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#1 2004-04-02 15:59:10

From: Israel
Registered: 2004-03-29
Posts: 573

Post installation tips.

I guess most of us have 1 thing in common which drew us all into using Arch - Performance in mind. At least i know thats what i was looking for on a Linux distro. i wanted my pc to respond to my commands, and not just hang there like it did with my windows...
Also, like most of you, i tested many other distros (Vector was my favorite, since its slackware, and also provides blazing fast performance) until i reached  - home.
I am more than happy to leave behind me over 20+ years of dos/windows hands-on experience just to come back to the real world of comupting (as i see it anyway) and start my new life as a Linux n00b.

So, as a new Archer, some tasks needed to be accomplished after the fresh install. here are some of my performance tweaks and other usefull information i picked on the way (all from problems i encoutered myself), which i hope others may find usefull too.
(and yes, i know EVERYTHING can be found of the forums. this doesnt mean we dont need to provide some short-to-the-point documents... :-) )

I've consutructed this list for myself mostly (so i can remeber what i did in the future...) and for friends of mine which are windows refugees and Linux n00bs like me.
Also, please mind this list is a work in progress, and therefor not 100% accurate...

* hwd is your hardware auto-recognition tool. it will inform you which modules
  you need to load and set (
* to speed up lilo boot process, add the following command to /etc/lilo.conf :


* to boost KDE performance, install portmap & fam and add them to /etc/rc.conf
  under DAEMONS. dont forget to make sure they are actually running - use
  "ps aux" to check if they are loaded.

* installing alsa (sound) drivers :

* to pause at the end of the boot process before getting the login prompt (usually
  used for for debugging your boot messages...), add at the end of /etc/rc.local :

  read KEY

* to boost hd performance, tweak using hdparm. best place to put it (imho) is in
  /etc/rc.sysinit, as the 1st line... my hdparm parameters are :
  -a1024 = sets read_ahead buffer to 1024 bytes
  -c3 = sets io support to 32bit with sync
  -d1 = turn on dma
  -m16 = sets multile buffers count to 16 (my hd max. find it using hdparm -i)

  hdparm -a1024 -c3 -d1 -m16 /dev/hda 

* fixing the "/dev/dsp can not be opened, permission denied" KDE err message :
  change /etc/devfsd.conf to :

  REGISTER sound/.* PERMISSIONS root.users 660
  REGISTER snd/.* PERMISSIONS root.users 660

* starting X11 at boot time - 2 ways of doing so :
  (1) change /etc/inittab to :


  (2) add kdm (or whatever) to DAEMONS on /etc/rc.conf :

      DAEMONS=(syslogd klogd !pcmcia network !netfs !crond portmap fam kdm)

* when building your own kernel, following options must be set and linked
  staticly and NOT as modules :
  Code maturity level options
    Prompt for development and/or incomplete code/drivers = on
  Device Drivers
    File systems
      Pseudo filesystems
        /dev file system support = on
          Automatically mount at boot = on
  - to be able to tweak hd performance using hdparm, set the followings :
  Device Drivers
    ATA/ATAPI/MFM/RLL support = on
      Enhanced IDE/MFM/RLL disk/cdrom/tape/floppy support = on
        Generic PCI bus-master DMA support = on
          Intel PIIXn chipsets support = on
            <and your IDE hdw...> = on
  also, to speed kernel loading time a bit, make sure you staticly link ALL your
  hardware specific drivers (which you load anyway using /etc/modprobe.conf or
  otherwise) instead of linking them as modules

* if you use abs to build your own packages, remeber to copy 1st your target
  package dir to /var/abs/local/<pkgname> to avoid your files and configuation
  getting overwritten at next abs update...

* for optimizing your packages you build using makepkg (kernel is a good example)
  set your gcc preffered settings in /etc/makepkg.conf :
  (example for athlon cpu)

  export CARCH="athlon"
  export CHOST="athlon-pc-linux-gnu"
  export CFLAGS="-march=athlon -O2 -pipe -fomit-frame-pointer"
  export CXXFLAGS="-march=athlon -O2 -pipe -fomit-frame-pointer"

* remeber to execute "lilo" after each kernel update (ie, each time you replace
  your boot image, usually named /boot/vmlinuzXX, etc). if you forgot and need to
  rescue back from the cd, here are the rescue steps (by apeiro) :

  modprobe xfs 
  mount -t xfs /dev/discs/discX/partY /mnt 
  mount -t xfs /dev/discs/discV/partW /mnt/boot (if you have it) 
  mount -t devfs none /mnt/dev 
  mount -t proc none /mnt/proc 
  chroot /mnt /sbin/lilo 

