With the announcement today that they cut the RC1 of Slackware 15. And while interesting, I’m not a huge fan anymore of “versions” of Linux distributions. However Slackware’s always been very stable even using the ‘current’ branch (as a kind of pseudo rolling release, before it was a thing).
For me Slackware was my first exposure to Linux in 98 the summer before going to University, so it will always have a special place in my heart. While it wasn’t the first distro that I had ever installed on my own hardware, it was the first time that I’d seen “Linux” in the wild running on a buddy’s machine. And how glorious it was.
With a focus on simplicity and ncurses gui’s, Slackware has provided some useful tools over the years that have become staples of the Unix ecosystem as a whole.
There are some impressively recent Kernel’s and Mesa libraries making their way into the 15 release. So it should be quite a capable gaming setup, I’ll have to investigate how well steam integrates into it to be able to judge if it’s worth the effort for running it full time. Since I do enjoy some gaming.
So whats changed in the installation in the last 25 years of Slackware. Spoilers not too much, it’s just about the same, except new versions of almost the same application list are installed.
First booting off your installation media, you are greeted with the following prompt, which would allow you to start the installation or boot into existing disks.
Next we pick a keyboard layout if not using the standard US layout.
Logging into the installation environment as root. (Seems eerily similar to the Arch install docs that I wrote a couple days ago doesn’t it :)).
No Linux installation is possible without partitioning some disks. Using cgdisks /dev/vda (note devices for you will be called something different). We can setup our partitions. You can use whichever partitioning scheme that you want. You will later be able to set the mount points you need during the installation.
- Turning on our swap file for the installation
Once your partitions are created, you can run setup which starts the installation proper. The rest is done through the ncurses gui.
- Selecting your swap and root filesystems
- packages for installation
- Just say No to usb boot device (unless you really want to)
Like Archlinux, Slackware doesn’t presume to know what you want for the most part. However it can through the installer and your choices pre-install some servers and desktop environments for you.
Now you are at a terminal. First things first, you’ll login with the root user with the password that you setup during the installation, and you can then create yourself a user with the adduser command.
Once you have that done. We will move onto the upgrade to the new version.
Using your favorite editor, edit your mirrors in /etc/slackpkg/mirrors.
Uncomment one of the entries that are near your geographical location, and then we’ll update the package listing.
Should look something like (replace with a mirror close to you):
This will update from the mirrors the list of packages available.
slackpkg update gpg
Lets make sure there aren’t any new encryption keys that we should have. Once those are updated.
slackpkg upgrade slackpkg slackpkg upgrade-all
Using slackpkg to upgrade itself and the rest of your system packages, since we’ll be doing an upgrade it’s safer doing this than upgrading directly to the newest “current” release.
Below is essentially the loop for updating to the new version of Slackware “current”.
slackpkg new-config slackpkg update slackpkg slackpkg update slackpkg update-all slackpkg clean-system
Now you should have all the new packages from the current branch (15RC1) installed and ready to go, now you just need to reboot (if you installed a new kernel). Or not, you can just fire up your X session with startx and be on your way.
After a nice reboot, you’ll be running 15.