Slackware Installation Notes

This notes record my experience with Slackware Linux version 12.0. I had used Linux/Unix for many years, however, Slackware the first time. The system is installed on a Samsung NX10 notebook. I will deal things that concerns me most from my previous experience (e.g. wireless, i18n, power management, package management).

Table of Contents

1 Update (May 2008)

On May 3rd, slackware 12.1 come out. ipw2100 firmware and scim are now included in official packages.

2 Package Management

The package management tool is 'pkgtool'. Dependency management is left up to the sysadmin. To upgrade a package officially released by Slackware, use the 'upgradepkg' command. I guess that's the first thing you wish to do after the installation since there's a kernel exploit recently.

3 Power Management

Slackware 12.0 by default hasn't include the ACPI DSDT in initrd patch in its kernel source. The patch can be found at:

Apply the patch and re-compile the kernel. You also need a DSDT compiler from Intel:

After building the compiler, compile the DSDT table:

 iasl -tc [DSDT file]

Then append your output to the kernel initrid image.

Another way is to compile the DSDT table into kernel instead of loading upon boot. I am getting lazy now – maybe that's why I choose Slackware – so I just use the generic kernel and don't bother myself into configuring a customized kernel now.

4 Graphics

My laptop's graphic card is Nvidia GeForce4 440 Go. The driver I am using is the binary driver provided by nvidia (96.43.05).

To enable suspend function, add the following option to the driver.

 Option "NvAGP" "1"

For double screens support, enable the 'TwinView' option.

5 Setting the Locale

Basically to set locale, we only need to set two (or less) environment variables, namely "LANG" and/or "LCALL". The global setting of locale in Slackware is at (depending on what shell you are using):


For terminal Unicode support, you may wish to use rxvt-unicode:

6 Setting the Wireless

My laptop's wireless card is using a Intel chip, and the driver is available at: Four things are required for install the driver – 2.6.8+ kernel, wireless tools, ipw2100 driver, ipw2100 firmware. Slackware provided the former three, and we only need to install the firmware. Download from the previous website, put the firmware in /lib/firmware and that's it. The setting for wireless is located at:


p.s. The Slackware current also contains the firmware package (ipw2200-fw-3.0-fw-1).

7 Fonts & Input

I use Wenquanyi fonts which are free and good. Find yours at:

The Emacs (21.4) in the Slackware seems have problem using Wenquanyi fonts. Nevertheless the default fonts 'Fangsong Ti' can be used in Emacs for Chinese display and no configuration is needed.

I also used MonteCarlo fonts for programming which are located at:

For (Chinese) input, I use scim (pinyin) which can be found at:

After the default installation (./configure && make && make install), you need to do some more. Modify the line in '/etc/gtk-2.0/gtk.immodules' from

 "xim" "X input Method" "gtk20" "/usr/share/locale" "ko:ja:th:zh"


 "xim" "X input Method" "gtk20" "/usr/share/locale" "ko:ja:th:zh:en"

Also the following lines need to be added to the xinit config file.

 export XMODIFIERS="@im=SCIM"
 export GTK_IM_MODULE=xim
 export QT_IM_MODULE=xim
 /usr/local/bin/scim -d

To use scim within Emacs, you need to install mule-ucs and add the following into '.emacsrc'.

 (require 'mucs)
 (require 'un-define)
 (prefer-coding-system 'utf-8)
 (set-language-environment 'utf-8)

8 Misc.

A fast slackware mirror in China:

Two good slackware repository:


Slackware has a very simple way to manage packages. The package manager does not check for dependency information. This may sound strange to users of Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, Arch etc. which all have the ability to trace the underling libraries for every software package. Even RPM-based Redhad and Fedora now have the 'yum' tool to solve the package dependency issues.

What Slackware package manager (SPM) does if it not check for dependency? SPM's only duty is package installation and removal and no others. A Slackware package is very simple. It is only a gziped tar archive whose content is the layout of the software or library on the system and sometimes include a description and install script (no package dependency information or what so ever). When you install a package, SPM records the files installed and changes made to the system. Later when you want to remove the package, SPM uses its record to clean all the installed files and roll back the changes ever made during the install of the package.

Slackware's philosophy is the UNIX's KISS. Slackware provide you a full functional and minimal system (of cuz, full function is by slack's definition) and all other things is left for user to do. My way to maintain the system is also quite simple. For the software not provided by Slackware, I downloaded the source and find all possible missing libraries and compile them. I then made a Slackware package for each my self compiled software or library, and install them using SPM. I also keep a log for all the software and their dependent library I installed. When someday I want to delete the software, I will delete those packages in SPM myself and update my log.

Author: chuan <liuchuan [at]>

Date: 2008-10-21 23:49:51 EDT

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