Slackware on the Framework Laptop

Does anyone know anything about this OS? This article is old. The regular Slackware 15.0 was just recently released as a stable version. I was reading that it does not use systemd and does use kernel 5.15 or a selection of previous ones are available.

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I’ve used Slackware off and on since 1993 or so - it was the first Linux distribution I ever used, in fact.
I don’t know that I can do the distribution justice in talking about it, but I’d be happy to try to answer any questions if you have any. You’re right - it doesn’t use systemd, but instead uses the BSD-style init system (rc.*).
The entire distribution is less coherent and less-managed that something like Debian (where every package is vetted before being included in a repository) or even Arch, so kernel releases aren’t really tied to the distribution. You just download the source for whichever kernel you’d like and compile it.
It is somewhat like Arch or Gentoo, in that Slackware is intended to let someone build their own system. There are some “official” Slackware packages (which are just tarballs), and it even has a package manager if one prefers to use that, but really it was designed with the idea that one would download (and compile) the software one wanted from wherever. It doesn’t have anything as massive as AUR

A pair of links:


Thank you for the excellent links. It sounds intriguing, but probably beyond my skill level right now. (Maybe at a later date.) That’s what I needed to know. :slight_smile:

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I found a user’s review.

Slackware 15.0 on the Framework - Slackware 15.0 on the Framework | RyNo's Site

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@SusanSez I renamed the thread’s title “Phew! The Oldest Active Linux Distro, Slackware, is Not Dead Yet - It’s FOSS” to “Slackware on the Framework Laptop” aligning other Linux distro’s threads, changing the category to Linux. Because this thread is the first Slackware specific thread, and I wanted to use it as Slackware main thread. I hope you don’t mind it.

No at all. In fact it wasn’t what I was trying to convey anyway! Thank you. I would like to hear more about Slackware anyway, even though Gary’s answer was pretty thorough. I’m just interested to hear others comments/experiences too.

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I have never used Slackware. Slackware is the oldest Linux distro. You see an interesting Linux family tree here. When I started to use FreeBSD and a Red Hat based Linux distro maybe in 2000, people in Linux users group might say that Slackware was for advanced users at that time. Not sure whether Slackware had a packaging system at that time. Slackware makes me nostalgic. :slight_smile:

Reference - Slackware - Wikipedia

I’m teetering between Linux Mint and Slackware. I just don’t know if I am up to the challenge of that many choices. (As Slackware’s blank slate approach.) It’s what I want ultimately. It has very little interference or bloat, from my understanding.

I installed Slackware 15 on my desktop PC and ran it for a while. Slackware seems like such an interesting piece of history, and I was curious.

The installation was a little tricky, in my opinion. There are guides available to give you a hand if you want, but still it is not intuitive. I found it more difficult than installing Arch Linux, although not quite as challenging as installing Gentoo.

It took some research to make headway with installing packages–it was a bit unlike anything I’d used before. They pack tons of software into the ISO–some four or five gigs if I recall correctly? Tons of software and multiple desktop environments too. It seems bizarre, but the package management was pretty clunky so maybe that’s their way around it.

I was able to install packages that were not in any available repository, but as someone mentioned there is a bit of a build process involved. It was alright though, once I got the hang of it.

The very first time I updated, the display manger broke and it booted to a TTY. It took a bit of digging through the forums to get back in, and I learned that Slackware doesn’t do much in the way of package management–it’s kind of up to the user to get their dependencies straightened out and the like.

Slackware, like Arch or Gentoo, is a great choice if you want to tinker and explore and learn about your system, but will require a bit of a commitment as far as putting in time fixing and maintaining the setup. If you need to sit down at your computer and have it “just work” without having to stop to read through documentation for an hour here or there, I would either dual-boot with another distro while you learn or just steer clear.

This is an odd pair of distros to be torn between–they are practically opposites! Linux Mint requires very little user intervention and is difficult to break. Honestly if someone wanted to run Linux Mint without ever opening the terminal I bet they would get along just fine.

Thanks for your input. I do want a learning process. I know nothing about code, but would like some exposure to it. I don’t want a big unwieldy system that surprises me with new stuff all the time. I would check out Mint Mate or Xfc, but they don’t have the upgraded kernel. And trying to avoid systemd.

Ooh, that’s a tricky one! Systemd is pretty ubiquitous these days. Can I ask what is the reason you want to avoid systemd?

I have seen some folks in the forum using Void Linux, and I am sure Artix could work too (Arch-based). Those are both non-systemd distros. This is a pretty good roundup if you want to read up on some others, but a lot of those won’t work on Framework right now (specifically the Debian ones, since Debian stable is still on I believe kernel 5.10).

