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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.
Well folks, it's that time to announce a new stable Slackware release
again. So, without further ado, announcing Slackware version 12.0!
Since we've moved to supporting the 2.6 kernel series exclusively (and
fine-tuned the system to get the most out of it), we feel that Slackware
12.0 has many improvements over our last release (Slackware 11.0) and is a
must-have upgrade for any Slackware user.
This first Slackware edition of the year combines Slackware's legendary
simplicity (and close tracking of original sources), stability, and
security with some of the latest advances in Linux technology. Expect no
less than the best Slackware yet.
Among the many program updates and distribution enhancements, you'll find
two of the most advanced desktop environments available today: Xfce 4.4.1,
a fast and lightweight but visually appealing and easy to use desktop
environment, and KDE 3.5.7, the latest version of the award-winning K
Desktop Environment. We have added to Slackware support for HAL (the
Hardware Abstraction Layer) which allows the system administrator to add
users to the cdrom and plugdev groups. Then they will be able to use items
such as USB flash sticks, USB cameras that appear like USB storage,
portable hard drives, CD and DVD media, MP3 players, and more, all without
requiring sudo, the mount or umount command. Just plug and play.
Properly set up, Slackware's desktop should be suitable for any level of
Slackware uses the 126.96.36.199 kernel bringing you advanced performance
features such as journaling filesystems, SCSI and ATA RAID volume support,
SATA support, Software RAID, LVM (the Logical Volume Manager, and
encrypted filesystems. Kernel support for X DRI (the Direct Rendering
Interface) brings high-speed hardware accelerated 3D graphics to Linux.
We have switched from the older one-piece X11 Window System to the newest
modular X11 from X.Org, which should be simpler to maintain and will
likely speed up development of new features for X (such as translucent
windows and a few other things that are on the horizon).
There are two kinds of kernels in Slackware -- the huge kernels, which
contain support for just about every driver in the Linux kernel. These are
primarily intended to be used for installation, but there's no real reason
that you couldn't continue to run them after you have installed. The
other type of kernel is the generic kernel, in which nearly every driver
is built as a module. To use a generic kernel you'll need to build an
initrd to load your filesystem module and possibly your drive controller
or other drivers needed at boot time, configure LILO to load the initrd at
boot, and reinstall LILO. See the docs in /boot after installing for more
information. Slackware's Linux kernels come in both SMP and non-SMP types
now. The SMP kernel supports multiple processors, multi-core CPUs,
HyperThreading, and about every other optimization available. In our own
testing this kernel has proven to be fast, stable, and reliable. We
recommend using the SMP kernel even on single processor machines if it
will run on them.
From the beginning, Slackware has offered a stable and secure Linux
distribution for UNIX veterans as well as an easy-to-use system for
beginners. Slackware includes everything you'll need to run a powerful
server or workstation. Each Slackware package follows the setup and
installation instructions from its author(s) as closely as possible,
offering you the most stable and easily expandable setup.
Here are some of the advanced features of Slackware 12.0:
- Runs the 188.8.131.52 version of the Linux kernel from ftp.kernel.org.
Also included is a kernel patched with Speakup to support speech
synthesizers providing access to Linux for the visually impaired
community. The 2.6.x kernel series has matured into a stable
kernel, and provides reliable performance for your desktop or
your production server.
- System binaries are linked with the GNU C Library, version 2.5.
This version of glibc also has excellent compatibility with
- X11 7.2.0. This is the X.Org Foundation's modular X Window System.
You will notice many more X package than before, and it's probably
best to install them all. There's been much activity in the X
development world, and the improvements here in terms of performance
and hardware support are sure to be only the beginning.
- Installs gcc-4.1.2 as the default C, C++, Objective-C,
Fortran-77/95, and Ada 95 compiler.
- Support for fully encrypted network connections with OpenSSL,
OpenSSH, OpenVPN, and GnuPG.
- Apache (httpd) 2.2.4 web server with Dynamic Shared Object
support, SSL, and PHP 5.2.3.
- PCMCIA, CardBus, USB, IEE1394 (FireWire) and ACPI support. This
makes Slackware a great operating system for your laptop.
- The udev dynamic device management system for Linux 2.6.x.
This locates and configures most hardware automatically as it
is added (or removed) from the system, and creates the access
nodes in /dev. It also loads the kernel modules required by
sound cards and other hardware at boot time.
