Beginners' Guide

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This beginners' guide provides step-by-step instructions for installing Parabola GNU/Linux-libre. This guide assumes little to no understanding of the installation process, but does require extensive use of the command line and a willingness to troubleshoot problems that may occur.

The Parabola wiki, as well as the Arch Linux wiki, should be the primary source of information and your first resource during trouble-shooting. Parabola users are also encouraged to use man command to read the man page of any command they are not familiar with. Users are also encouraged to read the Arch Linux FAQ before beginning.

1 Beginners

Installing and maintaining a bare-bones distribution like Parabola is an excellent way to gain knowledge of the GNU/Linux system. This does mean that such distributions might not be the best choice for new GNU/Linux users. Installation and maintenance will require extensive use of the command line and knowledge of the GNU/Linux file system. Parabola ascribes to The Arch Way, which favors being "user-centric" to being "user-friendly." If you'd prefer a more "user-friendly" GNU/Linux system, installing Trisquel GNU/Linux-libre or another 100% Free/libre GNU/Linux system could provide an easier transition into GNU/Linux-libre computing. See also the Free Software Foundation's current list of 100% Free/Libre GNU/Linux distributions.

Another important consideration to note is that Parabola is in the class of operating systems commonly known as "Rolling" distros; which do not offer the long-term stability and uptime reliability that are more desirable features to have for casual desktop users and for web-servers. Another class of operating systems commonly known as "Long-Term Supported" ("LTS") exists with the focus on stability and reliability; which is much better suited for most users. Please read Rolling vs. LTS for more on that topic if you are not convinced of this.

If you do choose to use Parabola as your main operating system, you should at the very least, be prepared that if ever your computer will not start, to have some other way of joining the #parabola IRC channel to ask for help.

2 Minimum system requirements

Parabola GNU/Linux-libre should run on any i686 compatible machine with a minimum of 256 MB RAM. A basic installation of packages from the base group should take less than 800 MB of disk space. If you are working with limited space, this can be trimmed down considerably, but this is recommended only for experienced users.

3 Preparation

You will need to create a bootable live disk (e.g. a CD or a USB flash drive) containing the Parabola ISO that will then be used to install the base system.

Warning: If you are repurposing old storage devices, you should make sure that there isn't anything important on them before you proceed. The formatting process of creating a bootable disk will wipe any data currently held on the device.
Note: This portion assumes that you are already running a GNU/Linux system; although, there are some mentions of dual-booting with non-free, user-subjugating Windows.

3.1 Download the Parabola ISO

Download the current copy of the Parabola ISO.

3.2 Optical Disks

To create a disk to use as your install medium, insert a blank or re-writable disk, CD or DVD, into your disk drive. Next, you will need to mount the disk.

# mount sr0 

Provided your computer has a disk drive. Sr0 should the first or only, if you only have one disk drive, mount point of disk drives. You will need to address the correct destination for the command to work.

# dd if=~/downloads/parabola-*-dual.iso of=/dev/sr0 bs=2048 conv=noerror && sync

3.3 USB flash drive

To list the block devices, execute the following command:

# lsblk -S
sda  0:0:0:0    disk ATA      STXXXXXXXX-XXX   AAAA sata
sdb  5:0:0:0    disk General  USB Flash Disk   1.0  usb
sr0  1:0:0:0    rom  PLDS     DVD-RW DSXXXXX   BBBB sata

Assuming you don't have many storage devices plugged in, the USB flash drive is easily identified by the VENDOR, MODEL and TRAN columns. In order to use a USB flash drive as your install medium, you will need to write to the device and not to the partition (for example, /dev/sdc not /dev/sdc1). Write to the USB flash drive with the following command (where sdx is the device):

# dd bs=4M if=~/downloads/parabola-*-dual.iso of=/dev/sdx && sync

The flash drive should now be a bootable disk.

Note: Also see the Free Software Foundation's guide to using the dd command.

4 Installation

Once booted into the live medium, follow these steps to install Parabola.

4.1 Changing Keyboard

By default it is set to English (US) if you would like to change this execute

# loadkeys "layout abbreviation"

Use this command to list available keymaps.

# localectl list-keymaps

Example: this command sets the keyboard layout to British English.

