9 Things you should do straight after installing Arch Linux

So, you’ve just installed Arch Linux, huh? Great job! Before you flex your ego on everyone, let’s make things more presentable! So, throw your tissues in the bin, put some air freshener in your room, and use that moisturiser on your hands for once. Now, let’s dive in and make your Arch Linux look a bit less like MS-DOS. The following are a few things you should do straight after installing Arch Linux

1 – Update the system

While you may have just installed a new system, times change, old man (or women, or [insert what you identify as here])! Do:

pacman -Syu

2 – Create another user

Running everything as root is not a very safe idea, without the protection of a lower user, it’ll be like assuming everyone who tells you something is the prime minister (which seemingly changes every couple of months in Australia).

To create another user and give it permissions to do root commands, do the following:

visudo

This will take you to a text editor, uncomment the line that says %wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL

You will want to press “o” near the line, edit it, and then type ":x" and then hit enter to exit.

Now type

useradd -m -G wheel -s /bin/bash YOURNAMEHERE

This will give you a typical user account which you will use to login with from now on. You’ll want to set a password for this one as well since we might have some prying fingers covered in cheese flavouring touching your computer. Wait, was that you?

passwd YOURNAMEHERE

Similar to the installation guide, set the password.

You’re done! You can now login as “YOURNAMEHERE”. If you would like to do that now, type "su YOURNAMEHERE"

after installing arch linux, it's wise to create a user account

3 – Installing the LTS Kernel

LTS stands for Long Term Support. While your parents might not support your new neckbeard antics (and search history), the developers certainly will… for now. First, check whether or not it’s already set up with:

uname -r 
after installing arch linux, setting up long term support is helpful
If the output of the command doesn’t show “LTS”, it is not set up yet

To configure the kernel to use the long term support release, we will also need to reconfigure GRUB, just do the following commands.

sudo pacman -S linux-lts linux-lts-headers
sudo grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

Note that sudo is now present, since I’m using a user account now.

This will probably take a moment, whip your phone out, find someone attractive to chat up and send a picture of – NO NOT THAT – the fact that you use Arch Linux. I mean, it’s better than a picture of your junk.

4 – Install a desktop environment

Command line too hard? Don’t like the MS-DOS aesthetic? Want a better experience when looking at s̭͎̠̗͎͙̦t̷͚̗̫̿ͅu̴͇̥̖̯̹ͮ͂̽͂ͅf̶͋͊́f̩͋̒̂ͩ̑̽̚? Well, it’s time to install a desktop environment.

You’ll have a few options, so do some googling and decide on what you like best.

First you’ll want to install an X server, you can do this with the following command:

sudo pacman -S xorg

If or when you get bombarded with options, just hit enter, you can remove excess packages later.

Gnome (steals more ram than google chrome)

sudo pacman -S gnome gnome-extra

XFCE (Lightweight but still nice)

sudo pacman -S xfce4 xfce4-goodies

Cinnamon (sort of unstable at times, looks like windows)

sudo pacman -S cinnamon nemo-fileroller

KDE (Looks pretty and has lots of customization)

sudo pacman -S plasma

You’ll also need a display manager such as LXDM so you can login.

sudo pacman -S lxdm
sudo systemctl enable lxdm.service

After you’ve made your selections, you can now restart the system.

after installing arch linux, getting a desktop environment is smart
XFCE with LXDM

Note: Some DE’s don’t come with a terminal emulator, if your chosen DE doesn’t have one built in, do CTRL+ALT+F2 to go back to the shell. You can install the KDE terminal emulator by doing:

sudo pacman -S konsole

For the most part, it shouldn’t matter which terminal emulator you use, but feel free to search for the name of the terminal emulator respective to your DE.

5 – Install microcode

Microcode is useful to fix bugs that are critical for the system. It’s recommended to do this after installing Arch Linux for the sake of stability.

If you have an intel processor, do:

sudo pacman -S intel-ucode
sudo grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

If you have an AMD processor, do:

sudo pacman -S linux-firmware
sudo grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

6 – Disable the GRUB delay

GRUB is typically designed for the use of multiple operating systems, but since we’re only using one, we don’t really need the delay.

To make the system load as fast as possible, we need to edit the GRUB configuration file.

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

and add the following line at the bottom:

GRUB_FORCE_HIDDEN_MENU="true"

7 – Enable the firewall

Firewalls are smart, you are smart, right? Having a firewall is important for security online, let’s install ufw as a basic level of protection.

sudo pacman -S ufw
sudo ufw enable

To check if it’s running, do:

sudo ufw status verbos

And to make it run when the system boots, do:

sudo systemctl enable ufw.service
Installing a firewall on arch linux

8 – Install basic essentials

This one helps you use the computer, this step includes a file manager, a web browser, and a video player with codecs.

Fonts are pretty important too, so stuff doesn’t look weird.

I would recommend to do at least this command:

sudo pacman -S enchant mythes-en ttf-liberation hunspell-en_US ttf-bitstream-vera pkgstats adobe-source-sans-pro-fonts gst-plugins-good ttf-droid ttf-dejavu aspell-en icedtea-web gst-libav ttf-ubuntu-font-family ttf-anonymous-pro jre8-openjdk ttf-gentium languagetool libmythes

Pro tip: Copy and paste this from the Arch Linux computer.

To install the file manager “dolphin”, run:

sudo pacman -S dolphin

For if you just want codecs, do:

sudo pacman -S a52dec faac faad2 flac jasper lame libdca libdv libmad libmpeg2 libtheora libvorbis libxv wavpack x264 xvidcore gstreamer0.10-plugins

Install VLC as your video player (The above codecs will be installed automatically):

sudo pacman -S vlc

You will probably want a web browser too,

For firefox:

sudo pacman -S firefox

For the most part, installing programs is a familiar process with pacman.

9 – Install an AUR package manager

An AUR package manager is very useful for when certain packages are set up in a certain way and have complex install processes. In this guide, we will install yay

sudo pacman -S git
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/yay.git
cd yay
makepkg -si

and that’s it! Using yay is similar to using pacman

yay -S PACKAGE

Congratulations, you should now have a presentable operating system. You on the other hand…

Have fun and tell everyone about Arch Linux (and my website 🙂 )

But seriously, have a shower first.

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