Arch Linux Tips

I’m a recent Arch Linux convert. I appreciate the quickness of install and the ease of Pacman. Yet I had a few slightly annoying issues configuring my system that I would like to address here. For the sake of reference I’m currently using kernel 2.6.10 and uDev.

1) Blacklist ‘pciehp.’

Upon first boot, I noticed that there was an error loading the ‘pciehp’ module. This did not cause a problem for me as I have no need for PCI hotplugging, but it added a few seconds to the boot time. There are two ways to solve this problem. One way is to recompile the kernel and leave out the ‘pciehp’ module. The faster way is to add ‘pciehp’ to a list of blacklisted modules. Edit “/etc/hotplug/blacklist” and add the offending module name to the list.

2) Use “/dev/input/mice”

After I installed xorg (pacman -Sy xorg), I ran ‘xorgconfig’ to configure it. Once finished, I found that every time I tried to start X my machine hard locked. I could not kill X or switch to a virtual terminal. Needless to say, this was frustrating beyond belief. After extensive “googling,” I suspected that my mouse settings were incorrect. If you accept the default location for the mouse (/dev/mouse) and you’re using uDev instead of devfs, this will probably happen to you as well. I suspect that this is an issue with xorg and uDev in general and not just with Arch, but what do I know? I DO know that specifying /dev/input/mice instead of /dev/mouse solved my problem.

3) Rip CDs as a user.

After installing Grip (pacman -S grip), I tried to rip a CD as a regular user. No go. Even though I specified the correct path to my CD-ROM (/dev/cdroms/cdrom1), Grip failed to initialize the CD. However, if I ran Grip as root, it found the CD immediately. This led me to believe that it was a permission problem. For the record, here’s my ‘/etc/fstab’ entry for the CD-ROM:

/dev/cdroms/cdrom1 /mnt/cd iso9660 ro,user,noauto,unhide 0 0

First I made sure that I my user was in the ‘audio’ group (/etc/group), and then I checked the permission number of my drive (/dev/cdroms/cdrom1). It was 777, so I stewed in fury for a while. Finally, it dawned on me that “/dev/cdroms/cdrom1” was just a symbolic link to “/dev/hdd,” and the permission number for hdd was only 660! I changed it to 664, and commenced ripping of CDs as a regular user. I should have caught that sooner, but it drove me crazy for a while.

[EDIT] I’ve learned that changing permissions this way for udev only results in a temporary change. It resets if you reboot / restart uDev. To fix this permanently, it’s easier to create a special permissions file called “/etc/udev/permissions.d/00-myrules.permissions”. Then add at least the following lines to this file:

# disk devices for having access to audioripping and burning

Please see the section on “modifying permissions and rules” at this location:

4) Fix Blender’s startup problem.

Here’s another small issue. When starting Blender, I promptly received an “ERROR: File .blanguages not found” message. This is not a big deal, as the program still ran, but it got on my nerves. To fix it, you need to copy the “.Blanguages” file from “/usr/share/blender/” to your home directory.

$ cp /usr/share/blender/.Blanguages ~/

Now when you start Blender, you won’t receive that error message. Be sure to do that for each user. For more information, please see this article.

5) Get the latest version of Fluxbox.

If you wish to use Fluxbox on Arch, I suggest that you grab the development version (currently 0.9.11) instead of the older, “stable” version (0.1.14). The “development” version is much more feature-rich, and yes, it is “stable” as well. However, the latest version of Fluxbox is in the “unstable” repository. Here’s the process I used to get it. Of course, this will change when this version is officially declared “stable.”

Edit your “/etc/pacman.conf” file. Un-comment the following line:
Include = /etc/pacman.d/unstable

Open a terminal and type (as root):
# pacman -Sy fluxbox-devel

You should now have the latest version of Fluxbox. If you wish, add a comment to the “unstable” line of “/etc/pacman.conf” again. Enjoy.

Hint: You can use Pacman to search for the name of a package before you install it. For example, if I want to install Firefox but don’t know the official name of the package in the repository, what would you do?

In Fedora you would type: “apt-cache search firefox” or “yum search firefox”
In Gentoo you would type: “emerge search firefox”

In Arch you type: “pacman -Ss firefox” (without the quotes)

This drove me crazy until I learned how to do it.

I hope that helps/prevents others from having the same problems.
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—- Brian Bondari —-