# loadkeys uk

5 Establish an internet connection

Tip: Establishing an Internet connection is a lot easier using Parabola's MATE desktop ISO, consider downloading it if you have trouble during this step.
Warning: As of v197, udev no longer assigns network interface names according to the wlanX and ethX naming scheme. If you are coming from a different distribution or are reinstalling Parabola and not aware of the new interface naming style, please do not assume that your wireless interface is named wlan0, or that your wired interface is named eth0. You can use the command ip link to discover the names of your interfaces.

The dhcpcd network daemon starts automatically during boot of the live system and will attempt to start a wired connection. Try to ping a server to see if a connection was established. For example,'s webservers:

# ping -c 3
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from ( icmp_req=1 ttl=46 time=15.0 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_req=2 ttl=50 time=15.2 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_req=3 ttl=50 time=15.4 ms

--- ping statistics ---
3 packets transmitted, 3 received, 0% packet loss, time 2003ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 15.058/15.366/15.624/0.280 ms

If you get a ping: unknown host error, first check if there is an issue with your cable. If not, you will need to set up the network manually, as explained below. Once a connection is established move on to #Prepare the storage devices.

  • The elinks browser is available in the live system: it can be useful for example to authenticate in RADIUS-protected networks.
  • The system you are going to install in this guide makes no pre-assumptions regarding network access. For an easy start after the first boot, it may be helpful to stick to the method that got you connected with the live medium and copy relevant configuration to the new system before you #Chroot and configure the base system later.

5.1 Wireless

Warning: Wireless chipset firmware packages (for cards which require them) are pre-installed under /usr/lib/firmware in the live environment (on CD/USB stick) but must be explicitly installed to your actual system to provide wireless functionality after you reboot into it! Package installation is covered later in this guide. Ensure installation of both your wireless module and firmware before rebooting! See Wireless network configuration if you are unsure about the requirement of corresponding firmware installation for your particular chipset.

Use netctl's wifi-menu to connect to a wireless network:

# wifi-menu

This should bring you a menu of wifi networks if your computer has only one Wi-Fi device (mostly the case in laptops).

If your computer has more than one Wi-Fi device, you need to choose one and pass its interface name to wifi-menu. First, identify the name of the needed interface:

# iw dev
        Interface wlp3s0
                ifindex 3
                wdev 0x1
                addr 00:11:22:33:44:55
                type managed

This example shows wlp3s0 as the only available wireless interface, for simplicity. If you are unsure, wireless interfaces are likely to start with the letter "w", and unlikely to be "lo" or start with the letter "e".

Now try wifi-menu again by passing it the interface name:

# wifi-menu wlp3s0

See the sample configuration in WPA2 Enterprise#netctl for networks that require both a username and password.

You should now have a working wireless network connection. If you do not or even failed to identify the wireless interface, see #Without wifi-menu below or the detailed Wireless network configuration page.

If you're using running from an OpenRC ISO, you must use NetworkManager since wifi-menu is from netctl (part of systemd). To connect to a network run:

# nmtui connect

6 Prepare the storage devices

In this step, the storage devices that will be used by the new system will be prepared. Read Partitioning for a more general overview.

Warning: Partitioning will destroy existing data. Before proceeding, you must backup all data that needs to be preserved.
  • Users intending to create stacked block devices for LVM, disk encryption or RAID, should keep those instructions into consideration when preparing the partitions.
  • If intending to install to a USB flash key, see the Archwiki for further information: Installing Arch Linux on a USB key.

6.1 Identify the devices

The first step is to identify the devices where the new system will be installed. The following command will show all the available devices:

# lsblk

This will list all devices connected to your system along with their partition schemes, including that used to host and boot live Parabola installation media (e.g. a USB drive). Not all devices listed will therefore be viable or appropriate mediums for installation. To filter out inappropriate results, the command can optionally be amended as follows:

# lsblk | grep -v "rom\|loop\|airoot"

Devices (e.g. hard disks) will be listed as sdx, where x is a lower-case letter starting from a for the first device (sda), b for the second device (sdb), and so on. Existing partitions on those devices will be listed as sdxY, where Y is a number starting from 1 for the first partition, 2 for the second, and so on. In the example below, only one device is available (sda), and that device uses only one partition (sda1):

sda               8:0    0    80G  0 disk
└─sda1            8:1    0    80G  0 part

The sdxY convention will be used in the examples provided below for partition tables, partitions, and file systems. As they are just examples, it is important to ensure that any necessary changes to device names, partition numbers, and/or partition sizes (etc.) are made. Do not just blindly copy and paste the commands.

