In my previous post, we learned about these cheap ARM netbooks, and how to install a base Arch Linux system in one of them. If you are interested in this topic, and haven't read it, be sure to give it a look.
In this post, I'll show you how to install and configure LXDE desktop environment and the network manager daemon. If you're too impatient, too busy or too lazy, just grab the full system image (319 MiB) here or here. Then follow the first two steps I wrote in my previous post, and untar the downloaded file, by running (as root):
tar -xjf alarm-wm8650-2012.06.19.tar.bz2 -C /run/media/doragasu/ARCH_SYS/
Make sure you replace "/run/media/doragasu/ARCH_SYS/" with the directory where the Arch Linux system partition is mounted. Insert the SD card in your netbook and power it on. Arch Linux should boot as shown in this video:
You can login as the root user (login: root, password: root), and you can also login as a non privileged (but included in the sudoers) user (login: user, password: user). Remember to edit rc.conf to at least set the timezone, or you'll get the wrong time.
If you want to do it the long way, and you are an Arch Linux newbie, just follow me (or search in the essential Arch Linux Wiki). If you are an Arch Linux hardcore user, just skip this post, what I'm going to tell you is 100% standard Arch Linux, you don't need to do weird tricks or hacks like we did while installing the base system.
Desktop Environment Installation
|Click to watch LXDE in all its glory|
- Let's start installing the X-Window system. Start your netbook and login as root. If you have configured the network, I recommend loging in through SSH, to be able to easily copy and paste the commands from this post. It's also recommended to update the entire system before starting (pacman -Syu). Once you are logged in and the system is updated, start installing packages:
pacman -S xorg-server xorg-xinit xorg-utils xorg-server-utils xf86-video-fbdev
- If you did not add dbus to the daemons list, do it now. Edit /etc/rc.conf and add it. The daemons list should look like this:
DAEMONS=(hwclock syslog-ng network crond sshd dbus)
- Install the desktop environment. Here you have to choose among all the available. The most used are Gnome, KDE, XFCE and LXDE. I will detail how to install LXDE. I chose LXDE because it has a great advantage over KDE and Gnome: it may not look as eye candy as them, but requires a lot less resources. XFCE is also a good choice for machines low on resources, but I'll not detail how to install it. If you want to give XFCE a try, read its wiki page. Let's continue installing LXDE:
pacman -S lxde gamin
- Configure the desktop environment for the current user. You'll have to repeat this step for every user you want to be able to start a LXDE session:
mkdir -p ~/.config/openbox cp /etc/xdg/openbox/menu.xml /etc/xdg/openbox/rc.xml /etc/xdg/openbox/autostart ~/.config/openbox
- Configure the session start for each user. Create a .xinitrc file in the home of each user, with the following contents:
#!/bin/sh exec startlxde
- make sure .xinitrc is executable:
chmod +x .xinitrc
- Manually start the X session:
- So far, the desktop environment should be working. You should see the XFCE desktop with its bottom panel. Everything should work, but... text rendering looks like crap, right? No problem, you can solve it by typing two commands:
pacman -S ttf-bitstream-vera ttf-dejavu ttf-droid ttf-freefont fc-cache -vf
- You can install some commonly used programs:
- If you want to use a graphical login manager, you can install for example SLiM:
pacman -S slim
- To make slim start each boot, edit /etc/rc.conf and add slim to the daemons list, after dbus. This list should look like:
DAEMONS=(hwclock syslog-ng network crond sshd dbus slim)
Reboot and you should be greeted by the login screen! Remember you have to repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 for each user you want to be able to use LXDE.
Network Manager daemon
|Network manager applet in action|
- Install networkmanager, the applet for the desktop panel, and gnome-keyring to store passwords for the wireless networks:
pacman -S networkmanager network-manager-applet xfce4-notifyd hicolor-icon-theme gnome-icon-theme gnome-keyring
- Replace network daemon with networkmanager. Make sure networkmanager is placed after dbus. The daemons list should look like this:
DAEMONS=(hwclock syslog-ng crond sshd dbus networkmanager slim)
Now if you reboot and enable WiFi (gpio 1:6:d8110040:d8110080:d81100c0), you should be able to select a wireless network and connect to it using the network manager applet, to the right of the bottom panel.
pacman -S links midori
|Links browser. Ugly but functional|
|Midori browser running fullscreen|