RaspArch Build 160312 :: Run Arch Linux on your Raspberry Pi 3 or Pi 2 computer

rasparch-logoThis version (160312) is my third build of RaspArch
The first version is from 150414. The second is from 151107. This version (160312) is especially made for the new Raspberry Pi 3. Version 160312 of RaspArch can of course also run on the “old” Raspberry Pi 2. RaspArch
is a “remaster” of Arch Linux ARM. The original compressed system is of 231 MB. After I have added the LXDE Desktop environment, Firefox and Gimp the system increased to 558 MB. RaspArch is a “ready-to-go” ARM system. It must be installed on a Raspberry Pi 3 model B or Pi 2 computer.

If you have downloaded and installed my previous version of RaspArch from 151107 you can still use the Micro SD Card with RaspArch on the new Raspberry Pi 3 after a full upgrade of the system. Commands: pacman -Sy followed by pacman -Syu. Most important the old kernel will automatically be replaced by kernel 4.1.19-4-ARCH.

What is Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It is a capable little device that enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. It’s capable of doing everything you’d expect a desktop computer to do, from browsing the internet and playing high-definition video, to making spreadsheets, word-processing, and playing games.
Read more about Raspberry Pi…

Raspberry Pi 3 model B made in February 2016. It has a 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU and 1GB RAM. Read more…

More about RaspArch
When you have installed RaspArch to your Micro SD Card you can use the system like any other Arch Linux system. I.e. install new programs etc. Arch motto is KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). RaspArch uses kernel 4.1.19-4-ARCH and the LXDE Desktop environment.

Program Management in Arch Linux
Arch Linux uses a proprietary system called Pacman. It is similar to that found in CRUX Linux. Read about Pacman.
You can also read all the documentation on Arch Linux. Four commands are basically the only ones you need to use:
1) pacman -Sy (update the packages database)
2) pacman -Syu (upgrading the whole system)
3) pacman -S MyUsefulProgram (the package installation command)
4) pacman -R UnnecessaryProgram (uninstall a package).
Very simple!

How do I install RaspArch?
Almost like any other Raspberry system. The installation has to take place in Linux though. (From hard drive or while running a live Linux system from a CD or a USB stick). Follow this instruction. The whole thing has to be done exactly like this.
1. Unpack the downloaded file rasparch-exton-558mb-160312.tar.gz with tar -zxvf rasparch-exton-558mb-160312.tar.gz. You will get the folder rasparch-exton. Run the following commands as root. (Do not use Sudo).
2. Start fdisk to partition the SD card:

fdisk /dev/sdd (example; be sure to check which name your SD-card got. I.e. /dev/sdd, /dev/sdc, /dev/sdb or…)
3. At the fdisk prompt, delete old partitions and create a new one:
a. Type o. This will clear out any partitions on the drive.
b. Type p to list partitions. There should be no partitions left.
c. Type n, then p for primary, 1 for the first partition on the drive, press ENTER to accept the default first sector, then type +100M for the last sector.
d. Type t, then c to set the first partition to type W95 FAT32 (LBA).
e. Type n, then p for primary, 2 for the second partition on the drive, and then press ENTER twice to accept the default first and last sector.
f. Write the partition table and exit by typing w.
g. Create and mount the FAT filesystem:
mkfs.vfat /dev/sdd1
mkdir boot
mount /dev/sdd1 boot
4. Create and mount the ext4 filesystem:
mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdd2
mkdir root
mount /dev/sdd2 root
5. cp -av rasparch-exton/* root
6. sync
7. Move boot files to the first partition:
mv root/boot/* boot
8. Unmount the two partitions:
umount boot root
9. Insert the SD card into the Raspberry Pi 3 or Pi 2, connect ethernet (for Pi 2), and apply 5V power.
10. You will after a few seconds end up in console mode. Log in as root. The default root password is root. Enter X/LXDE with the command startx
The above instruction (slightly modified) is from the Arch Linux ARM site.

NOTE: If you get errors when you follow my instruction 1-10 you should see to that you have no partitions on the card and that the card isn’t mounted. It can be necessary to create a new partition table. Use GParted for that. It can look like this.

Different Micro SD Cards
For best performance you should use SD Cards of good quality. I can recommend Samsung MicroSD Pro Plus 32GB Class 10. Write speed up to 95 MB/s. Also Samsung MicroSD EVO 16GB Class 10. Write speed up to 48 MB/s. Price 47 $ respectively 10 $ (in Sweden).

Internet connections with Wicd
When you start up RaspArch for the first time you will get a error message re. Wicd Network Manager. Just open up a terminal and run the command wicd followed by systemctl enable wicd.service (to avoid further error messages from Wicd). You probably also have to edit /etc/resolv.conf in order to get a stable Internet connection. I.e. add the IP number of your router (Gateway). Example:

Wireless connections
Just change Wicd’s preferences and connect.

