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I'm new to linux and I've decided to give Slackware a try. I'm reading about the installtion process and it says that the size of the swap partition should be double the amount of RAM that is installed in the computer. I have 4GB in that box. Should I make a 8GB swap partition? How do I specify the size 8GB or 8192MB?
Distribution: Debian Sid AMD64, Raspbian Wheezy, various VMs
I'd say it depends what you plan to do with the system. If you're likely to use a lot of memory-hungry things all at once then you ought to at least specify some swap. Though I agree 8GB is probably excessive for most people. As mentioned to allow hibernation you'll need at least 4GB swap to accommodate it.
Let's say I really like Slack and I really enjoy working with it. The only thing that might be memory hungry ( although on Windows it appears more hard drive intensive) I could think at the moment is streaming HD movies with possibly transcoding on the fly.
What's your suggestion for a swap partition size in that case?
if you want to use hibernate/suspend to disk then have swap = 1xRAM + 128M or thereabouts. If you don't intend to use suspend to disk, then swap doesn't matter. Have as much or as little as you like. I wouldn't go any bigger than you need for hibernate though (unless you have a very good reason to).
The 2x ram rule of thumb dates back to a time when computers didn't have nearly as much ram as they do these days, and even back then it wasn't really that good of a guide.
Distribution: Debian Sid AMD64, Raspbian Wheezy, various VMs
As GazL says, if you want hibernate then go for a little over 4GB (e.g. 4,224MB). Otherwise, personally, I'd say if you have hard drive space to spare go for that anyhow, and if you want to save some hard drive space then 2GB.
You system won't use swap unless it needs to so if you can spare the space you might as well have some "just in case".
In my experience watching HD movies doesn't use a lot of ram, and nor does transcoding. Editing, maybe. But if you've got four gigs of ram, that's enough for everything your system wll be running to operate, and firefox and libre office and half the contents of a DVD copied to /dev/shm, so a bit of transcoding with something like x264 won't be lkely to cause trouble.
I finally got my Slack installed and running. I'm now on its KDE. I started Konqueror and went to a site that requires Shockwave and it gave a pop-up to install it. I click Yes and it opened Adobe in a new tab. I have an option to select which type of installation to go with. The options are:
YUM for linux
.tar.gz for other linux
.rpm for other linux
APT for Ubuntu
Good to see you up and running, it wasn't that difficult, was it
For flash player I usually use tar.gz option and copy the .so file manually to firefox plugin directory. Firefox usually provides better web experience. For example FF was able to play youtube videos in HTML 5 but still got smoother video with Flash plugin. Konqueror just displayed a black box and that was about it.
Yeah, it wasn't so bad. But now I have to start breaking my head to see how I get around it.
The thing is, I don't think I'll need the Slack box for anything advanced. What I want it for is to be able to install/uninstall packages and to learn bash and maybe a few other things. If I find a good package, I'll keep using it.
I can use it as a desktop right after installation and find pretty much anything I need on daily basis.
You can do anything with it. You can browse the web, watch movies, read email and do not have to bother yourself with any linux related detail. Only learn the package installation routine and thats all.
Or you can start doing the advanced stuff like you mentioned, bash scripting (always a useful knowledge) or try to explore the etc directory and see how Slackware works and how it is configured (so you know if you need to change something, where to look) or perhaps try to compile the latest kernel which is always a rewarding experience, once you get it done Or start downloading interesting software from the net in source form and compile it yourself using the infamous "./configure && make && make install" routine etc etc. Also read that slackware book beyond the installation and don't forget the powerful man pages that provide all kinds of useful information about all the commands available.
One idea is to really dive into Vi/Vim ( http://www.vim.org/about.php ). If you master it, you have the ability to do advanced text editing right from the command line. Vi/Vim is a different experience for sure and might be again quite frighting at first as it feels even hostile with its rudimentary interface but the power is there beneath that non-existent shell. You can do very very powerful text alterations using just few key strokes. But you need to learn it and memorize its strange commands but again very useful knowledge for the future. This seems a good place to start http://linuxconfig.org/Vim_Tutorial
Also one very interesting thing to explore is technology called LaTeX ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LaTeXhttp://www.ctan.org/tex/ ) which is basically a way to program or describe document contents using a plain text file, then let the Latex lay it out for you and produce elegant PDF documents. Slackware contains full TeTeX support for that purpose. Again quite old technology but once you master it, Word cannot get anywhere close in the quality of the resulting piece. And you don't even need to start X to produce a document as a simple text editor like Vim is all you need. How such a thing came into existence? Well the laser printers were available before decent GUI-s and there was a need to produce elegant documents from the text mode console. Good place to start: http://www.maths.tcd.ie/~dwilkins/LaTeXPrimer/
So Slackware works perfectly as a simple desktop but does not get on the way if you want to dig deeper.