Arch Linux: Desktop environment (Start from X)

I find LXDE installation is the easiest among other desktop environments. LXDE includes openbox as its windows manager.


Before I install any desktop environment I installed a few things and did a few works.

Avoid upgrade Arch mindlessly unless it was really necessary…ArchLinux is not difficult to install but it is very easy to break, I have broken it many times until I finally reach this stage 🙂 The experience was rewarding, I just refused to give up subconsciously.

Install dbus

This is an interprocess communication program, I am not exactly sure what does this mean, but roughly it works this way i think:

dbus is the hub, programs are the spokes, when one programs want to talk to another program, the program sends message to dbus and dbus will relay to the destined program…(well roughly it is like this)

dbus is very important…did not know about this until I installed Arch…

pacman -S dbus

Load the dbus daemon whenever Arch boots up.

Edit the /etc/rc.conf and include dbus in the DAEMONS array.

Note: dbus must be inserted BEFORE network

DAEMONS=(hwclock syslog-ng dbus network netfs crond alsa)

Install virtualbox-archlinux-additions

I do not like to do this, the only way to install virtualbox guest additions via pacman is to install this archlinux specific vbox guest package. Installing this also force upgrade my kernel from 3.0.0 to 3.2.4. I need guest additions because I need video driver to run desktop environment.

The installation of vbox guest additions will have vboxguest, vboxsf (file sharing driver) and vboxvideo (video card driver)

pacman -S virtualbox-archlinux-additions

To load the vbox drivers manually from console:

modprobe -a vboxguest vboxsf vboxvideo

To load vbox drivers for every boot up:

edit /etc/rc.conf

MODULES() was the default.

Insert the drivers into MODULES() array.

Install mouse and keyboard input drivers

pacman -S xf86-input-keyboard xf86-input-mouse

#xf86-input-synaptics (for laptop synaptics mouse)

If these are not installed you will find you have no mouse nor keyboard control in X environment.

Install true type fonts

pacman -S ttf-dejavu

Install and test X

pacman -S xorg-server xorg-utils xorg-server-utils xorg-xinit

xorg-xinit is the initialization program of X, loading X environment can be done with xinit command which is located in /usr/bin/xinit

pacman -S xterm xorg-xclock xorgtwm

Install these to test whether you can load graphic environment or not.

xterm is X’s terminal program.

xorg-xclock is the clock plugin for X windows environment.

xorgtwm is the X windows manager.

This is how X windows look like. Three xterms were loaded and the xclock at the top right corner.

To exit X, type exit in all xterm.


2 thoughts on “Arch Linux: Desktop environment (Start from X)

  1. Thanks alot for the clarification, I am intending to switch to Arch Linux and was interested how to actually get a GUI running on it. This explained alot, mainly with the dbus

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