How to Install Arch Linux on Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a versatile credit card-sized computer that can be used for a variety of electronics projects. The great thing about the Raspberry Pi is that you have the option of installing different operating systems and aren’t limited to Raspberry Pi OS. This includes Arch Linux, which is revered for its simplicity. Luckily, there is a version of Arch Linux designed to work with ARM processors. Let’s take a look at how you can install Arch Linux on Raspberry Pi.

Requirements

Before we get started, you will need to have the following things:

  • Raspberry Pi
  • 8GB (or more) micro SD
  • Arch Linux ARM (Scroll down the list to find the link for the Raspberry Pi image.)
  • Stable Internet connection
  • Computer system that can read the SD card. (We will be using Linux for this tutorial.)

Prepare SD Card

First, you will need to make a list of the storage devices attached to your machine in order to identify which one is your SD card. Do this with the following command:

The SD card that I’m using is “/dev/sdc.”

We need to format the SD card. To do this, run the following command, bearing in mind that you will need to replace “/dev/sdc” with the name of your SD card:

You will need to clear any partitions that exist on the drive. To do this, type o and hit Enter in your terminal.

Enter p into your terminal to check to see if any partitions remain.

If no partitions remain, then go ahead and create the boot partition by typing n, then p, followed by 1 into your terminal. p stands for primary, and 1 stands for the first partition on the drive. You’ll need to press the Enter button after this sequence to continue.

When prompted about the last sector, type +100M and hit Enter.

Enter t into the command prompt followed by c to set the first partition as type “W95 FAT32 (LBA).”

Type n, followed by p (for primary), then 2 in order to create the root partition.

Hit Enter twice in order to accept the default settings for the first and last sectors.

Write the partition table and exit fdisk by entering w.

We need to mount the FAT & ext4 filesystems. To list the partitions, type the following:

Your SD card will show up, and you’ll be able to see the partitions. In my case the partitions are “/dev/sdb1” and “/dev/sdb2.”

Copy Arch Linux Files to SD Card

The boot and root partitions need to be mounted next. Do this with the following series of commands. Remember to replace the partition names in these commands with your partition names.

Now, place the Arch Linux file that you downloaded into your home folder and extract it to the root folder of your SD card with the following command:

The boot files will need to be moved to the boot partition of your SD card with:

You can umount the two partitions with:

Insert the SD card into your Raspberry Pi.

Initial Setup on Raspberry Pi

After inserting the SD card into your Raspberry Pi, go ahead and fire it up. You will need to either connect to the Internet via an ethernet cable or a Wi-Fi network. To connect via Wi-Fi, first log in with the default root account. The username for this account is “root,” and the password is “root.” Now, run the following command:

A menu will load, and you will be able to select your Wi-Fi network and log in. Now, finalize the installation process by initializing the pacman keyring and populating the Arch Linux ARM package signing keys with:

YOu can go ahead and update the system packages with:

You should change the default username. Do this with the following command:

Also, change the password with:

You’ll be asked to enter a new password and then confirm it. To change the name of the home folder to reflect the new username, run the following command:

You should also change the password of the root account. Do this with:

In order to give sudo privileges to your user account, you’ll have to run the following to install the sudo package:

You will have to edit the configuration file for sudo. Do this with:

Add newusername ALL=(ALL) ALL under the line that reads root ALL=(ALL) ALL

Close and save the file, and you’re all set.

Now that you have installed Arch Linux on the Raspberry Pi, there are plenty of things you can do, including installing and playing Minecraft and turning it into a NAS or Plex server. Your imagination is the limit.

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William Elcock

William has been fiddling with tech for as long as he remembers. This naturally transitioned into helping friends with their tech problems and then into tech blogging.

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