ArchLinux Install Guide

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This guide is intended to help someone install the Arch Linux ARM distribution on their Raspberry Pi. The guide presupposes you have some familiarity with the linux system and are comfortable working from the command line, but it does not require you to be an expert. We learn a great deal by doing, and if you'd like to learn more about how linux operates, Arch Linux is an excellent choice for many reasons.

License Information

Arch Linux, pacman, documentation, and scripts are Copyright © 2002-2007 by Judd Vinet, Copyright © 2007-2011 by Aaron Griffin and are licensed under the GNU General Public License Version 2.

Arch Linux ARM is Copyright © 2011-2012 and is licensed under the GNU GPLv2, with full source being free and open software. Each package is licensed under its respective license. The PlugApps distribution is copyright Mike Staszel. You may modify, adapt, and copy it to fit your needs. If you do so, it must be licensed under a similar license to the GPLv2.

Why Arch?

One of the greatest advantages of the Arch Linux distribution is its simplicity in approach and attitude. The Arch Linux Beginner's Guide describes this attitude very well:

The design principles behind Arch are aimed at keeping it simple.

'Simple', in this context, shall mean 'without unnecessary additions, modifications, or complications'. In short; an elegant, minimalist approach.

Some thoughts to keep in mind as you consider simplicity:

" 'Simple' is defined from a technical standpoint, not a usability standpoint. It is better to be technically elegant with a higher learning curve, than to be easy to use and technically [inferior]." -Aaron Griffin

Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem or "Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily." -Occam's razor. The term razor refers to the act of shaving away unnecessary complications to arrive at the simplest explanation, method or theory.

"The extraordinary part of [my method] lies in its simplicity..The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity." - Bruce Lee


Obtain the latest image

You can download the latest Arch Linux ARM image for the Raspberry Pi here. The current version is 29-04-2012, and this guide pertains to this release. Download the image to any computer that has a way for you to connect your SD card.

Check the image integrity

Unzip the downloaded image to obtain a directory with the image itself and the SHA-1 checksum. You can verify the integrity of the image with:

linux: $ sha1sum --check name_of_checksum_file.txt

replacing name_of_checksum_file.txt with the name of the .txt file in the downloaded directory.


Mac OS-X:

Write image to the SD card

Plug your SD card into your computer, and write the Arch Linux ARM image by following the Easy SD Card Setup instructions.

Optional: Resize partitions

If your SD card is larger than 2 GB, you will want to resize the partitions to make use of your entire card. The Easy SD Card Setup page also has instructions for resizing using parted, though you may also use graphical tools like gparted if you wish.

The image creates two partitions, which will be available as /dev/mmcblk0p1 and /dev/mmcblk0p2 when you boot up your Raspberry Pi. The first partition (100 MB) is mounted to /boot, and the second (1.7 GB by default) is mounted to the root directory /. Leave the first partition as it is, and expand the second to as large as you desire within the space available on your card. You may also consider creating a third or even fourth partition for /home and/or swap if desired. Neither is necessary, and the two partitions alone are all that are necessary.

Initial Installation

Secondary Installation