- New development tools, including Perl 5.8.8, Python 2.5.1,
Ruby 1.8.6, Subversion 1.4.4, git-184.108.40.206, mercurial-0.9.4,
graphical tools like Qt designer and KDevelop, and much more.
- Updated versions of the Slackware package management tools make it
easy to add, remove, upgrade, and make your own Slackware packages.
Package tracking makes it easy to upgrade from Slackware 11.0 to
Slackware 12.0 (see CHANGES_AND_HINTS.TXT). The slackpkg tool in
/extra can also help update from an older version of Slackware to
a newer one, and keep your Slackware system up to date. In
addition, the slacktrack utility (in extra/) will help you build
and maintain your own packages.
- Web browsers galore! Includes KDE's Konqueror 3.5.7,
SeaMonkey 1.1.2 (this is the replacement for the Mozilla
Suite), and the immensely popular Firefox 220.127.116.11, as well as
the Thunderbird 18.104.22.168 email and news client with advanced
junk mail filtering.
- The complete K Desktop Environment (KDE) version 3.5.7, including
the KOffice productivity suite, networking tools, GUI development
with KDevelop, multimedia tools (including the amazing Amarok
music player), the Konqueror web browser and file manager, dozens
of games and utilities, international language support, and more.
- A collection of GTK+ based applications including pidgin-2.0.2,
gimp-2.2.15, gkrellm-2.2.10, gxine-0.5.11, xchat-2.8.2, xsane-0.994,
- Large repository of extra software packages compiled and ready to
run. This includes various window managers, the Java(TM) 2 Software
Development Kit Standard Edition, libsafe (buffer overflow protection
for additional security), ISDN support, additional 802.11 drivers,
and much more (see the /extra directory).
- Many more improved and upgraded packages than we can list here. For
a complete list of core packages in Slackware 12.0, see this file:
We will be setting up BitTorrent downloads for the official ISO images.
Stay tuned to http://slackware.com for the latest updates.
Instructions for burning the Slackware tree onto install discs may be
found in the isolinux directory.
Purchasing Slackware on CD-ROM:
Or, please consider purchasing the Slackware Linux 12.0 six CD-ROM set
directly from Slackware Linux, and you'll be helping to support the
continued development of Slackware Linux! :-)
This is the official release of Slackware on CD-ROM, and has many enhanced
- Easy bootable CD-ROM installation. If your machine can boot a
CD-ROM, just boot the first disc to begin the installation process.
- The source code used to build Slackware Linux 12.0.
The price for the Slackware Linux CD-ROM set is $49.95 plus shipping.
Slackware 12.0 is also available on a single DVD for $59.95 plus shipping.
Slackware Linux is also available by subscription. When we release a new
version of Slackware (which is normally once or twice a year) we ship it
to you and bill your credit card $32.95 plus shipping. Shipping is $5 in
the USA, Canada, and Mexico for First Class. Overseas is $9 PER ORDER.
There is an additional $3 COD charge (USA Only). UPS Blue Label (2nd day)
[USA Only] is $10 PER ORDER, UPS Red Label (next day) [USA Only] is $15
Before ordering express shipping, you may wish to check that we have the
product in stock. We make releases to the net at the same time as disc
production begins, so there is a lag between the online release and the
shipping of media. But, even if you download now you can still buy the
official media later. You'll feel good, be helping the project, and have
a great decorative item perfect for any computer room shelf. :-)
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9
Linux 2.6.x, gcc 4.x.x, XFCE 4.1.1 (big advancements), very easy to install, works with old config files for the most part,
no choice to NOT install kernel, sometimes have to recompile kernel to get modules to load initially, NO MORE pthread REFERENCE IN info:libc OR manpages!, modular XOrg?, poor explanation of setting up speech<->text (not that I need it), Quanta still
Slackware is by far my favorite distro. Even though I have the occasional problems, I just can't deal with distros that try to use wizardry to "help you out". A very fundamental rule with Slackware, since it doesn't provide the nice tools like RedHat, etc. do for configuration is to AVOID KDE GUI-BASED CONFIG TOOLS! That isn't a Slackware caution; it applies to anything. Bugs have been known to sever hard links or delete things such as /etc/passwd.<br><br>I upgraded, in a sense, from 11.0 on my Compaq laptop by starting the install CD and running pkgtool to remove the old packages. To do this I had to mount all of my old partitions first. I left them mounted to run setup, but still had to provide a root partition to the program. This was not a problem, though, as it installed in the correct locations and let me pass up the opportunity to overwrite fstab. It didn't insist on overwriting anything else in /etc, and in fact left my /etc/rc.d/rc.local fully intact! It did not give me the option to skip kernel install, though, which upset me a little. I don't run lilo from my main installation; I run it from a bare "fix things when they break" text-only installation on the same machine. It's much safer that way, so do it! For some reason modules would not load after installation! I had to rebuild the kernel, which I have no problem doing since I've done it countless times and there are some great new kernel features.