0. Checking System Requirements You need to make sure your computer meets the minimum requirements for running Linux.
Slackware Linux doesn't require an extremely powerful system to run (though having one is quite nice :). It will run on systems as far back as the 486. Below is a list of minimum system requirements needed to install and run Slackware.
Additional hardware may be needed if you want to run the X Window System at a usable speed or if you want network capabilities.
1. Obtaining The Software Sets Once you have decided to install Slackware, you will want to choose the software sets you want to install.
Slackware Linux was first released before CD-ROMs became a standard in systems and before fast Internet connections were cheap. Because of this, the distribution was broken down into software sets. Each set contains a different group of programs. This allowed for someone to get the Slackware Linux distribution quickly. For example, if you know you don't want the X Window System, just skip all of the X software set.
A - The base system. Contains enough software to get up and running and have a text editor and basic communications programs.
AP - Various applications that do not require the X Window System.
D - Program development tools. Compilers, debuggers, interpreters, and man pages. It's all here.
E - GNU Emacs. Yes, Emacs is so big it requires its own series.
F - FAQs, HOWTOs, and other miscellaneous documentation.
GNOME - The GNOME desktop environment.
K - The source code for the Linux kernel.
KDE - The K Desktop Environment. An X environment which shares a lot of look-and-feel features with the MacOS and Windows. The Qt widget library is also in this series, as KDE requires it to function.
KDEI - Language support for the K Desktop Environment.
L - System libraries.
N - Networking programs. Daemons, mail programs, telnet, news readers, and so on.
T - teTeX document formatting system.
TCL - The Tool Command Language, Tk, TclX, and TkDesk.
X - The base X Window System.
XAP - X applications that are not part of a major desktop environment. For example Ghostscript and Netscape.
Y - Games (the BSD games collection, Sasteroids, Koules, and Lizards).
2. Selecting A Boot Disk Slackware Linux comes with many precompiled boot disks to use during the installation process. You want to choose one that best fits your hardware.
In order to install Slackware Linux you must boot a small version of it from diskette. The first diskette holds the Linux kernel and the other diskette holds the root filesystem. Slackware Linux comes with several boot disk images from which you can choose one. The table below describes the differences between the images.
Creating The Boot Disk
Once you have selected a boot disk image file from the list below, you will need to create the disk. If you are creating the image from a Linux system, the following command should work just fine:
dd if=[image file name] of=/dev/fd0
You may need to change /dev/fd0 depending on your configuration. If you are creating the image from a DOS system, the included program RAWRITE will help you make the disk. Here is the syntax for RAWRITE:
C:\>RAWRITE [image file name] [destination drive letter]:
For example, if I wanted to make a boot disk from the net.i image on a DOS system with the floppy drive as A:, I would use the following command.
C:\>RAWRITE bare.i a:
You should now have a working boot disk to use during the Slackware Linux installation.
The Image Files IDE bootdisks (.i suffix)
bare.i This is the disk to use for installation on most IDE based PCs, with support for nearly all IDE controllers and support for IDE/ATAPI CD-ROM/DVD drives. Most CD-ROM drives made today fall into this category.
bareacpi.i This is similar to the bare.i bootdisk, but the kernel also contains support for ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface). If you aren't using a laptop, then you probably will not need ACPI (or APM) support.
ataraid.i This is a bootdisk with support for IDE RAID controllers. The install disks now have preliminary support for these controllers as well. The drivers included are: 3ware Hardware ATA-RAID controllers. Promise Fasttrak™ IDE RAID. Highpoint 370 software RAID. Many of these controllers will require some degree of do-it-yourself setup before and/or after installation.
lowmem.i This is a really stripped-down Linux kernel which might be useful for installing on IDE systems with a low amount of RAM (less than 8MB). It's also the only Slackware kernel that supports old 386 machines. If bare.i runs into problems, you might try this. NOTE: On systems with extremely low memory (4MB), ZipSlack plus the fourmeg.zip add-on (found in the zipslack directory) may boot and run even in cases where lowmem.i doesn't. If you have to use lowmem.i to install, you'll then probably have to compile a custom kernel with the minimal additional features that your machine requires.
old_cd.i This is a version of bare.i with additional support for old CD-ROM drives on non-standard proprietary interfaces. The CD-ROM drives supported by this bootdisk are: Aztech CDA268-01A, Orchid CD-3110, Okano/Wearnes CDD110, Conrad TXC, CyCDROM CR520, CR540. Sony CDU31/33a CD-ROM. Sony CDU531/535 CD-ROM. Philips/LMS cm206 CD-ROM with cm260 adapter card. Goldstar R420 CD-ROM (sometimes sold in a 'Reveal Multimedia Kit'). ISP16/MAD16/Mozart CD-ROM drives. NON-IDE Mitsumi CD-ROM support. Optics Storage 8000 AT CD-ROM (the 'DOLPHIN' drive). Sanyo CDR-H94A CD-ROM support. Matsushita, Kotobuki, Panasonic, CreativeLabs (Sound Blaster), Longshine and Teac NON-IDE CD-ROM support.
