Arch Linux Installation


Arch Linux provides a well supported minimal Linux installation with a large software repository that allows a user to customise their system to their needs.

To install Arch Linux onto a SD card access to a Linux system is required.

Unless otherwise specified, all commands are performed as the root user.

Create Partitions

Use the fdisk command to set-up the SD card. Make sure that the correct device is being used. In this example the SD card is /dev/sda.

We will be creating two patitions: a 100MB FAT32 partition for /boot and a EXT4 partition for /.

fdisk /dev/sda

Now enter the following commands:

  • Delete all partitions on the SD card: o
  • Create the FAT32 partition: n
  • Set the partition to be a primary one: p
  • Press Enter to use the default patition number (1)
  • Press Enter to use the default first sector
  • Set the size of the partition to 100MB: +100M
  • Set the type: t
  • Select FAT32 for the partition: c
  • Create the EXT4 partition: n
  • Set the partition to be a primary one: p
  • Press Enter to use the default patition number (2)
  • Press Enter to use the default first sector
  • Press Enter to use the default last sector (this will use all of the remaining space)
  • Save the changes to the SD card: w

Verify partitons created:

fdisk -l /dev/sda

Disk /dev/sda: 31.9 GB, 31914983424 bytes, 62333952 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk label type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x117d9901

Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1            2048      206847      102400    c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)
/dev/sda2          206848    62333951    31063552   83  Linux

Format and Mount Partitions

Format partitions:

mkfs.vfat /dev/sda1
mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda2

Make mount points:

mkdir boot root

Mount the SD card partitions:

mount /dev/sda1 boot
      mount /dev/sda2 root

Install Arch Linux

Download the operating system:


Write to SD card:

bsdtar -xvpf ArchLinuxARM-rpi-2-latest.tar.gz -C root

Populate the /boot partition:

mv root/boot/* boot/

Allow the root user to login by editing root/etc/sshd_config (e.g. using vi) and set:

PermitRootLogin yes

Now unmount the SD card:

umount boot root

First Boot

Insert the SD card into your Raspberry Pi and turn it on. For network access connect the Raspberry Pi via an Ethernet cable to the nework.

Once booted login as the root user using the password: alarm.

Set-up pacman so that packages can be installed and update the OS:

pacman-key --init
pacman-key --populate archlinuxarm
pacman -Syu

Set hostname to rpi:

hostnamectl set-hostname rpi

Set the timezone:

timedatectl set-timezone Europe/London

Set the keyboard layout:

localectl set-keymap --no-convert uk

Set password for alarm user:

userdel -r alarm

Optionally add a user for us:

groupadd -g 1000 neil
useradd -u 1000 -g neil -m -G users neil

Set a static IP address for the Ethernet interface. A static IP is required as the Raspberry Pi will be the DHCP server for the network. In this case we are using with a subnet mask of The gateway for the network is our router, which has the static IP address For now we will use CloudFlare’s DNS service but later we will change this to our own DNS service. See Dnsmasq.

Edit /etc/systemd/network/ to make the following changes:




DNSSEC has been disabled as we do not have a Real Time Clock (RTC) to keep the time when the Raspberry Pi is powered off. If DNSSEC is enabled then the systemd-timesyncd will not able to update the time as DNS lookups of the Arch Linux NTP servers will fail due to DNSSEC validation errors. The time of the Raspberry server must be correct for DNSSEC to operate. See the Real Time Clock guide for details about adding a RTC to the Raspberry Pi after which DNSSEC can be enabled.

Now reboot: