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Old 12-30-2020, 10:21 AM   #1
pchristy
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Installing Slarm64-current on the Pi 400


Although I've been using Slackware for nearly two decades, I have never used the ARM version - until now! My family bought me a Pi 400 for Christmas, so naturally I wanted the world's best operating system on it!

The task has not been straightforward, but after several false starts, I've got there. This is how...

Sarpi has very comprehensive instructions on the website: https://sarpi.fatdog.eu/index.php?p=installer
but to install slarm64, you need sarpi64 from here:https://sarpi64.fatdog.eu/

There are instructions on the sarpi64 website, and also a "readme" in the downloaded files, but the instructions on the 32-bit website are much more comprehensive, and I found them easier to follow!

I managed to get sarpi to install Slackwarearm-current without any issues, but that was only 32-bit. This seemed a bit of a waste on a 64-bit system! I tried sarpi64, but ran into some problems with Slackware's "setup" program, which refused to recognise my locally stored copy of Slarm64-current.

As a stopgap, I tried sndwvs pre-packaged system. Initially this refused to boot at all, but after some considerable help from sndwvs (many thanks!), I got it to boot, but this was only the base system. Trying to install the rest of Slarm64-current broke it again! Probably my fault, but whatever...

I therefore returned to sarpi64 to see if I could figure out why Slackware's "setup" didn't like slarm64. This turned out to be trivially simple, once I managed to locate and dissect "setup".

"Setup" calls a couple of other scripts when locating the Slackware install tree, "insusb" and "insdir". These look for very specific folder names, and slarm64 uses different ones! Renaming the folders in my local tree solved the problem!

The Pi 400 (at least, the one I have) will boot from a pendrive as well as the sd card, provided it has the right files on board. You will need a pendrive of at least 4GB capacity as the "installation disk" as well as a sd card as the destination for the install.

The destination drive will need to be partitioned. You can do this during the install using the instructions for sarpi(32), or you can do as I did, and partition it on a Linux computer. I used KDE 5's partition manager and made a 128MB VFAT boot partition, a 512MB swap partition, and used the rest of the (128GB in my case) card for the linux root partition to contain everything else. (These partition sizes are a bit of a guess, but I had plenty of space, so was generous! I think!)

You don't need to use a card this big. 32GB should be plenty, but I happened to have a 128GB card lying around, so why not?

Next create the installation disk. I used a 16GB pendrive, but any drive over 4GB should be sufficient.

First of all, install sarpi64 on it. This will make it a bootable drive, and run the "setup" program. You can get the installer from here: https://sarpi64.fatdog.eu/index.php?p=rpi4getcurk5

Instructions for how to put it on the disk are the same as for sarpi: https://sarpi.fatdog.eu/index.php?p=sdconfig but MAKE SURE you use the 64-bit file that you just downloaded!

Next copy the slarm64-current folder, and its contents, onto the same pendrive. I would recommend NOT copying the source files, or the /extra/aspell-word-lists folder to save space and time!

The setup program looks for folders with the names "slackware*-*" and the subfolder "slackware". It will NOT find the slarm64 folders unless you rename them! I renamed the top folder from "slarm64-current" to "slackwarearm64-current" and the sub-folder from "slarm64" to "slackware".

Once this is done insert the sd card and pendrive, and power up your Pi 400. It should boot up and you can then follow the the instructions as per sarpi(32).

The "setup" program will now find the slarm64-current packages, and install them just like normal Slackware.

However, ARM does not use Lilo - or anything like it - to boot, so "setup" will bail out complaining about a lack of isolinux at this stage. That's fine, just skip it and proceed to setting up the mouse, etc.

Once this is all done, you can exit the setup program, but whatever you do DO NOT REBOOT!

There are currently NO files in the boot partition, no kernels, nothing!

