Installing Slackware Linux - Part 5

Using Slackware

If you have configured all of the options correctly, your system should boot now. You should see the LILO welcome screen.

Slackware LILO welcome screen

After a few moments your operating system will load. But be prepared for a BIG surprise. Slackware does NOT automatically load into the graphical environment! You will have to change this option later.

Slackware booted

Furthermore, for the time being, the only user on your computer is root. Login as root. Every time you login, you will be presented with a short nerdy paragraph from the Slackware bible.

Slackware login as root

You have the option of creating a new user now - or loading into the desktop. Since we have just installed our system and are anxious to see how our desktop looks like, I will load it. Once booted into the graphical environment, I will define a new, local user. However, this is not the best security practice as one should never work on his PC as root.

Slackware startx

After a few moments, you will be presented with the cool Xfce desktop.

Slackware xfce desktop 1

Getting around

Xfce is not the most intuitive desktop for a Windows veteran. But it is fairly simple to get by. The centered bar at the bottom of the screen is a sort of taskbar - although there is another one at the top of the screen. The bottom one contains links to most commonly used applications and service buttons, like help and the shutdown. The top one will display windows for open programs. You ask, how do I access all those 3GB of programs that I have just installed? The answer is right-click.

Slackware xfce desktop 2

Adding local user

Now, the first thing we should do is make a local user. Running as root is not recommended. Open a Terminal (the leftmost icon on the taskbar) or right-click > Terminal. Execute the following command:


You will need to follow a short, simple wizard and define your new user.

Slackware add user 1

Slackware add user 2

Alternatively, you could have done the same thing right after the boot. Type the same commands in the shell and follow the same instructions with one exception - white letters on a black background instead of the other way around.

Booting into graphical environment automatically

Now, you might want to be cool and make your system boot into the graphical environment automatically. You will need to edit the inittab file. This file describes what processes / services are loaded at bootup and during normal operation. There are several runlevels, each defining a different group of processes that are started. The simplest way to relate to inittab is as a switch that selects between normal and safe mode in Windows. In Linux, there are 7 normal runlevels plus another 3 for on-demand entries.

To edit the inittab file, in Terminal, open the file in a text editor (as root):

vi /etc/inittab

Vi is a simple, powerful text editor with a very complex set of commands. It is NOT the Notepad you are used to, or even Kate in KDE. But do not be alarmed! Vi can be mastered rather quickly. An Extremely Quick and Simple Introduction to the Vi Text Editor can help you through.

You will need to edit the Default runlevel (the first option). By default, it is set to runlevel 3. We want to use runlevel 4. A brief explanation of each level is listed in the commented field (marked with #) at the top of the file.

Using Vi's peculiar commands, set the cursor near the line id:3:initdefault: and change it to id:4:initdefault:. On next reboot, your system will boot directly into the desktop.

Slackware change runlevel

Once you commit the changes, reboot to allow them to take effect. Again, you are in for a surprise! Instead of your Xfce desktop, you will reach a KDE login. But do not worry!

Slackware KDE loaded

This does not mean you must login using KDE. On the contrary, ALL installed desktops are available. And if you have indeed installed the FULL package, you will have all of them. To select ANY of the available desktops, click Menu > Session Type > choose desktop.

Here, for instance, I have chosen Fluxbox. After providing your credentials in the KDE login menu, your selected desktop will load. The available desktop environments for the full installation are FVWM, Fluxbox, KDE, MWM, TWM, WindowMakers, and Xfce 4.

Slackware Fluxbox desktop


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