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Thread: Install Slackware Linux 9.1

  1. #1
    abhay Guest

    Install Slackware Linux 9.1

    I wrote this guide for myself when I first installed Slackware Linux 9.1 and is a bit too detailed for experienced users but is a perfect thing for newbies.
    If you are looking to go with a fast distro, Slackware Linux is for you.

    Part 1
    Getting Slackware Linux:
    Firstly you need to get Slackware. The latest version is 9.1. You can get the ISO's from There are two required CD's for Slackware 9.1 as compared to only one that was there in 9.0. Though in all there are 4 CD's but you can do with first 2 of them as the other 2 just have source in them.


    Step 1: Booting from CD --> Well now that you have the ISO's burnt on the CD's we are ready to go. Take a deep breath and set your first boot device to CD-ROM in your BIOS. Now, pop in your 1st CD into the CD-ROM drive and let it boot from CD. Any recent system will boot from CD directly but if you have problems then you will need other methods which can be dealt with later.

    Step 2: Chose the Kernel --> You need to chose which kernel to boot from here. If you don't know what it is then just hit . A few options are:
    usb.i - For USB Keyboard and Mouse support.
    scsi.s - For scsi systems.
    adaptec.s - If you have a SCSI/RAID controller, this kernel has support for it
    jfs - For JFS file system
    raid.s - For variety of RAID controllers
    xfs.i - For supporting XFS journaling file system
    You can see more options along with their description by pressing F3 key on this screen.

    Step 3: Keyboard Map --> Kernel will now decompress and reach to a screen where you need to chose your keyboard map or in other words what kind of keyboard you are using. Most of us use US keyboard Map or QWERTY type keyboards and thus we just need to hit enter. If you have a different keyboard type, press "1" and see which all keyboard maps are present.

    Step 4: Login to the installation --> Type root and hit enter. Now you will see various "To ..." to do kind of things, but the first thing we need to do is partition our drive.

    Step 5: Partition your disk --> This is the most important part. I am not saying it is difficult but yes it is not as easy cos it does not have those graphical wizards that we have in Mandrake (DiskDrake) or RedHat (DiskDruid) installs. If you had a Linux install prior to installing Slackware then you can skip this part and move on to next step other wise keep reading.
    I had two HD's and I was installing Slackware on second HD i.e. primary slave. You can imagine this part according to your needs but it will be helpful if we knew how we refer to various channels on IDE.
    Primary Master --> /dev/hda
    Primary Slave --> /dev/hdb
    Secondary Master --> /dev/hdc
    Secondary Slave --> /dev/hdd
    So in my case it would be /dev/hdb.
    There are two tools provided with Slackware installation for partitioning the disk which are fdisk and cfdisk. cfdisk is more n00b friendly and is more graphical in nature so that is what I am going to use.
    Type cfdisk /dev/hdb (change command according to which HD you chose).
    Now you have a screen like we have in Windows' FDISK. You will see your disk size on top of the screen. First in bytes and then in MB.
    You need to create two partitions here. One will be required for installation and other one will be for swap. Swap is same as "Virtual Memory" of Windows. You need to decide swap size out here only as you won't get a second chance. You should assign SWAP size depending on the amount of RAM you have..."Lesser the RAM more the SWAP and vice versa". I have 128MB of RAM and thus I chose 512MB of swap. Subtract 512 from the disk size you have in MB's and keep this number for future use.
    If you have any partitions already there on the drive and if you don't need it then move with "left arrow" and chose "Delete". Press "enter" (CAUTION: You will lose all your data on the partition).
    Now you don't have any partitions on this drive but you need to make them. Highlight "New" with help of right or left arrows and then select "Primary". It will ask you what size of partition do you want. Here you will enter the number we got by subtracting 512 from disk size in MB. You will see the new partition shown as hdb1 with "Linux" as the file system, on main screen. This is the one that will have your Linux install but you need to set it as "bootable". So you know what to do. Yup, highlight that "Bootable" with left/right arrow and enter. The partition is set as bootable now.
    Time to add your SWAP. Follow all the steps I described about adding your main partition. Just change the partition size to 512 and don't set it as bootable.
    You will have two partitions now. hdb1 and hdb2 where the former is bootable while both have same file system i.e. "linux". Chose hdb2 by down arrow and move with left arrow to highlight "Type". Hit enter and you will have loads of file system types on screen. Since we need swap file system, write 82 and press enter.
    Now you must be back on main screen again. Move with left arrow again to highlight "Write". Press enter and Type "yes" when it asks for confirmation. The partition table is now written on the disk. Select "Quit" and hit enter to come out of cfdisk.