To make the sd card bootable, follow the instructions as per sarpi(32): https://sarpi.fatdog.eu/index.php?p=endinstall

You won't need to delete any files, as "setup" hasn't installed them, so just follow the instructions for copying the kernel and sarpi files that follow on the next page.

Once this is all done, you can unmount the pendrive and reboot.

You will initially need to log on as root and set up a few extra things (date, time, ntp, network, etc) and add a user (not a good idea to do everything as root!).

Once these have been setup, you can log on as a user, startx!

Welcome to Slackware64 on a Pi 400!

Many thanks to sndwvs and Exega for their help and answering my dumb questions!

Hope this helps anyone else who has been struggling!

--
Pete

Last edited by pchristy; 12-30-2020 at 10:28 AM.
 
Old 12-30-2020, 11:32 AM   #2
Alien Bob
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It's a bit disappointing that you used sarpi's setup infrastructure (which follows Slackware philosophy) to install another product. Slarm64 is not created by Slackware team. The packages on sarpi64 are.
 
Old 12-30-2020, 11:56 AM   #3
pchristy
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Hi Eric,

Well, at the moment, I'm not aware of any other 64-bit ARM Slackware like system. If you want to point me to one, I'll gladly look, but I from where I'm sitting at the moment, this is indistinguishable from the Intel/AMD version. I'm actually typing this from the Pi 400 running Plasma5!

I do recall that the first decent 64-bit Slackware-alike implementation was Slamd-64. It was made by a (then!) young English lad, who I believe has gone on to bigger and better things. It was a very good system, and certainly tided us over until an official Slackware 64-bit distribution was available.

I've no idea if Patrick will ever be interested in making an ARM version of Slackware, but in the meantime, this is working well. Its just a bit if a faff to install - probably mainly due to my unfamiliarity!

And remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

--
Pete
 
Old 12-31-2020, 04:30 AM   #4
drmozes
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Hi Pete

Welcome to the forum!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pchristy View Post
I've no idea if Patrick will ever be interested in making an ARM version of Slackware, but in the meantime, this is working well.
I do the official ARM port for Slackware. Currently the port is 32bit, and I'm building the official ARM 64bit (AArch64) port which will be released in 2021. We'll be covering some of the progress in the Slackchat podcast.

It's great to see the community support for 64bit blossom within the platform setup for ARM.
Exaga and I will see how we can better integrate some support the Raspberry Pi with the official SlackwareAArch64 upon release.
 
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Old 12-31-2020, 05:37 AM   #5
alekow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drmozes View Post

(...)

I'm building the official ARM 64bit (AArch64) port which will be released in 2021.

(...)

Exaga and I will see how we can better integrate some support the Raspberry Pi with the official SlackwareAArch64 upon release.
Oh, that is great news! 2021 might be the right year to purchase a Raspberry Pi 4. Currently have a 3 with Raspbian which is very good, but is not quite Slackware...

Alex
 
Old 12-31-2020, 05:56 AM   #6
brianL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drmozes View Post
and I'm building the official ARM 64bit (AArch64) port which will be released in 2021. We'll be covering some of the progress in the Slackchat podcast.
Another one here looking forward to that. I recently bought a RPi 400, and the Raspi-buster & Ubuntu Arm64 versions do seem to give noticeable performance improvements.
 
Old 12-31-2020, 06:45 AM   #7
pchristy
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Drmozes: Thanks for the welcome! From what Eric has said and some cryptic comments from Exaga ( ), I suspect I may have stumbled into something of a "turf war" over 64-bit Slackware on the Pi! Apologies if I've accidentally ruffled any feathers!

Aside from some trivial hiccups, which I'm going to sort this afternoon, I hope, Slarm64 is working fine - once I'd figured out how to persuade it to install. It will certainly tide me over until there is an official release, just as Slamd64 did before Slackware went 64-bit.

I did see a reference to Slackwareaarch64 on Slackware.uk, but all the folders seem empty at present. I assume they are just place-holders for the moment.

