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This is completely and obviously false. Slackware has always had package management see Chapter 17, Package Management for more information. What it does not have is automatic dependency resolution - Slackware's package tools trade dependency management for simplicity, ease-of-use, and reliability.
Each piece of Slackware this is true of all Linux distributions is developed by different people or teams of people , and each group has their own ideas about what it means to be "free". Because of this, there are literally dozens and dozens of different licenses granting you different permissions regarding their use or distribution. Fortunately dealing with free software licenses isn't as difficult as it may first appear. Sometimes you'll encounter a piece of software with a different license, but in almost all cases they are remarkably similar to either the GPL or the BSD license.
The GPL was created by the Free Software Foundation , which actively works to create and distribute software that guarantees the freedoms which they believe are basic rights. In fact, this is the very group that coined the term "Free Software. In fact, you don't even have to accept the terms of the license in order to use the software, but you are not allowed to redistribute the software or any changes to it without abiding by the terms of the license agreement.
A large number of software projects shipped with Slackware, from the Linux kernel itself to the Samba project, are released under the terms of the GPL. Another very common license is the BSD license, which is arguably "more free" than the GPL because it imposes virtually no restrictions on derivative works.
The BSD license simply requires that the copyright remain intact along with a simple disclaimer. Many of the utilities specific to Slackware are licensed with a BSD-style license, and this is the preferred license for many smaller projects and tools. Slackware's installation is a bit more simplistic than that of most other Linux distributions and is very reminiscent of installing one of the varieties of BSD operating systems.
If you're familiar with those, you should feel right at home. If you've never installed Slackware or have only used distributions that make use of graphical installers, you may feel a bit overwhelmed at first. Don't panic! We're only going to focus on the most common method - booting from a DVD - in this book. This directory includes the necessary files and instructions for booting the Slackware installer from a USB flash drive or from a network card that support PXE.
The files there are the best source of information available for such boot methods. Booting the installer is simply a process of inserting the Slackware install disk into your CD or DVD drive and rebooting. You may have to enter your computer's BIOS and alter the boot order to place the optical drive at a higher boot priority than your hard drives. Some computers allow you to change the boot order on the fly by pressing a specific function key during system boot-up.
Since every computer is different, we can't offer instructions on how to do this, but the method is simple on nearly all machines. Once your computer boots from the CD you'll be taken to a screen that allows you to enter any special kernel parameters.
This is here primarily to allow you to use the installer as a sort of rescue disk. Some systems may need special kernel parameters in order to boot, but these are very rare exceptions to the norm. Most users can simply press enter to let the kernel boot.
Don't be alarmed, this is all perfectly normal. The text you see is generated by the kernel during boot-up as it discovers your hardware and prepares to load the operating system in this case, the installer. You can later read these messages with the dmesg 1 command if you're interested.
Often these messages are very important for troubleshooting any hardware problems you may have. Once the kernel has completed its hardware discovery, the messages should stop and you'll be given an option to load support for non-us keyboards. Simply select the mapping that matches your keyboard type and continue on. Unlike other Linux distributions which boot you directly into a dedicated installer program, Slackware's installer places you in a limited Linux distribution loaded into your system's RAM.
This limited distribution is then used to run all the installation programs manually, or can be used in emergencies to fix a broken system that fails to boot. Now that you're logged in as root there is no password within the installer it's time to start setting up your disks. At this point, you may setup software RAID or LVM support if you wish or even an encrypted root partition, but those topics are outside of the scope of this book.
TXT files on your CD if you desire to setup your system with these advanced tools. Most users won't have any need to do so and should proceed directly to partitioning. Unlike many other Linux distributions, Slackware does not make use of a dedicated graphical disk partitioning tool in its installer.
Rather, Slackware makes use of the traditional Linux partitioning tools, the very same tools that you will have available once you've installed Slackware. Traditionally, partitioning is performed with either fdisk 8 or cfdisk 8 , both of which are console tools. Additionally, Slackware includes sfdisk 8 and gdisk 8. These are more powerful command-line partitioning tools. In this book, we're going to focus on using fdisk , but the other tools are similar.
