This guide will show you how to install Void Linux easily and set up a fully workable GNOME desktop environment.
Table of Contents
- UEFI Preparation
- 1. Download the Void Linux Installation Image
- 2. Prepare Live Bootable USB
- 3. Boot Void Linux from the Live USB
- 4. Installing Void Linux
- 5. Installing a Desktop Environment on Void Linux
Void Linux is one of the Linux distributions, wholly independent and entirely developed by volunteers. Unlike most Linux distributions, Void Linux is not a derivative of any other. Instead, it is a genuinely original build from scratch Linux distribution.
Void is a notable exception to most Linux distributions because it uses runit as its init system instead of the more common systemd used by other distributions.
For those not familiar with runit, it is a very minimalist and extremely fast init system that is easy to configure and more in line with the old daemon tools that Linux distros used to use by default.
So without further ado, let’s get down to installation.
You can install Void Linux directly to your computer by following this guide, but you can also install it on a virtual machine by using VirtualBox or KVM.
VirtualBox’s and KVM’s virt-manager users must enable EFI in the virtual machine settings before starting the installation. Otherwise, an error will occur when attempting to install the GRUB bootloader.
1. Download the Void Linux Installation Image
The first thing that we need to do is obtain an installation image of Void Linux. Void comes with two C standard libraries: glibc and musl. Glibc is widely used among Linux distributions. On the other hand, musl is a more straightforward implementation of the same C library, but its recency means that not all programs will work properly.
For this guide, we will use the glibc version. First, visit the Void Linux download page and grab the base Live image with glibc.
2. Prepare Live Bootable USB
Once your Void Linux ISO file finishes downloading, you will have to create a live USB of Void Linux from the ISO you just downloaded. There are many ways to prepare a live USB, one of them is by using the dd command.
3. Boot Void Linux from the Live USB
Once you have created a live USB for Void Linux, shut down your computer, plug the USB into it, and boot your system.
Please keep in mind that you may not be able to boot from a Live USB with secure boot enabled in some cases. If that’s the case with you, access the BIOS and disable the secure boot first.
Once you have appropriately booted into the Void ISO, you should see something similar to the below image.
Choose the first row and hit
After the installer decompresses and loads the Linux kernel, you will be automatically thrown to a terminal with root privileges.
At this point, we only have the Void Linux live system. We need to proceed to install Void Linux. Log in with the username root and password voidlinux.
Then start the installation process. To do this, type
void-installer in the command line.
4. Installing Void Linux
Void uses a simple text-based installer to guide you through the traditional installation steps. In addition, the Void’s installation program will welcome you.
We’re going to go ahead and press
4.1 Set System Keyboard
The main menu of the installation wizard highlights all of the steps that you need to do. We are starting with the Keyboard and making our way down.
Select whatever one works for you, but mine is the “
us” standard keyboard. So go down to
us, select it, and hit
4.2 Set up the Network
Next is the network setup.
The network says it did detect an Ethernet adapter here.
Next, the installer will ask you if you want to set up DHCP for this Ethernet adapter. If you choose
Yes, your network adapter will be set up so that it grabs an IP address automatically from your router. Otherwise, you’re going to have to set up a static IP address.
As you can see, it says that our network is working correctly. Hit the
4.3 Installation Source
The next step is to select where the installer will get its packages to install.
To get the latest packages, select
Network. Of course, this option requires a workable network connection.
4.4 Set System Hostname
In the next step, you will need to provide a hostname for your Void system. Again, it can be anything that you want.
In our case, I will name the machine
4.5 Set System Locale
Now we need to set up a locale.
In my case, I will be selecting
4.6 Set System Timezone
Next, let’s configure the timezone.
For the timezone step, pick the closest location to you to determine your system clock.
For this Void Linux installation, I choose
4.7 Set Root Password
Following that, we’ll be setting up a root password. So let’s go ahead and press
Then type in a password you want to use for a root user. Make sure this is a secure password. After that, you’re going to be asked to confirm the password.
4.8 Setting Up the User
Next, we have the user account to set up, which is the system’s primary user. So this is what you’ll be logging in with access to the desktop.
The first prompt will ask for your username.
As well as the full name for our new user. Of course, you can enter your name here. In this case, I chose to stay with the default value “Void User.”
After that, you’ll be asked for a password and then a confirmation for the password.
Select which system groups you want your user account in the next step. The installer has already provided reasonable defaults, which should be enough for daily use. Once you have the system installed, you can always add different permissions with your root user that you’ve set up anyway.
Enter to continue to the next step.
4.9 Setting Up the Bootloader
Next, we’re going to be asked about the bootloader.
