Ten things you need to do after installing Arch Linux


Turning a minimal installation into something enjoyable to use

671 words · 4 min read

Arch Linux is famous for its seemingly intimidating installation process that, by default, only gets you to a base system where almost nothing is in it. From that point, you will have the opportunity to build a system that consists only of what you need, such as the display manager and desktop environment of your choosing.

But even after installing and booting into your favourite desktop environment, the road to building daily driver is far from finished. Assuming you have sorted out the display server and desktop environment, you may want to do the following things in order to make your Arch Linux machine a joy to use.

Install Yaourt

Yaourt is a Pacman frontend on command line which supports AUR, a repository that any Arch Linux will use sooner or later. Without Yaourt, it would be quite a hassle (if not impossible) to install most of the packages below.

Install Git

Whether you use Github or not, you will likely be required to have Git at some point, as many of the packages from AUR are built from Git repositories.

To install Git, enter pacman -S git into your terminal

Install Pamac

Although Pacman and Yaourt are convenient, there are moments when you may want a graphical user interface.

Pamac is a graphical frontend for Pacman and AUR. Originally developed for Manjaro Linux, an Arch-based distribution, Pamac has some nifty features such as a little tray icon to remind you of availability of new updates.

To install Pamac, enter yaourt -S pamac-aur and follow the instructions.

Install Infinality for beautiful font-rendering~

Unlike Ubuntu-based distributions, font-rendering on Arch Linux is awful on default setting; so awful that it hurts to look at the screen.

There are multiple solutions to this problem, but the simplest one is to use Infinality.

To use Infinality, install fontconfig-infinality and freetype2-infinality from AUR.

Update 31 March 2017

Infinality is dead. Fortunately, the default font-rendering is now much better than it was a year ago; unfortunately, the patched freetype2 and fontconfig still do a better job than the unpatched freetype2 and fontconfig.

Tweak font-rendering

Update 26 April 2017

Font-rendering looks terrible on default. But with a few tweaks, texts will look great.

Install Fonts

After fixing font-rendering, we need some pretty fonts.

On my own machines, I’ve installed Google fonts and Microsoft fonts. If you need to deal with texts in non-Latin characters, you may need to install some other fonts.

Install GNOME Tweak Tool

For GNOME Desktop user, GNOME Tweak Tool is a must.

Install icon theme

Numix circle is my favourite icon theme at the moment.

To use Numix circle icon theme, install numix-circle-icon-theme-git and numix-icon-theme-git from AUR.

Install your favourite theme and wallpaper

There are hundreds of themes available online and on AUR for you to choose from, including the one I created for GNOME.

Install Lighttable

Lighttable is a new, open-source code editor. I’ve been using it to code this website and blog on this website in markdown, and I find Lighttable adequate.

To use Lighttable, install lighttable from AUR.

Install Atom

Atom is an editor developed by Github with Git integration built-in. An additional package git-plus adds additional Git capabilities to the editor, such as pushing to a remote repository without ever opening the terminal.

To use Atom, install atom-editor-bin from AUR.

Web browsers, Office, Video, and so on…

You will most probably want to install Google Chrome, Firefox, LibreOffice, VLC, Dropbox, Spotify. All these applications are available either on Arch official repository or AUR.

There may still be a few things missing at this point, depending on your specific need, but now you are 10 steps closer to having your daily driver running on Arch Linux.

Bonus: Install TLP for better battery life on laptops

If you use Arch Linux (or any Linux distributions) on a laptop, TLP is a tool that helps conserve battery life. TLP is one of a few power management tools for Linux on laptops, and I find it the easiest to use and with satisfactory result.

 Tech    25 May, 2016
 Linux    Arch Linux  
Copyright © Peter Y. Chuang 2019

Peter Y. Chuang is a Hong Kong-born novelist, short story writer, and a music critic who has lived in London at a time and now goes to Berlin semi-regularly for no good reason. When he’s not writing or reading, he’s probably playing with his cat, or listening to classical music, either at home or at one of the opera houses and concert halls in Germany. He uses Linux (current distro of choice: Arch Linux). Read more about his Linux stuff.

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