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Old 09-19-2011, 12:08 AM   #1
derstephen
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Registered: Sep 2011
Location: Northern Colorado
Distribution: Slackware64
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Adventures in "minimal" Slackware


Hi all. Some of you may have seen some of my rather newbish threads up in the Slackware subforum, and may have deduced that I am new to Linux. That isn't technically true, as I was an Ubuntu user beginning in 2008 with Hardy, but I used it like I would Windows, as a fancy pile of GUIs that just happened to do what I wanted them to do. Awhile back I decided to switch to Slack to learn Linux better. No dual booting either. No namby-pamby installation CDs. And certainly no god-forsaken full install. No, for me it had to be a local hard drive installation to a bare platform that was essentially capable only of downloading and installing the few (or so I think) packages I would actually use. I still believe it's much easier to add on to a bare-bones system than subtract from a relatively bloated one. So after six or seven attempts of varying degrees of success I post to you here from what I believe right now to be the minimum system I require for myself. Well, almost. I don't currently have time to learn the ultra-light dwm for example, and am currently "settling" for Fluxbox.

It's been an interesting twenty-four hours. Last night I formatted right over my damn near fully functioning install without a second glance (such is my borderline-insane minimalism; I blame genetics) because I had done a full install of the a, ap, d, l, n, and x series without pedantically going through each package to guess whether I needed it or not. I slimmed that down to the a, ap, and n series after some googling, and just went through those. My goal was to install a functional but bare-bones platform with a wireless internet connection from which I would install only the absolutely essential packages, and despite my inexperience I was able to boot into just about that very thing (as far as I know) within an hour or so. I needed just one library (libnl) to get onto my wireless LAN and I went to work.

By far the most difficult ordeal was installing the X Window System from scratch. I ended up breaking down a bit and mass-installing all the protos and libX's for it, but only the necessary drivers at least. It seemed an almost endless cycle of ./configure, read and decode error message via Google, install only the single appropriate package, ./configure, etc. I was up till nearly four in the morning setting it up, but I got it eventually. I can't say I regret it!

The first issue I tackled this morning was my mouse pointer in dwm being jumpy to a nearly unusable level. It took me awhile to really realize that it was a driver problem, and it ended up being just a matter of uncommenting the options line in the psmouse file (I use an IBM Trackpoint) and rebooting. The rebooting step took awhile for me to get, of course. But after that I installed Opera and Fluxbox (as I said before I plan on using dwm but will hold off till later in the week to learn how to configure it) and here I am!

But, and not to harsh my own buzz or anything, I have a German essay due on Tuesday, and as of yet no real word processor. I jumped through a mess of hoops trying to install abiword, but some the dependencies were in severe violation of my minimalist paradigm (why would I need right-to-left writing capability in a basic word processor?!), plus there was one I was unable to resolve ("glib-object.h"). I ended up back-pedaling and removing said dependencies in a hurry! I might experiment with fonts and printing with a garden-variety text editor, since my German film class is the only one I need to write for, and with only about three essays this semester.

But anyway, I'm very happy so far! Hardly any package unaccounted for. This is just what I switched to Slackware to do. So far I am intimately familiar with installation, wireless connection, input device management, and the X windows server, if only on my particular machine. I'm on my way...
 
Old 09-19-2011, 08:28 AM   #2
onebuck
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Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Midwest USA, Central Illinois
Distribution: SlackwareŽ
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Hi,

Welcome to LQ & Slackware!

So not really a success story but a storied journey. I hope you benefit from the hours spent.

One of the reasons to initially use a full install to get around and understand things under the hood. Then get things working to fit. Lot of Slackware LQ members go the tagfile route!
Quote:
Excerpt from Get Slackware Linux section of SlackwareŽ-Links;

Minimal System Install:

Minimal System <- SlackWiki method as to what packages you should install to have a base system.
HOWTO make your own custom Slackware install disk <- Samac's LQ technique, some cautions but good. 'Here is a method of cutting your Slackware to fit you by using Alien_Bob's mirror-slackware-current.sh script.'
mini ISO image <- 'CDROM to boot, and install packages from an NFS server or local hard disk'
Two good references SlackwareŽ Essentials & SlackwareŽ Basics.

The above links and others can be found at 'Slackware-Links'. More than just SlackwareŽ links!

Search key words: minimal install slackware provides several threads that you might find helpful.

"Knowledge is of two kinds. We Know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."- Samuel Johnson

 
Old 09-20-2011, 08:52 PM   #3
derstephen
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Registered: Sep 2011
Location: Northern Colorado
Distribution: Slackware64
Posts: 79

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Hi onebuck,

Thank you for the warm welcome and the links. Looks like this is a pretty significant issue among slackers, and it's fun to read about. I find it hard to say that my experimenting is truly done but I'm happy with what I have now (finally). I saw the SlackWiki list, it helped me a lot, although honestly I found even that to be a bit big. For example I don't find the internationalization packages necessary (yet, at least). But it was a great place to start. I found this too, which was a little too minimal for me, but not by much. I have to say what I eventually came up with more closely resembled the latter than the former.

