Arch Linux laptop, UEFI, encrypted disk and hibernation

June 8, 2019

Based on this Gist, with hibernation added.

Updated on March 27, 2020.

Installer USB

Download the latest ISO and dd it to your USB drive as per the official documentation.

With GNU/Linux (replace /dev/sdx with the proper drive):

dd if=archlinux.iso of=/dev/sdx bs=4M status=progress oflag=sync

Then boot on the USB.

If it won’t boot, you might need to disable Secure Boot in your motherboard settings.

Installation

Based on the install guide.

Connect to Wi-Fi if necessary.

wifi-menu

Make sure system clock is accurate.

timedatectl set-ntp true

Partition disk. I will go with a 256 MiB mixed EFI and boot partition, and the rest for a LUKS container, containing a 8 GiB swap (the size of my RAM to support hibernation) and the rest for the system.

Based on encrypting an entire system.

fdisk /dev/sdx
Command: n
Partition number: (default)
First sector: (default)
Last sector: +256M

Command: t
Partition type: 1 # EFI System

Command: n
Partition number: (default)
First sector: (default)
Last sector: (default)

Command: w
mkfs.fat -F32 /dev/sdx1
cryptsetup luksFormat /dev/sdx2
cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sdx2 luks
pvcreate /dev/mapper/luks
vgcreate vg0 /dev/mapper/luks
lvcreate -L 8G vg0 --name swap
lvcreate -l 100%FREE vg0 --name root
mkfs.ext4 /dev/vg0/root
mkswap /dev/vg0/swap

Mount partitions.

mount /dev/vg0/root /mnt
swapon /dev/vg0/swap
mkdir /mnt/boot
mount /dev/sdx1 /mnt/boot

Install the base system together will necessary packages.

pacstrap /mnt base base-devel linux linux-firmware grub efibootmgr lvm2 netctl dialog wpa_supplicant dhcpcd

efibootmgr is necessary for GRUB to add the EFI boot entry, lvm2 for being able to mount LVM devices (here, root partition), dialog and netctl for the wifi-menu command, wpa_supplicant for WPA, and dhcpcd to enable DHCP.

I also tend to add zsh, vim and git here as well but they’re not strictly necessary. I also tend to add man-db, man-pages and texinfo to get documentation as well.

Then, generate /etc/fstab.

genfstab -U /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab
vim /mnt/etc/fstab

Change relatime to noatime on the root partition to reduce SSD wear.

Add tmpfs /tmp tmpfs rw,noatime,nodev,nosuid 0 0 if you want to keep /tmp in RAM.

chroot in the system.

arch-chroot /mnt

Setup the timezone (Montreal for me), and synchronize hardware clock.

ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/America/Montreal /etc/localtime
hwclock --systohc

Uncomment the locale you desire in /etc/locale.gen (en_CA.UTF-8 for me, as well as en_GB.UTF-8 to have 24-hour clock format).

locale-gen
echo 'LANG=en_CA.UTF-8' > /etc/locale.conf
echo 'LC_TIME=en_GB.UTF-8' >> /etc/locale.conf

Set the hostname.

echo myhostname > /etc/hostname

Edit /etc/mkinitcpio.conf to add encrypt and lvm2 to HOOKS before filesystems. Also add resume after filesystems to support resuming from hibernation.

# Before
HOOKS=(base udev autodetect modconf block filesystems keyboard fsck)

# After
HOOKS=(base udev autodetect modconf block encrypt lvm2 filesystems resume keyboard fsck)
mkinitcpio -P

Setup the root password.

passwd

Edit /etc/default/grub to configure the encrypted disk by adding cryptdevice=/dev/sdx2:luks:allow-discards (again, replace /dev/sdx with the proper drive) to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX. I also added resume=/dev/vg0/swap for supporting hibernation (resuming from swap).

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="cryptdevice=/dev/sdx2:luks:allow-discards resume=/dev/vg0/swap"

Install GRUB and generate its configuration. Since I decided to have a shared EFI and boot partition, I need to tell GRUB that the EFI directory is /boot.

On my latest installation (not sure if because new version of software or because different hardware), I also had to add the --bootloader-id option otherwise the system was just unable to boot, while I never had any issue without it before on UEFI systems.

I’ve also seen systems where grub-install wouldn’t be able to add a boot entry and it needed to be manually added from the motherboard settings (e.g. selecting partition and path to grubx64.efi).

grub-install --bootloader-id=Arch --efi-directory=/boot
grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

Exit from chroot, teardown and reboot.

exit
umount -R /mnt
swapoff -a
reboot

Post installation

Connect to Wi-Fi if necessary.

wifi-menu

Automatically connect to available known networks on the Wi-Fi interface (replace wlp2s0 with your Wi-Fi interface).

systemctl enable netctl-auto@wlp2s0

Enable time synchronization.

timedatectl set-ntp true

Add user and set password.

useradd -m -G wheel -s /usr/bin/zsh val
passwd val

Install the packages you need. Here’s my personal selection.

For some reason PulseAudio might require a reboot to work.

TLP

systemctl enable tlp
systemctl start tlp

LightDM

In /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf, set greeter-session=lightdm-mini-greeter or whatever is the greeter of your choice.

If using lightdm-mini-greeter, modify /etc/lightdm/lightdm-mini-greeter.conf to set the user.

I use LightDM so that my X session is started as a logind GUI session as opposed to being considered to be a TTY if I would use xinit. This allows something like xss-lock to report idle status to logind so that logind can properly run the configured IdleAction.

I usually set IdleAction=suspend in /etc/systemd/logind.conf so that my system suspends after 30 minutes of inactivity.

It seems there’s no way to upgrade a logind TTY session to a graphical session so that it would allow to report the idle hint, and since for a TTY session the idle status doesn’t use the idle hint but uses the last TTY input instead, it is always considered to be idled if a X session is started with xinit or startx, which is why I resorted to use a display manager.

Bluetooth

Enable Bluetooth.

systemctl enable bluetooth
systemctl start bluetooth

In practice I usually don’t enable Bluetooth and I systemctl start bluetooth and systemctl stop bluetooth as I need it.

Touchpad

I add the following to /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/40-libinput.conf to have the touchpad work the way I like it to (natural scrolling and having the whole surface clickable).

Section "InputClass"
        Identifier "libinput clickfinger"
        Driver "libinput"
        Option "ClickMethod" "clickfinger"
        Option "NaturalScrolling" "true"
EndSection

Auto hibernate after sustained suspend

If you want to have the system hibernate after being suspended for some time (3 hours by default as per /etc/systemd/sleep.conf HibernateDelaySec), run the following:

ln -s /usr/lib/systemd/system/systemd-suspend-then-hibernate.service /etc/systemd/system/systemd-suspend.service

The advantage of this solution is anything that would normally just suspend will suspend then hibernate, which is an easy way to make sure that in any case the system will hibernate if suspended for more than 3 hours to save battery.

Hack from this Reddit thread.

On my work laptop, installing displaylink and evdi from the AUR just worked out of the box.

Final touch

After logging in with my regular user, I finish the configuration by cloning and installing my dotfiles.

git clone https://github.com/valeriangalliat/dotfiles.git
cd dotfiles
make i3 i3blocks zsh vim git net x11 picom xfce4-terminal

Lastly, in Firefox I add the Vimium-FF and uBlock Origin extensions.

And here you go, a somewhat minimalist Arch Linux setup with everything needed to have a smooth laptop experience!