Parabola GNU/Linux-libre

Add Parabola GNU/Linux-libre repository to Arch Linux

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To migrate to Parabola the first step is always to add the repository. Since more and more blobs are required for CPU’s and GPU’s the move to Parabola is usually possible on selected hardware or where it is possible to make a compromise in functionality. Since the security flaws of Intel it became as well more risky to avoid firmware updates and as such Parabola is now limited to VM’s or special hardware/use cases.

First disable the package verification of remote files for some minutes to install the Parabola keyring by modifying the line RemoteFileSigLevel:

sudo nano /etc/pacman.conf
RemoteFileSigLevel = Never

Download and install the Parabola keyring and then the mirror list:

pacman -U
# pacman -U

Move the new mirrorlist to a separate file so that it doesn’t get overwritten by the Arch Linux mirrorlist. For now we will use the libre repository as a seperate one (see next step mirrorlist-libre), so that we can slowly migrate to Parabola with less risks:

sudo mv /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist.pacnew /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist-libre

Add the parabola repository after after the [multilib] entries:

sudo nano /etc/pacman.conf
Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist-libre

Enable again the package verification in the same file and coment the line again:

#RemoteFileSigLevel = Required

Clean the pacman cache and afterwards force the package database synchronisation:

sudo pacman -Scc
sudo pacman -Syy

Reinstall the Parabola keyring via pacman and populate the keys:

sudo pacman -Sy parabola-keyring
sudo pacman-key --populate parabola

Now you can install the free parabola packages like iceweasel.

The package your-freedom will conflict with all non-free packages in the Arch main repositories on your system. You can use this now to get rid of these non-free packages step by step. With this you can check if there are already libre replacements available (example mplayer without dependencies to faac). As soon as all of them are removed you will be able to install your-freedom. Once installed the package will keep your system free.

Additionally check the package your-privacy and validate if it is worth of opting out of additional prism online services.

Switch to Parabola

As soon as you have added the Parabola GNU/Linux-libre repository and the package your-freedom is installed successfully and your systems is running as expected you can to the switch completely to Parabola. This will provide you the Linux-libre kernel and it will replace other packages that are violating users freedom and independence.

Use cases for Parabola:

  • Virtual Machines (VM)
  • Intel Processors/GPU without the need to use a firmware to actually show output on the screens like the older generations or without the need for 3D output it should be straight forward. And if your processor is one of the very few/old Intel processors not affacted by Meltdown and Spectre on this list As such, I don’t recommend to run Parabola as you would lack the proprietary microcode updates and open several security holes.
  • AMD some older CPUs and GPUs, without the need for 3D output it should be straight for[ ] /Desktop
    4.0 KiB ward

Make sure that your-freedom is installed already:

sudo pacman -Sy your-freedom

First we will rename the Arch Linux mirror list (just to keep it as a backup), but only if we added Parabola until now only as a Repository for Arch Linux:

sudo mv /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist-arch

Then we will rename the Parabola mirror list so that it becomes the main mirror list for all packages:

sudo mv /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist-libre /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

Now the Parabola mirror list will be updated like the other packages as long as there is no modification in this file. With this we will get now all packages from Parabola.

Now we need to check if the [libre] entries are before [core]. If not then we add the section before [core]. If you have used the Parabola repository already then you have to delete the old [libre] section:

sudo nano /etc/pacman.conf
Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

Clean the pacman cache and afterwards force the package database synchronisation:

sudo pacman -Scc
sudo pacman -Syy

Update to Parabola libre packages. This will replace some packages with the libre ones from Parabola:

sudo pacman -S pacman
sudo pacman -Suu

After this it is very important to update grub boot loader as the Linux kernel has been renamed to Linux-libre:

sudo grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

To make sure that reboot will work we will control grub.cfg (sudo more /boot/grub/grub.cfg) after regeneration. If the menuentry contains in the new linux and vmlinuz entry the word libre than it should be ok to reboot. Example:

menuentry 'Parabola GNU/Linux-libre' --class antergos --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os $menuentry_id_o$
        set gfxpayload=keep
        insmod gzio
        insmod part_msdos
        insmod ext2
        set root='hd0,msdos1'
        if [ x$feature_platform_search_hint = xy ]; then
          search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root --hint-bios=hd0,msdos1 --hint-efi=hd0,msdos1 --hint-baremetal=ahci0,m$
          search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 7af15b62-f826-458e-a669-084b6e034875
        echo    'Loading  libre kernel ...'
        linux   /vmlinuz-linux-libre root=/dev/sda3 rw  resume=UUID=07d54d0c-6f69-447e-896b-6d0a970b8189 quiet
        initrd  /initramfs-linux-libre.img

In the last lines you see that linux is now set to /vmlinuz-linux-libre and the initrd is set to /initramfs-linux-libre.img.

If you forget this you will need to edit during boot in grub the line manually to boot the system again by pressing the button [e] on the keyboard. Then you can rename vmlinuz-linux to vmlinuz-linux-libre and initramfs-linux.img to initramfs-linux-libre.img and then boot with the button [F10].

After rebooting with the linux-libre kernel you have migrated successful to Parabola GNU/Linux-libre.

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