Welcome to LinuxQuestions.org, a friendly and active Linux Community.
You are currently viewing LQ as a guest. By joining our community you will have the ability to post topics, receive our newsletter, use the advanced search, subscribe to threads and access many other special features. Registration is quick, simple and absolutely free. Join our community today!
Note that registered members see fewer ads, and ContentLink is completely disabled once you log in.
If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us. If you need to reset your password, click here.
Having a problem logging in? Please visit this page to clear all LQ-related cookies.
Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
For more advanced trainees it can be a desktop reference, and a collection of the base knowledge needed to proceed with system and network administration. This book contains many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. They hope these examples will help you to get a better understanding of the Linux system and that you feel encouraged to try out things on your own.
Click Here to receive this Complete Guide absolutely free.
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8
Easy installation, great system for learning *Nix, high 'feelgood' factor
Because it is a great system for learning, it does require effort on the part of the user to learn it to derive full benefit from it.
My rating would be 'Excellent', except that I am nowhere near experienced nor sufficiently adept at using the Slack distro to its full capacities. But certainly, it is a great system.
The installation process uses a text-mode approach which is pretty straightforward, although - as with any other distro - be sure to do some preliminary reading about the distro first. The best source of info is http://www.slackware.com and also the site of the Slackware book available for on-line reading at http://slackware.com/book/ . There is also another site that is not Slack specific but one that I would certainly recommend because of the discussion on Slackware (and other distros) and especially configuring a *secure* Slack system - http://jetblackz.freeservers.com .
I installed Slackware onto a Mitac 7321 laptop and was very pleasantly surprised when all the various components were auto-detected (makes life a lot easier). However, LILO didn't install successfully and so I boot with a stiffy but that's not really a problem once a boot routine is developed. Once the set-up/installation process had completed I rebooted and was faced with the familiar white text of the terminal, and did a couple of basic configuration changes with JOE - e.g. changing the /etc/hosts.deny config file, shutting down some unnecessary services, the init level so that when the machine boots it boots into init level 4 (X Windows system), etc., and then typed in the magic phrase 'startx' and held my breath (I had loaded Slack 8.1 previously and this required me to hack the X Config file). Lo! and behold - X started up and from there it was into KDE3.1 and the rest is as with any other distro.
A couple of things though:
1. The CD-RW and the printer are still giving me some difficulty to configure, but the luxury of the laptop is that it is a learning machine for me and I don't have anything mission critical on it yet until I can get these two items figured out. I don't know if I am the only one experiencing these config problems but if you are thinking about using Slack just shop around for input and feedback from others and get a sense of whether my experience is a rarity.
2. Slackware has a long tradition of purporting to be one of the most Unix-like systems of the Linux family. It also tends to stay out of the way of the user, meaning that the user had better be prepared to read widely, tinker with configuration files, and to learn, learn, learn. This, far from being a negative, is a positive aspect - that is, it is not a bug but a feature ;-) - if one has come to Linux Land to not only draw from the pool of great software developed with a community ethic in mind, but also to learn about computers and computing. If you have come to Linux as a cheaper alternative to MS or Mac and aren't really interested in what's under the hood, you might want to either get someone else to do the basic set up and configuration for you, which then will give you a rock-solid, secure and resource-friendly distribution, or go to another distro that does everything for a general user (which means it comes with a lot of bloat and without your own specific needs in mind).
All-in-all, Slackware 9.0 is easy to install, straight forward to use, responsive and a resource-friendly system. Yes, you will have to play around with it to make it your own and to configure some peripherals, so it would probably appeal more to the person who *does* want to see what lies beneath the hood of the machine and its OS rather than the home-user who just wants to get on with using the machine without thinking about how it works. Either way ... it is a great system, and I'd strongly encourage people to give it a try.
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: $39.00 | Rating: 8
Easy to install. Uses standard Unix paths. Full featured. Gives you the feel of running a 'Real OS'
I was looking for a distro which was as close to Unix as possible (i.e. one which adhered to directory paths and file naming conventions as much as possible) so I picked Slackware, and I'm glad I did.
The install went easily. It helped that I had a spare hard disk which was already partitioned for Linux. Partitioning under Slackware should not be a problem as long as you understand the concepts of partitions, but it will not be as easy as other distros (e.g. Redhat).
The slackware install recognized my video card and set up all modes automatically and never asked any questions about my video capabilities. I was able to launch KDE right after the install with no problems.
Modem installation was more problematic for me, but I can't blame Slackware for that... I'm using an ancient PCI modem card... and I can't say if it would have been easier on other distros.
