Arch Linux on OSX

Arch Linux on OSX

2019, Aug 31    

I’ve wanted to take a look at Arch Linux for a while now, and when a student got me to connect her inherited Arch laptop to the University Wi-Fi network last week, I was reminded that this lightweight distribution is attractive to the increasingly paranoid control freak that I am becoming. Having toyed with the idea of spending money on an XPS or some other super-cool hacker machine, and having been defeated by prudence, here’s how I got it running as a first-time-out instance on my University MacBook Air1.

The Host

Like I said, I really can’t justify a separate development machine, especially as I have use of a decent spec laptop. The Arch download page includes a number of different ways of acquiring the distro, including using Vagrant with VirtualBox, which I had intended to plug an Arch ISO disk into.

The Virtual Machine

I downloaded and installed Vagrant and gave it a spin with the example Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. Installation, running and logging in to the instance takes three commands…

$ vagrant init hashicorp/precise64
$ vagrant up
$ vagrant ssh


Firing up Arch itself could be done the same way, but the Vagrant site hints that once Vagrant is installed on your dev machine, all you need is a Vagrantfile with the right info in it. Here’s the MWE2 I started with. It uses ruby syntax, and was simply a new directory containing a single file called Vagrantfile:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config| = "archlinux/archlinux"

This is a super quick and easy way to get Arch up and running. Now, you just type the command:

$ vagrant up

This will download and install a fresh instance of Arch and fire it up, ready for you to ssh into.

  1. MacBook Air specs: 13-inch, Early 2015, 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7, 8GB DDR. 

  2. Minimum working example.