You can find additional instructions for using these other tools online or in their man pages. In order to partition your hard drive, you'll first need to know how to identify it. In Linux, all hardware is identified by a special file called a device file. Over the years the kernel's SCSI subsystem morphed into a generic drive access system and came to be used for all hard disks and optical drives no matter how they are connected to your computer.
The current system is not only cleaner, but performs better as well. If you don't know which device node is assigned to your hard drive, fdisk can help you find out. You can also see some additional information about this hard drive. The [-l] argument to fdisk tells it to display the hard drives and all the partitions it finds on those drives, but it won't make any changes to the disks.
In order to actually partition our drives, we'll have to tell fdisk the drive on which to operate. Now we've told fdisk what disk we wish to partition, and it has dropped us into command mode after printing an annoying warning message. The cylinder limit has not been a problem for quite some time, and Slackware's boot loader will have no trouble booting disks larger than this.
Now that we know what commands will do what, it's time to begin partitioning our drive. Therefore, let's go ahead and make three partitions. The command to create a new partition is [n] which you noticed when you read the help. Here we have created two partitions. The first is 8GB in size, and the second is only 1GB. We can view our existing partitions with the [p] command. Both of these partitions are of type "83" which is the standard Linux filesystem.
We will do this with the [t] argument to fdisk. The swap partition is a special partition that is used for virtual memory by the Linux kernel. If for some reason you run out of RAM, the kernel will move the contents of some of the RAM to swap in order to prevent a crash. The size of your swap partition is up to you. A great many people have participated in a great many flamewars on the size of swap partitions, but a good rule of thumb is to make your swap partition about twice the size of your system's RAM.
You may wish to experiment with your swap partition's size and see what works best for you, but generally there is no harm in having "too much" swap. If you plan to use hibernation suspend to disk , you will need to have at least as much swap space as you have physical memory RAM , so keep that in mind. At this point, we are done partitioning our disks and are ready to begin the setup program. However, if you have created any extended partitions, you may wish to reboot once to ensure that they are properly read by the kernel.
Now that you've created your partitions it's time to run the setup program to install Slackware. In order to do so, just type setup at your shell prompt. If you've never installed Slackware before, you can get a very basic over-view of the Slackware installer by reading the Help menu. Most of the information here is on navigating through the installer which should be fairly intuitive, but if you've never used a curses-based program before you may find this useful.
Before we go any further, Slackware gives you the opportunity to select a different mapping for your keyboard. If you're using a standard US keyboard you can safely skip this step, but if you're using an international keyboard you will want to select the correct mapping now. This ensures that the keys you press on your keyboard will do exactly what you expect them to do.
If you created a swap partition, this step will allow you to enable it before running any memory-intensive activities like installing packages. It's a hard drive partition or a file, though Slackware's installer does not support swap files where regions of active system memory get copied when your computer is out of useable RAM.
This lets the computer "swap" programs in and out of active RAM, allowing you to use more memory than your computer actually has. Our next step is selecting our root partition and any other partitions we'd like Slackware to utilize. You'll be given a choice of filesystems to use and whether or not to format the partition.
If you're installing to a new partition you must format it. If you have a partition with data on it you'd like to save, don't. This lets them install newer versions of Slackware without having to backup and restore this data. Here you'll tell the installer where to find the Slackware packages. If you have your packages installed to a partition that you setup in the previous step, you can install from that partition or a pre-mounted directory.
You may need to mount that partition with mount 8 first. See chapter 11 for more details. We're only going to discuss installation from the DVD, but other methods are similar and straightforward. One unique feature of Slackware is its manner of dividing packages into disksets. At the beginning of time, network access to FTP servers was available only through incredibly slow baud modems, so Slackware was split into disk sets that would fit onto floppy disks so users could download and install only those packages they were interested in.
Today that practice continues and the installer allows you to chose which sets to install. This allows you to easily skip packages you may not want, such as X and KDE on headless servers or Emacs on everything. Please note that the "A" series is always required. Finally we get to the meat of the installer. At this stage, Slackware will ask you what method to use to chose packages. If this is your first time installing Slackware, the "full" method is highly recommended.
