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Old 03-21-2006, 03:48 PM   #1
chess
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Top 10 Tips for a Happy Slackware Box


After helping several people with Slackware installs, and after reading some of the common problems encountered by new Slackware users on the LinuxQuestions.org Slackware forum, here is my list of Top 10 Tips for a Happy Slackware Box. This is just a list of _my_ tips based on _my_ experience alone. YMMV.

1. If you can, or if you have the disk space, consider doing a full install when installing Slackware. You only need disks 1 and 2 to do a full install (and really Disk 1 contains 99% of the base system. Disk 2 contains KDE and other desktop environments). Disks 3 and 4 contain /extra, /testing, /pasture, source code, and docs. You can get those from the net later on if necessary.

2. Stick with the -stable branch and read Pat’s -stable changelog to keep up with bugfixes. Subscribe to the Slackware mailing lists. If you want to run anything from -current, run all of current, or, upgrade packages from -current on a very selective or as-needed basis. Either way, be sure to read Pat -current changelog before doing so. He will tell you when there are problems with a particular package in -current. In fact, reading the changelogs on a regular basis is a very good habit.

3. If you want to use a tool to do automatic updates, use slackpkg. However, be sure to blacklist certain things like the kernel, the aaa_base, aaa_elflibs, and alsa before doing an update. It is important to blacklist those 4, especially the two aaa_ packages—those are meta type packages that Pat says should never be uninstalled or upgraded. Browse the LinuxQuestions.org Slackware forum for “slackpkg” and there are good tips for what else to blacklist.

4. If you do a full install, then compiling anything you need that is not included is very, very simple. It will just work. I promise.

5. Use checkinstall to actually install your compiled binaries. Checkinstall will add the package to the pkgtool-maintained list thereby making it easy to remove later on if necessary. A Slackware checkinstall package is provided in the /extra directory.

6. If you want to use GNOME, try Freerock GNOME or GWARE. There is also Dropline GNOME which is very nice, but I tend to use Freerock.

7. Did I mention that you need to read Pat’s -stable and -current changelogs on a regular basis? Reading the changelogs are the keys to maintaining a stable system.

8. Most packages in linuxpackages.net are ok. But, there are occasional issues so it’s still better to compile your own.

9. The official Slackware forums at LinuxQuestions.org are excellent. Also, www.slackbook.org and www.slackbasics.org are two excellent manuals.

10. Enjoy your new Slackness.

(I just posted this on my homepage so I hope people will find it helpful).

Last edited by chess; 03-29-2006 at 09:22 PM.
 
Old 03-21-2006, 04:24 PM   #2
gravityworks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackson1995
It is important to blacklist those 4, especially the two aaa_ packages—those are meta type packages that Pat says should never be uninstalled or upgraded.

Always wondered about that..when i upgraded from slack 10.1 to 10.2 i upgraded those as well with no problems..in the upgrade text in the slackware site he makes no mention of excluding these for upgrade..so i didn't,and have had no problems with my setup..and recently when they were upgraded in current i upgraded them ,again with no ill effects..so i'm wondering does he mean not to ever upgrade them or just not to do it if your not upgrading everything..like say for instance upgrading from 10.1 to 10.2 or from 10.2 to current.
 
Old 03-21-2006, 04:51 PM   #3
chess
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Well, in the packages descriptions Pat says this:

"aaa_base (Basic Linux filesystem package)

Sets up the empty directory tree for Slackware and adds an email to
root's mailbox welcoming them to Linux. This package should be
installed first, and never uninstalled."

"aaa_elflibs (shared libraries needed by many programs)

This is a collection of shared libraries needed to run Linux programs.
ELF (Executable and Linking Format) is the standard Linux binary
format. These libraries are gathered from other Slackware packages
and are intended to give a fairly complete initial set of libraries.
This package should be not upgraded or reinstalled (it could copy
over newer library versions)."
 
Old 03-21-2006, 04:56 PM   #4
Woodsman
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Good list.