I look forward to seeing the official release (or even a beta!) in the not-to-distant future, and will certainly give it a go!

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!

--
Pete
 
Old 12-31-2020, 07:36 AM   #8
Exaga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pchristy View Post
Hi Eric,

Well, at the moment, I'm not aware of any other 64-bit ARM Slackware like system. If you want to point me to one, I'll gladly look, but I from where I'm sitting at the moment, this is indistinguishable from the Intel/AMD version. I'm actually typing this from the Pi 400 running Plasma5!

I do recall that the first decent 64-bit Slackware-alike implementation was Slamd-64. It was made by a (then!) young English lad, who I believe has gone on to bigger and better things. It was a very good system, and certainly tided us over until an official Slackware 64-bit distribution was available.

I've no idea if Patrick will ever be interested in making an ARM version of Slackware, but in the meantime, this is working well. Its just a bit if a faff to install - probably mainly due to my unfamiliarity!
Fred Emmott (a.k.a "the young English lad") who now lives and works in Texas for Facebook (Do you really think that predicament constitutes 'bigger and better things'? ) writes this, "Slamd64 became obsolete when Slackware released an official port".

So, now Stuart has announced that Slackware Aarch64 is in development [THANK YOU!]. Which is absolutely fantastic news for the Slackware [ARM] community and the Linux world in general. It really is a dream come true for me and gives me goosepimples each time I think about his project. (If anyone has been keeping up with the Slack chat podcasts then this breaking news might not be much of a surprise.) However, this makes what I am about to say all the more easier and for the right reasons...

Quote:
With MoZes' official announcement that Slackware Aarch64 is in development, the SARPi64 Project being experimental and prototype by nature (always was and has been, right from the start) is now no longer relevant or applicable. It was created a few years ago, initially to encourage and be supportive towards a community-based-effort at building a Slackware ARM64/Aarch64 port which followed the principles of Slackware ARM as scrupulously as Slackware ARM follows Slackware main. Although that never materialised, I sincerely hope the SARPi64 Project has been of help to many users, past and present, in assisting them to fulfill their goals and realise their ambitions. The website is now in "maintenence mode", for the foreseeable future, pending the release of Slackware Aarch64 with the intention of offering the same level of support that the current SARPi Project features.
Thank you for being the most genuinely passionate, motivated, and involved Linux community I have had the joy to be part of.

Happy New Year 2021 to each and every one of you great people. Best wishes and felicitations for the coming year and beyond.

Last edited by Exaga; 12-31-2020 at 07:54 AM. Reason: happy new year! <3
 
Old 12-31-2020, 08:09 AM   #9
drmozes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pchristy View Post
From what Eric has said and some cryptic comments from Exaga ( ), I suspect I may have stumbled into something of a "turf war" over 64-bit Slackware on the Pi! Apologies if I've accidentally ruffled any feathers!
Not here. The way I chose to evolve the ARM port (which is different from x86 due to the plethora of ARM hardware) is to provide a base OS that supports the hardware I'm interested in, with the proper Slackware installer and documented installation options. The forum here was created as a platform to allow the community to flourish and contribute back to the project - which it has over the course of the last few years.
Now I am interested in aarch64 as I've been tracking it for a few years whilst working on 32bit ARM, so I'm updating the ARM port build system to build and maintain both architectures in unison.

If anybody's feeling flush this new year, donations to the project are always welcome (see signature)- but only if you've already contributed to Patrick's patreon first (the details of which are provided at the 'armedslack' patreon page).

Last edited by drmozes; 12-31-2020 at 08:11 AM.
 
Old 12-31-2020, 08:28 AM   #10
Exaga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pchristy View Post
Drmozes: Thanks for the welcome! From what Eric has said and some cryptic comments from Exaga ( ), I suspect I may have stumbled into something of a "turf war" over 64-bit Slackware on the Pi! Apologies if I've accidentally ruffled any feathers!
Hi Pete. Sorry if any of my comments were cryptic, I'll be happy to elaborate if required. Absolutely sure there's no turf-wars going on in here. I've been on my knees begging MoZes to build ARM64/Aarch64 for years. Long before SARPi64 or slarm64 were around.