Even if this isn't your first time, you'll probably want to use it anyway. The "menu" and "expert" options allow you to choose individual packages to install and are of use to skilled users familiar with the OS. These methods allow such users to quickly prune packages from the installer to build a very minimal system.
If you don't know what you're doing sometimes even if you do you're likely to leave out crucial pieces of software and end up with a broken system. The "newbie" method can be very helpful to a new user, but takes a very long time to install. This method will install all the required packages, then prompt you individually for every other package. The big advantage here is that is pauses and gives you a brief overview of the package contents. For a new user, this introduction into what is included with Slackware can be informative.
For most other users it is a long and tedious process. The "custom" and "tagpath" options should only be used by people with the greatest skill and expertise with Slackware. These methods allow the user to install packages from custom tagfiles. Tagfiles are only rarely used. We won't discuss them in this book. Once all the packages are installed you're nearly finished.
At this stage, Slackware will prompt you with a variety of configuration tasks for your new operating system. Many of these are optional, but most users will need to set something up here. Depending on the packages you've installed, you may be offered different configuration options than the ones shown here, but we've included all the really important ones. The first thing you'll likely be prompted to do is setup a boot disk. In the past this was typically a 1. Please note that doing so will erase the contents of whatever memory stick you're using, so be careful.
LILO is in charge of booting the Linux kernel and connecting to an initrd or the root filesystem. Without it or some other boot loader , your new Slackware operating system will not boot. Slackware offers a few options here. The "simple" method attempts to automatically configure LILO for your computer, and works well with very simple systems.
If Slackware is the only operating system on your computer, it should configure and install LILO for you without any hassels. If you don't trust the simpler method to work, or if you want to take an in-depth look at how to configure LILO, the "expert" method is really not all that complicated. This method will take you through each step and offer to setup dual-boot for Windows and other Linux operating systems. It also allows you to append kernel command parameters most users will not need to specify any though.
LILO is a very important part of your Slackware system, so an entire section of the next chapter is devoted to it. If you're having difficulty configuring LILO at this stage, you may want to skip ahead and read Chapter 3 first, then return here. This simple step allows you to configure and activate a console mouse for use outside of the graphical desktops. By activating a console mouse, you'll be able to easily copy and paste from within the Slackware terminal.
Most users will need to choose one of the first three options, but many are offered, and yes those ancient two-button serial mice do work. The next stage in configuring your install is the network configuration. If you don't wish to configure your network at this stage, you may decline, but otherwise you'll be prompted to provide a hostname for your computer. If you're unsure what to do here, you might want to read through Chapter 14, Networking first. The following screens will prompt you first for a hostname, then for a domainname, such as example.
If you skip setting up your network, Slackware will name your computer "darkstar" after a song by the Grateful Dead. The simplest option, and probably the most common for laptops or computers on a basic network, is to let a DHCP server assign IP addresses dynamically. Unless you are installing Slackware for use as a network server, you probably do not need to setup a static IP address.
If you're not sure which of these options to choose, pick DHCP. This is almost always be the same hostname you entered earlier. If you choose to set a static IP address, Slackware will ask you to enter it along with the netmask, gateway IP address, and what nameserver to use. The final screen during static IP address configuration is a confirmation screen, where you're permitted to accept your choices, edit them, or even restart the IP address configuration in case you decide to use DHCP instead.
Once your network configuration is completed Slackware will prompt you to configure the startup services that you wish to run automatically upon boot. Helpful descriptions of each service appear both to the right of the service name as well as at the bottom of the screen. If you're not sure what to turn on, you can safely leave the defaults in place. What services are started at boot time can be easily modified later with pkgtool. Every computer needs to keep track of the current time, and with so many timezones around the world you have to tell Slackware which one to use.
If your computer's hardware clock is set to UTC Coordinated Universal Time , you'll need to select that; most hardware clocks are not set to UTC from the factory though you could set it that way on your own; Slackware doesn't care. Then simply select your timezone from the list provided and off you go. If you installed the X disk set, you'll be prompted to select a default window manager or desktop environment.