<br><br>KDE is pretty much the same as in 11.0. XFCE, however, has come a long way. It's on its way up toward the top, I think. It handles transparency A LOT better than KDE does, and even gives "you are root" banners when using as root. Yes, I run X as root sometimes. Don't tell anyone! The fish protocol is really the best reason to use KDE I think.<br><br>12.0 comes with a few more web browsers, but they are based on Mozilla/Netscape, so they aren't REALLY different. I do seem to have less X fonts, for some reason.<br><br>GCC seems more strict than that provided with 11.0. I seem to be getting a few errors/warnings I wasn't before, which is good (not by virtue, but because of what they say.) GCC is quite an impressive product to be getting for free.<br><br>I don't develop with KDevelop. I like to use Kate, Konqueror with one tab in Cervisa and one normal view with a terminal emulator at the bottom. This works extremely well, so I don't ever need KDevelop. That means I have no opinion of new vs. old. I can't seem to get Quanta to work, though, which is a step back from 11.0. I even deleted the config folder for it in my profile, but it still can't load my doc! I think it's the doc tree that does it.<br><br>I don't know Patrick's feelings on the politics of OpenOffice, but I really wish Slackware would come with it! I find KOffice almost unusable at times, especially KSpread with extensive calculations. And what about Gnome? Yes, yes, it is too difficult to maintain. Understandable. I think one would find this with KDE, too, if one were to pay attention to holes in the default state of KDevelop, though.<br><br>For some reason the libc infopages don't have pthread references anymore, and I don't have manpages for the functions. This might seem trivial to someone who doesn't write software, but for me this is HUGE! The previous docs were amazingly helpful. Chances are libc docs were generated without linuxthreads, but pthreads proper seem to still be there. Maybe the "portable" threads have replaced them and there is still back-comp linkage for pthreads? No depricated warnings. Hmmm...<br><br>A lot of formal reviews of Slackware detract from it's rating because it apparently doesn't have a large software selection included. This is VERY incorrect! In fact, some of the most useful tools are not found in KDE menus (pretty much only KDE and aesthetic X programs are,) but are hidden within bin directories. Take a look at the manpages in the help center or KPackage! Slackware has loads of useful command line tools and even some amazing X programs not found in the menus (such as XFig, which seems primative at first glance, but can take on nearly all "fancy" looking diagram tools.)<br><br>Something Slackware seems to be improving on is default support of alternative file systems. With Slackware 10.0, you pretty much had to load a module from a flash drive to install on an XFS partition. With 11.0 I had to do the same for JFS. Now I don't need to prebuild any modules.<br><br>It's nice to finally have a 2.6.x kernel and udev enabled by default. I've used encrypted file systems since 10.0 and with 12.0 I don't have to upgrade anything just to get to my partitions. With udev rules and a few scripts, I'm able to have many encrypted loopbacks that automount when I attach a flash drive with the encryption keys.<br><br>A lot of what I mention seems like basic functionality, but Slackware makes it very easy for an experienced Linuxer to do what they need to do. No fancy config tools and a well thought out configuration layout. Nothing says "Slackware would like to help you" or "Please wait while Slackware scans your computer for your convenience". I don't want any of that crap!<br><br>For newbies out there, Slackware is a great way to learn Linux. What makes Windows break (among other things) is it's covert manipulation of configuration with pretty little messages; the same goes for improperly-designed Linux tools. Slackware makes you get into the weeds and ask questions, and when you finally figure it out you can do it on any system, and eventually you will be irritated at how a lot of distros make you feel just as stupid after a year as you do on the first day. Slackware is a great investment of your time, and though you have to edit config files by hand, it builds character, and that's really what protects your system from you. If you are scared to edit a config file, you should be! GUI tools don't give you that fear of messing it up, so that's what you end up doing.<br><br>All of my complaints aside, Slackware is a very secure and stable system, which cannot be tangibly explained in a review. That's the main reason I use it.<br><br>This has gone on long enough. Download Slackware 12.0 and be happy. Don't believe their site when it says "ISOs on torrent only"; just search for "Slackware 12.0 ISO" and you will find a fast download somewhere.<br><br>One more thing! The latest version of GTK+! If you've ever tried to upgrade GTK+, you know that it's quite possibly the biggest ass-pain of an upgrade you will ever attempt, asside from building KDE or XOrg 7.x from source.
