Installation Guide

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The Installation Guide for Parabola MATE desktop ISO live-CD image (launchable from USB thumbdrive, too) is intended to assist experienced GNU/Linux users in installing Parabola from the live system booted with the official installation image. This page assumes a high-level of experience with GNU/Linux systems and utilities, especially the command line. If you'd like a more detailed, step-by-step guide through the installation process, see the Beginners' guide. Before beginning, we recommend you view the Arch Linux FAQ, and employ the man command to read the man page of any command they are not familiar with. The Parabola wiki, as well as the Arch Linux wiki, should be the primary source of information and your first resource during trouble-shooting.

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1 Download

Download the new Parabola GNU/Linux-libre ISO from the download page.

  • Instead of six different images we only provide a single one which can be booted into an i686 and x86_64 live system to install Parabola GNU/Linux-libre over the network. Media containing the [libre] and [core] repositories are no longer provided.
  • Install images are signed and it is highly recommend to verify their signature before use. On Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, this can be done by using pacman-key -v <iso-file>.sig
  • The image can be burned to a CD, mounted as an ISO file, or directly written to a USB stick using a utility like dd. It is intended for new installations only; an existing Parabola GNU/Linux-libre system can always be updated with pacman -Syu.

2 Blind and visually impaired users

There is a ISO called TalkingParabola that is a derivative install CD based on TalkingArch and a respin of the Parabola ISO modified to include speech and braille output.

3 Writing a Parabola ISO image to an USB drive

# dd if=[iso file] of=[usb device file] bs=1M && sync

[iso file] is the path to the ISO image file.

[usb device file] is the path to the USB device file. dmesg or lsblk --fs can be used to learn this path. It is often similar to device filenames of storage devices like hard drives and SSDs, e.g. /dev/sdb. It is very important to use the correct value to avoid overwriting other storage devices.

4 Installation

4.1 Keyboard layout

For many countries and keyboard types appropriate keymaps are available already, and a command like loadkeys uk might do what you want. More available keymap files can be found in /usr/share/kbd/keymaps/ (you can omit the keymap path and file extension when using loadkeys).

4.1.1 Braille Support

TalkingParabola includes brltty, for those who own braille displays. The brltty package available on the TalkingParabola CD was compiled with as few dependencies as possible. If you wish to use braille, you will need to supply the brltty parameter at the boot prompt. Alternatively, you can start brltty from the shell, after the system has booted.

The brltty boot-time parameter consists of three comma-separated fields: driver, device, and table. The first is the driver for your display, the second is the name of the device file, and the third is a relative path to a translation table. You can use "auto" to specify that the driver should be automatically detected. I encourage you to read the brltty documentation for a fuller explanation of the program.

For example, suppose that you have a device connected to /dev/ttyS0, the first serial port. You wish to use the US English text table, and the driver should be automatically detected. Here is what you should type at the boot prompt:

arch32 brltty=auto,ttyS0,en_US

Once brltty is running, you may wish to disable speech. You can do so via the "print screen" key, also known as sysrq. On my qwerty keyboard, that key is located directly above the insert key, between F12 and scroll lock.

4.2 Partition disks

See partitioning for details.

Remember to create any stacked block devices like LVM, LUKS, or RAID.

4.3 Format the partitions

See File Systems for details.

If you are using (U)EFI you will most probably need another partition to host the UEFI System partition. Read Create an UEFI System Partition in GNU/Linux.

4.4 Mount the partitions

We now must mount the root partition on /mnt. You should also create directories for and mount any other partitions (/mnt/boot, /mnt/home, ...) and mount your swap partition if you want them to be detected by genfstab.

4.5 Connect to the Internet

A DHCP service is already enabled for all available devices. If you need to setup a static IP or use management tools such as Netcfg, you should stop this service first: systemctl stop dhcpcd.service. For more information read Configuring Network.

4.5.1 Wireless

Run wifi-menu to set up your wireless network. For details, see Wireless Setup and Netcfg.

4.6 Verification of package signatures

New packager keys are necessary by default to install Parabola from current ISOs. Because changes in existing keys might happen since the ISO release, it is recommended, if not mandatory, to update the keys before attempting an install. To upgrade the package parabola-keyring:

# pacman -Sy parabola-keyring

If you face GPG errors updating this package, it's likely because the key that signed it has expired. To fix this, run:

# pacman-key --populate archlinux
# pacman-key --populate parabola
# pacman-key --refresh-keys

After that, if no errors happen, running pacman -Sy parabola-keyring again should work.