pportide.i This is an extended version of bare.i with support for a wide variety of parallel-port IDE devices. Supports parallel-port products from MicroSolutions, Hewlett-Packard, SyQuest, Imation, Avatar, and other manufacturers.
sata.i This is a version of bare.i with support for SATA controllers made by Promise, Silicon Image, SiS, ServerWorks/Apple K2, VIA, and Vitesse. SCSI bootdisks (.s suffix)
adaptec.s This bootdisk supports most Adaptec SCSI controllers, including these models: AHA-1510, AHA-1520, AHA-1522, AHA-1522, AHA-1740, and AHA-2825. The AIC7xxx models, which include the 274x EISA cards; 284x VLB cards; 2902, 2910, 293x, 294x, 394x, 3985 and several other PCI and motherboard based SCSI controllers from Adaptec. Adaptec's I2O based RAID controllers (including OEM Adaptec RAID controllers used by HP and Dell, Adaptec branded AAC964/5400 RAID controllers, and DPT SmartRaid V cards).
ibmmca.s This is a bootdisk based on a development kernel which supports MicroChannel Architecture, found in some IBM PS/2 machines and laptops. It is a bus system similar to PCI or ISA. Support for most MCA SCSI, Ethernet, and Token Ring adapters is included.
jfs.s A version of bare.i with support for IBM's Journaled Filesystem as well as Adaptec AIC7xxx SCSI support.
raid.s This is a bootdisk with support for some hardware SCSI and ATA RAID controllers. The install disks now have preliminary support for these controllers as well. The drivers included are: AMI MegaRAID 418, 428, 438, 466, 762, 490 and 467 SCSI host adapters, Compaq Smart, Compaq Smart Array 5xxx, IBM ServeRAID hardware RAID, LSI Logic Fusion(TM) MPT devices (not really RAID, but added since there was room for this driver here), Mylex DAC960, AcceleRAID, and eXtremeRAID controllers. Many of these controllers will require some degree of do-it-yourself setup before and/or after installation.
scsi.s This is a SCSI bootdisk with support for various controllers. Note that this disk does not include Adaptec support any longer – you must use the adaptec.s bootdisk for that. This disk supports these SCSI controllers: AM53/79C974 PCI SCSI, BusLogic SCSI, EATA ISA/EISA/PCI (DPT and generic EATA/DMA-compliant boards), Initio 91XXU(W) and Initio 91XXU(W), SYM53C8XX Version 2, Qlogic ISP SCSI, Qlogic QLA 1280 SCSI.
scsi2.s This is a SCSI bootdisk with support for various controllers. This disk supports these SCSI controllers: AdvanSys SCSI (supports all AdvanSys SCSI controllers, including some SCSI cards included with HP CD-R/RW drives, the Iomega Jaz Jet SCSI controller, and the SCSI controller on the Iomega Buz multimedia adapter), ACARD 870U/W SCSI host adapter, Compaq Fibre Channel 64-bit/66Mhz HBA, Domex DMX3191D SCSI Host Adapters, DTC 3180/3280 SCSI Host Adapters, Future Domain 16xx SCSI/AHA-2920A, NCR53c7, 8xx, NCR53C8XX.
scsi3.s This is a SCSI bootdisk with support for various controllers. This disk supports these SCSI controllers: Western Digital 7000FASST SCSI support, Always IN2000, Intel/ICP (former GDT SCSI Disk Array) RAID Controller, PCI2000I, PCI2220i, PSI240i EIDE interface card, Qlogic FAS SCSI, QLogic ISP FC (ISP2100 SCSI-FCP), Seagate ST01/ST02, Future Domain TMC-885/950 SCSI, SYM53c416 SCSI host adapter, UltraStor 14F, 24F and 34F SCSI-2 host adapters, Workbit NinjaSCSI-32Bi/UDE.
speakup.s This is like the bare.i (standard IDE) disk, but has support for Speakup (and since there was space, support for Adaptec's AIC7xxx SCSI controllers is also included) Speakup provides access to Linux for the visually impaired community. It does this by sending console output to a number of different hardware speech synthesizers. It provides access to Linux by making screen review functions available. For more information about speakup and its drivers check out: http://www.linux-speakup.org. To use this, you'll need to specify one of the supported synthesizers on the bootdisk's boot prompt:
where 'synth' is one of the supported speech synthesizers: acntpc, acntsa, apolo, audptr, bns, decext, dectlk, dtlk, ltlk, spkout, txprt
xfs.s This is an extended version of bare.i with support for SGI's XFS filesystem. Support for Adaptec's AIC7xxx SCSI controllers is also included.
3. Selecting A Root Disk You need to have a diskette with a root filesystem and the setup program in order to install Slackware Linux. There are several to choose from.
