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This tutorial should work just fine for every version of Slackware. I've tested most of it on 3.6 but I really doubt anyone is using a version that old. For Slackware 7.X and 8.X and 9.0, you won't be using the second CD I speak of, so just skip that part of it, and continue when the screen you are looking at comes up, as setting it up is the same.
For users of 9.1 and 10.0, do not skip the CD two section, as both 9.1 and 10.0 have two disks.
Slackware Linux has a reputation for being hard to install. I disagree with this, as I have installed Slackware about 20 times now, and I have yet to use a book or manual, yet I'm writing this. I think what catches most people off guard is the fact that the Slackware installation is in text.
There is no GUI in the install, and most people have never done it before.
Free BSD and Debian Linux are also text based installs. Don't let this stop you though, just because it is text does not mean it is hard.
In this tutorial, I will be assuming a few things:
-First, I will NOT be partitioning so that Windows will be on the same disk. The install makes you partition for Slackware anyway, so if you can do this, you should be able to partition a Windows PC without any problems.
Just create a partition for Slackware, and don't touch the Windows partition when you go to install and partition for Slackware and you should be fine, assuming you update lilo properly to list Windows.
-I will assume you will be using the PC for Slackware Linux only.
-I will also assume that you can boot from a CD-ROM drive. If you cannot boot from a CD-ROM, then you can make boot floppies and install that way. Or, just get into your BIOS, and tell the computer to check the CD-ROM for booting BEFORE the Hard Disk.
Getting into the BIOS can be a bit odd, but not hard. On each machine it is different. Usually pressing F1 on a Compaq machine will do it, but check your computer manual for how to do it.
Insert the Slackware Linux CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive of the machine you are installing on and turn it off. Wait a few seconds and then turn the machine on. You will see some text coming up and asking you to type something at at a little prompt that looks like this:
Most people can safely ignore this and just hit ENTER on your keyboard. After this point you will see various lines of text scrolling and then you will come to a prompt asking for you to enter a keyboard map.
If you are using a US keyboard, just ignore this and hit enter. If you need to enter another keyboard map, or want a real challenge, press the 1 key on your number pad and hit ENTER.
After that screen you come to another prompt asking you to log in as root. Just type root and press enter. The root password is a random string of numbers and letters during the install. After logging in as root, you come to a command line.
Most people at this point are probably thinking "OK, now what? It's not doing anything".
Partitioning made easy with CFDISK :
Well, at this prompt, type 'cfdisk' and hit the ENTER key.
After you are in cfdisk you will see all partitions on your HD. Use the left and right arrow keys to select options at the bottom of the screen, and the up and down arrow keys to select partitions.
If you have only one partition on the disk, hit the left arrow key, then hit enter to delete it. If you have two partitions, do the same and then hit the down arrow key to select the second partition, hit the right arrow key so highlight delete, and hit the ENTER key.
You should now have nothing but free space showing. Hit the right arrow key and press enter to create a new partition. Press the right arrow key again and select Logical and press enter. This is going to be your swap space, so enter in how many MB you want it too be.
The box I am installing on has 384 MB of RAM and I am making a swap space 1001 MB in size. After you type in how many MB you want, press enter. You should now see another option asking for "Beginning End Cancel?" It auto highlights on "Beginning" and that is what we want. So just hit enter. Putting swap at the beginning of your HD is good because it's usually the faster part of the HD, and therefore makes a good swap space.
After you hit enter, you should be back at where we started partitioning. Press the down arrow key and select the free space. Hit the right arrow key and press enter to create a new partition. This time, we are going to select Primary as the option. It also preselects this option so just press enter.
For size in MB I am going to just press enter because it lists how many MB you have left on the disk by default. Now you are back at the same screen again. By using the up and down arrow keys, highlight the logical partition we made first, and then hit the right arrow key until "Type" is highlighted. It is about 6 times you hit the arrow key until you get to the option "Type".
