Yesterday, I installed Arch Linux on my Kubuntu by using VirtualBox. The installation process was much easier compared with Gentoo. But that doesn’t mean I give it up, I will try to install Gentoo some days later.
I downloaded Arch Linux here. I would recommend to scroll down the page and look for a session called HTTP/FTP Download. BitTorrent download is recommended by the website, but it was barely connectible at the time I visited, so I chose HTTP/FTP Download.
I downloaded archlinux-2009.02-core-i686.iso here. I could either burn it into a CD or mount it into VirtualBox. I chose the 2nd options, since I wanted to test it on VirtualBox before actual installation.
The installation is straight forward, but in case you are interested to try it yourself. I embed a Arch Linux installation walk-through below:
One thing I would love to mention is partition. In this case, I didn’t need to worry about partition, since the entire process was inside a virtual environment. If I want to install Arch Linux on my actual machine, I need to be careful and I should write down different partition names (e.g sda1, etc) before I run the live CD.
Another thing is, in order to install extra packages, I needed to highlight a package, then pressed space bar to select it. (I think it is a good idea to put some text description somewhere on the installation screen)
After around 20 minutes, the installation was completed. I ran pacman -Syu (Which is similar as sudo apt-get update in Ubuntu, to synchronize your local packages to remote repositories). Things didn’t run smoothly, pacman (Package management tool) timed out. At this stage, I was able to ping different websites. That indicated there was Internet connection. Then I looked into /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist. mirrorlist contains various URLs of repositories. I was recommended to use rankmirrors to filter out the best connections inside /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist. Unfortunately, it required python and python was not installed. One way to get around this is, on terminal type wget http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/archlinux/extra/os/i686/python-2.6.1-1-i686.pkg.tar.gz, then type pacman -U python-2.6.1-1-i686.pkg.tar.gz. pacman was smart enough to handle it for me.
After installing python, I ran rankmirrors -v /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist > output.txt. The output.txt file now had a list of URLs, which was ranked by connection speed. I replaced the mirrorlist with output.txt. That would be cat output.txt > /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist. In my personal case, the FTP URLs didn’t work for me. The HTTP URLs were fine for me, even I needed to try multiple times or used a trick (The trick is to use my favorite web browser to access some of the packages on the repository. I guess the reason is to rebuild the connection with remote server.)
I commented out FTP URLs on the top of the mirrorlist and use HTTP URLs instead. I ran pacman -Syy. Dada……. It worked!
The last thing I needed to install in my mind was Gnome. You can find instructions here. Make sure you create at least one user account, if you intend to use login screen. Gnome doesn’t allow administrator (i.e. Root) to login, due to security reason. The Gnome installation was easy, even though the connection was unstable. I just needed to resume the downloaded each time it timed out.
I know it is a long process, but I can start to enjoy Arch Linux now. I am not sure what will break next time, but I will keep you update to date.