Updated: December 15, 2006
Slackware is one of the earlier Linux distributions. In a way, it is the "original" Linux. Although less frequently updated than many other, more popular distributions, Slackware aims at stability and simplicity. It is a very reasonable choice for Linux fans. Hence, this article.
I will try to write down a step-by-step tutorial, which will allow you to sample of the original taste of Linux. Using Slackware is a great exercise in one's skills of mastering Linux. Unlike SUSE or Ubuntu, Slackware uses very few GUIs and most of the work has to be done via command line. Nevertheless, it is far from the monster many people imagine when talking about Linux. On the contrary, it is a fun, mature distribution - and much simpler than it sounds!
You can read more about Slackware on the official The Slackware Linux Project site. If you decide to read through, here are some useful notes that you should remember:
- I will assume that you have read my other Linux tutorials - Installing SUSE Linux and Installing (K)ubuntu Linux - and have already mastered a good grasp of using VMware Player / Server to simulate installations, have confidence in partitioning hard disks and understand the basic Linux principles.
- Slackware is slightly more difficult than other distributions.
- Slackware uses a different style of init scripts, which means some of the common commands will have a different syntax.
- Slackware package management is minimalistic and dependencies are not automatically resolved by default.
While the above issues may put you off, you should note these clear advantages before giving up: Slackware is a highly stable platform - simple, robust and secure. Slackware support is abundant; given its long existence, online documentation is rich and accurate; almost all problems can be quickly solved, including the luxury issues like automated package management. Using Slackware is a great confidence booster for starting or intermediate Linux fans. That said, I will still try to make the tutorial as detailed and thorough as possible.
What you need?
- A computer - 486 a bare minimum, P2 or higher for graphical environments (desktops).
- Slackware DVD - Get Slack.
- Patience and spare time.
- Optionally - a virtualization product like VMware Player or Server.
I will install Slackware 11.0 (the latest release) in VMware Server, although for all practical purposes, the installation process is similar to one done on real hardware. My virtual machine will have 512MB RAM and 8GB hard disk.
Warning for the 56K dial-up users: For the purpose of better readability, I will use full-size images rather than thumbnails that link to images. This may cause some slowdown during the loading of the pages.
Again, you do not have to really do any of this. You could just read and practice the next time you really install from scratch. But I suggest you try to follow the instructions and do it for yourself. You will only benefit from it.
Without much further ado, if you're ready, head on to the next page.