[TriLUG] Tony installs Slackware (from Lockergnome's PenguinShell newsletter)
Tue, 27 Nov 2001 22:40:01 -0500
This week, I've been hackin' Slack. And I do mean hacking. Chapter Two of
the Great Distro Review (OK - 2 1/2 if you count the half install of Debian)
has, so far, proven both challenging and rewarding. Everything you'd want
from Linux. Slackware is proving its mettle, though it's been something of a
I started this install a few days earlier than I have the others in this
distro review. Armed with the latest .iso versions of Slackware 8.0, I
jumped in on Friday with only a vague idea of what to expect. I knew that
Slack has no GUI installer. That's not a big deal, so long as the menus are
laid out in a logical fashion. I took the custom install option, as is
usually my choice. I really prefer to load light initially, starting with a
minimal system and building on it only as I see fit. This proved to be
consistent with the design of Slackware, as the install package set is
lighter than most distributions.
Partitioning and setting up my partitions was a bit confusing. I'm using
/dev/hda3 as a /boot partition and /dev/hda5 as /. The /boot partition is
where I've traditionally kept my kernel. In Slackware, I was shown a table
with these partitions and asked if I wanted to select target partitions from
among the list. I did, highlighting /dev/hda3, and Slack automatically
assigned it as /. Like I said, old habits die hard. I backed out of the
install process and started again. And got the same result. This time,
though, I was able to assign /boot to the remaining partition, /dev/hda5.
That tripped a light. I backed out and started again, this time making
/dev/hda5 the first choice when choosing a target partition. That did the
trick. Slackware partitioned /dev/hda5 as /. I was able to manually assign
/dev/hda3 as /boot. A small thrill of victory tingled in my fingertips.
Network setup was a breeze, with Slack detecting my RealTek card on the
first try. So far, so good. Slack also offered an install option for my
Microsoft Natural Pro keyboard, and for the USB mouse. This was starting to
look easier than I thought.
As I rolled through the install, the package descriptions were clear and
concise. That's important when you choose to do a custom install on any
distribution. One description I'd missed in a long-ago and far away install
of Slackware noted that the RPM package is, " ... an unsupported package
manager ... ". Hmmm. I made a note, installed the package and accepted, as
well, the recommended install of rpm2tgz, a tool for converting rpm packages
to tgz files.
I finished up the install and rebooted. Since I hadn't modified /etc/inittab
to start the system in runlevel 4 (the runlevel in Slack that starts, among
other things, X Window), I expected the console window. Typing in "startx"
after logging in as tony, I waited for X Window to start. No luck. The
system threw an error that I had no pointing device, despite the fact that
I'd selected a USB mouse during the install process. This, obviously, is a
requirement for X Window to start. I did eventually work through the
problem, and you'll find the full solution in today's GnomeTWEAK.
Overall, the install process was not difficult. If you're installing Slack
for the first time, pay close attention to the descriptions and think
carefully through the options you choose. This is a more cerebral install
than most, if only for lack of a GUI install. In other words, it presents
some challenges that might be tough to solve without a) some prior knowledge
of Linux or b) another working connection to the Internet to Google up some
Tomorrow, we'll talk about the overall layout of Slackware, the installed
package base, and some of the challenges and rewards that keep a long in the
tooth Slack a contender amidst commercial giants.