or {+-}size{KMGTP}: 
Last sector (2048-242187466, default = 242187466) or {+-}size{KMGTP}:
+512M
Current type is 'Linux filesystem'
Hex code or GUID (L to show codes, Enter = 8300): EF00
Changed type of partition to 'EFI System'

Command (? for help): n
Partition number (2-128, default 2): 
First sector (34-242187466, default = 1050624) or {+-}size{KMGTP}: 
Last sector (1050624-242187466, default = 242187466) or {+-}size{KMGTP}: 
Current type is 'Linux filesystem'
Hex code or GUID (L to show codes, Enter = 8300): 8309
Changed type of partition to 'Linux LUKS'

Command (? for help): p
Disk /dev/sda: 242187500 sectors, 115.5 GiB
Logical sector size: 512 bytes
Disk identifier (GUID): 569FFB67-6969-49E4-B999-15A681987564
Partition table holds up to 128 entries
First usable sector is 34, last usable sector is 242187466
Partitions will be aligned on 2048-sector boundaries
Total free space is 2014 sectors (1007.0 KiB)

Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
   1            2048         1050623   512.0 MiB   EF00  EFI System
   2         1050624       242187466   115.0 GiB   8309  Linux LUKS

command (? for help): w

Type o and then Y.

Type n to create a new partition. Select 1 to create a very first partition for EFI. Hit enter and then type +512M to create a 512 Mbs partition. Enter ef00 as partition type.

Again type n to create a new partition. Select 2. Hit enter and again enter to give it rest of the storage if you don’t wanna install some other operating system. Hex code for LUKS is 8309 but you can go without it. By default it will be 8300 (linux filesystem).

Type p to check if everything is fine. And once satisfied, type w and hit enter to save the work.

Create file systems

First, create a filesystem for EFI.

# mkfs.vfat -F32 /dev/sda1

Now create a LUKS container.

# cryptsetup luksFormat /dev/sda2

It will ask you to confirm. Type YES in all uppercase. Then choose a good passphrase. Write it if you can’t memorize it. Once forgotten, you can’t recover it.

Now open the new container.

# cryptsetup open /dev/sda2 cryptlvm

Create a physical volume in this LUKS container.

# pvcreate /dev/mapper/cryptlvm

Create a volume group. I’ll name it nix.

# vgcreate nix /dev/mapper/cryptlvm

Create logical volumes on volume group. I’m creating three, one for encrypted swap and another for home and last one for root.

# lvcreate -L 8G nix -n swap
# lvcreate -L 25G nix -n root
# lvcreate -l +100%FREE nix -n home

Now create filesystems.

# mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/nix-root
# mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/nix-home
# mkswap /dev/mapper/nix-swap

Mount them.

# mount /dev/mapper/nix-root /mnt
# mkdir /mnt/home
# mkdir /mnt/boot
# mount /dev/mapper/nix-home /mnt/home
# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot

Turn the swap partition on.

# swapon /dev/mapper/nix-swap

Install the base system

# pacstrap /mnt base base-devel linux linux-firmware

Generate fstab

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

NOTE: If you’re using an SSD, replace relatime with noatime in /mnt/etc/fstab except boot partition.

chroot into new system.

# arch-chroot /mnt

Set the timezone.

# ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Asia/Karachi /etc/localtime
# hwclock --systohc

Replace Asia with your continent and Karachi with city.

Set hostname

# echo nix > /etc/hostname

Replace nix with name you wanna give your machine to.

Set locales

# vim /etc/locale.gen

  #en_HK ISO-8859-1  
  #en_IE.UTF-8 UTF-8  
  #en_IE ISO-8859-1  
  #en_IE@euro ISO-8859-15  
  #en_IL UTF-8  
  #en_IN UTF-8  
  #en_NG UTF-8  
  #en_NZ.UTF-8 UTF-8  
  #en_NZ ISO-8859-1  
  #en_PH.UTF-8 UTF-8  
  #en_PH ISO-8859-1  
  #en_SC.UTF-8 UTF-8  
  #en_SG.UTF-8 UTF-8  
  #en_SG ISO-8859-1  
  en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8  
  #en_US ISO-8859-1  
  #en_ZA.UTF-8 UTF-8  
  #en_ZA ISO-8859-1  
  #en_ZM UTF-8  
  #en_ZW.UTF-8 UTF-8  
  #en_ZW ISO-8859-1  
  #eo UTF-8  
  #es_AR.UTF-8 UTF-8  
  #es_AR ISO-8859-1  
  #es_BO.UTF-8 UTF-8  

Uncomment en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8 . (remove # from the beginning)

# echo LANG=en_US.UTF-8 > /etc/locale.conf
# locale-gen

Install some necessary software.

# pacman -S wpa_supplicant dhclient dialog

Create a user.

# useradd -m -G wheel 'username'
# passwd 'username'

Create root password

# passwd

mkinitcpio configuration

Edit the file /etc/mkinitcpio.conf. Copy this line or write in order in hooks line. Order matters so don’t ignore or you will get un-bootable system.

# vim /etc/mkinitcpio.conf

HOOKS=(base udev autodetect keyboard keymap consolefont modconf block encrypt lvm2 filesystems resume fsck)

Generate mkinitcpio

mkinitcpio -p linux

Install bootloader

# bootctl install 

Create entries.

Create a file /boot/loader/entries/arch.conf.

# vim /boot/loader/entries/arch.conf

title	ArchLinux
linux	/vmlinuz-linux
initrd	/initramfs-linux.img
options cryptdevice=UUID=<YOUR-PARTITION-UUID>:lvm:allow-discards resume=/dev/mapper/nix-swap root=/dev/mapper/nix-root rw quiet

Where UUID you can get using blkid. It would be in /dev/sda2.

Un-mount and reboot

# exit
# umount /mnt
# reboot

Remove the USB device. And enjoy your new archlinux encrypted installation.