Printer installation was not as easy as Red Hat, but it was still not a problem. After about a hour of fiddling, I had my printer (a Canon BJC-3000 bubblejet) up and running. Downside to this was that the documentation on the CD gives no clue on how to install a printer, but through Google and "Slackware for Dummies" I was soon up and printing.
A pleasant inclusion on the 4 CD distro was a bootable Slackware disk. No need for a boot diskette for this distro, as long as you can boot CD's. Using the CD, you can boot to Slackware as installed on the CD, and even run X without any configuration (in my experience) I used this boot CD to make a copy of my installation to another hard disc once I had it pretty much the way I liked.
The only real problem I've had was when I was not using the graphical log-in to KDE, and instead typed "startx" to launch KDE. Upon exiting KDE, the system went to the console, whereupon the console font was unusable and I could not see what I was doing on the command line. I am sure I could solve this problem, but I changed the system to use the graphical log-in and the problem became moot.
One other problem I encountered: I tried to use KWord to print a memo, but any printouts had the top of the page truncated. Rather than monkey with KWord, I downloaded Open Office, installed it with no problem, and the KWord problem "went away" ;)
I was expecting a bare-bones experience with this distro, but after a week of using it, I am very happy with it. It is full-featured, comes with Gnome and KDE, and feels very complete. It does everything I want, and I'm a slackware convert for life.
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10
.tgz is always the best! not to mention the others!
Personally I hate any packages that are not tgz format. RPM/DEB add nothing but headache. ;-)
Slack is always simple, fast, stable, easy to use and change. Needn't to repeat this
again and again. Use it, and you will know it.
If you do want to learn Linux, Slack is the best choice even for newbies. If you like the way M$ tells you through Windows, you should never try Linux - with RedHat/Mandrake/SuSE you study little about Linux, but Windows.
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: $39.95 | Rating: 10
appears to be closest linux distribution to unix, more updated and less automated than debian
After using SuSE 8.1 and Red Hat 8 for a few months, I wanted more control and less automatic configuring. I started using System V Unix (AIX) and wanted the closest thing to it, but Linux. In Slackware, I compiled my first kernel, learned how to configure X, set up startup files to my liking, and installed nVidia drivers. All of which I ran into problems in SuSE and Red Hat in some form or another.
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: $0.99 | Rating: 10
Easy install, fast, easy to use
Missing a few nice utils and some software
I currently have Slackware running on 4 computers, 3 of which are laptops. They all are running Slackware great--except for one that has a Winmodem, but you can't blame Slackware for that!
My first distro and my favorite. I've tried RH, SuSE, Debian, Mandrake, and others, but Slackware is still my favorite.
The setup is very nice, compared to that of Red Hat or SuSE. Settings up the GUI is no pain--and it teaches you how to use the keyboard! Believe me, it doesn't bite! It is useable for both a server (much more than RH) and also for the Linux desktop. My parents use 100% Open Source software in their business. OpenOffice, Mozilla/Galeon, and GnuCash.
The only thing that I dislike about it is how it doesn't come with some nice software, such as Open Office--which I had to download myself.
Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 8
Packaging system, installation, bundled software
I think Slack 9 is a wonderful OS as well. I have been using it on the desktop for about... umm... two months I suppose (the day the ISO's came out) and have loved it since then. Many distros such as RedHat make it hard to select which packages you wish to install, and even harder to uninstall (RH8 is a nightmare regarding this, there is no graphical or menu-based way to remove RPM software from what I could find). Slack's pkg_tool provides an extremely fast, clever way to add and remove software.
The things I thought could be improved in it are:
1) Automount should be enabled by default. This may be a security issue, but not much of one, and anyone looking to lock down a linux box should certainly know enough about the system to turn this off.
2) Graphical X configuration would be very nice. I have to say the RedHat people did a stellar job of this.
3) I hate having to recompile my kernel to support command-based iptables rules. I think every distro should have this compiled in the default install kernel, since it provides the ability to lock down a box very, very tightly (IE, only mozilla can make outbound port 80 connections, only XChat can make IRC connections, etc. etc.).
Other than those three things, the Slack team have done it again. A great OS, and a wonderful learning platform. If you want to learn Linux, or C / C++ / Java / any programming language besides C Flat or VB, get Slack.
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 8
makes you learn fast, makes linux addicting fast
could use a update utility for the newbies....?
I messed with mandrake 8.1 and Redhat 8 before downloading Slack 9.
My first imperssion was how great it was to have such a simple and fast installation....on just one CD!