  2. #2
    abhay Guest
    Part 2
    Step 6: Continue with setup --> Congrats!!! You have successfully completed the most difficult part of Slackware Install i.e. partitioning. Now, type setup on the prompt and press enter to continue with install.

    Step 7: ADDSWAP --> You will now see a screen with loads of highlightable options. Chose ADDSWAP and press enter. It will show /dev/hdb2 as an active swap partition. Chose "Yes" and let it check the partition for bad blocks. It will format the partition at the same time. It might take 1-2 minutes so be patient. Now press "OK" to confirm addition of the swap partition to your /etc/fstab file (this file is used to control mounting of various partitions).

    Step 8: Continue Install -->: Your SWAP partition is active and you will need to chose partition on which you want to install Linux. Most probably your only choice will be /dev/hdb1 (If you have the same circumstances that I had ). Select "Select" and press enter to continue.
    Next screen asks you to "Format" or "Check" the partition. "Format" is equivalent to "Quick Format" in Windows, while "Check" will first check the disk for bad blocks. Quite obviously "Check" is the slower of the two. Chose which ever you want. I chose "Format" and pressed "Ok".
    In next screen you need to chose file system you want to use. The displayed choices will depend on what kernel you booted off from but file system doesn't matter much anyways. I personally recommend reiserFS as it is reportedly faster than any other one but you can chose the one you like. Press OK.
    It will now format the disk. Sine we chose a quick format, it will be real quick but it depends on how much HD space you are formatting. It took less then 30 seconds to format my 7.5GB HD. Next screen will confirm about the addition of partition to your fstab file (Remember the same happened with SWAP partition?) Press OK.

    Step 9: (Optional) --> If you have any FAT/FAT32 partitions, Slackware will detect them and will ask you whether you want to mount them. Mounting means that you will be able to access them from your Linux install. Chose "Yes" (recommended) if you want to add them otherwise select "No".
    If you chose "Yes", it will show all the partitions that have been detected to have FAT/FAT32 file system. Review them and press "Select" to add them to your /etc/fstab file.
    Enter the name with which you want to recognize the partition in your file manager. I wrote /mnt/fat-g. You can type whatever you want but remember to start the string with a "/" but do not leave it as a "/". You MUST type something after "/". Press "OK" once you have typed and then press "OK" again on next screen.

    Step 10: Chose Media --> This is the time where you need to chose the media from where you will install Slackware. Most probably it will be choice "1", but if it is not for you then chose whichever is most appropriate to you. Press "OK".

    Step 11: Selecting Packages --> If you chose "CD or DVD drive" i.e. choice "1", then set it for "auto" scanning for presence of CD-ROM. The install process will scan the IDE channels and will come to a screen where you can select what packages you want to have.
    Just for simplicity sake we will leave this screen the way it is and press "OK".

    Step 12: Type of Install -->: Chose "Full" to safe guard from any troubles later on. You can always un-install the packages later but if you know what you are doing then go ahead and select the choice that is most appropriate for you.
    Phew!!! Now sit back and relax till it installs the packages from first CD. Take a cup of coffee, listen to your favorite music or have a quick anything you want. Come back after around 10 minutes to change the CD. Put your second CD in when prompted and press "OK" after choosing "Continue". It will take another 5 minutes to install all the required packages from 2nd CD.
    After installation it will update the configurations. Keep patience as it might take some time. Sometimes you might feel that it has got stuck or hanged but let it complete as nothing like this has happened.

    Step 13: Chose Kernel to load --> Now it will ask you to load a kernel. If you followed all of the above-mentioned procedure then you should install Kernel from CD. Press "OK" and it will show you a list of kernel images present on your CD. Chose the kernel you started with in Step 2. I started with bare.i so I choose /CDROM/Kernels/bare.i/bzImage and press "OK".

    Step 14: Make a Boot Disk --> Make a bootable floppy (recommended) for those grim days when you might not be able to boot from your HDD. Pop in a floppy and chose "Create". Press "OK". It will format the floppy and create the startup disk.
    When bootdisk is created, chose "continue" to go ahead with the installation.

    Step 15: Configuring Modem --> If you know which port your modem is in Windows then it is a piece of cake. Just chose the port and press "OK".

  3. #3
    abhay Guest
    Part 3
    Step 16: Hotplug --> This thing is useful if you hot swap various USB devices. It also helps in better functioning of USB devices. Chose "Yes" here.