If the existing partition scheme needs not be changed, skip to #Create filesystems, otherwise continue reading the following section.

6.2 Partition table types

If you are installing alongside an existing installation (i.e. dual-booting), a partition table will already be in use. If the devices are not partitioned, or the current partitions table or scheme needs to be changed, you will first have to determine the partition tables (one for each device) in use or to be used.

Warning: While transitioning to a 100% free/libre system, you may find it necessary to dual-boot with a non-free, user-subjugating system. Once your libre system is fully installed and configured, we recommend immediately removing any non-free, proprietary, and/or malicious software for ethical and security reasons. If Parabola and non-free, user-subjugating Windows are dual-booting from same device, then Parabola must follow the same firmware boot mode and partitioning combination already used, or Windows will fail to boot. See the Archwiki site for more information: Windows and Arch Dual Boot#Important information for more details.

There are two types of partition table:

  • MBR: Intended for BIOS systems (also referred to as "msdos")
  • GPT: Intended for UEFI systems

Any existing partition table can be identified with the following command for each device:

# parted /dev/sdx print

6.3 Partitioning tools

For each device to be partitioned, a proper tool must be chosen according to the partition table to be used. Several partitioning tools are provided by the Parabola installation medium, including:

  • parted: MBR and GPT
  • fdisk, cfdisk, sfdisk: MBR and GPT
  • gdisk, cgdisk, sgdisk: GPT
Warning: Using a partitioning tool that is incompatible with your partition table type will likely result in the destruction of that table, along with any existing partitions/data.
Tip: The devices may also be partitioned before booting the Parabola installation media, possibly using alternative live systems with other partitioning tools. For example beginners might find it easier to use a graphical partitioning tool such as GParted, which is also provided as a live CD and works with both MBR and GPT partition tables.

6.3.1 Using parted in interactive mode

All the examples provided below make use of parted, as it can be used for both BIOS/MBR and UEFI/GPT. It will be launched in interactive mode, which simplifies the partitioning process and reduces unnecessary repetition by automatically applying all partitioning commands to the specified device.

In order to start operating on a device, execute:

# parted /dev/sdx

You will notice that the command-line prompt changes from a hash (#) to (parted): this also means that the new prompt is not a command to be manually entered when running the commands in the examples.

To see a list of the available commands, enter:

(parted) help

When finished, or if wishing to implement a partition table or scheme for another device, exit from parted with:

(parted) quit

After exiting, the command-line prompt will change back to #.

6.4 Create new partition table

You need to (re)create the partition table of a device when it has never been partitioned before, or when you want to change the type of its partition table. Recreating the partition table of a device is also useful when the partition scheme needs to be restructured from scratch.

  • If temporarily dual-booting with an existing installation of user-subjugating Windows on a UEFI/GPT system, do not erase the partition table. Doing so will destroy all existing data on the device, including the UEFI partition with the Windows .efi file required to boot it.
  • MBR is designed specifically for use with BIOS systems, and GPT is designed for UEFI. It is not recommended for less experienced users to break this convention as both have features and/or limitations that may be incompatible with your hardware (e.g. MBR cannot cope with devices larger than 2 TiB). [1] If for any reason you do not wish to follow this convention, see [2] and [3] for more information and possible workarounds.

Open each device whose partition table must be (re)created with:

# parted /dev/sdx

To then create a new MBR/msdos partition table for BIOS systems, use the following command:

(parted) mklabel msdos

To create a new GPT partition table for UEFI systems instead, use:

(parted) mklabel gpt

6.5 Partition schemes

You can decide the number and size of the partitions the devices should be split into, and which directories will be used to mount the partitions in the installed system (also known as mount points). The mapping from partitions to directories is the partition scheme, which must comply with the following requirements:

  • At least a partition for the / (root) directory must be created.
  • Depending on the motherboard's firmware interface, the chosen #Partition table types, and in some cases also the chosen boot loader, the following additional partitions must be created:

In the examples below it is assumed that a new and contiguous partitioning scheme is applied to a single device. Some optional partitions will also be created for the /boot and /home directories: see also the Archwiki article Arch filesystem hierarchy for an explanation of the purpose of the various directories; if separate partitions for directories like /boot or /home are not created, these will simply be contained in the / partition. Also the creation of an optional partition for swap space will be illustrated.