I also learned quickly how to move around the terminal and really learn how linux worked.
Anyone who really wants to lean linux and is up for a challenge needs to cancel their Redhat downloads and head over to slackware.com.
I was tempeted to check out Mandrake 9.1 recently because of the scanner and printer support, but I figure I can figure it out on my own.
All I can say is that Slackware 9 has totally changed my views of linux itself.
Its simple, basic and fast. If you dont mind customizing an operating system yourself to do what you want, this is for you. Its gonna be a learning experience for sure.
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: $40.00 | Rating: 10
Slackware's simplicity is divine
Steep learning curve for the uninitiated
There is a saying:
"If you know Slackware you know Linux. If you know [insert distribution-name here] all you know is [insert distribution-name here]".
I think it sums it up what Slackware means to me. It was my first Linux distribution for real, and it will be my last.
In Slackware you don't depend on distribution specific tools, only on GNU tools. You DIY, the distro is yours completely. There are no strings attached. The programs are mostly original. It's the purest form of GNU/Linux you can get.
And yet, it is so easy! For beginners and advanced users alike. It is so simple, it is the easiest distro in the end.
The difference is that it won't "hold your hand" and do stuff for you. If you want to do something, you go on and do it yourself. It requires that the user *learn* Linux that way. But it doesn't make it hard for the beginner at all, just takes a while to get used to it. The only thing the user needs is a slight comprehension of english, as it is all well documented.
After all, it is much easier to work on something you understand than to use something that is obscure for you.
And for that matter, Slackware is "crystal clear".
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10
straightforward installation, easy to customise, not bloated (like distros such as Red Hat and Mandrake), good documentation
new users will need to read-up in order to tweak and configure (users not prepared to spend a bit of time reading should opt for a 'newbie' distro such as Red Hat or Mandrake)
Slackware is usually considered best suited to "experienced" or "advanced" Linux users - and a basic understanding of Linux is very helpful when configuring and tweaking the system and will certainly speed up the process but the documentation available, such as the Slackware online book (http://www.slackware.com/) does an excellent job of familiarising readers with Linux basics and Slackware installation and system maintenance (although some parts of 'the book' are slightly outdated). Slackware is easy to migrate to from a 'newbie' distro for someone who is eager to learn and has become familiar with a few Linux basics.
Slackware's installation procedure is the best I have seen of any major distribution. The distro itself comes on a single bootable CD (available for download as an ISO of around 650-700MB) and includes all the essentials of a modern desktop system - advanced GUIs such as KDE 3.1 and GNOME 2.2, the Mozilla 1.3 browser (Netscape is available too, if you prefer) and KOffice plus standard Linux components, the latest and greatest libraries and shared components and a whole host of networking and development tools. The 'setup' program allows the user to select from a series of sets of packages to install (including everything from D (development) to Y (games)) and allows the user to closely control which non-essential bits and pieces are installed via the 'newbie' option (which is a significant step towards reducing bloat). Individual package selection would probably be a bit daunting for a complete Linux newbie as some of the packages have somewhat cryptic names and the accompanying descriptions aren't always as helpful as they could be but there's always the option of a 'full' install for those who don't fear bloat (or would like to use the excellent removepkg tool to uninstall unnecessary software once they have a working install and have more idea of what they actually need). A 'full' install will use around 2GB of disk space whilst a carefully-controlled 'newbie' install could fit everything a desktop system needs into around 1GB of disk space (including X, KDE, KOffice, CD writing tools, image manipulation software etc). It's worth bearing in mind that a basic understanding of disk partitioning and Linux partitions is essential before beginning installation because Slackware won't suggest a partitioning scheme like 'newbie' distros tend to (so the user must have some idea of how much space to assign to /, how much swap space they're likely to need, whether or not they need a separate partition for /usr/local and what terms such as hda1 and hdb5 mean). However, with basic knowledge of disk partitioning and Linux partitioning schemes the partitioning process is a breeze using the menu-based cfdisk utility, which is considerably easy to use than, for example, MS-DOS fdisk.
Slackware's setup program also does an excellent of job detecting hardware and I have yet to have the setup program fail to recognise and correctly initialise any hardware on my desktop system or my laptop.
The main advantage Slackware has over distros such as Red Hat and Mandrake is that it puts the user firmly in control. I find installing recent versions of Red Hat incredibly frustrating because the installation program will try to handle all sorts of settings without even offering the user the opportunity to have any input - and subsequently a new install of Red Hat results in a system which is bloated, memory-intensive and for which it is unclear what has and has not been configured, short of searching through config files and looking at the contents of directories. Whilst Slackware avoids automatically setting up XFree during the installation procedure, XFree configuration is very straightforward using 'xf86config'. Slackware's 'netconfig' tool means users don't even have to touch config files in order to set-up basic networking (such as connecting to the Internet using an ethernet card or a modem).
