Setting up Arch Linux on a Zenbook Prime

March 3, 2014


I recently made the switch from Linux Mint to Arch Linux. It was time for a new distro and I loved the idea of the rolling release and how fast Arch recieves updated packages. I was also intrigues by the prospect of building my own personalized system from the ground up. Most of the steps taken to get the install up and running are found in the Arch Linux Beginner's Guide. There are also some really good steps to follow in this Lifehacker guide. My guide will only tell of the details that I changed, or used to make my machine work well and look beautiful.

Partitioning

I chose to use a generic ext4 partition scheme, meaning seperate /home and / partitions, and a dedicated /boot partition for the EFI boot partition. This was the part that was hard to find the correct documentation for. The answer was a lot simpler than expected. All that was required was to not format the EFI FAT 32 partition created by Windows. This partition is kept and then should be mounted as /boot. This is also where Grub 2 should be installed. That's it.

Network Interfaces

This one is more personal preference. I chose to have the old style of network interface naming (e.g. eth0, wlan0, etc.). To do this, a file is created with the code below

touch /etc/udev/rules.d/80-net-setup-link.rules

Video Card

This laptop comes with an Optimus Nvidia Video card. By default, the card is loaded and is running in the background all the time. I wanted to turn this off except for when needed, and only run the Intell 4000 card by defualt. Bumblebee solves this problem, as wel as enabling dedicated graphics support. Be sure that the bumblebeed service is run at boot so the card is switched off until needed.

Kernel Parameters

For battery saving and other optimizations, I simply used the settings listed here.

Desktop Environment

I installed Cinnamon using GDM as a display manager. In Cinnamon, all fo the hotkeys on the Zenbook work excluding the ambient light sensor of course.

Network Manager

I installed the Network Manager and the accompanying applet. For this to work, DHCPCD must be disabled as a daemon. Also, GNOME Keyring must be installed to remember networks and even log in to others. This tripped me up for a while, along with figuring out dhcpcd must be disabled.

Themes

My current favorite theme set is FlatStudio for windows and Flattr Icons. My Cinnamon theme is WinterMint.

Yaourt and AUR

Simply follow the instructions here and installing from the AUR becomes a lot easier.

Fonts

For improved font rendering, I installed Infinality. This is incredible and really improved font handling. The font I use is Droid Sans and Droid Sans Mono.

Trackpad Improvements

The trackpad works out of the box with Cinnamon on the Zenbook. However, I like to use multitouch gestures to switch workspaces and expose windows like in a Macbook. To do this, I use the program xSwipe. There is problem that causes errors on Arch that is fixed by installing this from the AUR. After this is installed, the installation can be continued as usual. The perl module should be run as a startup program with Cinnamon.

Favorite Programs

I will update this post as I learn more about Arch!

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  • Copyright 2013, Matthew Iannucci
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  • Updated January 2015