    Step 17: Installing Bootloader/LILO --> Slackware, by default uses LILO as bootloader and we will use the same too. in this screen you have three choices "Simple", "Expert" and "Skip". As the name suggests "Simple" gives you no control while "Skip won't install any bootloader (if you want to load off the floppy you created or install a third party bootloader, chose this option).
    I chose "expert" as it gives me more control. I will explain the "expert" mode out here.
    Once you choose "expert mode", you will get a screen with various options. Select "Begin" to start with the LILO configuration. If you have a CD-RW drive, type hdc=ide=scsi (presuming that the CD-RW drive is in Secondary Master position) and press enter. In next screen chose whichever frame type you want for the bootloader. I recommend 640x480x256 as it is least likely to fail. Chose "MBR" in next screen. Press enter twice. Chose "Forever" and you will be back to the main screen.
    Now, choose "Linux" and press "OK". Type location of the partition where Linux is installed. Most probably it will show you on the screen and you can just copy from there. Type "Linux" in next screen and press "OK" and you will be back to main screen.
    If you have a "Windows" partition chose "DOS" and press "OK". Type name of the device against which you can see a * marked. Press "OK". Type "Windows" and press "OK" again.
    If you want to see how your lilo.conf file looks, chose "View" otherwise chose "Install" and press "OK". LILO is installed.

    Step 18: Mouse Configuration --> Chose your mouse type. PS2 most probably. In next screen regarding GPM chose "NO".

    Step 19: Network --> If you have a network you can configure it in the next screen. All the options are like the one in Windows. Any one who has configured network in Windows should not have any problems with configuring it in here.

    Step 20: Services and Final Configurations --> Nothing to do in services section but if you want to edit them, then just move up/down with help of arrow keys. Press "OK" once you are done. In next screen it will ask you whether it should try some custom fonts. Chose "No" as it is just waste of time.
    Chose "No" again in next screen with hardware clock configuration and chose your time-zone in next screen. Press "OK" again.
    Chose the default Window Manager you want to have in next screen.
    Now, enter a root password (Highly recommended). Type in a strong password and confirm it by typing it again.
    Press "OK" now and reboot by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL

    On reboot you will have LILO greeting you. Chose Linux and press enter. If you don't see any errors (god forbids) you will have an exciting world of "Slackware 9.1" on your desktop

    P.S. I know this guide is too long but I didn't want to leave any part. I hope it will be helpful for you guys. Any suggestions/comments are highly welcome.

  4. #4
    tankado Guest
    You need to edit/rearrange this topic so that the first post is not very long (rad the guidlines for posting) Ill do that for you.
    Nice tut btw.
    And yes get rid of LILO before it messes up and install grub (my personal opinion).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    18.55 N and 72.54 E
    Excellent tut....btw i use RH 9....anywayz even i go for GRUB than LILO

  6. #6
    abhay Guest
    thanx for the replies.
    Renegade: you can always arrange it the way you want.
    about using GRUB. i don't know why LILO is being made a devil of. imo it works quite well and does the job for me.
    btw what kind of messing up are you talking about?

  7. #7
    tankado Guest
    it did not install properly on my RHL7.1 and screwed each time.
    Besides I like the functionality of grub to edit command lines on the fly.
    Now i use Slack and Grub only.

  8. #8
    abhay Guest
    RH 7.1? don't u think it is long long time back?
    anyways, it is an individual's coice

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Yeah, Slack is the fastest Linux distro ever! I installed it a few days ago and I would like to say a thing or two about the installation.

    The setup doesn't have a GUI, so if you chose some wrong setting then you'll have to choose 'Cancel' and start the configuration from the beginning!

    Most of you would have created a /boot partition in other distros. Don't do it in this! In my case I dunno what it wrote to that partition, it was always giving a 'Device is full' msg or something like this. So I created only one partition for '/'. A full install will take about 2.6 GB space, so a 5 GB partition will be more than enough for a full install.

    Swap partition space? 256 MB should be enough I guess, but if you have a huge amount of disk space, then you can create 512 MB but I don't think this is really necessary.

    It's better to install LILO in the root partition itself and use a boot manager like XOSL to boot it. XOSL has a windows like GUI and that's what I use to boot it. In case something happens to the MBR and you install LILO on MBR, then you'll have a lot of nnecessary problems
    And in LILO expert mode, don't forget add a Linux partition!! I forgot to do this and there's no way to go back in the setup. When I booted it, there was no Slack in the menu!!!! Got really screwed up after that and had to reinstall!!!

    Boot disk creation is a must. Especially for other distros.

    Newbies, hda stands for the first hard disk, hdb stands for the second and so on.

    And don't forget to tell Slack to mount the Windows partitions! In case you can't get your internet to work in Linux (it's almost certain if you use a modem), you can download packages in Windows and access them in Slack easily.

