Arch Linux – Antergos Installation

***Antergos is not maintained anymore, but old images are still available until there is a replacement***

Possible alternatives: RebornOS

Arch Linux offers bleeding edge software and the configuration is kept simple and transparent. The Arch Linux wiki is one of the best documentations you can find, even if using another GNU/Linux distribution you are often referred to this excellent source of know-how. Installing Arch Linux via the command line is not too complicated but it enforces you to remember the commands and the order, doing all basic configurations by hand and read the manual. This process must be guided, as such it’s maybe not the Arch Linux way, but as of this Antergos is great for installing a base system. It is fully based on Arch Linux, it just adds a repository and provides reasonable defaults.

Prepare

To install Antergos download Antergos-minimal. It offers a graphical installer and a terminal, in case something goes wrong like e.g. with your wireless network or if you need a rescue system, this can be very helpful. Download Antergos with a web browser from  https://antergos.com/try-it or if you are on a terminal run the following command:

wget https://antergos.com/download/antergos-minimal-iso/

After the download you should compare if the checksum matches on the website matches to your copy. If you want to see the checksum on a terminal, you can use a command like this (replace USERNAME with your user, YY with the year and R with the downloaded release):

md5sum /home/USERNAME/antegos-minimal-YY.R-x86_64.iso

If you are unsure to which path your USB drive is connect, you can check it with the command:

fdisk -l

After this step, write the image to a USB stick with the command below, replace USERNAME with your user and sdX with the path to the USB drive. Be careful with selecting the correct drive!

dd if=/home/USERNAME/Downloads/antergos-minimal-YY.R-x86_64.iso of=/dev/sdX bs=4M status=progress && sync

Then reboot your computer and start from the USB drive, it is recommended to use UEFI mode. Sometime you first have to select in the Bios the boot drive or you can press during the boot logo a key like ESC. But this is sadly lacking any standard and therefore specific per mainboard and vendor.

Install

If Antergos is booted successful the installer will open automatically. If you are connected via LAN, the network should work already. If you need a wireless connection, setup and enter your wireless credentials. As soon as you are connected to the internet the Antergos installer will update, if required.

The Antergos installer is straight forward, recommended settings:

  1. Select your preferred desktop
    • None, just use Base and install it later
  2. Package Selection
    • Enable AUR user repository (show advanced features in the left bottom)
  3. On all laptop devices, enable encryption. On a desktop it is optional, for server turn it off (it must be able to auto start). You have two options for partitioning:
    • MANUAL partition:
      • Partition table for the whole disk GPT, if you can delete all data on the disk (mbr is the old method).
      • UEFI mode: boot partition with 384 MB (enough for 3 kernels) for /boot with fat32 if you started.
        • Legacy Bios boot: Boot partition with 384 MB for /boot with ext4 and install a small boot loader in the MBR of the disk
      • Root partition rest of the available disk space for / with btrfs. As of the built-in checksum calculation in btrfs it can show you if data is corrupted and additionally you can later expand it online with compression and/or RAID.
        • A separate /home partition is not required, some people prefer a separate home partition in case of easy re-installations, but it makes the layout just more complex especially if you want to work with disk encryption.
        • A swap partition is only required for system with less than 4GB of RAM or if you run programs that require more memory than physically available, so usually it can be skipped especially if you don’t want to deal with the drawbacks.
      • Systemd-boot as a bootloader. It is less complex then GRUB2 but requires that you have booted via UEFI and not via the compatibility mode.
  4.  Now enter your personal details and password. Then Antergos will download the newest packages and install a fully upgrades Arch Linux system.

After the installation you can reboot into your new Arch Linux system!

First boot activities

1.) Setup File System and Btrfs

2.) Enable SSH daemon, if you need remote terminal access

$ sudo systemctl enable sshd.service

3.) Make sure time synchronization is enabled.

$ timedatectl set-ntp true

4.) Install base packages that are useful on every system:

$ sudo pacman -Sy htop iotop tmux reflector lsb_release

5.) Remove not required packages including Antergos

$ sudo pacman -Rsc antergos-mirrorlist antergos-keyring antergos-alerts antergos-midnight-timers antergos-alpm-hooks

Then un-comment in pacman.conf the Antergos section

$ sudo nano /etc/pacman.conf
#[antergos]
#Include = /etc/pacman.d/antergos-mirrorlist

6.) If it is a installation on real hardware, additional steps are recommended.

6.a.) Install tools:

sudo pacman -Sy smartmontools fwupd powertop tlp hdparm dmidecode

6.b.) Install Hardware Health Checks tools

6.c.) Install Power Management

7.) If you use systemd-boot it will not auto update after the installation of a new systemd release, but you can install this package from AUR:

yay systemd-boot-pacman-hook

8.) Install additional an Linux-lts kernel and amd-ucode for cases where an upgrade might fail or upstream changes disallow a normal boot. See Linux.

9.) Set systemd-boot time out to 0 (or for grub /etc/default/grub, then run grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg)

sudo nano /boot/loader/loader.conf
default antergos
timeout 0

Desktop / Media Center

Setup a desktop/laptop environment:

  1. Install login manager SDDM (Wayland DEV).
  2. Install KDE Plasma
  3. Optionally read the Linux, OpenGL and Vulkan section for additional applications and setups like Kodi, LibreOffice, VLC, Firefox, …

Server

  1. Remove not required packages
$ pacman -Rsc man-db man-pages

Host

If you want to run a server e.g. for http, setup a virtual machine. To change the base install to a barebone server host, do the following:

  1. Install Qemu/KVM, libvirt and Virt-Manager
  2. Setup Bridge Network – Connect Host with VM

Virtual Machine

If this is a virtual machine install, there is no additional setup required.

Bugs

Arch Linux doesn’t split free and one source software repositories from non-free software and firmware blobs. As such it is not obvious to the user if the software is closed source and cannot be improved by the community, example are linux-firmware.

If you run a server, be careful with updating the following packages as they broke in the past or Arch didn’t provide automatic upgrade paths: libvirt, apache.

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