What you select here will apply to every user on your computer, unless that user decides to run xwmconfig 1 and choose a different one. Don't be alarmed if the options you see below do not match the ones Slackware offers you. The last configuration step is setting a root password.
Think of root as the Administrator user. Remove the Slackware installation disk, and if you performed all the steps correctly, your computer will boot into your new Slackware linux system. If something went wrong, you probably skipped the LILO configuration step or made an error there somehow. Thankfully, the next chapter should help you sort that out. When you have rebooted into your new Slackware installation, the very first step you should take is to create a user.
By default, the only user that exists after the install is the root user, and it's dangerous to use your computer as root, given that there are no restrictions as to what that user can do. The quickest and easiest way to create a normal user for yourself is to log in as root with the root password that you created at the end of the intallation process, and then issue the adduser command.
Ok, now that you've gotten Slackware installed on your system, you should learn exactly what controls the boot sequence of your machine, and how to fix it should you manage to break it somehow. If you use Linux long enough, sooner or later you will make a mistake that breaks your bootloader. Fortunately, this doesn't require a reinstall to fix. Unlike many other operating systems that hide the underlying details of how they work, Linux and in particular, Slackware gives you full control over the boot process.
Simply by editing a configuration file or two and re-running the bootloader installer, you can quickly and easily change or break your system. Slackware even makes it easy to dual-boot multiple operating systems, such as other Linux distributions or Microsoft Windows. Before we go any further, a quick discussion on the Linux kernel is warranted. Slackware Linux includes at least two, but sometimes more, different kernels.
While they are all compiled from the same source code, and hence are the "same", they are not identical. Depending on your architecture and Slackware version, the installer may have loaded your system with several kernels. There are kernels for single-processor systems and kernels for multi-processor systems on 32bit Slackware. In the old days, there were lots of kernels for installing on many different kinds of hard drive controllers.
More importantly for our discussion, there are "huge" kernels and "generic" kernels. Here you can see that I have two kernels installed, vmlinuz-huge Each Slackware release includes different kernel versions and sometimes even slightly different names, so don't be alarmed if what you see doesn't exactly match what I have listed here.
Huge kernels are exactly what you might think; they're huge. However, that does NOT mean that they have all of the possible drivers and such compiled into them. They most certainly contain support for hardware your machine does not and never will have, but that shouldn't concern you. These kernels are included for several reasons, but probably the most important is their use by Slackware's installer - these are the kernels that the Slackware installation disks run.
If you chose to let the installer configure your bootloader for you, it chooses to use these kernels due to the incredible variety of hardware they support. In contrast, the generic kernels support very little hardware without the use of external modules. If you want to use one of the generic kernels, you'll need to make use of something called an initrd, which is created using the mkinitrd 8 utility.
So why should you use a generic kernel? Currently the Slackware development team recommends use of a generic kernel for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the most obvious is size. The huge kernels are currently about twice the size of the generic kernels before they are uncompressed and loaded into memory.
If you are running an older machine, or one with some small ammount of RAM, you will appreciate the savings the generic kernels offer you. Other reasons are somewhat more difficult to quantify. Conflicts between drivers included in the huge kernels do appear from time to time, and generally speaking, the huge kernels may not perform as well as the generic ones.
Also, by using the generic kernels, special arguments can be passed to hardware drivers seperately, rather than requiring these options be passed on the kernel command line. Some of the tools included with Slackware work better if your kernel uses some drivers as modules rather than statically building them into the kernel.
Unfortunately, using the generic kernels isn't as straightforward as using the huge kernels. In order for the generic kernel to boot your system, you must also include a few basic modules in an initird. Modules are pieces of compiled kernel code that can be inserted or removed from a running kernel ideally using modprobe 8. This makes the system somewhat more flexible at the cost of a tiny bit of added complexity. You might find it easier to think of modules as device drivers, at least for this section.
Typically you will need to add the module for whatever filesystem you chose to use for your root partition during the installer, and if your root partition is located on a SCSI disk or RAID controller, you'll need to add those modules as well.
