Getting Started with Arch Linux

Arch Linux

Here are some useful locations in the Arch Linux wiki for those wishing to set up an Arch Linux installation for the first time without recourse to the likes of Architect Linux or Arch Linux Anywhere. It is an endeavour that takes more time than other distros since Arch prefers to tell you how to do things instead of going and doing them for you. Some may admire the learning opportunities while more prefer if they were not forced to do so much. Since Arch is meant for more technical folk with the patience for getting around technical glitches, then their well documented ways are an impressive sight. The list is a living one and sticks to getting a web server set up for now but I do plan to add to it on an ongoing basis.

Essentials

Beginner’s Guide

For most of us, this probably is the place to begin and it is fairly comprehensive too. What it doesn’t do is describe how to add a desktop environment, possibly because of the multitude of such options in Linux. Otherwise, it covers many of the basics with more advanced articles available when further troubleshooting is in order.

Installation Guide

In spite of its name suggesting a starting point for any user, this is for more experienced users of Linux. As with the beginner’s guide, you have to look elsewhere when it comes to installing a desktop environment such as GNOME Shell, Cinnamon or KDE, to name only three.

Network Configuration

When I ran into issues with setting up network interfaces during one installation of Arch (that was when setting up a virtual web server), this is where I went looking and I did sort out what was causing the bother too.

Desktop Enviroment

VirtualBox Guest Additions

In spite of it being stated in the Beginner’s Guide that VirtualBox Guest Additions are installed by default, that was not my experience during my setting up of an Arch instance that only has the Cinnamon desktop environment. The X server wouldn’t work until the requisite package was instated.

LightDM

Once you get a functioning X server installed, the next step is to get a display manager added. There is GDM but I wanted to avoid too many GNOME components because it was Cinnamon 2.0 that was to be my choice of desktop environment. LightDM looked a neutral choice so I went with that.

Cinnamon

While I have set up Arch with GNOME as its desktop environment before, my hearing that Cinnamon 2.0 no longer is tied to GNOME was enough to get me setting up an instance of Arch with only Cinnamon as the desktop environment. It was a dalliance with Antergos, an Arch-based distro, that revealed that Cinnamon 2.0 was available for its users and I never would have gone near Arch to sate my curiosity were it not for the inability of the installer to run with download failures. With Arch, there was more to do but, once the X Server was able to run and a display manager was in place, the installation was not too hard to do either.

Servers

Setting up a Web Server (LAMP)

There are some differences between Arch Linux and the likes of Ubuntu Server so this description is worth consulting. The use of Systemd is one of those since Arch is more cutting edge in technology terms and it also has replaced MySQL with MariaDB, a folk of the same, too. Once you learn to deal with those, you are on your way.

Very Secure FTP Daemon

Another difference you find with Arch is that ProFTPD is not in its non-AUR repositories so you need to look at vsftpd (or Very Secure FTP Daemon) instead and here is a page saying more about that FTP server option.