Welcome to the Slackware Documentation Project

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Slackware Linux Essentials


Intended Audience

Slackware is a powerful, Intel-based distribution that can be configured to be a stable workstation, an efficient server, and anything you really want it to be. It is stable, secure, and functional.

This is to get you started with Slackware. It will not cover every little thing about the system, but it will introduce you to what is included and how to get yourself off the ground. You may even find later that it can be a good reference. But in all cases, it is a handy guide for most every part of the system.

Why A New Slackware Book?

Slackware Linux may be one of the oldest surviving Linux distributions but it's still regularly updated and includes the latest releases of many of the most popular free software programs. While Slackware does aim to maintain its traditional UNIX roots and values, there is no escaping “progress”. Subsystems change, window managers come and go and new ways are devised to manage the complexities of a modern operating system. While we do resist change for change's sake, it's inevitable that as things evolve documentation becomes stale — books are no exception.

Conventions Used in this Book

To provide a consistent and easy to read text, several conventions are followed throughout the book.

Typographic Conventions


An italic font is used for commands, emphasized text, and the first usage of technical terms.


A monospaced font is used for error messages, commands, environment variables, names of ports, hostnames, user names, group names, device names, variables, and code fragments.


A bold font is used for user input in examples.

User Input

Keys are shown in bold to stand out from other text. Key combinations that are meant to be typed simultaneously are shown with “+” between the keys, such as:


Meaning the user should type the Ctrl, Alt, and Del keys at the same time.

Keys that are meant to be typed in sequence will be separated with commas, for example:

Ctrl+X, Ctrl+Shift

Would mean that the user is expected to type the Ctrl and X keys simultaneously and then to type the Ctrl and Shift keys simultaneously.


Examples starting with E:\> indicate a MS-DOS® command. Unless otherwise noted, these commands may be executed from a “Command Prompt” window in a modern Microsoft® Windows® environment.

D:\> rawrite a: bare.i

Examples starting with # indicate a command that must be invoked as the superuser in Slackware. You can login as root to type the command, or login as your normal account and use su(1) to gain superuser privileges.

# dd if=bare.i of=/dev/fd0

Examples starting with % indicate a command that should be invoked from a normal user account. Unless otherwise noted, C-shell syntax is used for setting environment variables and other shell commands.

% top



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