If you get an error related to dirmngr, you can get rid of it with:

# mkdir /root/.gnupg && chmod go-rx /root/.gnupg && touch /root/.gnupg/dirmngr_ldapservers.conf

For the time being, running the previous command might also be needed in the newly installed system.

It may be also possible that the system clock is behind and the keys are incorrectly marked invalid. To solve this, manually set the correct time.

# date MMDDhhmm[[CC]YY][.ss]

where MM is the month, DD the day, hh the hour, mm the minutes, CC the century, YY the year and .SS the seconds of current time, the seconds can be omitted (and then also the dot before them should be omitted), the year can also be submitted or just the century. for instance if the current time is 32 seconds and 44 minutes past 18 (6 pm) on the 13th November 2013. Then the command would be:

# date 111318442013.32

4.7 Install the base system

Before installing, you may want to edit /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist such that your preferred mirror is first. This copy of the mirrorlist will be installed on your new system by pacstrap as well, so it's worth getting it right.

Install the base system using pacstrap:

# pacstrap /mnt

You can install additional packages passing base and the names of these packages as arguments after the root directory of the new installation (all packages from the base group are installed if no package is specified).

If you have a btrfs root, you probably want to install also btrfs-progs.


If you face GPG errors when running # pacstrap /mnt, you can try to fix them with:

# pacman -Sfy archlinux-keyring

4.8 Install and configure a bootloader

4.8.1 GRUB 0.97

  • Install the grub-legacy package.

4.8.2 GRUB 2

  • For BIOS and EFI:
# pacstrap /mnt grub

4.8.3 Syslinux

# pacstrap /mnt syslinux

4.9 Install wireless tools

If your wireless network is WPA protected, you'll need wpa_supplicant to connect to it:

# pacstrap /mnt wpa_supplicant

If you're using wifi-menu to connect, you'll also need the dialog package:

# pacstrap /mnt dialog

4.10 Configure the system

Generate an fstab with the following command (if you prefer to use UUIDs or labels, add the -U or -L option, respectively):

# genfstab -p /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab

Next we chroot into our newly installed system:

# arch-chroot /mnt
  • Write your hostname to /etc/hostname
  • Symlink /etc/localtime to /usr/share/zoneinfo/Zone/SubZone. Replace Zone and Subzone to your liking. For example:
# ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Athens /etc/localtime
  • Set locale preferences in /etc/locale.conf
  • Add console keymap and font preferences in /etc/vconsole.conf
  • Uncomment the selected locale in /etc/locale.gen and generate it with locale-gen
  • Configure /etc/mkinitcpio.conf as needed (see mkinitcpio) and create an initial RAM disk with:
# mkinitcpio -p linux-libre
  • If you want to install GRUB for the (U)EFI mode, you will need to make sure that:
    • The computer booted in (U)EFI mode (if /sys/firmware/efi exist, then it booted in (U)EFI mode)
    • The efivars module is loaded. (modprobe efivars will load it)
  • To configure the bootloader, you have to install it and generate the file grub.cfg:
# grub-install /dev/sdX
# grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

Add your user to the relevant group such as:

# gpasswd -a YourActualUserName video

4.11 Configure speech support (for blind and visually impaired users)

If you are using TalkingParabola and need start speech support when you boot the system, you will need to do:

# systemctl enable espeakup.service
  • Save the state of the sound card, so that it will be retrieved on reboot:
# alsactl store

4.12 Unmount and reboot

If you are still in the chroot environment type exit or press Ctrl+D in order to exit. Earlier we mounted the partitions under /mnt. In this step we will unmount them:

# umount /mnt/{boot,home,}

Now reboot and then login into the new system with the root account.

4.13 Configure pacman

Edit /etc/pacman.conf and configure pacman's options, also enabling the repositories you need.

See Pacman and Official Repositories for details.

Also consider using Pacman2pacman, a peer to peer package system, in order to reduce load on official Parabola servers.

4.14 Update the system

At this point you should update your system.

See Upgrading packages for instructions.

4.15 Add a user

Finally, add a normal user as described in User management.

5 Service management

Parabola GNU/Linux-libre uses a:systemd as init, which is a system and service manager for Linux. For maintaining your Parabola GNU/Linux-libre installation, it is a good idea to learn the basics about it. Interaction with systemd is done through the systemctl command. Read a:systemd#Basic systemctl usage for more information.

6 Conclusion

Your new Parabola GNU/Linux-libre base system is now a functional GNU/Linux environment.

You could now continue with Parabola_MATE_desktop_ISO#Steps_after_basic_installation.

7 Acknowledgement

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

8 See also