Saturday, July 25, 2009

Slackware Day 2: Configuration and New Packages

So now I had a fresh Slackware install on my Eee...what next? The first task I accomplished was fixing a problem with the tutorial I followed: it only had you install packages from the first install CD, but I wanted packages from ALL the install CDs. Fortunately, this is easy sauce.

Go to any of the FTP Slackware mirrors and navigate to the slackware folder, which has all the software packages. Since the ones I had installed from the ISOs needed to be updated anyway, I just copied all of them into my local slackware folder. I then mounted the hard drive on my Slack system, and navigated to the package collection I wanted to install, and ran:

#installpkg *

This will install everything in the folder.

Important note: You'll notice MOST of the packages have the extension .txz. If you have an older version of pkgtools, Slackware won't know what to do with these. A good way to handle this is to download the .tgz packages of tar, gzip, pkgtool, and xz, install those using installpkg, and then install everything else.

Finally, not only do we have a great base system, but X is installed! I chose to not install the KDE or KDEI packages, my window manger of choice is xmonad, so I'll go through the steps to install that. :) However, if you installed the XAP packages, you should have at least fluxbox, blackbox, xfce4, and a few others, so you're more or less in business!

Before configuring X, make sure to add a user. All the previous actions needed to be done as root, but X has lots of user-specific configuration, so if you haven't done that already, get it out of the way.

Finally, to configure X:


That should be it! To choose your initial window manager, run:


Running startx should drop you into whatever you chose! Further, more fine-tuned X configuration is usually done in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf; configuration for your personal X session (as a user) is done in .xinitrc.

Bonus task: Installing Xmonad
Xmonad is my favorite wm, especially on my netbook. It's fast, clean, minimal, and relies very heavily on the keyboard. Another good one is ratpoison, but I use xmonad for my day-to-day :)

To install, go to the Xmonad site, downloads, and slackware. All the packages you need to install xmonad on your system are right there (there's not many of them!). Download them all into a folder (I called mine xmonad), navigate into the folder, and run

#installpkg *

After that has finished, open up .xinitrc (it should have been created after you ran xwmsetup).
Where it says:

exec /usr/bin/startflux

or something similar, replace it with:

exec xmonad

Done! Exit out, start X again, and enjoy Xmonad :)

That's pretty much the extent of my Slackware-installation posts, I've managed to get the full system running quite a bit faster than my first time. Any subsequent posts will more than likely deal with getting wireless up and running, though compared to the first time I tried, it should be significantly easier...the 2.6 kernel has the best wireless drivers built-in already! I hope people find this helpful, or even a little interesting...thanks for reading!

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