Installing Samba
A way to reach your Windows computers in your home network is to install Samba. Command: pacman -S samba gvfs gvfs-smb gamin sshfs
Then start Samba with the command systemctl start smbd nmbd
After that you can connect to your Windows computers via PCManFMwatch this screenshot. (My Raspberry Pi 3 running RaspArch is connected to two of my computers in my home network).

WHO should run Arch Linux/RaspArch?
My answer: The system fits the “advanced” Linux user/enthusiast, who would be willing to run an occasional command from time to time.


BENEFITS of Arch Linux/RaspArch
“Cutting Edge”-software and speed. A member on this site recently wrote this about RaspArch: I’ve used Slackware, Debian, Gentoo, Ubuntu & Arch. I prefer Arch. Ubuntu is easier to install, Arch is easier to keep up to date. You do not go through big, painful, changes every year instead you just update, once in a while, make changes if instructed. Arch has most of the benefits of Gentoo without the pain of recompiling _everything_. When you do need to build a package in Arch its painless especially if you use one of the tools that support Aur (I like yaourt). Arch avoids the politics of Debian and Ubuntu and delivers a great Linux distribution. RaspArch now brings these advantages to the PI 2.

Study all installed packages in RaspArch

Screenshot of RaspArch’s Desktop

Compatibility :: February 2016
Unfortunately not all systems made for Raspberry Pi 2 will run on the new Pi 3. They need to be upgraded with a new kernel. I therefore have to upgrade the systems I distribute. I.e. RaspEX, RaspEX with OpenCPN, RaspAnd and RaspArch. I have now (160312) upgraded all but RaspAnd. Read about the new Raspberry Pi 3…

DOWNLOAD (rasparch-exton-558mb-160312.tar.gz) for free from SourceForge.net or from the Swedish Linux Society


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22 Responses to RaspArch Build 160312 :: Run Arch Linux on your Raspberry Pi 3 or Pi 2 computer

  1. Thanh says:


    I am new to Linux and try to install RaspArch to Pi3 from Windows Machine
    Could you provide img file like RaspEX?

    Thank you.

  2. RuMbO says:

    Thx Exton!

    One question. It uses a 64 bit installation? I mean… it uses AArch64 system?

  3. Hallo,
    I have the 160307 version installed since 3 days, runs fine.
    Unfortunately ‘pacman’ is not on the system, so I cannot
    aupgrade. can you help?
    N.B. I work with Unix/Linux since 1983!

    • exton says:

      So you can’t run pacman -Sy you mean? Even as root? If so something must have gone wrong during your installation. I could without problems install Samba yesterday. Command: pacman -S samba gvfs gvfs-smb gamin sshfs

  4. Slu says:

    I installed 160312 to a sd card and it booted but wasted much time “calling CRDA to update world regulatory domain” about 8 times before it gave up and required an Enter to get a login prompt. Startx in root got a desktop but the promised error from wicd. I fixed that according to the instructions. I am unable to startx as a user…only as root. Attempting to “startx” as user gets a long error message followed by a blank screen with no prompt and no way to get a console screen, so a reboot is required. Running Firefox in root seems pretty unsafe but that is what I am doing right now.

    • exton says:

      Create a file called .xinitrc in your users home folder. Only one line in .xinitrc


      Be sure to create the file as your user (not as root).

      While in console mode you can use Nano (nano .xinitrc).

  5. Diana Probst says:

    Does this play nicely with the Pi Touchscreen? I’ve been failing to contact it from the archlinuxarmv7.

    • exton says:

      I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think so. Somebody else who have tried it?

      • Diana Probst says:

        I’ve now tried it – same symptoms as the Arch base; Xorg -configure borks and dies. ‘Cannot find devices’. So it never builds a .conf file. I wasn’t up for writing one as I didn’t know enough about what the drivers were or how X11 works. Maybe MatchDevice “FT5406 Memory Based Driver”? But that’s a wild guess. I’ll try again when I can use 64-bit Arch.

  6. seb says:

    hello ,

    everything is ok until : Move boot files to the first partition:
    mv root/boot/* boot

    error mv operation not permitted !!
    what i need to do ??
    thx .

    • exton says:

      Do it as root or use Sudo.

      Or just open a file manager as root, grab the boot files (20) and copy them to the boot partition, (which then of course has to be mounted).

  7. vladdrak says:

    hi! i’ve just installed the current build and i can’t login as root/root.

  8. vladdrak says:

    so the initial problem was
    “Run the following commands as root. (Do not use Sudo).”

  9. Pingback: RaspArch Build 160312 gotowy dla Raspberry Pi 3 Model B - OSWorld.pl

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