The root disk is the second diskette needed to install Slackware Linux. This disk holds the setup program and all of the necessary utilities to get Slackware up and running on your system. You create the root disk in the same manner as the boot disk. That is, pick an image and dump it to a floppy. The list below explains the different root disk images available.
install.1, install.2 These are the Slackware installation disks, used to install Slackware Linux to its own partition. To load the installer from floppy disk, you'll need to write each to these to a floppy disk, and use a bootdisk to load them. NOTE: The 'dialog' program used by the install system is not forgiving of extra keystrokes entered between screens, so type carefully.
install.zip This is an *EXPERIMENTAL* UMSDOS-based Slackware installer. It is a UMSDOS version of the Slackware installer rootdisks.
network.dsk This supplemental disk provides support for ethernet cards. To use this disk to scan for network devices (this is only done if you need to use them DURING the installation), you enter 'network' after loading the 'install' disks and logging in.
pcmcia.dsk This supplemental disk provides support for laptop devices. It allows installing through a network or CD-ROM drive card. To use this disk to scan for PCMCIA devices (this is only done if you need to use them DURING the installation), you enter 'pcmcia' after loading the 'install' disks and logging in.
rescue.dsk This is a BusyBox-based rescue disk for Linux. It is a reasonably complete mini-Linux system running from a four megabyte ramdisk, and contains an editor (vi), networking tools like ifconfig, route, telnet, ping, and wget, and other tools that might be handy for fixing your Linux machine if you ever get locked out for some reason, or any time you just need to boot Linux to “edit something quickly”.
sbootmgr.dsk This nifty little tool allows selecting various devices to boot from a menu, and even allows booting a CD-ROM in machines where the BIOS doesn't support it (or it's supposed to support it, but it just doesn't work). If you have trouble booting the Slackware CD-ROM, you might try writing this image to a floppy, booting it, and then selecting your CD-ROM drive as the boot device.
The SBM installer is available as a Slackware package (called “btmgr”) in the extra/ packages collection.
4. Partitioning Your Hard Disk Before running the setup program you need to define the Linux partition(s) on your hard disk.
After you boot off the diskettes you will be presented with a login prompt. You must login as root (the password is NULL). Now you can setup the hard disk and install Slackware.
You have to run the standard Linux fdisk program to setup your partitions. At first glance it looks a little scary, but it's really quite simple. Starting fdisk
When you start fdisk you need to specify the device to use. By default it will try to open /dev/hda, but in some cases this is not the correct device to use. Just specify the device name after typing fdisk on the command line. For example:
This will tell fdisk to open the primary slave IDE hard disk. Notice that you do not specify a partition number on the device name.
An alternative to fdisk is cfdisk, which provides a menu-based setup program for the partition setup (DOS users comfortable with DOS's fdisk may find this program easier). Just run cfdisk at the prompt instead of fdisk. fdisk Commands
Here are some key commands you should be familiar with when using fdisk. p Display the current partition table. m Display the help screen. d Delete a partition. n Add a new partition. t Change the partition's system ID. q Quit fdisk without saving changes. w Write changes to device and quit fdisk. Unwritten “Rules”
So what kind of partitions should you make? It is always a good idea to make the swap partition first so you specify an exact size for it. It is also a good idea to make seperate partitions for /, /home, and /usr. People will tell you many things about how to divide up your disk, but it really comes down to what you want. There are many good reasons to breaking it up into /, /home, and /usr. For example:
Others may tell you that you must have a seperate /var partition so log files won't fill up the root filesystem or so that the mail spool gets its own partition. Really, the choice is yours. Experiment with it, you can always change it later.
5. The Setup Program The last step is running the setup program and completing all the steps within it. The program is menu-driven and easy to understand.
The Slackware Linux installation program is a text-based, menu-driven program that's easy to use. After you have defined your partitions, exit fdisk and start the setup program by typing setup at the prompt.
The setup program is quite easy to use and provides help throughout. Here's an explanation of what the various main menu options do.
Displays the Slackware Setup HELP file. This option is recommended for new users and even experienced users. It offers the latest information about the Slackware Linux distribution.
Allows you to remap your keyboard if you need to.
Setup your swap partition(s).
Selects the target directory. Most of the time this is /, but sometimes it is something else. This option scans for partitions and allows you to format them as well.
Selects the source media for the Slackware Linux distribution. You can install from another hard disk partition, floppy disks, an NFS mount, a pre-mounted directory, or from CD-ROM.
This is where you pick which series you want to install. A checklist is displayed with a description for each series. You check the series that you want to install.
Installs the selected series to the target directory. You are given several prompting options. Each is geared towards different levels of experience. Below is a listing of the different prompting options.
full Install everything (up to 3.5GB of software) newbie Use verbose prompting (and follow tagfiles) menu Choose groups of packages from interactive menus expert Choose individual packages from interactive menus custom Use custom tagfiles in the package directories tagpath Use tagfiles in the package directories
An option is also given to display the prompt mode help file, which may not be a bad idea if you don't understand the prompting modes.
This option takes you through the most important of the configuration process. That is, the root password, LILO configuration, network configuration (using netconfig), kernel installation, X setup, timezone, and a few other settings. You may want to take a look at the Configuration Page for some additional help.
Runs the Slackware Pkgtool program for managing packages. This is explained in more detail on the Package Management Page.
Exits the setup program.
After installing Slackware Linux and exiting the setup program, you can issue the shutdown -r now command to reboot your new Slackware system. Don't forget to remove the diskette from the drive though.
Slackware® is a registered trademark of Slackware Linux, Inc.