Installing Slackware 12

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    Slackware 12

    This tutorial shows how you can set up a Slackware 12 GNU/Linux desktop that is a full-fledged

    replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things

    they do on their Windows desktop.

    Unlike some other Linux distributions Slackware users find themselves at the command line quite

    often. One Slacker who maintains an online Slackware Desktop Enhancement Guide wrote that the

    "pros and cons of Slackware could be summarized in one word: minimalism." He went on to discuss

    the duality of minimalism by noting that although "Minimalism certainly means stability" it also

    means that Slackware "can be exasperating for some people because the end-user must configure

    many features with manual editing rather than the more familiar point-and-click."

    You may be asking yourself if Slackware is the right distribution for you. When it comes to Linux

    you have a huge selection of distributions to choose from. Some like Zenwalk Linux and

    VectorLinux are based on Slackware but provide a more user friendly point-and-click environment

    for the new Linux user. HowtoForge has a series of "Perfect Desktop" tutorials including one for a

    nice distribution named PCLinuxOS. Read that tutorial here. There's also a website that tries to

    match people with a Linux distribution suitable for them at Linux Distribution Chooser.

    To follow this tutorial you should be familiar with navigating the file system with a file manager.

    And, willing to type commands at the prompt. If you're not already familiar with using the

    command line please click here to read a simple introduction to it.

    Before you begin please join the Slackware mailing lists. The mailing lists will keep you updated on

    new versions, major updates, software updates, and announcements relating to security issues.

    When installing an Operating System it's sometimes necessary to know what hardware is installed

    on the PC. Before beginning this tutorial spend a few minutes and get the name of the hardware

    installed on your system including the network card, sound card, video card, monitor, and the

    monitor's horizontal scan range (HorizSync) and vertical scan range (VertRefresh). If you're

    running Windows you may want to audit your systems hardware with Belarc Advisor or the Device

    Manger. If you're running Linux you may want to use HardInfo.

    Please note that I won't be going through every software installation step by step. For more

    information please refer to section 6, Installing Additional Software.

    This tutorial comes with no guarantees that it will work for you. These are simply the steps I take

    to setup Slackware 12 on my desktop computer.

    Please backup ALL of your personal data before starting.

    *Note added March 16, 2009: For an informative article on using Slackware as a multimedia

    desktop please read Darrell Anderson's "A Full-Featured Multimedia Slackware".

    1 Preliminary Note

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    To fully replace a Windows desktop, I would like the Slackware 12 desktop to have the following

    software installed:


    The GIMP - free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop

    Google Picasa - application for organizing and editing digital photos




    Java Runtime Environment (JRE) - includes the Java Plug-in which enables applets to run in

    popular browsers



    aKregator - RSS Reader

    Pidgin - multi-platform instant messaging client (formerly known as Gaim)

    Xchat IRC - IRC Client

    gFTP - multithreaded FTP client

    BitTorrent - command line client that integrates with Firefox

    Guarddog - firewall

    Google Earth

    Skype - a P2P Voice Over IP program

    Office: - replacement for Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and

    Microsoft Access

    Adobe Acrobat reader

    Kontact - personal information management (PIM)

    Scribus- open source desktop publishing (DTP) application

    kmymoney2 - personal finance manager

    Sound & Video:

    Audacious - Winamp style audio player

    K3B- CD/DVD burning program

    Noatun- out of the box plays mpg, mpeg, avi, wmv, asf, and mp3 on your new Slackware 12


    VLC Media Player- plays DVD,flash, mov, and other various audio and video formats

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    Quanta Plus - web development environment, including a WYSIWYG editor

    Kate - an editor for text (includes Spell Check) and programming

    The Java 2 SDK - a development environment for building applications, applets, and


    System Utilities:

    htop - a command line, interactive process viewer friendlier than top

    iptraf - a command line tool, Interactive Colorful IP LAN Monitor

    netstat - a command line tool, print network connections, routing tables, interface statistics,

    masquerade connections, and multicast memberships

    Filelight- a KDE graphical disk-space analyzer

    KDE Info Center - a central place to find information about your computer system

    Konqueror - file manager, web browser, picture viewer, rip Audio CDs, read archive files

    such as zip, tar, gz, SSH, SFTP


    VMware Server - lets you run another OS as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop

    NTFS-3G driver - Read/Write support for NTFS partitions.


    Slackware 12 lets you choose between multiple desktop environments (KDE, Xfce, Fluxbox,

    Blackbox, Window Maker, fvwm2 Fvwm, twm). For this tutorial we will use KDE.

    I will use the username brian in this tutorial, and I will download all necessary files to various

    directories on brian's desktop which is equivalent to the directory /home/brian/Desktop. If you

    use another username (which you most probably do ;-)), please replace brian with your own

    username. So when I use a command like

    cd /home/brian/Desktop

    you must replace brian.

    2 Installing The Base System

    Download Slackware 12 and burn it onto a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM.

    For this tutorial I downloaded the Slackware 12.0 DVD ISO (everything).

    Use the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM you created and boot your computer from it. From here on I will use

    the term DVD to refer to both the CD-ROM and DVD-ROM.

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    At the boot prompt press Enter:

    If you're using a US keyboard press Enter. If not type 1 and press Enter:

    Select your keyboard map using the UP and DOWN arrow keys.

    The OK and Cancel buttons can be selected with the LEFT and RIGHT arrow keys.

    Highlight a keyboard map. Select OK and press Enter:

    Test your new keyboard layout.

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    If it works, enter 1 on a line by itself and press Enter:

    Welcome to the Slackware Linux installation disk:

    During setup root does not have a password. Type root and press Enter:

    Once you login you will be at the Linux command line:

    Before setup begins the hard disk needs to be partitioned. For simplicity's sake I will create two

    partitions. One big partition that will be our root partition. The root partition is also known as /. We

    will also create a 512 megabyte swap partition. Of course, the partitioning scheme is completely

    up to you - if you like, you can create more than just one big partition. For example, you might

    want a swap partition, a root partition and a home partition. By partitioning like that you can

    reinstall the OS without losing your home directory.

    Just so you know I'm writing this tutorial on more than one computer so some screenshots may

    show IDE and others may show SATA. At the moment I am installing on an IBM compatible PC. I

    have an IDE hard disk and will create a partion on /dev/hda. IDE drives are given names /dev/hda

    to /dev/hdd. For example, if you have one IDE drive attached to the first IDE controller then it will

    be named /dev/hda. If you have a second IDE drive on the same drive controller it will be named

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    /dev/hdb. If you have a third drive it will be attached to the second controller and be named

    /dev/hdc. As you can guess the fourth drive on the second controller is /dev/hdd :)

    After the drive is partitioned it will have a number appended to its name. For example, the second

    partition on the first drive will be /dev/hda2.

    SATA and SCSI drives follow a similar pattern but are represented by sd instead of hd. The second

    partition of the first SATA drive is named /dev/sda2.

    You can partition your disk with either fdisk or cfdisk. For this tutorial I used fdisk.

    If you have an IDE drive type

    fdisk /dev/hda

    and press Enter:

    If you have a SATA drive type

    fdisk /dev/sda

    and press Enter:

    Type m to see what commands are available:

    To see your current partion table type p

    As you can see there are no partitions on my IDE hard disk:

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    Create the swap partition. Type n and press Enter:

    Type p to create a primary partition and press Enter:

    Type 1 to create partition number 1 on /dev/hda and press Enter:

    The default is fine so press Enter:

    Type +512M and press Enter:

    To make this partion a swap partion type t and press Enter:

    Type L or l (