I guess I might as well give an update while I'm here. Today wasn't much of a success story I guess, I tried to install the Flash player plugin for opera but it had a surprising amount of dependencies which I didn't feel like dealing with at the moment, but I will later.

I want to stress that by 'minimal' I mean only packages I need, not necessarily keeping to a 'base system'. I don't mind installing some more packages as long as I know I need them for one of my necessary applications.

I believe the next big step in my minimal Slackware adventure is compiling and booting to a custom kernel with only the necessary drivers and such. I realize this is a risky thing for someone as inexperienced as I am, but so was switching to Slackware without doing a full install, so I think I can manage. It will be my weekend project after my C++ exam....
 
Old 09-21-2011, 07:33 AM   #4
onebuck
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Location: Midwest USA, Central Illinois
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Hi,

Good luck!
 
Old 09-27-2011, 01:50 PM   #5
zk1234
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Registered: Oct 2010
Location: Poland
Distribution: 4MLinux, Slackware, Slitaz, Mint
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derstephen View Post
Hi onebuck,

Thank you for the warm welcome and the links. Looks like this is a pretty significant issue among slackers, and it's fun to read about. I find it hard to say that my experimenting is truly done but I'm happy with what I have now (finally). I saw the SlackWiki list, it helped me a lot, although honestly I found even that to be a bit big. For example I don't find the internationalization packages necessary (yet, at least). But it was a great place to start. I found this too, which was a little too minimal for me, but not by much. I have to say what I eventually came up with more closely resembled the latter than the former.

I guess I might as well give an update while I'm here. Today wasn't much of a success story I guess, I tried to install the Flash player plugin for opera but it had a surprising amount of dependencies which I didn't feel like dealing with at the moment, but I will later.

I want to stress that by 'minimal' I mean only packages I need, not necessarily keeping to a 'base system'. I don't mind installing some more packages as long as I know I need them for one of my necessary applications.

I believe the next big step in my minimal Slackware adventure is compiling and booting to a custom kernel with only the necessary drivers and such. I realize this is a risky thing for someone as inexperienced as I am, but so was switching to Slackware without doing a full install, so I think I can manage. It will be my weekend project after my C++ exam....
Just a small remark about Flash Player:
As far as I know it is impossible to install the newest FP in Opera for Linux. Have a look here:
http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/systemreqs/
I am writing this post using Opera, and I have never been able to install Flash Player in this browser. On the other hand: I do not have to watch all these annoying flash-based ads :-)
 
Old 09-27-2011, 01:54 PM   #6
ruario
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Registered: Jan 2011
Location: Oslo, Norway
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It certainly is not impossible. Not only do I use it myself but so do many of our users (I'm an Opera employee). I wouldn't get to hung up on the fact that that page doesn't list us.
 
Old 09-27-2011, 02:09 PM   #7
derstephen
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Registered: Sep 2011
Location: Northern Colorado
Distribution: Slackware64
Posts: 79

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Quote:
Originally Posted by zk1234 View Post
Just a small remark about Flash Player:
As far as I know it is impossible to install the newest FP in Opera for Linux. Have a look here:
http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/systemreqs/
I am writing this post using Opera, and I have never been able to install Flash Player in this browser. On the other hand: I do not have to watch all these annoying flash-based ads :-)
It worked fine when I had a more full install, with the a/, ap/, d/, l/, n/, and x/ series, and that was only a couple of weeks ago.

But yeah, it's nice not having those obnoxious ads all over the place. I can deal with the "missing plugin" message.
 
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Old 09-27-2011, 02:41 PM   #8
ruario
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Registered: Jan 2011
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@zk1234: Just a thought for you, which might explain your problems getting Flash to work with Opera. If you have Flash working in one of the Gecko-based browsers but not in Opera then your problem is almost certainly that you don't have seamonkey-solibs (or seamonkey) installed. This is a fairly common mistake.

Flash itself depends on various Mozilla libs. These libs are bundled with apps that use Gecko, like Firefox (or Thunderbird) within their own libs directory and loaded when Gecko starts. This allows Flash to work even if seamonkey-solibs isn't installed. For non-Gecko browsers however you will need seamonkey-solibs so that the libs are found.

P.S. Running ldd against libflashplayer.so, will display 'not found' lines on a system without seamonkey or seamonkey-solibs installed.

Last edited by ruario; 09-27-2011 at 03:24 PM. Reason: missing the word 'with' so I added it.
 
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