Conquering Linux

Robin McCorkell


Getting Started

Make sure you have:

  • VirtualBox installed
  • Arch Linux ISO downloaded
  • A few slices of pizza next to you :)

Conquering Linux

What do those shiny GUIs hide from us?

We are going to:

  • Set up a virtual machine
  • Boot into the Arch Linux ISO
  • Install Arch Linux
  • ???
  • Profit

Setting up a VM

Virtual Machines

For those unfamiliar, a VM is:

  • A way to run other OSes on your machine
  • A way to segregate resources
  • A place to break things with no consequences

Create the VM

  • Type: Linux, Arch Linux (64-bit)
  • RAM: 1024MB is fine, more if you can spare
  • Storage: Dynamically allocated, 8GB
  • In settings:
    • System -> Motherboard -> Enable EFI (important!)

Booting into the Arch ISO

  • Click on the VM, press Start
  • Select start-up disk: find your downloaded ISO
  • Wait a bit (eat pizza?)
  • root@archiso ~ #

The Fun™ Begins

For more details, check out the Arch Wiki - Installation guide

Step 1: Keyboard

Default is a US QWERTY layout

For UK keyboards:

$ loadkeys uk

Step 2: Internet

Installation needs an internet connection, let's test it

$ ping

Step 3: Storage

Device files

Hard drives, SSDs, USB drives etc. are usually /dev/sdX

Our HDD is on /dev/sda

Partitions exist as /dev/sdXN, e.g. /dev/sda1, /dev/sda2 etc.


$ cgdisk /dev/sda
  1. Start 2048 (default), end 256M, type ef00
  2. (under partition 1): use all defaults (100% size, Linux partition)


$ mkfs.fat -F32 /dev/sda1
$ mkfs.btrfs /dev/sda2

Mount the partitions

For installation, mount everything under /mnt

/dev/sda2 will be the root filesystem:

$ mount /dev/sda2 /mnt

/dev/sda1 will become /boot:

$ mkdir /mnt/boot
$ mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot

Step 4: Installation

Copy files

Do the install:

$ pacstrap /mnt base

Generate /etc/fstab:

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

Step 5: Configuration

Chroot into new system

/mnt now has a ready system, switch to it:

$ arch-chroot /mnt


Set root password:

$ passwd


Edit /etc/locale.gen and uncomment desired locales: probably en_GB.UTF-8 UTF-8.

Generate locales:

$ locale-gen

System language

Set the default locale in /etc/locale.conf (create it):



Set the system timezone with the /etc/localtime symlink

$ ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/London /etc/localtime

Console keymap

Set the keymap permanently in /etc/vconsole.conf:



Create /etc/systemd/network/


Enable required services to run on boot:

$ systemctl enable systemd-networkd systemd-resolved


$ bootctl --path=/boot install
$ cp /usr/share/systemd/bootctl/arch.conf /boot/loader/entries/
$ cp /usr/share/systemd/bootctl/loader.conf /boot/loader/

Edit /boot/loader/entries/arch.conf:

title Arch Linux
linux /vmlinuz-linux
initrd /initramfs-linux.img
options root=/dev/sda2 rw

Now exit the chroot:

$ exit

Create a final symlink needed for networking:

$ ln -sf /usr/lib/systemd/resolv.conf /mnt/etc/resolv.conf

Unmount partitions:

$ umount -R /mnt


Step 6: Boot

Username is root

Test the system

$ ping
$ ping

Achievement Complete

Where can you go from here?

  • Install a GUI (xfce4, kde, gnome3, ...)
  • Run a web server
  • Set up network attached storage
  • Take over the world
  • Turn a Raspberry Pi into a media system