The plan moving forward is that once Slackware Aarch64 is available SARPi64 will support it in the same capacity. That involves partitioning your storage drive(s), installing, configuring, pkg selection, etc. and everything else that the Slackware dev's intended. Personally I'm not a fan of pre-built images and Slackware doesn't support it. That's someone else's idea of what Slackware should be. I want to give end-users the full experience when they use my SARPi software to install Slackware ARM.
 
Old 12-31-2020, 10:03 AM   #11
pchristy
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Thanks, guys, for the updates and clarifications! I am slavering in anticipation of an official port to arm!

However, in the meantime, slarm64, installed via sarpi64, is working pretty well here. The only minor hiccup so far is that setting the start up runlevel to 4 in inittab doesn't actually startx! It still drops you to a command prompt instead of the sddm logon screen. Startx starts Plasma 5 instantly, however.

I'm still looking into this, as its an area I'm not familiar with! Its always "just worked" on Slackware, so its probably just a configuration issue somewhere. The other thing I need to learn is how to install the newer kernels. Slarm64 comes with 5.10.4 now, but I'm not sure if it needs an initrd or not for the ext4 root filesystem.

Still some head scratching to do...!



--
Pete
 
Old 12-31-2020, 01:05 PM   #12
drmozes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exaga View Post
Fred Emmott (a.k.a "the young English lad") who now lives and works in Texas for Facebook (Do you really think that predicament constitutes 'bigger and better things'? )
Fred was on the Slackware team years ago and what he did with Slamd64 was amazing, because it was in the early days when x86_64 was in its infancy. Vince Batts and I met Fred years ago and we talked about Slamd64 with me acting as a reasonably poor London tour guide. The amount of work Fred did was astounding. As far as I remember, he had about 1Mbyte patch to make php work on 64bit. IIRC this is why he works for Facebook - because he's a PHP god and that's what they use there.
 
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Old 12-31-2020, 03:15 PM   #13
Exaga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drmozes View Post
IIRC this is why he works for Facebook - because he's a PHP god and that's what they use there.
I think Facebook coding blows worse than a tornado. I was on there today and it told me I had 20 unread messages. When I clicked on the link it showed me a popup with ghosted out boxes for a few minutes. I refreshed the page a few times still no joy. I went to make a carrot, swede, and left-over chicken, sandwich (with mayo) and the messages were there on my return. None of them were worth waiting for btw.
 
Old 12-31-2020, 04:24 PM   #14
pchristy
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I try and avoid "anti-social media" as much as possible! I have much better ways of wasting my time!



Its nice to see that Fred's efforts with Slamd64 are remembered by others, besides me! I had splashed out on a new laptop around that time - 64-bit, no less - which came (inevitably!) with Windoze XP (32-bit). I desperately wanted to get 64-bit on it and had already been using Slackware for a number of years. There was no sign of a 64-bit version of Slackware being available any time soon, and I stumbled across Slamd64. It worked like a charm from the outset, and was almost indistinguishable from the standard Slackware distribution. I was amazed when I found out how young Fred was at the time!

I never met him, but I don't hold working for Facebook against him! We all need to earn a crust, and I suspect he is enjoying a far higher standard of living now than he could ever have achieved here in Blighty! Good luck to him, and thanks for the work he did!

BTW, I still have that old laptop! The battery is dead (my grandson managed to kill it when I lent it to him!), but running off mains, it still works fine, although it is really a museum piece now! Brings back happy memories, though!

--
Pete
 
Old 12-31-2020, 10:12 PM   #15
glorsplitz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pchristy View Post
The other thing I need to learn is how to install the newer kernels.
and please post back what you figure out, thanks!
 
  


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