Basic Slackware Linux learning guidelines for beginner

Slackware is a great Linux distribution for a beginner to start learning Linux operating system. Slackware enables user to fully control the operating system. Some people say that Slackware is a little hard for a beginner. Some others say that Slackware is primitive. But that's how Slackware works. Ask people who use Slackware, and they will give you several concrete reasons why they choose Slackware and stick with it.


Setup Linux partition

Slackware still using the old fdisk partition tool to create hard disk partition for Linux. Nothing's wrong with that, in fact, it is a great tool and really useful in hard disk maintenance and repair job. Slackware also includes more user friendly partition tool called cfdisk. It is also a great hard disk partition tool.

What you need to know about hard disk partitioning for Linux system is to provide a proper size for each partition. For the Slackware partition, it is a good idea to create at least 4 partitions for the Linux system. If we have 160GB hard disk dedicated for Slackware, then the partition would be:

Mount point Size Filesystem
swap +2048MB sda1
/ +30000MB sda2
/usr/local +20000MB sda3
/home +100000MB sda4

The swap partition size is double the RAM size.

Why giving all the remaining hard disk space to /home directory not / directory? Well, the / directory doesn't need much space. If the Slackware is setup for personal use, then the only partition that need to use / hard disk space would be the /var for the logs. But why give more hard disk space for /home partition, then? When using Slackware Linux for personal computer, you are going to use a normal user account, which the home directory would be in the /home directory by default (only use root when necessary). You would keep all your data (user data) such as multimedia data, mp3, animes, pictures, etc in your home directory. That's why you need a large hard disk space.

Install Slackware

Slackware installation should give no problem if you have the installation manual. The Slackware setup program is a great tool. The instruction on every step explains what you should do. It even recommends or suggests what to do in several occasions.

When choosing a graphical user interface desktop system, choose kde. If you have access to the Internet, you can setup networking for Slackware machine during Slackware configuration steps. So when Slackware installation is finished, you already have access to the Internet.

Setup slackpkg

The first thing to do when you finished Slackware installation is to configure slackpkg, Slackware package management system. It's no big deal, everything is already configured. You just need to choose a mirror and start upgrade packages and patch your system.

Create a new user account

It is not recommended to work full time as a root user. You need to create a new user account which you can use to do your work in Slackware. You can use adduser command, which is a simplified tool to create new user account.

Configure video card and monitor

When your system is patched and upgraded, and you already have a normal user account, then it's time to configure Slackware system. The first configuration would be the video card and monitor. New computer comes with advanced video card and bigger wide screen monitor. Slackware already configure that for you but you must check to see if it is the right setting.

You can login to the x-window, a graphical user interface and check the setting for your monitor size and resolution. Normally, if you have a wide screen monitor, you'd need to re-configure the setting or re-install the appropriate driver.

Configure mouse

New mouse comes with a scroll function. That didn't work by default in Slackware kde. You need to tweak a bit to make it works. When this is done, you have covered almost all the basics needed in operating system. If you didn't notice, you have learn so many things about Linux configuration at this early stage. That's good for you. Now it's time to learn other serious topics about Linux with the Slackware.

Install VMWare server

VMWare is a virtualization software which enable us to install multiple operating system in Slackware. Download and install vmware server for Linux. It is free. We would use vmware platform to install another Slackware for learning and testing purpose.

Install guess operating system

VMWare enables us to install other operating system in our current Slackware as a guest operating system. We can install other Linux distribution too. But at this stage, if you really want to learn how Linux works, you should install another Slackware to be used as a learning platform. We can configure any Linux server, setup firewall, and everything about Linux. If we messed up, it does not effect our system at all.

That's all you need to do to learn Linux operating system using Slackware Linux distribution. You can find almost all basic Linux learning guide mentioned above in basicconfig.com.

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