Finally, if you're using software RAID, disk encryption, or LVM, you'll also need to create an initrd regardless of whether you're using the generic kernel or not. An initrd is a compressed cpio 1 archive, so creating one isn't very straightforward. Fortunately for you, Slackware includes a tool that makes this very easy: mkinitrd.
A full discussion of mkinitrd is a bit beyond the scope of this book, but we'll show you all the highlights. For a more complete explanation, check the manpage or run mkinitrd with the [--help] argument. When using mkinitrd , you'll need to know a few items of information: your root partition, your root filesystem, any hard disk controllers you're using, and whether or not you're using LVM, software RAID, or disk encryption.
Unless you're using some kind of SCSI controller and have your root partition located on the SCSI controller , you should only need to know your root filesystem and partition type. If we want to create an initrd for this system, we simply need to tell this information to mkinitrd. Note that in most cases, mkinitrd is smart enough to determine this information on its own, but it never hurts to specify it manually.
Now that we've created our initrd, we simply need to tell LILO where to find it. We'll focus on that in the next section. Looking up all those different options for mkinitrd or worse, memorizing them, can be a real pain though, especially if you try out different kernels consistently. This became tedious for the Slackware development team, so they came up with a simple configuration file, mkinitrd.
Here's mine. For a complete description of each of these lines and what they do, you'll need to consult the man page for mkinitrd. Once it is setup properly, you need only run mkinitrd with the [-F] argument. A proper initrd file will be constructed and installed for you without you having to remember all those obscure arguments. If you're unsure what options to specify in the configuration file or on the command-line, there is one final option. When you run this script, it will generate a command line for mkinitrd that should work for your computer, but you may wish to check everything anyway.
Configuring LILO can be a little daunting for new users, so Slackware comes with a special setup tool called liloconfig. Normally, liloconfig is first run by the installer, but you can run it at any time from a terminal. The "simple" mode tries to automatically configure lilo for you. If Slackware is the only operating system installed on your computer, the "simple" mode will almost always do the right thing quickly and easily. In order to use "expert" mode, you'll need to know Slackware's root partition.
You can also setup other linux operating systems if you know their root partitions, but this may not work as well as you expect. Fortunately, setting up Windows partitions in expert mode is trivial. Once upon a time, it was recommended to install the boot loader onto the root partition and set that partition as bootable. In fact, you will encounter fewer problems if you do so.
At the top, you'll find a "global" section where you specify things like where to install LILO generally the MBR , any special images or screens to show on boot, and the timeout after which LILO will boot the default operating system. Here's what the global section of my lilo. For a complete listing of all the possible LILO options, you should consult the man page for lilo. We'll briefly discuss the most common options in this document.
The first thing that should draw your attention is the "boot" line. This determines where the bootloader is installed. In order to install to the Master Boot Record MBR of your hard drive, you simply list the hard drive's device entry on this line. In order to install to the boot block of a partition, you'll have to list the partition's device entry. The "prompt" option simply tells LILO to ask prompt you for which operating system to boot.
Operating systems are each listed in their own section deeper in the file. We'll get to them in a minute. In my case, this is 5 seconds. Some systems seem to take a very long time to display the boot screen, so you may need to use a larger timeout value than I have set.
This is in part why the simple LILO installation method utilizes a very long timeout somewhere around 2 whole minutes. The append line in my case was set up by liloconfig. I won't go into the details of why this line is needed, so you're just going to have to trust me that things work better if it is present. Now that we've looked into the global section, let's take a look at the operating systems section.
Each linux operating system section begins with an "image" line. Microsoft Windows operating systems are specified with an "other" line. For Linux operating systems like Slackware, the image line specifies which kernel to boot. The remaining sections are pretty self-explanatory.
They tell LILO where to find the root filesystem, what initrd if any to use, and to initially mount the root filesystem read-only. It tells LILO and the kernel where to find the initrd you created using mkinitrd. Unlike GRUB and other bootloaders, LILO requires you re-run lilo anytime you make changes to its configuration file, or else the new changed bootloader image will not be installed, and those changes will not be reflected.
