Stable Void Linux Setup Guide

7 min, 1297 words

Kenneth Dodrill published on

Tags: Linux


Stable Void Linux Setup Guide

In pursuit of a stable Linux setup on my favorite distro so far.

Table of Contents

Intro

I won't bore you with the basics. You're here because you don't want to be running Ubuntu. Void is like Arch in the way of having total customization over your packages, with a start-from-scratch mentality. You don't mind spending 4 hours setting up your system because you want it to be your system.

I am assuming that you have a basic install of Void ready to go. If not, feel free to tag along with a VM, or you can just continue to read. That being said, I do have a couple of notes on the install process that some may not know about.

What this guide is

Initially, I wanted this to be more general and less personalized. However, as I was going through a re-installation of Void Linux I realized that the Void Linux documentation is just so good that much of what I was going to say started to make less sense. This guide will be fairly personalized, but I believe that a decent amount of people will get certain things from it that could improve their system or make them think about all that they have installed.

Installation notes

Before you run the installer, start up dhcpcd. Then, link wpa_supplicant and start that, too. Go through wpa_supplicant to get connected to the internet. Once that's done, run the installer and fill out all the fields. In my experience, trying to connect to the internet without starting both services resulted in an error if I tried to update my system. Running just wpa_supplicant is also not enough because your DNS settings will not copy over from installation. I have tried re-connecting but for some reason running dhcpcd first was the only way to get things to really 'work'.

Post Installation

Initial internet and repository setup

Absolutely your first step should be to link and start dhcpcd and wpa_supplicant. Verify your connection (it should work fine if you followed the steps above), then update the system.

Enable repositories:

xbps-install void-repo-nonfree void-repo-multilib void-repo-multilib-nonfree

Change mirrors (seriously helps with download speeds, see a list of mirrors here):

mkdir -p /etc/xbps.d
cp /usr/share/xbps.d/*-repository-*.conf /etc/xbps.d/
sed -i 's|https://alpha.de.repo.voidlinux.org|<repository>|g' /etc/xbps.d/*-repository-*.conf

xbps-install -S

Basic packages

Install any basic packages that you might want, here are my personal preferences:

xbps-install neovim, exa, zsh, curl, git

System-critical packages

Install dbus, enable it and reboot (logging in/out might cause issues, a reboot will ensure that dbus is started properly):

xbps-install dbus
ln -s /etc/sv/dbus /var/service/dbus
reboot

Install elogind, log in / out (you do not need to enable this service):

xbps-install elogind

Graphical drivers, Xorg, and DE / DM

Install graphics drivers. I am using an AMD graphics card, and I game quite regularly, so I always download extra packages:

xbps-install mesa-dri mesa-dri-32bit vulkan-loader vulkan-loader-32bit mesa-vulkan-radeon mesa-vulkan-radeon-32bit Vulkan-Tools

Install Xorg and all xdg related packages (swap out xdg-desktop-portal-gtk with xdg-desktop-portal-kde if you're using the KDE desktop environment):

xbps-install xorg xdg-desktop-portal xdg-user-dirs xdg-utils xdg-desktop-portal-gtk

Install DE / DM of choice, then enable your DM if it has a service in /etc/sv (warning: your DM may start immediately - make sure you reboot before trying to log in!):

xbps-install xfce4 lxdm
ln -s /etc/sv/lxdm /var/service/lxdm
reboot

Audio, internet, and firewall

I tried a few different setups for audio, but eventually I caved with the generic alsa + pulseaudio package combination.

xbps-install alsa-utils pulseaudio
ln -s /etc/sv/alsa /var/service/alsa

Now it's time to set up iwd, a package that aims to replace wpa_supplicant.

xbps-install iwd

unlink /var/service/wpa_supplicant
ln -s /etc/sv/iwd /var/service/iwd

sv start iwd
iwctl
# ...go through setup here to scan and connect to a network.

For a firewall, I just roll with a basic install of ufw.

xbps-install ufw
ufw enable

Font

This is an odd one. It can be a little tricky to set up proper font rendering in Void - luckily I found an excellent guide. Unfortunately, it is in French. It's fairly easy to understand when following along, but I've listed out the steps here in English as well.

First, make sure freetype is installed. Then, do the following:

xbps-install freefont-ttf

# Do the following to make text look sharper and to disable bitmaps.

ln -s /usr/share/fontconfig/conf.avail/10-hinting-slight.conf /etc/fonts/conf.d/
ln -s /usr/share/fontconfig/conf.avail/10-sub-pixel-rgb.conf /etc/fonts/conf.d/
ln -s /usr/share/fontconfig/conf.avail/11-lcdfilter-default.conf /etc/fonts/conf.d/
ln -s /usr/share/fontconfig/conf.avail/50-user.conf /etc/fonts/conf.d/
ln -s /usr/share/fontconfig/conf.avail/70-no-bitmaps.conf /etc/fonts/conf.d/

Add this to ~/.config/fontconfig/fonts.conf (you may have to create the file).

<?xml version='1.0'?>
<!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM 'fonts.dtd'>
<fontconfig>
	<match target="font">
		<edit mode="assign" name="antialias">
			<bool>true</bool>
		</edit>
		<edit mode="assign" name="hinting">
			<bool>true</bool>
		</edit>
		<edit mode="assign" name="autohint">
			<bool>false</bool>
		</edit>
		<edit mode="assign" name="hintstyle">
			<const>hintslight</const>
		</edit>
		<edit mode="assign" name="rgba">
			<const>rgb</const>
		</edit>
		<edit mode="assign" name="lcdfilter">
			<const>lcddefault</const>
		</edit>
		<edit mode="assign" name="embeddedbitmap">
			<bool>false</bool>
		</edit>
	</match>
</fontconfig>

Finally, add this to ~/.Xresources (you may have to create this file).

Xft.antialias:	1
Xft.hinting:	1
Xft.autohint:	0
Xft.hintstyle:	hintslight
Xft.rgba:	rgb
Xft.lcdfilter:	lcddefault

If you are using Firefox, you may want to set gfx.font_rendering.fontconfig.max_generic_substitutions = 127 in your about:config.

Date & Time

Fairly simple stuff here, just install ntp and one of the implementations of it. Personally, I lean towards openntpd. Then ln -s /etc/sv/ntpd /var/service/ntpd. You can also link your timezone (recommended) to the system by doing ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/<timezone> /etc/localtime.

Flatpak

I would recommend making sure the xdg- packages are all installed correctly before moving on. I would also recommend that you install the firejail package, as some applications can use it.

Now you can install the flatpak package. Once installed, reboot. Do NOT add a remote yet, because you WILL have issues. Once rebooted, add the remote and begin installing applications.

Extra AMD GPU Setting

I always enable the TearFree option in my amdgpu config file to get a buttery-smooth experience.

Create (or edit) /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-amdgpu.conf and paste the following:

Section "Device"
        Identifier "AMD"
        Driver "amdgpu"
        Option "TearFree" "true"
EndSection

Conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed this guide. I wrote this all down mostly for myself, so I can remember all the steps taken and save some time in-case I have to reinstall Void in the future. I also decided to write this because I see a lot of similar questions in r/voidlinux, and I hope this can help.

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