View Full Version : Slackware 9.1 install guide (for n00b's from a n00b)

10-07-2003, 06:32 PM
I just installed Slackware 9.1 and thought to share a "How-To" for installation with fellow TT users.
While installing Slackware, the biggest mental road-block for me was that Slackware has a more of text based install, thus I am writing this guide to help absolute newbies to get over their fear of Slackware installation. Since the guide is made for n00b's it has become a bit big in length. Please don't kill me for that :p
I would recommend you that print the guide out so that you can use it at the time of install.

Getting Slackware:
Firstly you need to get Slackware. The latest version is 9.1. You can get the ISO's from http://www.slackware.com/getslack/. 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 <Enter>. 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.

10-07-2003, 06:34 PM
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 :devil win ). 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 snack...do 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".

10-07-2003, 06:36 PM
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 :D

The first screen of KDE that you will get looks like this (http://forums.tweaktown.com/showthread.php?s=&postid=179573#post179573)

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.
Bern: Please edit the sections you think have errors. :)

10-07-2003, 07:26 PM
Nice work dude :thumb:

10-08-2003, 01:30 AM
Wow ill use that, im planning on starting an http server from an old pentium 200MMX, and i dont want a windows server!!! Slackware seems like the best alternative!

10-08-2003, 03:32 AM
Wow ill use that, im planning on starting an http server from an old pentium 200MMX, and i dont want a windows server!!! Slackware seems like the best alternative!

and it doesn't seem to be as hard as i thought it would be (or has been advertised to be).
things do make sense...atleast for now :cackle:

Andy Thanx mate :thumb:

10-08-2003, 03:34 AM
and it doesn't seem to be as hard as i thought it would be (or has been advertised to be). well done! :clap: in that case I may bump up my plans to move up to slackware (from Mandrake 9.1) sooner than expected :D

10-08-2003, 03:50 AM
well done! :clap: in that case I may bump up my plans to move up to slackware (from Mandrake 9.1) sooner than expected :D

you can always give it a try and if you are too apprehensive then triple boot with WinXP, Mandrake and Slackware. that won't hurt :D