Here are the details to install XFCE, a light-weight desktop system.
With the unusable Unity and Gnome switching to Gnome 3, more and more people are moving to such light environments.
This page supposes that you already installed an ArchLinux environment (went to the end of the ISO install).
You might have installed this iso in a new machine or a VirtualBox, this page covers both cases as desktop install is very close for both environments.
When installing a system recommend the following packages:
- mlocate, when installing from a core image, you may find some corrupted package keys, and may be forced to use pacman-key –init, in this case the command updatedb can accelerate the process
- readline, zlib and base-devel. Useful for an environment for PostgreSQL
- iptables, you need absolutely a firewall. But be sure to add iptables in daemons with “systemctl enable iptables”
A tip here, you can change virtual desktop with Alt+Fn, there are 6 virtual terminals available .
Don’t forget to update your list of packages first!
This guide is divided into several parts.
- 1. Setting up user
- 2. Xorg stuff
- 3. Install dbus
- 4. Graphical drivers
- 5. Install Desktop
- 6. Desktop launcher
A user $USERNAME has to be added to some specific groups.
useradd -m -g users -G audio,lp,optical,storage,video,wheel,games,power,scanner -s /bin/bash $USERNAME
Then modify its password with this command.
Install those packages.
pacman -S xorg-server xorg-xinit
Install this package.
pacman -S dbus
rc.d start dbus
Add dbus in the list of bootable daemons.
systemctl enable dbus
This part differs if you use a VirtualBox or an environment with nvidia drivers.
Install the following packages.
pacman -S nvidia
Run this command to configure your card.
pacman -S xf86-video-intel libva-intel-driver
libva-intel-driver is useful for acceleration on newer GPU.
Install the following packages.
pacman -S virtualbox-guest-modules virtualbox-guest-utils kernel26-headers
You also need to set the kernel so as the vbox modules are launched automatically at each boot. It is necessary to create a configuration file /etc/modules-load.d/vbox.conf.
You can however launch them like this, but this has to be done at each boot.
modprobe -a vboxguest vboxsf vboxvideo
Install those packages, first XFCE stuff.
pacman -S xfce4
Then its goodies (highly recommended).
pacman -S xfce4-goodies
Desktop is now basically installed, but you need a launcher.
There are several ways to do that, I prefer using slim which is light-weight and fast, so… There are other options also.
pacman -S slim
Then activate slim to become your active display manager.
systemctl enable slim.service
This makes your session to balance to slim instead of moving to a terminal at boot.
Then the final part, you need to initialize your session to launch XFCE at login. If this is not done correctly, you will finish with an error at login screen “cannot execute login command”. So create the file ~/.xinitrc. You can also copy the content below:
# Executed by startx (run your window manager from here)
if [ -d /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d ]; then
for f in /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d/*; do
[ -x "$f" ] && . "$f"
# exec gnome-session
# exec startkde
# exec startxfce4
# ...or the Window Manager of your choice
exec ck-launch-session startxfce4
Here the essential part is “exec ck-launch-session startxfce4″ used to launch your xfce session for chosen user.
In a virtual environment, you might find the error:
Fatal server error, no screens found
This error usually happens because xorg is not able to find the correct video driver.
Launch this command.
pacman -S xf86-video-vesa
Then add vboxdrv in /etc/modules-load.d/ to allow the drivers to be booted at startup.
pacman -S xf86-input-vmmouse xf86-video-vmware svga-dri
Then add vmwgfx in /etc/modules-load.d/ to allow the drivers to be booted at startup.
And you are done!