When we last left our Arch Linux install we had a lovely command prompt.
This is fine for a server, but as this is a desktop, it would be nice to have a GUI. We will be installing Xfce. I started using Xfce when looking for a lighter weight GUI than KDE or Gnome. Openbox and Fluxbox are certainly lighter but require more configuration and setup than I prefer. Xfce was a nice compromise. Light enough for my needs while still remaining a full desktop environment.
I have swapped out the previous video card I was using for screen capture for an HD4350. At the command prompt the system idles at 76W.
The first thing to do is perform a system update to ensure we have the latest packages. While the installation media automatically starts the DHCP client you will have to start and enable it now that we have a running install. I also prefer to turn on pacman color.
Now that the system is up to date we need to add a user. Running as root for more than absolutely necessary is insecure. Following the instructions in the wiki users can be quickly added. Do not forget to set a password each user created. I prefer to run only the commands that need root access as root so I also install the sudo package. Make sure to give the wheel group sudo permissions.
Next we install Xorg and drivers for video acceleration. Because I am using an AMD CPU and GPU I install the ATI version. Now we install Xfce. I find the Xfce goodies package to be useful and install it as well. Once everything is installed we test Xfce by starting it directly from the console.
Xfce does not provide a display manager. I prefer to use LXDM, the LXDE display manager. It is lightweight and works for my needs. After the package is installed it needs to be enabled and configured for Xfce.
Once we reboot we’re presented with a familiar login screen. Selecting our user and entering our password presents use with the default Xfce desktop. The power usage remains the same despite now having a graphical user interface.