Don't be too scared by many of the warnings you may see when running lilo. Unless you see a fatal error, things should be just fine. In particular, the LBA32 addressing warning is commonplace. A bootloader like LILO is a very flexible thing, since it exists only to determine which hard drive, partition, or even a specific kernel on a partition to boot. This inherently suggests a choice when booting, so the idea of having more than one operating system on a computer comes very naturally to a LILO or GRUB user.
People "dual boot" for a number of reasons; some people want to have a stable Slackware install on one partition or drive and a development sandbox on another, other people might want to have Slackware on one and another Linux or BSD distribution on another, and still other people may have Slackware on one partition and a proprietary operating system for work or for that one application that Linux simply cannot offer on the other.
Dual booting should not be taken lightly, however, since it usually means that you'll now have two different operating systems attempting to manage the bootloader. If you dual boot, the likelihood of one OS over-writing or updating the bootloader entries without your direct intervention is great; if this happens, you'll have to modify GRUB or LILO manually so you can get into each OS. There are two ways to dual or multi boot; you can put each operating system on its own hard drive common on a desktop, with their luxury of having more than one drive bay or each operating system on its own partition common on a laptop where only one physical drive is present.
In order to set up a dual-boot system with each operating system on its own partition, you must first create partitions. This is easiest if done prior to installing the first operating system, in which case it's a simple case of pre-planning and carving up your hard drive as you feel necessary. While it is technically possible, doing so will increase the chance of your personal configurations from becoming mauled by competing desktop environments or versions. First, install Slackware Linux onto the first partition of the hard drive as described in Chapter 2, Installation.
After Slackware has been installed, booted, and you've confirmed that everything works as expected, then reboot to the installer for the second OS. This OS will invariably offer to utilize the entire drive; you obviously do not want to do that, so constrain it to only the second partition.
If you're dual booting to another Linux distribution, the installer of that distribution usually asks if you want a boot loader installed. You're certainly free to not install a boot manager for it at all, and manually manage both Slackware and the other distribution with LILO. Depending on the distribution, you might be editing LILO more frequently than you would if you were only running Slackware; some distributions are notorious for frequent kernel updates, meaning that you'll need to edit LILO to reflect the new configuration after such an update.
But if you didn't want to edit configuration files every now and again, you probably wouldn't have chosen Slackware. Both LILO and GRUB have very good auto-detection features, so whichever one gets installed last should pick up the other distribution's presence and make an entry for it.
Since other distributions often attempt to auto-update their GRUB menus, there is always the chance that during an update something will become maligned and you suddenly find you can't boot into Slackware. If this happens, don't panic; just boot into the other Linux partition and manually edit GRUB so that it points to the correct partition, kernel, and initrd if applicable for Slackware in its menu.
This is not a bad choice, especially when Windows is the secondary OS, but potential pitfalls are that when Windows updates itself, it may attempt to overwrite the MBR master boot record again, and you'll have to re-install LILO manually again. Even when using the "simple" option to install, LILO should detect both operating systems and automatically configure a sensible menu for you. If it fails, then add the entries yourself. Dual booting between different physical hard drives is often easier than with partitions since the computer's BIOS or EFI almost invariably has a boot device chooser that allows you to interrupt the boot process immediately after POST and choose what drive should get priority.
The snag key to enter the boot picker is different for each brand of motherboard; consult the motherboard's manual or read the splash screen to find out what your computer requires. For Apple computers, it is always the Option Alt key. If you manage the boot priority via BIOS or EFI, then each boot loader on each hard drive is only aware of its own drive and will never interfere with one another.
This is rather contrary to what a boot loader is designed to do but can be a useful workaround when dealing with proprietary operating systems which insist upon being the only OS on the system, to the detriment of the user's preference. If you don't have the luxury of having multiple internal hard drives and don't feel comfortable juggling another partition and OS on your computer, you might also consider using a bootable USB thumbdrive or even a virtual machine to give you access to another OS.