Go ahead and set where to install the bootloader. As you can see here, I only have one disk
/dev/vda, and that’s the one I’m going to be selecting. So make sure you choose the proper disk; mount it to your computer if you have more than one.
The installer asks you do you want to use the graphical terminal for the boot loader. I choose
4.10 Partition of the Disk
The next step in our Void Linux installation guide is partitioning the hard drive. Again, you will most likely find the most trouble if you are unfamiliar with partitioning tools such as
But don’t worry, it’s easy as you’ll see.
Here you can see the disk selected is
/dev/vda. That’s the only one for me. Of course, you might have more than this if you have multiple disks mounted to your system. So make sure again to select the proper one.
The wizard will then ask which tool you would like to use to partition the disk. Select
cfdisk, as it is simpler and easier to use.
Here you can go ahead and read through the differences. Then, you can either set up an MBR or GPT partition table. In this guide, we will use GPT.
Now let’s start creating the disk layout partition table. If you are using a blank disk, cfdisk will ask you for a Label Type. Select
gpt and hit
Free Space and hit on
New from the bottom menu. You can navigate through the menu options using the
Tab or arrow keys.
Type the partition size in GB (1G) and press the Enter key.
/dev/vda1 partition still selected, select
Type from the bottom menu and choose
EFI System partition type.
You’ve finished configuring the EFI System partition. Now let’s create the Swap partition using the same procedure. Select the remaining
Free space again and hit on
Type the partition size in GB (
4G) and press the
Finally, you need to create the root (
/) partition. Once again, select the remaining
Free space and hit on
Leave the default size value: all the remaining free space. Press the
You’ve finished configuring the root partition. Next, you need to save the changes made. Choose
Write from the bottom menu and hit
yes and press the
We’re done here. Select
Quit and press
Enter to do so.
4.11 Creating the Filesystems and Mount Points
For the filesystems step, you will create the filesystems for the partitions you made.
The first filesystem we have is the
/dev/vda1, which was the partition of the EFI system. So go ahead and press
We will want to use the
vfat for this one.
Then the installer asked us where do we want to mount this partition. It will be in
/boot/efi, and then press
Confirm your choice by pressing
Next is the
/dev/vda2. We’re going to go ahead and press
Here we wanted to create a
swap. So go ahead and press
Confirm your choice by pressing
And finally, go down to the very bottom that’s
Go down to
ext4 for the filesystem.
Then the installer says to specify a mount point. We want to put one forward-slash (
/) in and hit
Confirm your choice by pressing
After we’re done with all three, we’ll scroll over to the
Done button and press
Now that we have our filesystems selected and the disks partitions, we’ll go ahead and run the installer. So lets the go-ahead to
Install and press
Here we are getting one last confirmation. Just go ahead and press
Give it a few moments here.
Once the download is done, it will show an
OK prompt. Press
Enter and the wizard will continue with the installation process.
The installation should not take long. Once done, the wizard will display an installation success screen. Select
Yes to reboot the machine to Void Linux.
After the reboot, you will be greeted by the GRUB bootloader.
After booting your new Void Linux system, you can log in with the root account you created earlier.
Suppose you got this far, congratulations! You successfully installed Void Linux on your computer!
5. Installing a Desktop Environment on Void Linux
The Void Linux system contains only the essential software packages needed to manage the system from the command line, with no GUI (Graphical User Interface).
Let’s first change the default root shell to Bash.
chsh -s /usr/bin/bash
Log out and log in so that the change can be applied.
There are many desktop environments that can be used with Void Linux. I will install GNOME as a desktop environment example.
xbps-install -S gnome gnome-apps xorg
If you are not familiar with installing packages on Void Linux, do not worry. Here is our excellent guide to get you started: How to Use XBPS Package Manager on Void Linux
Once the package installation is complete, it’s time to set up the services that will automatically start when you reboot your Void Linux system.
Managing services on Void Linux is relatively easy. Void uses the
runit supervision suite to run system services and daemons. All service scripts currently running are just files that can be seen in the
/var/service/ directory, and those can easily be added, modified, or removed from
To enable a service on a booted system, you need to create a symlink to the service directory in
Enable the GDM display manager, Network Manager, and DBUS services:
ln -s /etc/sv/gdm /var/service ln -s /etc/sv/NetworkManager /var/service ln -s /etc/sv/dbus /var/service
Finally, reboot and log in to the newly installed GNOME desktop environment.
From this point, you can install what you want and configure your Void Linux system as you wish.
Up to this point, you have gotten some good information about Void Linux and have successfully installed Void Linux. I know it was long, but I have tried to cover all steps in brief and other additional things from scratch.
In addition, as a Void user, the Void Linux Handbook might be a precious resource to you.
I hope the guide has helped get you started with Void Linux. Thanks for using it!
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please post them in the comments section below.