Sukma Wardana

Slackware Installer

linux slackware

The Slackware Linux project is one of the oldest Linux Distributions (Distros). First launched on July 16th, 1993. Slackware is still actively being developed by famous Slackware’s Benevolent Dictator for Life (BDFL) Patrick Volkerding. Actually, Patrick was not alone in developing Slackware. Help from volunteers and testers give a big enough impact for the sustainability of Slackware. If you are interested with History of Slackware Development by Eric Hameleers, you will find lots of interesting trivia there.

Within 27th years of Slackware development, only one thing has changed. The way we make donations to Slackware Linux. The official store that should sell CDs / DVDs and merchandise from Slackware Linux does not give loyalty to Patrick Volkerding for approximately two (2) years. Now donations to Slackware can be made through Patrick’s official Paypal account or Slackware’s official Patreon account. The official closure of Slackware store, means no more CDs / DVDs of Slackware Linux that could be purchased. An alternative is downloading ISO image of Slackware Linux.

The ISO image of Slackware Linux can be obtained on Slackware mirror. For those of you who prefer to use Torent, it’s also available. The latest stable version of Slackware is 14.2 (when this post published), which was released on June 1st, 2015. So far, there have been many updates and patches uploaded to the upstream code. You will need to download a fairly large update after installing Slackware 14.2 to make sure to have the latest updates and patches. Actually there are other ways besides using ISO images, which is build an ISO image from Slackware File Tree. In my opinion, this method is cumbersome at first, but will be very helpful in the long run. I think it is worth to tell.

Slackware File Tree

The development of Slackware Linux is pretty unique. No source code version control, no public code repository, no issue tracking system. Contributions and bug reports done in an informal way, mostly via email or linuxquestions.org. There is only final product of Slackware Linux and it is available on Slackware mirrors. The interesting thing that I got from Slackware is, when you want to update your Slackware, you basically download from this Slackware File Tree. Of course this depends on what version you are using. Similarly, Slackware ISO image is also based on this Slackware File Tree. So, instead of downloading an ISO image, it is better to make an ISO image based on the always up-to-date Slackware File Tree.

The good thing is there are many mirrors of Slackware File Tree and available through HTTPS, HTTP, FTP and rsync. So, chose the mirror that is closest to you, for example I am living in Indonesia, I will choose repo.ukdw.ac.id. Download Slackware File Tree is equal with downloading Slackware ISO image in term of total file size. But, the benefit downloading Slackware File Tree mirror is rsync support.

rsync -avzP --bwlimit 500 --delete repo.ukdw.ac.id::slackware/slackware64-14.2/ /home/swardana/slackware/repo/slackware64-14.2

Creating ISO image from Slackware File Tree has been well documented. You can read it yourself at $SLACKWARE_FILE_TREE/isolinux/README.txt. To create ISO image from the Slackware File Tree, open a terminal and make sure your working directory located in $SLACKWARE_FILE_TREE ($SLACKWARE_FILE_TREE is Slackware File Tree directory which contains ChangeLog.txt file), cd $SLACKWARE_FILE_TREE.

mkisofs -o /tmp/slackware-dvd.iso \
  -R -J -A "Slackware Install" \
  -hide-rr-moved \
  -v -d -N \
  -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table \
  -sort isolinux/iso.sort \
  -b isolinux/isolinux.bin \
  -c isolinux/isolinux.boot \
  -eltorito-alt-boot -no-emul-boot -eltorito-platform 0xEF \
  -eltorito-boot isolinux/efiboot.img \
  -m 'source' \
  -V "SlackDVD" .

Attention! Don’t forget the period (.) at the end of command, yes it is necessary.

The above command will produce a Slackware ISO image with name slackware-dvd.iso located in /tmp directory. But, if you prefer a bootable USB stick than a DVDs, extra steps required.

isohybrid -u /tmp/slackware-dvd.iso

Now, you have the Slackware ISO image along with the latest updates and patches. No need to worry about bug or vulnerability in your machine.

Extra Content

Create Bootable USB Stick

There are several ways to make a bootable USB stick, one of them is dd and this tool is already in Slackware. To use this tool is very easy. Prepare a USB stick with a size of ~4GB, and plug it into your machine. However, don’t mount it! Because dd need the name of the device, not the name of the partition e.g /dev/sdb instead of /deb/sdb1. To check the USB Stick device name can use command fdisk -l execute as super user. Argument for dd consist of if and of. The if determine the ISO image file (if=/tmp/slackware-dvd.iso) and the of determine the USB stick device name (of=/dev/sdx).

dd if=/tmp/slackware-dvd.iso of=/dev/sdb

Always Update with Stable and Current Release

Did you know that besides the stable version, Slackware also has current version? The current Slackware File Tree is a stable version candidate in the future. So, I have both Slackware File Tree stable and Slackware File Tree current version and always update it. Because when the current version has been released as the latest Slackware release, I will:

  1. Delete my stable Slackware File Tree.

  2. Copy my current Slackware File Tree and rename it into the latest release version.

In this way, I have both stable and soon to be current Slackware File Tree. I do not need to download again from the beginning.

If you have any comments or corrections please feel free to email them to me. Also, if you found any of the content on this website useful consider buy me a coffee ;)