    Slack doesn't use RPM, so you need to convert it to tgz format. the command rpm2tgz to convert it to tgz. Copy the rpm to ur desktop or some other linux folder and use rpm2tgz rpmfilename.rpm That's all and you'll have a tgz file ready! Drag and drop it into KPackage and installing it is a breeze with this. Don't forget to select the package name in the lists, even if there's only one

    I mounted them in /win/c , /win/d, etc. instead of /mnt/fat-c, ... Saves you from opening one directory extra

    I too feel that there's nothing wrong with LILO. If you have problems with it, you can fix it after booting into Linux with a bootdisk. Anyway, you don't have the choice of GRUB in Slack!

    Happy Slacking!
    Last edited by Sumeet; 05-02-2004 at 06:03 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Yeah, Slack is the fastest Linux distro ever!
    If you properly optmize redhat linux, then it can be faster than slackware. The same applies to any other distro. The point here is that if you properly tweak your kernel and compile each and every package from source with the proper compiler optimizations, then it doesn't matter which distro you are using.

    The main thing that i don't like about Slack is that everything has to be done manually. Installing a small package requires compiling it, checking out the dependencies manually ( which btw is a real pain in the @$$ ) and a lot of other headaches. Personally, i don't feel that slack can be classified as a modern distro.
    I guess the majority of slack users are people who have too much time on their hand. LoL ... Try compiling the X server ... the sheer no. of dependencies is surely going to put you down.

    If you really want a good distro, then i suggest that you go with Gentoo ( spelled A.W.E.S.O.M.E ) or Debian. Both of them have a real good package management system. Gentoo comes with Portage which is a real kick ass, and Debian has apt-get. Btw Gentoo is a source based distribution, so you will have to compile every package from source before installing them.( KDE takes around 24 hours )


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Most of you would have created a /boot partition in other distros. Don't do it in this!
    It's better to have a seperate /boot partition. This way the chances of you (accidently) messing up your boot information is almost nil. Also, a seperate /boot partition means that you can access the same kernel across several distros.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Who said you have to compile every s/w you want to install in Slack? If that had been the case I would have dumped it by now! Slack packages are .tgz files which you can install in no time with KPackage. And as I said earlier, you can convert rpm files too.

    Regarding the /boot partition, mine was getting full in Slackware so decided to keep only one. I always had this partition for other distros, but had to remove it for Slack. For Slackware, I guess xfce-lover, I mean abhay would be able to tell us better!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Installing a small package requires compiling it, checking out the dependencies manually ( which btw is a real pain in the @$$ ) and a lot of other headaches.
    Oh my, that was my mistake.... I actually thought that Slack was a source based distro like gentoo. ( the .tgz files got me confused )
    Anyway, I still don't think that Slackware's PMS does any sort of dependency checking. Btw Kpackage is a KDE tool right ? I don't think it's offiically supported by Slackware.

    Regarding the /boot partition, mine was getting full in Slackware so decided to keep only one
    How many kernel images do you have in there ? lol

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    How many kernel images do you have in there ? lol
    LOL! I don't know what shit it wrote to it, but I was getting 'Device is full' errors! So I had to remove it!! Even abhay didn't mention anything about a /boot partition, so there has to be a reason behind this!

    Actually there's some command for installing the tgz files which I don't remember, so I use Kpackage! Anyway, I don't think all these tools do much, I installed the Y! mssngr tgz file by hand after KPackage was getting screwed up with it. All I had to do was unzip the files and run some script files. But using that command to install 'em would be a better idea I think. I'll better go and find out what the command was!!
    This is what I found out on Slack's website:

    Q: How can I install and remove software now that the Slackware Linux distribution is installed on my machine?

    To remove packages, type "pkgtool" and follow the prompts. Pkgtool will also allow you to add packages that are in the current directory.

    The preferred way to install software is with the "setup" script. When you do your initial installation, setup puts a copy of itself in your /sbin for future use. You can also add software to your machine using the boot/install disk, if you really want to.

    When adding software to a running system via NFS, it is preferable to mount the partition yourself and then use the 'install from a mounted directory' feature of setup.

    There are also command line utilities that allow you to create, install, and remove packages. For these, you should refer to the manpages: installpkg(8), removepkg(8), makepkg(8), explodepkg(8). A simple example of how you would install a package with installpkg:

    installpkg package.tgz

    Whoa! Gotta print out this page:
    Will save me some trouble in future!
    Last edited by Sumeet; 06-02-2004 at 06:27 PM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    It's better to have a seperate boot partition. This way, you won't accidently mess it up.

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