If not already open in a parted interactive session, open each device to be partitioned with:

# parted /dev/sdx

The following command will be used to create partitions:

(parted) mkpart part-type fs-type start end
  • part-type is one of primary, extended or logical, and is meaningful only for MBR partition tables.
  • fs-type is an identifier chosen among those listed by entering help mkpart as the closest match to the file system that you will use in #Create filesystems. The mkpart command does not actually create the file system: the fs-type parameter will simply be used by parted to set a 1-byte code that is used by boot loaders to "preview" what kind of data is found in the partition, and act accordingly if necessary. See also Wikipedia:Disk partitioning#PC partition types.
Tip: Most GNU/Linux native file systems map to the same partition code (0x83), so it is perfectly safe to e.g. use ext2 for an ext4-formatted partition.
  • start is the beginning of the partition from the start of the device. It consists of a number followed by a unit, for example 1M means start at 1MiB.
  • end is the end of the partition from the start of the device (not from the start value). It has the same syntax as start, for example 100% means end at the end of the device (use all the remaining space).
Warning: It is important that the partitions do not overlap each other: if you do not want to leave unused space in the device, make sure that each partition starts where the previous one ends.
Note: parted may issue a warning like:
Warning: The resulting partition is not properly aligned for best performance.
In this case, read Partitioning#Partition alignment and follow GNU Parted#Alignment to fix it.

The following command will be used to flag the partition that contains the /boot directory as bootable:

(parted) set partition boot on
  • partition is the number of the partition to be flagged (see the output of the print command).

6.5.1 UEFI/GPT examples

In every instance, a special bootable EFI System Partition is required.

Warning: If temporarily dual-booting with an existing installation of user-subjugating Windows on a UEFI/GPT system, the existing UEFI partition must not be deleted. Doing so will destroy the .efi file required to boot the non-free OS.

If creating a new EFI System Partition, use the following commands (the recommended size is 512MiB):

(parted) mkpart ESP fat32 1MiB 513MiB
(parted) set 1 boot on

The remaining partition scheme is entirely up to you. For one other partition using 100% of remaining space:

(parted) mkpart primary ext3 513MiB 100%

For separate / (20GiB) and /home (all remaining space) partitions:

(parted) mkpart primary ext3 513MiB 20.5GiB
(parted) mkpart primary ext3 20.5GiB 100%

And for separate / (20GiB), swap (4GiB), and /home (all remaining space) partitions:

(parted) mkpart primary ext3 513MiB 20.5GiB
(parted) mkpart primary linux-swap 20.5GiB 24.5GiB
(parted) mkpart primary ext3 24.5GiB 100%

6.5.2 BIOS/MBR examples

For a minimum single primary partition using all available disk space, the following command would be used:

(parted) mkpart primary ext3 1MiB 100%
(parted) set 1 boot on

In the following instance, a 20GiB / partition will be created, followed by a /home partition using all the remaining space:

(parted) mkpart primary ext3 1MiB 20GiB
(parted) set 1 boot on
(parted) mkpart primary ext3 20GiB 100%

In the final example below, separate /boot (100MiB), / (20GiB), swap (4GiB), and /home (all remaining space) partitions will be created:

(parted) mkpart primary ext3 1MiB 100MiB
(parted) set 1 boot on
(parted) mkpart primary ext3 100MiB 20GiB
(parted) mkpart primary linux-swap 20GiB 24GiB
(parted) mkpart primary ext3 24GiB 100%

6.6 Create filesystems

Once the partitions have been created, each must be formatted with an appropriate file system, except for swap partitions. All available partitions on the intended installation device can be listed with the following command:

# lsblk /dev/sdx

With the exceptions noted below, it is recommended to use the ext4 file system:

# mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdxY
  • If temporarily dual-booting with an existing installation of user-subjugating Windows on a UEFI/GPT system, do not re-format the UEFI partition. Doing so will destroy all existing data on that partition, including the non-free OS's .efi file required to boot it.
  • If a new UEFI system partition has been created on a UEFI/GPT system, it must be formatted with a fat32 or vfat32 file system. Failure to do so will result in an unbootable installation:
# mkfs.vfat -F32 /dev/sdxY

6.7 Activate swap

If a swap partition has been created, it must be set up and activated with:

# mkswap /dev/sdxY
# swapon /dev/sdxY

6.8 Mount the partitions

Note: Swap partitions must not be mounted here.

