My Raspberry Pi 3 setup

May 10, 2017

I recently bought a Raspberry Pi 3 mainly for media playback purposes. Here is the setup process to remember later.

My distro of choice is Arch Linux ARM. Arch Linux has a really nice set of documentation, I recommend these two to get started:

UART setup

I like to set up these small computers without keyboards or a monitor. One way to do this is to use ssh and connect to the device and the other is to use the serial console. At the time of installation connecting an ethernet cable was not convenient so I used the serial console for the initial setup. To my surprise the Pi 3 board had the UART pins disabled by default. More info can be found in this forum topic.

Enable the serial pins:

vim /boot/config.txt

Wire up the pi to the computer and use minicom to connect:

minicom -b 115200 -o -D /dev/ttyUSB0


Connect the ethernet cable and check for connectivity

networkctl status

Install the essentials

pacman -Syu
pacman -S vim, mc, htop, tmux, base-devel, bash-completion

Locale settings

sudoedit /etc/locale.gen
# locale-gen
# localectl set-locale LANG=en_US.UTF-8

Set correct timezone

rm /etc/localtime
ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Budapest /etc/localtime

Set /etc/systemd/timesyncd.conf optionally for another NTP server.


I decided to set up a swap file on the sd card. In retrospect, this may not have been the greatest idea.

fallocate -l 1024M /swapfile
chmod 600 /swapfile
mkswap /swapfile
swapon /swapfile
echo 'vm.swappiness=1' > /etc/sysctl.d/99-sysctl.conf

Add the following line to /etc/fstab.

/swapfile none swap defaults 0 0

Find a name for the thing

By far the hardest part of the process.

hostnamectl set-hostname NAME

Enable avahi

I don’t like hardwiring IP addresses in hosts files or anchoring them in my router. I’m a fan of zeroconf, with it I can reach the machines on my LAN on the .local domain and their hostname automatically.

sudo pacman -S avahi nss-mdns
sudoedit /etc/nsswitch.conf
sudo systemctl enable avahi-daemon
sudo systemctl start avahi-daemon

Copy ssh id

For passwordless ssh connections, copy my public key to the device.

ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/ rapsberry.local

Mount options

cat /etc/fstab
# /etc/fstab: static file system information
# <file system> <dir>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>
/dev/mmcblk0p2  /  ext4  defaults,nodiratime,noatime,discard  0  0
/dev/mmcblk0p1  /boot   vfat    defaults        0       0
/swapfile none swap defaults 0 0

AUR helper

The AUR is a really nice way to get all kinds of packages, that are not available in the main repositories. I use pacaur for this task.

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