Both of these options is outside the scope of this book, but they've commonplace and might be the right choice for you, depending on your needs. So you've installed Slackware and you're staring at a terminal prompt, what now? Now would be a good time to learn about the basic command line tools. And since you're staring at a blinking curser, you probably need a little assistance in knowing how to get around, and that is what this chapter is all about.
Your Slackware Linux system comes with lots of built-in documentation for nearly every installed application. Perhaps the most common method of reading system documentation is man 1. For example, man man will bring up the man-page for man itself. Unfortunately, you may not always know what application you need to use for the task at hand. Thankfully, man has built-in search abilities. Using the [-k] switch will cause man to search for every man-page that matches your search terms.
The man-pages are organized into groups or sections by their content type. For example, section 1 is for user applications. Sometimes you will find that a man-page exists in more than one section for a given entry. In that case, you will need to specify the exact section to look in. In this book, all applications and a number of other things will have a number on their right-hand side in parenthesis.
This number is the man page section where you will find information on that tool. Notice that each of the listings is a directory. Additionally, executable files will have an asterisk suffix. But ls can do so much more. To get a view of the permissions of a file or directory, you'll need to do a "long list".
A long listing lets you view the permisions, user and group ownership, file size, last modified date, and of course, the file name itself. Notice that the first two entires are files, and the last three are directories. This is denoted by the very first character on the line. Regular files get a "-"; directories get a "d". There are several other file types with their own denominators.
Symbolic links for example will have an "l". Lastly, we'll show you how to list dot-files, or hidden files. Unlike other operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, there is no special property that differentiates "hidden" files from "unhidden" files. A hidden file simply begins with a dot.
To display these files along with all the others, you just need to pass the [-a] argument to ls. You also likely noticed that your files and directories appear in different colors. Many of the enhanced features of ls such as these colors or the trailing characters indicating file-type are special features of the ls program that are turned on by passing various arguments. As a convienience, Slackware sets up ls to use many of these optional arguments by default.
We will talk more about environment variables in chapter 5. Unlike most other commands, cd is actually not it's own program, but is a shell built-in. Basically, that means cd does not have its own man page. You'll have to check your shell's documentation for more details on the cd you may be using.
For the most part though, they all behave the same. Notice how the prompt changed when we changed directories? The default Slackware shell does this as a quick, easy way to see your current directory, but this is not actually a function of cd. If your shell doesn't operate in this way, you can easily get your current working directory with the pwd 1 command.
Most UNIX shells have configurable prompts that can be coaxed into providing this same functionality. In fact, this is another convience setup in the default shell for you by Slackware. While most applications can and will create their own files and directories, you'll often want to do this on your own.
Thankfully, it's very easy using touch 1 and mkdir 1. Note how bar2 was created in our second command, and the third command simpl updated the timestamp on bar1. Additionally, you can use the [-p] argument to create any missing parent directories. Removing a file is as easy as creating one. The rm 1 command will remove a file assuming of course that you have permission to do this.
There are a few very common arguments to rm. The first is [-f] and is used to force the removal of a file that you may lack explicit permission to delete. The [-r] argument will remove directories and their contents recursively. There is another tool to remove directories, the humble rmdir 1.
Everyone needs to package a lot of small files together for easy storage from time to time, or perhaps you need to compress very large files into a more manageable size? Maybe you want to do both of those together? Thankfully there are several tools to do just that. You're probably familiar with.
These are compressed files that contain other files and directories. While we don't normally use these files in the Linux world, they are still commonly used by other operating systems, so we occasionally have to deal with them. In order to create a zip file, you'll naturally use the zip 1 command. You can compress either files or directories or both with zip , but you'll have to use the [-r] argument for recursive action in order to deal with directories.
The order of the arguments is very important. The first filename must be the zip file to create if the. One of the oldest compression tools included in Slackware is gzip 1 , a compression tool that is only capable or operating on a single file at a time. Whereas zip is both a compression and an archival tool, gzip is only capable of compression. At first glance this seems like a draw-back, but it is really a strength.
The UNIX philosophy of making small tools that do their small jobs well allows them to be combined in myriad ways. In order to compress a file or multiple files , simply pass them as arguments to gzip. Whenever gzip compresses a file, it adds a.