The / (root) partition must be mounted first: this is because any directories such as /boot or /home that have separate partitions will have to be created in the root file system. The /mnt directory of the live system will be used to mount the root partition, and consequently all the other partitions will stem from there. If the root partition's name is sdxR, do:

# mount /dev/sdxR /mnt

Once the / partition has been mounted, mount any remaining partitions in any order. The general procedure is to first create the mount point, and then mount the partition to it. If using a separate /boot partition:

# mkdir -p /mnt/boot
# mount /dev/sdxB /mnt/boot
Note: Using /boot is recommended also for mounting the EFI System Partition on UEFI/GPT system. See EFISTUB and related articles for alternatives.

If using a separate /home partition:

# mkdir -p /mnt/home
# mount /dev/sdxH /mnt/home

Once all the remaining partitions, if any, have been mounted, the devices are ready to install Parabola.

7 Select a mirror

You may want to edit the mirrorlist file and place your preferred mirror first. This will usually be the closest mirror to your location. A copy of this file will be installed on your new system by pacstrap as well, so it is worth getting it right.

# nano /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist
# Parabola GNU/Linux-libre - Last Updated: dd-mm-yy hr-min-sec GMT 2015
# Location: Bucharest, Romania
# ...
# Work hours: 24*7

Server =$repo/os/$arch

If you want, you can make it the only mirror available by deleting all other lines, but it is usually a good idea to have a few more, in case the first one goes offline. Should you change your mirror list at a later stage, refresh all package lists with pacman -Syyu. See Mirrors for more information.

8 Install the base system

Install the base system using the pacstrap script. To build packages from the AUR or with ABS, you will also need the base-devel group.

# pacstrap -i /mnt base base-devel

Or in the case you wish a clean OpenRC installation:

# pacstrap -i /mnt base base-devel elogind
Note: Remember to enable the [nonsystemd] repo before installing OpenRC

Install other packages later using pacman.

See Pacman#Troubleshooting and Pacman-key#Troubleshooting in case of errors.

9 Generate an fstab

UUIDs are used because they have certain advantages (see fstab#Identifying filesystems). If you prefer labels instead, replace the -U option with -L:

# genfstab -U -p /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab
# nano /mnt/etc/fstab
Warning: Always check the fstab file immediately after generating it. If you encounter errors running genfstab or later in the install process, do not run genfstab again; just edit the fstab file. See fstab#Field definitions for syntax information.

10 Chroot and configure the base system

Next, chroot into your newly installed system:

# arch-chroot /mnt /bin/bash

At this stage of the installation, you will configure the primary configuration files of your Parabola GNU/Linux-libre base system. These can either be created if they do not exist, or edited if you wish to change the defaults.

Closely following and understanding these steps is of key importance to ensure a properly configured system.

Warning: Do not assume that the tools you used from the ISO are automatically installed. For example, if you used wifi-menu to gain network access during the installation and want to continue so after the first boot, you will have to install dialog to use it. The following section specifies such cases, do follow it closely to avoid a hiccup in your fresh install.

10.1 Locale

Locales define which language the system uses and other regional considerations, such as currency denomination, numerology and character sets. Possible values are listed in /etc/locale.gen, with the active locale defined in locale.conf files.

All entries in locale.gen are commented out (preceded by #) by default. Uncomment en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8, as well as other needed localisations. UTF-8 is highly recommended over other options.

# nano /etc/locale.gen
#en_SG ISO-8859-1
en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8
#en_US ISO-8859-1

Generate locales:

# locale-gen

Create /etc/locale.conf, where LANG refers to the first column of an uncommented entry in /etc/locale.gen.

# echo LANG=en_US.UTF-8 > /etc/locale.conf

Export chosen locale:

# export LANG=en_US.UTF-8
  • Choosing en_US.UTF-8 as the system locale allows you to keep system logs in English for easier troubleshooting. Users may override this setting for their session as described in Locale#Setting the locale.
  • LANG acts as the default value for the locale-related LC_* variables. To use other locales for these variables, run locale to see the available options and add them to locale.conf. It is not recommended to set the LC_ALL variable. See Locale for details.

10.2 Console font and keymap

If you changed the default console keymap and font in #Keyboard layout, create /etc/vconsole.conf to make those changes persist in the installed system. It is important KEYMAP matches the value initially set with loadkeys, to ensure correct entry of the root password on reboot.

# nano /etc/vconsole.conf

These settings only apply to virtual consoles, not Xorg. See Fonts#Console fonts for more information.

