Enjoy Slackware 15.0!

Welcome to the Slackware Documentation Project

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Get Slackware Up and Running

This guide puts a few common tasks together one place so that new users have a coherent guide to doing some essential tasks in a fresh installation of Slackware.

We'll assume that you've read the Installation Guide and that you have a clean install of Slackware on your machine and that you're happy with that.

Post Installation Overview

When you start Slackware for the first time, you will boot to a simple log in screen. Log in as root - you’ll have set the root password during the installation process.

So now what? You may want to start your desktop environment, set up your network and a host of other things.

Switch to generic kernel

It's recommended that you switch to the generic kernel. This is easy to do but there are a few steps to follow.

You will need to make an initial RAM disk (initrd for short). The initrd functions as a temporary root file system and it helps get the actual root system mounted when your system boots. Run this, as root:

 # /usr/share/mkinitrd/mkinitrd_command_generator.sh

It will output something like this depending on your kernel version, the file systems you chose when you installed Slackware and so on.

 # mkinitrd -c -k 3.2.28 -f ext4 -r /dev/sda1 -m usbhid:ehci-hcd:uhci-hcd:ext4 -u -o /boot/initrd.gz

Run the script's output as root to generate the initrd.gz. If you have installed LILO, then you will also need to make changes to /etc/lilo.conf by adding a line to your Slackware entry as follows:

image = /boot/vmlinuz-generic-3.2.28
initrd = /boot/initrd.gz # add this line so that lilo sees initrd.gz
root = /dev/sda1
label = Slackware

Save and then run

 # lilo
  • Have a look at mkinitrd manual page (man mkinitrd) for more information.
  • If you use grub or other bootloader, then make changes as applicable to the version you use.
  • If you do try to use the generic kernel without creating an initrd.gz booting will fail with a kernel panic.

Create User

The first thing you will need to do is create your user account. There are two ways you can do this, with the adduser script, thus:

 # adduser

and follow the prompts. Read the user management page for more detail on the adduser script. You can use the command line too and use something like this;

 # useradd -m -g users -G users,wheel,floppy,audio,video,cdrom,plugdev,power,netdev -s /bin/bash slacker

Once that’s done you can log in to your user account. Type in the command

 su - slacker

Or login from a console.

Set Up Slackpkg Mirrors

In order to keep your Slackware installation up-to-date, you will need to set an online mirror from which to download updates with slackpkg.

The list of mirrors can be found on this file.


Uncomment any one mirror for the appropriate version of Slackware.


Have a look at AlienBob’s comprehensive guide to networking in Slackware here.


To configure your network, run (as root)

# netconfig

You would have the opportunity to run this script during the installation process.

netconfig only deals with a wired connection.

On the assumption that you set configured your wired connection with netconfig, wired connections should start automatically without the need for any post-installation configuration.

If you didn’t run netconfig during installation, just run netconfig as root

then run

 # /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1 eth0_start

You should have a working internet connection which will start at boot. Various tools exist to monitor the network connection, including wicd.


It will be worth checking whether your wireless hardware is supported by Linux, if you’ve not already done so. Again, read Eric Hameleers' guide. To summarize, you need to add information about your wireless connection to your wireless configuration file


You will also need to take steps to include wireless security too, whether WEP or WPA2. With the configuration file amended and your network security included, you should then be able to establish your wireless connection.

Slackware provides wicd, so you can use that to start and monitor your connection. It’s not installed in the main distribution, so you’ll need to install the package from your installation medium – it’s in the folder extra. You can also install and use NetworkManager, as an alternative to the above methods.

Upgrading the System

This is how you can keep your Slackware up-to-date.

 # slackpkg update
 # slackpkg install-new
 # slackpkg upgrade-all
 # slackpkg clean-system         # to remove non-official packages installed from other sources

When tracking current, you should always read the latest ChangeLog before upgrading the system, to see whether any additional steps are required to be performed before or after upgrading. For upgrades to a stable release, it is a good idea to read the UPGRADE.TXT file located on the CD/DVD or the official mirror.

Start Desktop Environment

Configure X If Required

Xorg should auto-detect your graphics card and load applicable drivers. If auto-detect does not work (X crashes on startup), you would need to create a file /etc/X11/xorg.conf and set the correct options for your graphics card and display resolution. You can use

  X -configure 

To generate a basic xorg.conf configuration file, which can be customized and placed in the /etc/X11/ directory. For a detailed overview of X configuration, check the xorg.conf manual page (man xorg.conf).

Choosing a Desktop Environment/Window Manager

To choose the Window Manger or Desktop Environment you wish to use, run the xwmconfig utility:

 $ xwmconfig

and select one of the available options. Then you can simply run;

 $ startx

Your preferred Desktop Environment or Window Manager will then start up.

Graphical Login

To start with a graphical login screen on boot, change the default runlevel to 4. Edit the file /etc/inittab and change the line that looks like




You can choose to use one of the available desktop (login) managers, KDM, XDM or install a third-party login manager like SliM

It may be of interest to new Linux users to explore the command line a bit more before installing a graphical desktop, just to learn some shell commands and applications available in non-graphical mode. For instance, web browsing can be done with Lynx, a text-mode browser.


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