Installing Slackware Linux - Part 6


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Basic configurations

After we have created a local user and possibly setup the runlevel, it's time for some standard configurations.

Help

Slackware has excellent support. Being around for more than a decade, it is well documented. All questions and problems can be easily found and solved using:

Slackware Linux Basics
Slackware Linux Essentials
The Revised Slackware Book Project

Package management

Dependencies

By default, Slackware does not have a cool package management interface like YaST or Adept. This means that you will have to find and download the required packages by yourself. To make things worse, Slackware does not automatically resolve dependencies, either.

However, it is possible to use tools that will solve dependencies, download them and install them. Some of the available tools are SlackUpdate, Emerde, slackpkg, and slapt-get.

Repositories

One of the largest online repositories of Slackware packages is LinuxPackages.  You can also search for packages at Slackware Package Browser and Search.

How to install packages?

Slackware packages have a .tgz extension. They differ from standard archives in that they are specially constructed to work with Slackware system architecture. They might not work if unpacked using tar. Instead, Slackware offers a number of simple tools for package installation:

installpkg

installpkg allows to you install new packages. It can be used with a -warn option to prevent older files being overwritten without a prompt. Most common syntax is installpkg packagename.tgz or installpkg -warn packagename.tgz.

removepkg

removepkg will do just the opposite - remove installed packages. Like installpkg, it can be used with a -warn option.

pkgtool

pkgtool is a graphical package tool. It is not as fancy as YaST or Synaptic, but it will do the job. It is recommended for those who dread the command line.

Slackware pkgtool

Other useful tools are upgradepkg, makepkg and explodekpg. For more information about package management, Google and Wikipedia are your friends. But you might want to look into these sources first:

JustLinux - Slackware - The Quick and Dirty Guide to Packages
Slackware Linux Essentials - Chapter 18 Slackware Package Management

Firewall

You might want to use a firewall - you should. Two most common firewalls for Slackware are the arno-iptables-firewall and KMyFirewall, which can be used with the KDE. Still, successfully configuring the firewall might not be the easiest task. Until you do find the optimal solution, you might want to use a basic firewall - an iptables script. Follow these steps to create your own simple firewall:

1. Create a text file containing the follow script named rc.firewall.

#!/bin/bash

# These two rules set the default policies, i.e. what to do if a
# packet doesn't match any other rule, to drop any packet coming
# into (INPUT) or routing through (FORWARD) the box.
iptables -P INPUT DROP
iptables -P FORWARD DROP

# These rules are added (-A) to the INPUT chain. They allow packets
# from any previously established connections and accept anything
# from the loopback interface.
iptables -A INPUT -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -s 127.0.0.1 -d 127.0.0.1 -i lo -j ACCEPT

# Below rule is needed ONLY if you want to have ssh connections.
# Comment this line if you do NOT want to use ssh connections.

# This rule added to the INPUT chain accepts any ssh connections.
# Change ethx to reflect your network setup, i.e. use the name
# of the device that connects to the Internet (e.g. eth0).
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 22 -i ethx -j ACCEPT

2. Make this file into a script.

script rc.firewall

3. Grant this file the necessary execution permissions.

chmod 755 rc.firewall

4. Move the script into the /etc/rc.d directory (this will make is start every boot).

mv rc.firewall /etc/rc.d

This basic firewall is a simple NAT device that will control your inbound connections.

Graphic drivers

For ATI, head to ATI Linux Display Drivers and Software. Select the adequate driver and follow simple instructions. For Nvidia, head to Nvidia Unix Drivers page. Select the adequate driver and follow the short instructions.

Other configurations

Honestly, I think it's up to you now. If you have loyally followed this far, you have a neat system going. It's protected by firewall, it has a variety of desktops to choose from and a solid basic collection of programs. Furthermore, you should have a working Internet connection and be able to manage your packages.

Conclusion

That pretty much covers the basics. If you have followed this guide, with some luck, you have by now mastered: How to install Slackware Linux. How to add local users and boot automatically into graphical desktop. How to find and install packages and resolve dependencies. How to use command line interface to edit configuration files and install packages. How to install and configure the graphic card drivers and setup your display. How to setup a firewall. Moreover, you will have also realized that: Slackware is easier than it seems. Slackware installation is fast, smooth and easy - just as easy as Windows and a WHOLE lot more fun. Slackware is a robust and mature distribution that offers a secure and stable working environment. Help sources are extremely well documented and if followed to the word offer a very accurate and effective solution to all possible problems. Slackware is a great jumpboard into the world of Linux. It is a tiny bit more difficult than SUSE or Ubuntu, especially because it does not aim to placate green Windows converts. But despite that and because of it, Slackware is a superb Linux experience.

List of Slackware-related external links mentioned in the article:

The Slackware Linux Project

Freerock Gnome
GWARE
Dropline Gnome

Slackware Linux Basics
Slackware Linux Essentials
The Revised Slackware Book Project

LinuxPackages
Slackware Package Browser and Search

SlackUpdate
Emerde
slackpkg
slapt-get

JustLinux - Slackware - The Quick and Dirty Guide to Packages
Slackware Linux Essentials - Chapter 18 Slackware Package Management

arno-iptables-firewall
KMyFirewall

ATI Linux Display Drivers and Software
Unix Drivers

Other links:

Slackware forums

pkgsrc: The NetBSD Package Collection
Stratdate Package Manager
SWareT Package Manager

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