10.3 Time zone

Find a list of available time zones and subzones in the /usr/share/zoneinfo/Zone/SubZone directories, and listed with the ls command. Create a symbolic link /etc/localtime to your subzone file /usr/share/zoneinfo/Zone/SubZone:

# ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/Zone/SubZone /etc/localtime

You may use tab completion to show available zones and subzones. Example:

# ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Minsk /etc/localtime

10.4 Hardware clock

If you have multiple operating systems installed in the same machine, they will all derive the current time from the same hardware clock, which must be set to either UTC or localtime. For this reason you must make sure that all the operating systems see the hardware clock as providing time in the same chosen standard, otherwise some of them will perform the time zone adjustement for the system clock, while others will not.

In particular, it is strongly recommended to set the hardware clock to UTC, in order to avoid conflicts between the installed operating systems. For example, if the hardware clock was set to localtime, more than one operating system may adjust it after a DST change, thus resulting in an overcorrection; more problems may arise when travelling between different time zones and using one of the operating systems to reset the system/hardware clock.

Set the hardware clock to UTC:

# hwclock --systohc --utc

The hwclock command also generates the /etc/adjtime file.

Note: Using UTC for the hardware clock does not mean that software will display time in UTC. However, the system setup/BIOS interface will instead: this should be neither surprising nor treated as a bug.

10.5 Kernel modules

Needed kernel modules are automatically loaded by udev, so you will rarely need to load modules manually. See Kernel modules for details.

10.6 Hostname

Set your hostname:

# echo myhostname > /etc/hostname

Add the same hostname to /etc/hosts:

#<ip-address> <> <hostname> localhost.localdomain localhost myhostname
::1   localhost.localdomain localhost myhostname
Warning: Do not do this if you made an OpenRC installation, instead, refer to OpenRC#Hostname

10.7 Configure the network

Configure the network, this time for your newly installed environment. The procedure and prerequisites are similar to the one described above, except we are going to make it persistent and automatically run at boot.

As a first step, identify the network interface name you want to configure the connection for with ip link.

  • For more in-depth information on network configuration, visit Network configuration and Wireless network configuration.
  • If you would like to use the old interface naming scheme (i.e. ethX and wlanX) you can accomplish this by creating an empty file at /etc/udev/rules.d/80-net-setup-link.rules which will mask the file of the same name located under /usr/lib/udev/rules.d.

Now select a daemon to handle the configuration and operation. Several are listed below; only select one of them for the new system.

10.7.1 Wired

Using dhcpcd

A simple option for adapter configuration is to use the DHCP Client Daemon, the method used by default with the install medium. See Dhcpcd#Running.

Users requiring only single wired network connection can simply enable the dhcpcd service for the interface:

# systemctl enable dhcpcd@interface_name.service

Or in the case of OpenRC:

# rc-update add dhcpcd default

If static IP settings are required, adjust the profile configuration as described in #Static IP.

Using systemd-networkd

The Parabola default init system, systemd includes built-in support for managing adapters using both DHCP and static IP setups. Configuration is simple. See Systemd-networkd#Required_services_and_setup.

Using netctl

Another option is netctl which is a CLI-based tool used to configure and manage network connections via user-created profiles. Create a profile as shown in netctl#Example profiles, then enable it as described in netctl#Basic method.

10.7.2 Wireless

All of the tools listed in #Wired above can activate wireless connections. For wireless, however, dhcpcd and systemd-networkd require a separate configuration of the connection in the wireless backend, wpa_supplicant, first. If you anticipate to connect the machine to different wireless networks over time, a tool which provides its own connection management may be easier to handle. Aside from netctl introduced below, Wireless network configuration#Automatic setup lists other choices.

Note: If your wireless adapter requires a firmware (as described in the above Establish an internet connection section and also in the article Wireless network configuration#Device driver), install the package containing your firmware. Most of the time, the linux-libre-firmware package will contain the needed firmware. See Wireless network configuration#Installing driver/firmware for more info.

Install iw and wpa_supplicant which you will need to connect to a network:

# pacman -S iw wpa_supplicant Adding wireless networks
Using wifi-menu

Install dialog, which is required for wifi-menu:

# pacman -S dialog

After finishing the rest of this installation and rebooting, you can connect to the network with:

# wifi-menu interface_name

Where interface_name is the interface of your wireless chipset.