After you have it highlighted, press enter. Press any key and it should say "Enter file system type" and it has 82 listed already, so press enter here. 82 is the swap space file system type. You are now returned to the menu again. Press the down arrow key and highlight the other partition. The one that is NOT listed as swap is what we want to highlight.
After you have highlighted the non swap partition, press the right arrow key 6 times. You should have "Type" highlighted again. Press enter when you have highlighted "Type" at the bottom of the screen.
You are now back at the screen saying press a key to continue. Press a key. Now for this part, you are NOT going to use 82 as the file system type. Type "83" as the file system type and press "Enter".
You are now back at the main cfdisk screen again. Press "Enter" again to make the Linux partition bootable.
You see Boot appear near it.
Now, press the right arrow key 8 times to highlight "Write" on the bottom of the screen and press enter.
The computer will beep at you, letting you know it is writing the information to the disk.
Now, type "Yes" exactly as I did. You have to type yes, not "y" but a full "yes" or it will tell you no.
After pressing enter it will beep as it writes all of this to the partition table of your HD. Then it will beep again when it is done.
Now you should be back at the cfdisk main screen again. Press the right arrow key 5 times to highlight "Quit" and press enter.
Starting the Slackware installation with Setup :
You are now back at a command prompt. You should see:
At this command prompt, type "setup" and hit the enter key.
Your screen gets as graphical as it is going to get during this install.
You see numerous options.
Press the down arrow key 2 times to highlight add swap and press enter.
You come to another screen with more options. It will say Slackware has detected a swap partition:
It will ask if you want to install this as your swap partition. Press enter as it is already highlighted on "Yes".
It formats the swap partition and checks for bad blocks. Go get yourself some coffee as this will take a few minutes even on fast systems.
After it finishes, it goes to the next screen saying your swap has been configured. Press "Enter".
Now you're at another screen. You see your Linux partition we made in the cfdisk program. Press enter on this screen to Select it.
After pressing enter, you are taken to a screen with a few options. Using the up and down arrow keys will navigate you through all of this. You can just press enter here and do a quick format, or you can select "Check" and allow it to check the entire disk for bad blocks.
Do NOT select No.
Choose whatever you want here. If you're in a hurry, select format. If you have time to kill and or want your disk checked for bad blocks, select "Check". After selecting which option you want to go with, press "Enter" to actually select them. After you choose which option you are going with, you see another screen asking for the file system to use.
Choosing a File System to use with your Slackware Linux installation :
If you're an old school user you will probably be choosing ext2, if you are like me, you will be choosing either ext3 or reiserfs because I like my file system to be a journaling file system.
The main differences in these 3 file systems are:
Ext2: An old file system that has been around for quite a while. Ext2 became less important as journaling file systems came to be. Journaling file systems allow fast recovery, Ext2 does not. But, Ext2 has been around for a number of years, and has undergone a lot of tests and improvements, making it fairly stable and reliable. Also, Ext2 allows easy upgrading to Ext3.
Ext3: Ext3 file system was based on Ext2, so a lot of things have carried over. Ext3 however is a journaling file system, so it allows fast recovery and so on. Ext3 is a good file system with good performance.
ReiserFS: ReiserFS was available as a kernel patch for SuSE Linux users using the 2.2.x kernel. ReiserFS offers better disk utilization, better disk performance, and fast crash recovery.
A word of warning about Journaling File Systems:
They WILL sometimes take a bit longer moving and writing files. Not something you'll really notice though unless you use some type of File System test tool, but the small amount of performance is really not something you'll notice, and is only there because it writes to a "Journal" every time something happens, so that if you do for some reason have a crash, you'll be able to recover easily without much of a problem, because a journal of the entire thing is already on disk.
Of course there is more to it than I mentioned here, because this tutorial is not about Linux File Systems, it's about installing one of the best distributions in existence. For more information, just look on the Slackware web page, or do a google for "File Systems" and learn more.
I selected ReiserFS here. After you select and press enter, it formats the file system, and then takes you to another screen. Just press enter here. It is just a page saying it added this to /etc/fstab.
Choosing the installation media :
Now you select where to install Slackware from. Since I am using a CD-ROM, I press enter with the number 1 highlighted.
