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I finally installed AL and I'm poking it a bit. Here you can find some notes regarding this experience. They should be helpful, but please use them with caution. I may add some additional commentary sometimes. If you think there is a better way to perform some of mentioned here tasks, then don't hesitate to notify me about it. Top-level headings denotes AL version that was used. Backward and forward compatibility is possible, but not tested.

Alpine Linux 3.3.3


Even though I always try to write POSIX sh-compliant scripts, I like to have bash as my default shell, because it's quite handy. Being able to write for instance quick diff -u <(COMMAND1) <(COMMAND2) (to compare output of two commands) or mv FILE{,SUFFIX} (to rename file by adding suffix) is very convenient.

Bash as default shell

AL doesn't have vipw, so root has to perform vi /etc/passwd himself to change the last field of root record (should be the first line in the file). You have to install util-linux package to get chsh utility.

Activate color prompt

Initial prompt: baytrail:~#

mv /etc/profile.d/color_prompt{,.sh}

Prompt after above change and relogin: baytrail [~]#

In case of normal users it's: baytrail [~]$

Long history

I like to have long history, so I created following file:

Contents of /etc/profile.d/



If you have physical access to screen connected to your machine with AL, it's nice to have properly configured console.

UTF-8 encoding

To have UTF-8 from OpenRC point of view, you have to set in /etc/rc.conf:


and add /etc/init.d/termencoding to autostart:

rc-update add termencoding

In fact it's mostly irrelevant (prove me wrong).

Font with polish letters

To be able to see polish letters, you have to install kbd-misc package, set in /etc/conf.d/consolefont:


and add /etc/init.d/consolefont to autostart:

rc-update add consolefont

If you don't like default default8x16.psf.gz font, then use lat2-16.psfu.gz instead. If you're comfortable with lower letter height, then I suggest using lat2-14.psfu.gz, which is still readable, yet on my 1920x1200 display increases LINES number from 75 to 85.

Keymap with only right Alt used for inputting polish letters

Default polish keymap pl uses both Alt keys for polish letters. If you prefer left Alt to be usable for other stuff (like switching to active window in irssi via Alt+A), then you have to switch to pl1 variant. bkeymaps package is needed for setting, but can be removed later.

setup-keymap pl pl1

UTF-8 in tmux

tmux checks upon start-up whether environment variable LC_ALL, or if it's empty then LC_CTYPE, or if it's empty then LANG, contain string UTF-8 or UTF8 to activate its UTF-8 mode. It can be also triggered by -u option. Important part is that globally turning on utf8 window option in tmux configuration doesn't enforce UTF-8 mode.

musl has locale system since v1.1.4, it was incomplete and experimental, but I'm not sure how it is now. The thing is it's not leveraged by AL and by default you have no LC_* variables set. In musl built-in default is C.UTF-8, so we can simply create one file to set LC_CTYPE to such default value and it will satisfy tmux check:

Contents of /etc/profile.d/

export LC_CTYPE=C.UTF-8

Possible alternative is to alias tmux to tmux -u, but it seems clunky.

Serial console

To get tty on serial port you have to uncomment line in /etc/inittab:

ttyS0::respawn:/sbin/getty -L ttyS0 115200 vt100

If you want to be able to log as root using serial console, you have to add the serial port (here: ttyS0) to /etc/securetty.

Finally you can reload init process configuration:

kill -HUP 1

Now you'll see login stuff on the serial port.


Set up RAID1 on two devices

# install package
apk add mdadm

# load "raid1" module during boot (not really needed if you perform further steps)
echo raid1 >>/etc/modules

# create RAID1 array on two whole disks with 1MB data offset
mdadm --create --level=1 --raid-devices=2 --data-offset=1M /dev/md0 /dev/sda /dev/sdb

# preserve original example mdadm.conf
mv /etc/mdadm.conf{,.orig}

# save current setup into configuration file
# (usually people do not use -v, but it's more readable)
mdadm --detail -v --scan >/etc/mdadm.conf

# add raid devices starting to autostart
rc-update add mdadm-raid

# add raid devices monitoring to autostart
rc-update add mdadm

# start raid devices monitoring now
/etc/init.d/mdadm start

# following steps are needed if you want to support RAID early during boot

# add "raid" to features (space-separated values)
vi /etc/mkinitfs/mkinitfs.conf

# rebuild /boot/initramfs-grsec

# add "raid1" to modules (comma-separated values)
vi /etc/update-extlinux.conf

# update extlinux

Install smartctl and smartd

# install package
apk add smartmontools

# comment DEVICESCAN and uncomment DEVICESCAN -R 194 -R 231 -I 9
# to get meaningful and useful raw temperature in syslog
vi /etc/smartd.conf

# add smartd service to autostart
rc-update add smartd

# start the service now
/etc/init.d/smartd start



# install package
apk add lm_sensors

# install package for detecting sensors (if needed) - installs perl too
apk add lm_sensors-detect

# load module required for detecting sensors
modprobe i2c-dev

# detect sensors (skip scanning Super I/O, IPMI, ISA if you're on grsec)

# after detecting sensors you can remove perl (if you don't need it)
apk del perl
  1. sensors-detect command created /etc/modules-load.d/lm_sensors.conf file, but its first line is a comment, which leads to following message during boot
    modprobe: ERROR: missing parameters. See -h.

    It can be fixed by improving sed command in /etc/init.d/modules from 's/\#.*//g' to 's/\#.*//g;/^[[:space:]]*$/d' (deleting blank lines).

    Note: Patch has been sent to alpine-devel ML. It was applied in commit fc95677dd608 (2016-04-21)
  2. It seems that nowadays you don't have to add lm_sensors to autostart, because in AL lm_sensors package is patched to create file /etc/modules-load.d/lm_sensors.conf (files in this directory are inspected by /etc/init.d/modules). /etc/init.d/lm_sensors seems in fact superfluous and it also doesn't work
     * /etc/conf.d/lm_sensors does not exist, try running sensors-detect
     * ERROR: lm_sensors failed to start

    because it expects old file (/etc/conf.d/lm_sensors), which is no longer provided.

    Note: Problem has been reported to alpine-devel ML: File has been removed in commit 05ca027f69eb (2016-04-20).


I don't need my own real mail server (as it's kind of PITA to set it up properly nowadays). Simple MTA is good enough. In the old days I used ssmtp, but it stopped being maintained (apparently debian devs maintain it now), so I switched to msmtp.


After installing msmtp package, you need to create configuration file in your home directory. You can find example for Zoho Mail account.

Contents of ~/.msmtprc

defaults tls on tls_trust_file /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt logfile ~/.msmtp.log auth on port 587 account from user host account default :

You'll be asked for password every time mail is sent.


If you use gmail, then it's no longer that simple. After changing each zoho to gmail in above exemplary configuration, you still won't be able to send any mail. You'll get:

msmtp: server message: 534-5.7.14 <> Please log in via your web browser and then try again.
msmtp: server message: 534-5.7.14  Learn more at
msmtp: server message: 534-5.7.14 ...

and you'll receive e-mail titled "Sign-in attempt prevented".

You have to turn on less secure apps if you want to deal with it. If you're using 2-step verification, then you'll have to add app password for msmtp.


Some tips for some applications.


Irssi is my IRC client of choice.

/script support

You have to add following line in ~/.irssi/startup:

/LOAD perl