Warning: Do not use wifi-menu now, instead wait until you have finished this guide and have rebooted. It will not work now because a process spawned by this command will conflict with the one you have running outside of the chroot. Alternatively, you could just configure a network profile manually using the following templates so that you do not have to worry about using wifi-menu at all.
Using manual netctl profiles

Copy a network profile from /etc/netctl/examples to /etc/netctl:

# cd /etc/netctl
# cp examples/wireless-wpa my-network

Edit the profile as needed (modify Interface, ESSID and Key):

# nano my-network

Enable above created profile to start it at every boot:

# netctl enable my-network
Using NetworkManager

This is the recommended method for OpenRC, as wifi-menu and netctl work only on Systemd. However, this works with any init.

Connect to a wireless network running:

# nmcli dev wifi connect <SSID> password <password>

You can see a list of WiFi networks by doing:

# nmcli dev wifi Connect automatically to known networks
Warning: This method cannot be used with explicitely enabled profiles, i.e. through netctl enable profile.

Install wpa_actiond, which is required for netctl-auto:

# pacman -S wpa_actiond

Enable the netctl-auto service, which will connect to known networks and gracefully handle roaming and disconnects:

# systemctl enable netctl-auto@interface_name.service
Tip: netctl also provides netctl-ifplugd, which can be used to handle wired profiles in conjunction with netctl-auto.

10.8 Set the root password

Set the root password with:

# passwd

10.9 Install and configure a bootloader

10.9.1 For legacy motherboards

For legacy systems, several boot loaders are available, see Boot loaders for a complete list. Choose one as per your convenience. Possible choices include:

  • Syslinux#Installation is (currently) limited to loading only files from the partition where it was installed. Its configuration file is considered to be easier to understand. An example configuration can be found in Syslinux#Examples.
  • GRUB is more feature-rich and supports more complex scenarios. Its configuration file(s) is more similar to 'sh' scripting language, which may be difficult for beginners to manually write. It is recommended that they automatically generate one.

Here, installation with GRUB and MBR is demonstrated.

Install the grub package; to have GRUB search for other installed operating systems, install os-prober in addition:

# pacman -S grub os-prober

Install the bootloader to the drive Parabola was installed to (do not append a partition number, or /dev/sdaX):

# grub-install --target=i386-pc --recheck /dev/sda

Automatically generate grub.cfg:

# grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
Note: A sample /boot/grub/grub.cfg is included with the grub package, and subsequent grub-* commands may not over-write it. Ensure your intended changes are in grub.cfg, rather than in or similar file. Most notably, there should be a line beginning with something like: "menuentry 'Parabola GNU/Linux-libre ...".

For more information on configuring and using GRUB, see GRUB.

10.9.2 For UEFI motherboards

For UEFI systems, several boot loaders are available, see Boot loaders for a complete list

Here, installation with GRUB is demonstrated. First install grub and efibootmgr:

# pacman -S grub efibootmgr
  • For UEFI boot, the drive needs to be GPT-partitioned and an EFI System Partition (512 MiB or larger, gdisk type EF00, formatted with FAT32) must be present. In the following examples, this partition is assumed to be mounted at /boot. If you have followed this guide from the beginning, you have already done all of these.
  • It is strongly recommended to have the EFI System Partition mounted at /boot as this is required to automatically update GRUB.

Then run the following script:

# grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/boot --bootloader-id=grub --recheck

This setup should work for most systems, but if you have any trouble consult the GRUB UEFI section for more information or try putting your device into a legacy BIOS mode.

The final step is to generate the main configuration file for GRUB using this command:

# grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

11 Unmount the partitions and reboot

Exit from the chroot environment:

# exit
Note: While partitions are unmounted automatically by systemd on shutdown, you may do so manually with umount -R /mnt as a safety measure. If the partition is "busy", you can find the cause with fuser.

Reboot the computer:

# reboot

Remove the installation media, or you may boot back into it. You can log into your new installation as root, using the password you specified with passwd.

12 Post-installation

Your new Parabola base system is now a functional GNU/Linux-libre environment ready to be built into whatever you wish or require for your purposes. You are now strongly advised to read the General recommendations article, especially the first two sections. It's other sections provide links to post-installation tutorials like setting up a graphical user interface, sound or a touchpad.

For a list of applications that may be of interest, see List of applications.

Tip: Should something go wrong with your Parabola install at a later date remember you can chroot from a bootable Parabola ISO to fix things. Just don't forget to mount your partitions first!

13 Attribution

This wiki article is based on ArchWiki. We may have removed non-FSDG bits from it.