After pressing enter, you come to another screen. Just press enter with "Auto" selected. You come to another screen where it scans for the Slackware install media. After this, you are taken to a screen to select software you want to install.
Selecting the packages you want to install :
Use the up and down arrow keys to move around, and press "SPACEBAR" to select or unselect options. Most of the preselected options should be left alone as some are system files you need.
After you have selected what you want there, press enter.
You are taken to a new screen where you can select what you want here. If you want everything, press enter. This will install everything and is fairly easy to finish up with.
I am selecting expert.
After selecting expert, you are taken to another screen that allows you to select individual packages.
Using the up and down arrow keys again, select the software you would like to install, using the "SPACEBAR" key to select and deselect software. Again, most of the pre selected things should be left alone.
Some things, like PCMCIA, may be unselected, as I am not installing this on a laptop. After you have selected the software you want, press "Enter". After you have pressed "Enter", you are taken to another similar screen to select more software.
Select whatever you want too add in this category of software and press enter. After you press enter, you are brought to yet another screen of software selection. After you have selected the software you want in this screen, press enter.
After pressing enter, you are brought to a smaller screen to select some versions of Emacs. Besides the ones already selected, I recommend you select "Emacs-nox". This will allow you to run Emacs without having X loaded.
After you have selected what you want here, press enter.
After pressing enter, you are brought to an even smaller selection screen. These are help documents, just press enter as they are useful and should be kept.
After pressing enter, you are brought to an even smaller selection screen. This allows you to select the Linux source. You probably should leave this here too unless you are installing on an incredibly small HD.
Press enter when finished with this screen. After pressing enter, you are brought to a bigger software selection screen. These are libraries and should be left alone. Press enter.
After pressing enter you are brought to a similar screen to select networking programs. I recommend selecting fetch-mail so you can check your email without loading X, and Nmap.
After you have selected what you want in here, press enter.
After pressing enter, you are brought to another screen for software selection. Unless you are a publisher, I don't think you'll need to select much here, just press enter.
After pressing enter, you are brought to another software selection screen. Most of this you won't need to add much here either. So you can safely leave this screen alone and press enter.
After pressing enter, you are brought to another software selection screen. This is for Xfree86. Don't unselect any of this unless you don't plan in running X at all.
After you have finished with this screen, press enter. After pressing enter, you are brought to another screen for more software.
These are X applications. If you are not going to use a GUI, you won't need any of this, but most people will probably want a GUI, so don't deselect any of this unless you are not running X.
After you have made your selections, press enter so you can see the next screen of selection. Just press enter unless you are tight on disk size.
If you have a little disk, you don't NEED these, so you can deselect it =)
After pressing enter, you can stop selecting packages while the ones we just spent the last few minutes selecting are installed.
During this time, feel free to get coffee as it can take a while. Or you could wire money to me. Or you could visit http://www.slackware.com from another machine, and start reading up on your new Operating system.
CD-ROM 2 :
Remember, if you're installing an older version of Slackware Linux, you won't be putting another CD-ROM in, so just skip this section of the installation tutorial, and wait until you see the screen you're at in this tutorial, and continue normally.
After a while your CD-ROM drive will open and ask for the second CD-ROM. Slackware 9.1 was the first Slackware to have 2 CD-ROMs. So grab the second CD-ROM and stick it in.
After you have stuck the second CD-ROM in, press enter.
Installing more packages with CD-ROM 2 :
After pressing enter you are brought to another software selection screen. After selecting the GNOME packages you want, press enter so you can select software for KDE.
After selecting those packages, press enter again. After pressing enter, the software you just selected will be installed.
Installing the Kernel :
After they install, you are taken to a new screen to install the Linux kernel. If you installed like I did with a CD-ROM, just select CD-ROM, which should already be selected, and press enter.
If you used a boot disk, select that.
After pressing enter, you are taken to another page to choose the kernel. The one that is already selected, /cdrom/kernels/bare.I/bzImage, should be fine, so just press enter. After you press enter, it installs the kernel and then takes you to another screen.