Packaging is handled by the simple but effective pkgtool program. Installing new software can be as easy as visiting http://www.linuxpackages.net/, selecting a package and using installpkg. However, one of Slackware's key advantages is that with the help of a brilliant tool called CheckInstall (http://asic-linux.com.mx/~izto/checkinstall/) users can compile from source and at the same time enjoy the benefits of a packaging system such as rpm or apt (i.e. programs compiled from source can easily be upgraded or completely removed).
Slackware offers users choice and control - a powerful, yet easy to configure and straightforward to use, operating system which is as brilliant on a desktop machine as it is on a server. Slackware 9.0 includes all the software and tools you'd expect from a modern desktop or server OS and the configurable installation procedure means Slackware 9.0 works equally well as a basic server on a 486 with 16MB RAM, occupying only 100-200MB disk space, as it does on a modern desktop system with a modern AMD or Intel processor and 256MB-1GB RAM and a user who enjoys listening to MP3s, burning CDs, playing games and browsing the Internet. Complete 'newbies' should definately do some background reading before attempting to install Slackware but more experienced users or those who are considering moving on from Red Hat or Mandrake (having picked up "the basics") can probably get started with Slackware right away. Slackware 9.0 is a brilliant distro and I highly recommend it to users of all levels of experience for everything from a powerful all-in-one server system and firewall to a modern multimedia desktop entertainment system - and everything in-between.
'Newbies' shouldn't let talk of Slackware being for "advanced" users put them off giving it a go because they'll soon find that once they start to read about Slack and begin tweaking and maintaining their own Slack system they'll quickly reach that "advanced" level.
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: $39.00 | Rating: 8
KDE errors, different versions of 9.0
I appreciate Slackware 9.0 a lot - I am finally using the command line for Linux configuration - I feel that I have learned much more about Linux from Slack than any other distro I've used to date. I have kept Slack 9 as my current and now my longest installed distribution, pushing 5 months on the box.
I've installed and used many distros over the last 3 years:
Slackware 8.0 and 9.0; ArchLinux 0.2-0.4; RedHat 4.0, 5.0, 6.0, 7.1; Mandrake 7.1, 8.0 - 8.2, 9.0; Peanut 9.2, 9.3; Debian 3.0.0, Icepack 2.0.
I feel that I can safely say that this was the most enjoyable installation I've ever experienced. Not 'simplest', most enjoyable. I personally appreciate all the questions which Slackware presented during install and configuration. Other installations may ask the same questions, but Slack seemed to be more informative when it presented a choice. Mandrake, in expert mode installation, forced far too much on me, making everything a complex task, and Mandrake still forced my hand during expert mode, which is where people claim Mandrake offers the most user flexibility. Slackware allowed me to get more infor at the point of decision - I liked that.
The runtime experience was also appropriate to my expectations, in that I had to edit xinit to specify the window manager; this is important to me because I also had to choose a window manager in other distros, but for a few of the distros I tried, if I did not like the window manager I chose, tough beans, bucko, search for the docs for the answer - it was a one shot choice. I appreciate that I now know how to change my window manager ... all it took was some forethough from the group that developed the installation routine, and now I have been taught.
I also liked the fact that the developers included the "Slackware Linux Essentials" book with the distribution, I strongly urge you to use it and you will gain important configuration skills which are very easy to learn from this book.
The down sides, in no particular order:
The "Slackware Linux Essentials" book pertains to Slackware 8.0, minor differences versus 9.0, but the traditional trend is to forget to update the docs... yet again, and here as well.
KDE 3.1 in Slack 9 was compiled to an incorrect version of Qt, so when you use an application, some windows will close themselves after you had opened that window a first time. Quit the application, and relaunch, same issue, but the first try lets you in as expected. (I entered KDE bug 57370)
I also discovered that the installed 'download' version is a bit different from the installed 'retail' version. That is not a surprise to some folks, but the details are mundane, so I will simply remark about the difference existing.
Finally I learned that, if you during the installation tell the installer about mounting an existing partition and assign that partition as /home, then, after rebooting into the installed OS, the /home directory will only have root owner and access permissions. The point is that root permissions on /home will refuse access to your user, whose home is owned by root!
Despite all of the above, I was patient and I kept the mindframe that I could fix the issue with the information at hand.