I think you’d be fine doing a Slackware install if you choose your desktop environment during the installation - that way you don’t have to worry about dependencies.

The biggest differences you’d encounter when installing Slackware as opposed to most other linux distributions is that you have to do the disk partitioning before running the setup with Slackware, and it is done through the fdisk utility.

I most recently installed Slackware on an older laptop with a SATA drive. I will run the installer on a newer laptop with NVMe storage and see if I can identify the ‘gotcha’ moments or things to keep in mind.

Another option, if you are just looking for a unix-like but don’t necessarily need Linux per se, might be OpenBSD - version 6.7 or newer purport to support the wireless card. OpenBSD’s installer is comparable to Slackware’s in terms of ease of use, so that might not be a big help. You don’t have to worry about systemd on BSD systems, but you may not find the software you want to install in a BSD package or port.

I’ll try the Slackware install again on something more modern tonight and report back.

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@Gary_S I looked at BSD too. I think it’s beyond my skill level. @BluishHumility What I’ve read about Systemd is that it’s built to be invasive. I thought MX Linux might be a good compromise. They claim to have a very peripheral use of Systemd. Thank you both for the excellent articles!

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@SusanSez Thank you for starting a post on Slackware and @junaruga thanks for converting the thread to a Slackware thread.

I’ve used Slackware as my daily driver all the way from versions 9 to 13 and have thoroughly enjoyed using it. I’m waiting for my Framework to arrive (via a friend in the UK) and return to the world of Linux again.

While I did do the distro hopping that is coming for many of us, Slackware always felt like home. Only for a brief while did I consider RHEL, CentOS and Suse while I worked on implementing SELinux as an LSM as the base.

This review seems to have captured installing 15 well [quote=“junaruga, post:4, topic:17836”]
Slackware 15.0 on the Framework | RyNo’s Site
[/quote], if you feel LUKS is not up your alley, may I suggest trying to set it up on a VM? I have tried setting them up on a VM and it works like a charm. This guide seems to be useful: Slackware 15.0 Install to Virtualbox - YouTube

  1. I always end up installing at least one DE whenever I perform the first install. It used to be KDE when my hardware supported it, then moved onto XFCE when my hardware wasn’t upto mark. This helps me have a “working” system without having to fiddle around too much.
  2. Slack’s full install is fairly comprehensive for most use cases and only requires minor additions by the user (such as maybe the newer applications that most of us need for work/play- Zoom, Teams, Discord, etc.). Having only used pkgtools and slackpkg earlier for package management. I am fairly excited at the prospect of having something like available now!
  3. I have tried installing Slack without LILO and post-install, have installed GRUB (on the VM) and it works like a charm. These steps are similar to the review posted previously (with the difference being being for non ecrypted partitions).

Thank you @5uie1 and Welcome to the Forum. I’ll check out the links you posted.

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Welcome, 5uie1!

Moderators, could you change this thread’s 1st comment to the wiki for Slackware people to update the summary of the installation tips? Thanks.

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learn about linux/OS/distro :

  • documentation (every distro is beginner friendly if one is ready to read docs)

  • no specific distro is needed for deeper understanding of a linux system

    • why call it distribution instead of OS ?, cuz we can switch-swap any part of it with existing alternatives like kernel, init, pkg manager etc.

learn how to build a bootable system from scratch :

  • check LFS
  • any distro can be build from scratch but using pkg managers (like portage, kiss, pacman etc) are not recommended for this purpose

learn how it works :

  • learn a language (i prefer NIM)
  • learn from / contribute to existing projects like kernel, init, utilities etc.

u can always compile from source if u have time

been using dinit its pretty neat & fast
incase u want more flexibility + control try and tame s6

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I’m leaning toward Slackware, but @BluishHumility mentioned that the ISO is bigger than most. My question is, after I have installed and compiled my options, does the information about the rest remain accessible, or am I left with just my my selections?

Slackware 15 ISO is available on their list of mirrors, here is the link to the HTML download of their ISO. It stands at around 3.5G.

I mostly recommend that first time users go with the full install of Slackware is it reduces the number of things you will have to download and install. Additionally, please choose a DE to make your life simpler.

The packages that you choose to not install at the beginning will have to be manually installed through slackpkg and pkgtools. Or through places such as Slackbuilds. The ISO file will have the sources for those packages, so it should be possible to do that, but I have never tried that.

The Slackware documentation has the details about how to install. Additionally, the hands on might be of help.

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Thanks @XADE and @5uie1 for the info. I decided to go with Linux Mint Cinnamon (Edge) because it had the longest name. (Not really) For my first install, I decided on baby steps and I’m glad I did. It runs perfectly. When I I know my way around Linux a little better, Slackware will be install #2.