* usefull command/programs:
  killall <process_name> - kills processes by name (example : killall kdm)
  ps - display process status (example : ps -xau, will display all active processes)
  locate - quickly locates files on your hd (use "locate -u" 1st to create/update
    the files db...) (example : locate Xservers, will find all files named Xservers)
* files descriptions: 
  <homedir>/.xinitrc - controls which windows manager startx will load
  /etc/rc.conf - main configuration file, something like config.sys on steroids...
  /etc/rc.sysinit - this is like the main autoexec.bat file, which takes care of loading
                    and setting up the system.
  /etc/rc.single - script file for single user system level
  /etc/rc.multi - script file for multiple users system level
  /etc/rc.local - script file for local-multi users system level
  /etc/rc.shutdown - script file for shutdown system level
  /etc/rc.d/* - configured deamons for the system.

* WHATIS pacman:
  an automated tool for managing your packages - localy and via the web.
  it will auto-solve dependencies among packages, which is the bigest headache in
  the linux-packaging-distribution-world(-as-we-know-it-:) ).
* WHATIS makepkg:
  an automated tool to create packages - it actually automates the "./config,
  make, make install" procedure. it uses a file named PKGBUILD which must exists
  in the same directory you will build your package. view a PKGBUILD file and read
  the installation document to learn more how to work with makepkg.

* WHATIS abs:
  an automated tool which allows you to rebuild any of pacmans' packages (so you
  may provide your own compiler and linker settings, for better optimazation,
  debugging info, etc). simply executing abs will synchronize all your PKGBUILD
  scripts from the CVS repository into /var/abs.
* HOWTO extract compressed files:
  file.tar : tar xvf file.tar
  file.tgz : tar xvzf file.tgz
  file.tar.gz : tar xvzf file.tar.gz : bzip -cd | tar xvf -
  file.bz2 : bzip2 -cd file.bz2 | tar xvf -


#2 2004-04-02 16:09:49

Forum Fellow
From: Finland, working in Romania
Registered: 2002-12-27
Posts: 2,179

Re: Post installation tips.

Nicly done..... very practical guideline. You could post it in Wiki.


#3 2004-04-02 16:17:07

Forum Fellow
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2003-01-17
Posts: 1,797

Re: Post installation tips.

Looks like a pretty comprehensive list... three suggestions.

1) You could put it in the wiki, so that everyone could edit it.
2) I don't see a bzip binary anywhere.  I thought files were just bz2 files.
3) Instead of using pipe for bz2, you can use the j flag to tar.  Thus: tar xzjf file.tar.bz2.

I have discovered that all of mans unhappiness derives from only one source, not being able to sit quietly in a room
- Blaise Pascal


#4 2004-04-02 16:22:45

From: Israel
Registered: 2004-03-29
Posts: 573

Re: Post installation tips.

tnx pps.

as the linux-n00b i am, i found out what wiki is - only yesterday... so i'll take the time to look into it again and see how to add this list into it.

one remark - my next post will be a questions list  lol u have been warned.. wink

ok. done : … ion%20tips

enjoy adding your own tips smile


#5 2004-04-02 23:08:26

Registered: 2004-02-04
Posts: 1,185

Re: Post installation tips.

Two comments:

Instead of the read KEY stuff you can also remove the first char from /etc/issue, the one that clears the screen.

<homedir>/.xinitrc can contain everything, not only window managers,   you can start up all kind of programs, just be sure that the last one is the window manager.

Example .xinitrc:

exec fluxbox

Without the 'exec' bash will be running until fluxbox finishes, with the 'exec fluxbox' the script starts fluxbox and stops running.

About some post install tips:

I put some aliasses in /etc/profile or .bashrc, like:

#alias ls="ls --color=auto" not necessary in Arch
alias ll="ls -lh"
alias la="ls -a"
alias exit="clear; exit"
alias x="startx"

and added 'source /etc/profile' to .bashrc because that was missing.

I edited the init scripts so that it doesn't sleep so long, speeding up shutdown, and perhaps bootup too, can't remember (`grep sleep /etc/rc*`).


#6 2004-04-02 23:27:21

From: Israel
Registered: 2004-03-29
Posts: 573

Re: Post installation tips.

tnx for the comments smile ive added them to the wiki page.
everyone should feel free to add/change any comments/tips he may find applicable.


#7 2004-04-24 11:25:07

From: Italy
Registered: 2004-04-24
Posts: 19

Re: Post installation tips.

* to boost hd performance, tweak using hdparm. best place to put it (imho) is in
/etc/rc.sysinit, as the 1st line... my hdparm parameters are :

I don't think adding to the first line /etc/rc.sysinit will always work...
Maybe it could be a good idea to put it after the devfsd start.



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