June 22, 2011

Slackware Essentials

Being a new user to Slackware I want to share my experience  , the mistakes I made and the solutions I found.

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1. startx

In slackware the default run level is 3, which is a multi user mode. For most of the people , who are all the new users of linux may get afraid due to this run level. Because, it welcomes the user by showing shell with some cute messages. From the shell, firing "startx" will take the user to a user friendly GUI.

In order to start with GUI always, we need to edit the file "/etc/inittab" as a super user and change the run level to 4. We have the following choices,

0 = halt

1 = single user mode

2 = unused (but configured the same as runlevel 3)

3 = multiuser mode (default Slackware runlevel)

4 = X11 with KDM/GDM/XDM (session managers)

5 = unused (but configured the same as runlevel 3)

6 = reboot

One nice thing here is "root" account also can be opened in Xserver [ GUI ], which is not possible in some few distros like Fedora



In Xserver run level [ runlevel 4 ], we can have workspaces to classify the work we are doing. But, at the beginning[after fresh install] , if we open any window, that window task bar will appear in all workspaces.

In order to changes this, we need to play with settings. The flow is,

kde start menu -> computer-> system settings

From there we can change the things as we want. If you have more RAM space, you can enable all those 3D stuffs to enhance the system look wise.


3. Bluetooth

During installation of slackware, if the user enabled bluetooth daemon means , no problem, they can start to use blue tooth according to their needs.[browse,file transfer, accessing Internet etc].

By any chance if the user missed to enable means, it can be enabled by [as root user]

"/etc/rc.d/rc.bluetooth start"

we can do stop and restart the service, by giving "stop" and "restart" respectively instead of "start" in above command.

The most important thing is , that should be in executable mode. If not, it wont throw any error message, simply you will get your shell prompt in next line. So, be sure to check the permission mode using "ls -l", and if it don't have execute permission means make it as executable using,"chmod +x rc.bluetooth".

Until you finish till above step, whenever you try to start blue tooth manager, you may get

"Bluez daemon is not running,blueman manager can not continue".

after changing the mode, start the blue tooth service. Then the blue tooth manager can be used to communicate to the external blue tooth device[mobiles etc].

4. Accessing Internet using a LAN

In most of the linux distros if we plug in the LAN cable, distros will take care of most of the thing. Mostly we need to change the IP address,subnet mask and gateway address according to the user's local network. These changing also very easy to do using various tools came up with distro itself [Yast for examble in SUSE].

As usual, in Slackware it is a bit tricky. fire the command "netconfig" in the terminal as root user. A shell based menu welcomes you . That will ask some details to setup the connection for you. First it will ask for Hostname then it will ask for Domain Name. Enter these two according to your need. Then choose static IP option to configure the settings according to your local network. It will ask for ip address , netmask, and gateway address one by one. Enter these details. Then it will ask about nameserver. Choose yes then enter a nameserver address whatever nameserver you like. Generally, you can enter for nameserver , if you dont know the DNS of your service provider. Thats it. The setup is over.

If you have some experience in Linux, you can directly change in the file


Then you need to reboot the system, since we changed some network related information. Remember,

"/etc/rc.d/rc.inetd restart "

this alone don't help.


5. Configuring USB modem in Slackware:

For this you need to have dialer scripts for your modem. Once you got the script, it is easy to configure the USB modem. The script for my USB MTS modem is,

[Dialer Defaults]

Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0

Modem Type = Analog Modem

Phone = #777

ISDN = 0

Username =
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Init1 = ATZ

Password = MTS

Modem = /dev/ttyUSB0

Baud = 9600

Stupid Mode = yes


Execute the command, "pppsetup" . Slackware will welcome you with one shell menu. Just answer for the fields it is asking. It will be easy if you have your modem dialer script. Finish the setup.

Then open the file "/etc/ppp/options" as root. In that file change the line "/dev/some_thing/" to "/dev/ttyUSB0". [ That some thing is a device, which you chose during "pppsetup" . Mostly, "ttyUSB0" wont be there during configuration for the question, "what is your modem /dev/ttyS ? " . So, choose something as you wish that time , then change it now ]

Thats it. using "ppp-go" you can start the connection and using "ppp-stop" you can disconnect the connection. After disconnection, you will get the bytes you transferred. From that you can know your data usage too.



The LInux LOader , which is a default boot loader for Slackware. If you have some other OS and want to change something regarding booting the machine, this is the file you need to use. Once the changes you made with this file you can save and close the file. After that you should execute, the command “lilo” . Then only the changes will take effect. [ This is not the case with GRUB. If you change the file in "/boot/grub" , that is enough. No need to execute any commands. ] . Simple "lilo" will overwrite current MBR . So, if you want to install Slack ware boot loader lilo, in different place, they need to give "lilo -b /dev/xxx " . xxx- is the place that you want to install lilo.


7. will “shutdown -P now?” shutdown the system?

By seeing the command, if you say “yes”, am sorry. It won't. If you google for Slackware, in links you found , you can get something like, “the Slackware community does not modify the source or add and remove functions from software beyond the author's design. All packages are built using the original source code in which only official patches are applied”

An example for the above statement is, what we are dealing now.

From any runlevel if you issue “shutdown -P now” command in Slackware , the system will go to runlevel 1, it wont do shutdown.

But, with other distro which I used,[Fedora,SUSE,Mint] the same command will do a proper shutdown.

So, why is this difference in result when executing a same command?. Which functionality is implemented in the Kernel core?

Of cource the one, which is carried out by Slackware*. The other distros changed the functionality** which suits for the command name. At this point, we can realize the freedom by/for the Linux to change the code according to the users.

*,** - Discussed in linux.com forum and conformed by Linux Gurus



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