Making a boot disk :
If you want to make a boot disk, press enter. If you don't, press the down arrow key and then press the right arrow key to select skip this, and then press enter.
After pressing enter, you select your modem. I don't have a modem installed on this computer because it is hooked up to my LAN using a NIC. So for this screen, I will be selecting no modem.
If you have a modem, select it. After you press enter, you are taken to a screen to enable hot plugging. Yes is already selected, so just press enter.
After you press enter, you are taken to a screen where you select how to install LILO. Simple is already selected here, and this usually works fine, so just press enter.
After you press enter, you are taken to a screen where the console settings are chosen. For this, I am selecting 1024x768x256. This should work fine on most machines, but if you are installing on older hardware, select the one at the top named standard.
After selecting one, press enter. You are then taken to another screen to pass parameters to the kernel. You usually won't need this so just press enter.
After pressing enter, you select where to install LILO. If you are dual booting, or using a boot manager, select Root, if you want to have to use a floppy for extra physical security, select floppy, if you are like me and not doing any of that, select MBR by pressing the down arrow key 2 times, and then pressing enter.
After pressing enter, you are taken to a screen to select a mouse.
Select your mouse and press enter.
After selecting a mouse, you are taken to another screen. Just press enter here as this can be a useful feature.
Configuring the Network connection :
After pressing enter, you are taken to a screen to configure your network. If you have DSL or Cable, you probably want to do this now. If you have dial up, you probably won't need this.
Select yes or no and press enter. If you selected yes to configure the net, you are taken to a screen for a host name. Unless you're installing this on a server or something where a lot of people will be accessing the machine, you can just make something up. If you are installing on a server, enter the hostname.
After entering a host name, press enter. After pressing enter, you enter the domain name. Again, you can pretty much make up whatever you want here. Unless of course you are installing on a server as said before.
If you are installing on a server, enter the required information, and press enter. After you press enter, you are taken to a screen where you can set up how you get an IP. Since I have a LAN, I select DHCP. After you make your selection, press enter.
After pressing enter, you come to another screen asking for networking information. You can just press enter here usually, unless your ISP needs more information. After pressing enter, you will be shown your networking information. If it looks good, press enter, if it doesn't, press the right arrow key to highlight "No", and press enter.
If you selected "No", you will be taken back through the networking set up. If you selected yes, you are taken to an area where you select what services to run. Unless people need to access your machine remotely, deselect SSHd at the very bottom. Sendmail is OK though. That way you can send mail from a command line.
After selecting what services to run, press enter. After pressing enter, you are asked if you would like to try custom screen fonts. "No" is already preselected, so press enter, unless you really want to try screen fonts out
After pressing enter, you are taken to another screen. Unless you are sure, press enter. "No" is already highlighted here, and is a safe option.
Setting up your Time Zone :
You are now taken to a screen to select your time zone. I live in Michigan, so I am going to select "US/MICHIGAN". After you highlight your time zone, press enter.
Choosing the default Window Manager for X :
After pressing enter, you are asked to select which Window Manager to run by default. Select whichever one you want and press enter.
Setting the Root password :
After pressing enter, you are taken to another screen telling you how you haven't chosen a root password yet.
Select yes here, and press enter. After pressing enter, you see a prompt to enter a password. This is going to be your root password. Don't use anything you can find in a dictionary, or something someone would be able to guess. Make it hard to remember for everyone except you.
After you enter it, you have to enter it again to be sure you typed it how you wanted it. After you enter the password, it changes and you can now press enter like the prompt is telling you to do.
Finishing the Installation :
Now you are at a screen that should have you almost hugging me; The set up is complete screen.
Press enter here. After pressing enter, you are taken back to that set up main screen. Use the down arrow key to highlight exit, and press enter.
You see a message saying installation of Slackware is complete, and your CD-ROM tray opens up and spits out the CD-ROM. Put the CD-ROMs away and close your CD-ROM drive. You are now at a command prompt again.
Type reboot and press enter. Your system restarts, and you are done.