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How to Transform Salix into Slackware Proper

It's not something I recommend, but it is entirely possible to wrangle a proper Slackware install from Salix OS. This obviously begs the question of why you would want to do it, especially given that I have just said that I do not recommend it. There are a few reasons:

There are also plenty of reasons not to try this.

In other words, don't try this just because you like the logo of Salix, or you think it uses prettier colours than Slackware. Do this if you have to due to hardware or bandwidth limitations. Otherwise, just install Slackware and modify it to your liking. Trust me, it's worth it.

But in a pinch, this'll work:

As for myself, I found an old computer that had no DVD drive and refused to boot from an external USB DVD drive; I needed to get Slackware onto it quickly and without too much effort. So I found Salix OS's cd-sized installer and minimal-yet-usable desktop perfect for my needs on that box. What follows are the steps you will want to take to "finish" the install so that you end up with a "real" Slackware install.

I chose Salix OS because they have stated they are dedicated to being fully compatible with Slackware. To my knowledge, other Slackware derivatives, such as Zenwalk, do not guarantee this.

The Install

The Salix OS install is a simplified version of the Slackware installer. It is quicker for its reduced options, and also more guided and even offers a fully automated installer that does everything for you. But as long as you read the screens, the process is very well documented and you should have no problem with it. If you've never installed Slackware at all before, then check out my howto on Installing Slackware.

When asked to select an installation mode, you should choose to do the Full install.

SELECT INSTALLATION MODE

Please select the installation mode you prefer from the following:

FULL (default) will install everything. That includes one application per task, such as an office suite, a multimedia player, a CD/DVD burner etc.

BASIC will only install a minimal graphical environment and a web browser.

CORE will install only the minimum essentials for your system to start in console mode (no graphical environment included) and is ideal if you are an experienced user and want to fully customize your installation for any specific purpose.

FULL Install Everything
BASIC Install a minimal graphical environment
CORE Install a minimal console system
  • < OK >

Post Install

Once you have completed the Salix install, you have a nice Slackware-based system with many of the usual Slackware tools that you know and love, such as installpkg and pkgtool

You also have some extra things that you should avoid, such as slapt-get, and a few other tools with which I'm not familiar enough with to comment on.

Notably missing is slackpkg, so let's install that first.

Slackpkg

Since all of Slackware's installable programs are on the Slackware server, and installpkg is already installed on Salix, all we need to do is grab the slackpkg installer and install it. If you open a web browser and navigate to a reliable Slackware mirror, you can actually navigate through the directory structure to where slackpkg lives; to be exact, it is a member of the ap package set. Grab it:

wget http://mirrors.pair.com/slackware-14.0/slackware/ap/slackpkg-2.82.0-noarch-8.tgz

And then install:

su -c 'installpkg ./slackpkg*tgz'

Now slackpkg is installed. As is pretty typical with a UNIX install, you've now got the executable binary and some conf files. First stop are the conf files. Or, in this case, the singular conf file, located in /etc/slackpkg/mirrors

Open the /etc/slackpkg/mirrors conf file in a text editor like vim or nano and uncomment one and only one mirror server. Make sure you are uncommenting a mirror for 32bit or 64bit, according to what you are running.

And finally, pull in the most recent package list.

su -c 'slackpkg update'

You can now install software and updates from the Slackware server, such as:

su -c 'slackpkg install mozilla-firefox'

or upgrade it with:

su -c 'slackpkg update'
su -c 'slackpkg upgrade mozilla-firefox

Unfamiliar Territory

Now, there are some tools packaged with Salix OS that just don't quite fit in with the idea Slackware Proper. I freely admit that I haven't used them, but this is a post on how to turn Salix into Slackware, not about how good or bad the bundled Salix-specific tools are in and as of themselves. In other words, we're about to rip out some vital organs that make Salix uniquely Salix, and we're doing so without remorse, so if you have a weak stomach, stop reading now.

The package that spawns auto-update messages is slapt-get. Ditch it. Also, its frontend sourcery:

su -c 'removepkg slapt-get'
su -c 'removepkg sourcery'

And now, more or less, you're runnning plain ol' Slackware. Of course, you are running Slackware as if though you'd done a custom install, so keep that in mind, but otherwise you can treat this system as a Slackware system. You can install all your favourite applications from the usual Slackware distribution. Everything is just a slackpkg away.

SlackBuilds

Of course, you probably will want to install more than just the software distributed with Slackware. This is why sites like SlackBuilds.org and personal stashes like slackermedia.info/slackbuilds arose. You can go to SlackBuilds.org and process your build scripts manually, or you can use one of the frontends that exist, such as sbopkg or sport.

But remember that I said earlier that Slackware build scripts are written for Slackware? well, this could be your case-in-point; if a script assumes you have a full install of Slackware then it's not going to notify you upfront that you must have, say, qimageblitz installed before building because qimageblitz would naturally be installed already on any Slackware system. In the end, the build script will fail.

To avoid this, you can either install EVERYTHING from the Slackware repository (thereby making Salix truly a full Slackware install) or do some extra research into the programme you are seeking to install in order to come up with a complete list of dependencies rather than a list of dependencies that starts with only the packages that you'd need in addition to a full install of Slackware.

Slack Packages

Last but not least, there are of course the usual assortment of Slackware Packages available from trusted sources like alienBOB, which you can download and then install with installpkg. This does not compile software from source, but installs pre-built binaries of programmes.

The same warning I give about build scripts being written for Slackware applies here. Some pre-built binaries will depend on things that are assumed to be true because it is assumed that you are installing them upon a full install of Slackware. The solution to that problem, should it arise, is the same as it is for build scripts..

Since Salix OS is compatible in every way with Slackware, all of these solutions technically will work just as well on Salix as they do with Slackware, you just might have to do a little more investigation and research than usual since you've essentially installed a customized version of Slackware rather than the full recommended install. But otherwise, you're running Slackware. So enjoy'.

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