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10
Consistency, ease of use, ease of administration
Version 12.0 continues the philosophy of Slackware, which is based on consistency. There's no other distribution outthere that can be upgraded without any hassle over so many years. And: You can still use your admin knowledge with version 9.x in 12.0. That's conservative in the best sense, as technologically there are lots of big changes in this release. I really appreciate the way HAL, D-BUS and KDE collaborate.
Slackware 12.0 is the best Slackware ever, which means damn good. Because Pat V. and his team achieved the impossible: Slackware is now up-to-date, regarding end-user experience, while it still keeps things simple and pure for system administrators and software developers. It's now possible to use USB sticks and drives without issuing mount commands on the CLI, just like in "modern" distros. For people with lots of removable storage media this really eases some pains.
With the latest advances Slackware 12.0 can now be recommended as a distribution for Linux users with little experience. At the same time it's what it always was: A top-notch distro for admins and developers. This hasn't been spoiled a bit with the new release.
And the extended collection of software means that one can get a job just done, because the tools that needed to be downloaded, installed and configured before, are now part of the system. The packages included with version 12.0 resemble end-users demand, more than ever.
One key feature of Slackware always was to avoid vendor specific patches as far as possible. And that means, that Slackware Linux is probably the purest of all distributions. Practical advantage: Everything that runs on Linux can run on Slackware Linux.
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10
Stable, Fast. HAL
THe HP Printer install program. No Gnome..
Works on all computers I have tried it on. I miss Gnome but thats fairly easy to get with Garnome or such installers.
THE HP packages that is to make it easier to install HP printers is a mess, but it's a mess no matter what distro it's in, not specific for SLW12.
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: $49.95 | Rating: 10
100% pure Linux OS. Stable. Fast. Simple. No blah blah.
Well... If i'll find one, then i'll tell ya.
Here's a way to have a PC fully powered. Even an old one. No bad surprise. No bullshit. Good reactivity of updates. No 140 cd's set you'll never use. I like the poor graphisms during installation because they introduce no bug. The configuration tools (net, packages...) are quick. On the Slackware site, you have The book, from which you can learn Linux really fast. The packages system is strong. No dependencies headaches. Slack leads you from newbie to expert.
I've learned more slackin' 6 monthes than 10 years of others OS (including other Linuxes). Well, please stop reading and just go for it.
P.S.: Thanx to people who makes Slackware.
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10
very well equipped, but no clutter, excellent base for own builds
Well, I'm a Slackware die-hard in any case since the early 90ies, but this is really one oft the best Slackwares so far.
This time, I judge from a different point of view, because I started to play around with graphic software of any kind while waiting for Slackware 12.
Slack 12 is very well prepared for everything you might want to have: Gimp pre 2.4, Inkscape from SVN (pre 0.46), synfig, Cinelerra - you name it, Slack 12 is ready for it, compiles it or even got ready to install packages on slacky.eu or elsewhere.
The Italians over at slacky.eu offer a recent non-intrusive Gnome for Slack 12 ("GSlacky") which makes this Slackware to a visually pleasing experience Linux hasn't offered so far. (Boy, do I LOVE to sell Slackware.. :)
Compiz fusion and emerald worked out of the box swareted from slacky.eu (based on AIGLX), a new XGL from CVS compiled childlike with closed eyes and despite all this it is still a lean, nice Slackware.
A Unicode environment is no problem either; the scim input method can be easily installed afterwards - the right fonts are already included and with a few environment variables (which I didn't change since .. 2005) all is up and running.
I really love Slackware especially for the reason that things JUST compile: pre-4 KDE from source? Yes. Garnome? Yes. My Perl 6 stuff? Yes.
If this is plain vanilla Linux, then I don't need triple brownie chocolate chunk cookie dough belgian truffle Linuxes. :)