Suggestion No. 2 seems especially applicable to people who want to update 10.2 but still use the 2.4.x kernel series. Seems that the new versions of X are useful only with the 2.6.x series. Installing those packages will cause problems with 2.4.x kernels. Thus, for users still using 2.4, be sure to read the change log before updating files.
 
Old 03-21-2006, 05:27 PM   #5
gravityworks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackson1995
Well, in the packages descriptions Pat says this:

"aaa_base (Basic Linux filesystem package)

Sets up the empty directory tree for Slackware and adds an email to
root's mailbox welcoming them to Linux. This package should be
installed first, and never uninstalled."

"aaa_elflibs (shared libraries needed by many programs)

This is a collection of shared libraries needed to run Linux programs.
ELF (Executable and Linking Format) is the standard Linux binary
format. These libraries are gathered from other Slackware packages
and are intended to give a fairly complete initial set of libraries.
This package should be not upgraded or reinstalled (it could copy
over newer library versions)."

Yep read the package info..but in the upgrade.txt he makes no mention of omitting these packages for upgrade,thats where it get's confusing for me..he goes into pretty good detail on the upgrade process,so you'd think he would mention this..And considering i havent experienced any pitfalls by upgrading them(been using this install of slack current, that was upgraded from slack 10.2 ,that was upgraded from slack 10.1 for about 8 months now)i wonder if it's really a bad thing to upgrade them.

Good list by the way
 
Old 03-21-2006, 05:56 PM   #6
dunric
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Nice intro for newcomers.
I guess and hope more experienced users incline to be able to do minimal installs and for installing software from sources avoid checkpkg but use (own) SlackBuild scripts. It becomes soon very natural after some months of regular using.
 
Old 03-21-2006, 06:33 PM   #7
willysr
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i have seen the list, but i kindda agree with gravityworks. I have upgraded both aaa* packages up to now and it worked like charm, no major / minor problem arose (lucky me)

I usually never use automatic tools, like swaret, slackpkg, etc, since it's quite easy for me to download and upgrade/install new packages from some mirrors

BTW, nice list...
 
Old 03-21-2006, 07:37 PM   #8
MannyNix
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Really nice, thank you for the tips, i agree 100% with all of them
 
Old 03-21-2006, 08:01 PM   #9
chess
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Good points, everyone. Thanks for that -- much appreciated.
 
Old 03-22-2006, 01:45 PM   #10
tronayne
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Nice list: I'd add, about compiling additions yourself (with few exceptions -- openLDAP being one) that anything not a part of the Slackware distribution be installed in /usr/local (the default when using configure). And, oh, yeah, installed with checkinstall as mentioned.
 
Old 03-28-2006, 05:26 AM   #11
wchild
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackson1995
1. Do a full install when installing Slackware. You only need disks 1 and 2 to do a full install (and really Disk 1 contains 99% of the base system. Disk 2 contains KDE and other desktop environments). Disks 3 and 4 contain /extra, /testing, /pasture, source code, and docs. You can get those from the net later on if necessary.
Unfortunately it can't be always done due to the lack of space.
 
Old 03-28-2006, 09:09 AM   #12
cathectic
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The problem with upgrading aaa*, is that the upgrade notes assume you are going from one release to the next (e.g. 10.1 to 10.2).

In this case, aaa* is not a problem, since you will upgrade it, and then overwrite all the files it installs with the proper libraries.

However, if you are tracking -current, installing aaa* will overwrite all those nice libraries you have and won't get overwritten since you are not upgrading/ reinstalling every package. Hence the warning is in the -current ChangeLog, but not in UPGRADE.TXT
 
Old 03-28-2006, 04:22 PM   #13
danieldk
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Good work Jackson1995! I'd add:

11. Don't give up. Slackware is very simple, it just takes some time to understand its simplicity.
 
Old 03-28-2006, 04:40 PM   #14
chess
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danieldk
Good work Jackson1995! I'd add:

11. Don't give up. Slackware is very simple, it just takes some time to understand its simplicity.
Thanks, Daniel. Good point. Your Slack Basics book is really, really fantastic, BTW.

-Chess
 
Old 03-28-2006, 05:03 PM   #15
danieldk
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Thanks .
 
  


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