Decompressing is just as straight-forward with gunzip which will create a new uncompressed file and delete the old one. But suppose we don't want to delete the old compressed file, we just want to read its contents or send them as input to another program?
One alternative to gzip is the bzip2 1 compression utility which works in almost the exact same way. The advantage to bzip2 is that it boasts greater compression strength. Unfortunately, achieving that greater compression is a slow and CPU-intensive process, so bzip2 typicall takes much longer to run than other alternatives. The latest compression utility added to Slackware is xz , which impliments the LZMA compression algorithm.
This is faster than bzip2 and often compresses better as well. In fact, its blend of speed and compression strength caused it to replace gzip as the compression scheme of choice for Slackware. Unfortuantely, xz does not have a man page at the time of this writing, so to view available options, use the [--help] argument.
Compressing files is accomplished with the [-z] argument, and decompression with [-d]. So great, we know how to compress files using all sorts of programs, but none of them can archive files in the way that zip does. That is until now. The Tape Archiver, or tar 1 is the most frequently used archival program in Slackware.
Like other archival programs, tar generates a new file that contains other files and directories. It does not compress the generated file often called a "tarball" by default; however, the version of tar included in Slackware supports a variety of compression schemes, including the ones mentioned above. Invoking tar can be as easy or as complicated as you like. Typically, creating a tarball is done with the [-cvzf] arguments. Let's look at these in depth.
The [-f] argument must be present when reading or writing to a file for example, and the very next thing to follow must be the filename. Consider the following examples. Now that we've got our arguments straightened out, lets look at a few examples of how to create and extract tarballs. As we've noted, the [-c] argument is used to create tarballs and [-x] extracts their contents.
If we want to create or extract a compressed tarball though, we also have to specify the proper compression to use. Naturally, if we don't want to compress the tarball at all, we can leave these options out. The following command creates a new tarball using the gzip compression alogrithm. While it's not a strict requirement, it's also good practice to add the.
Traditionally, UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems are filled with text files that at some point in time the system's users are going to want to read. Naturally, there are plenty of ways of reading these files, and we'll show you the most common ones. In the early days, if you just wanted to see the contents of a file any file, whether it was a text file or some binary program you would use cat 1 to view them.
This was fine when the file was small and wouldn't scroll off the screen, but inadequate for larger files as it had no built-in way of moving within a document and reading it a paragraph at a time. Today, cat is still used quite extensively, but predominately in scripts or for joining two or more files into one. Given the limitations of cat some very intelligent people sat down and began to work on an application to let them read documents one page at a time.
Naturally, such applications began to be known as "pagers". One of the earliest of these was more 1 , named because it would let you see "more" of the file whenever you wanted. This is clearly a big improvement over cat , but still suffers from some annoying flaws; more is not able to scroll back up through a piped file to allow you to read something you might have missed, the search function does not highlight its results, there is no horizontal scrolling, and so on.
Clearly a better solution is possible. In fact, modern versions of more , such as the one shipped with Slackware, do feature a back function via the b key. However, the function is only available when opening files directly in more ; not when a file is piped to more.
In order to address the short-comings of more , a new pager was developed and ironically dubbed less 1. To begin with, less allows you to use your arrow keys to control movement within the document. Due to its popularity, many Linux distributions have begun to exclude more in favor of less.
Slackware includes both. Moreover, Slackware also includes a handy little pre-processor for less called lesspipe. This allows a user to exectute less on a number of non-text files. Less provides nearly as much functionality as one might expect from a text editor without actually being a text editor. In the event that a file is too wide to fit on one screen, you can even scroll horizontally with the left and right arrow keys. The g key takes you to the top of the file, while G takes you to the end.
Also as with more , files may be opened directly in less or piped to it:. There is much more to less ; from within the application, type h for a full list of commands. Links are a method of referring to one file by more than one name. By using the ln 1 application, a user can reference one file with more than one name. The two files are not carbon-copies of one another, but rather are the exact same file, just with a different name.
To remove the file entirely, all of its names must be deleted. This is actually the result of the way that rm and other tools like it work. Rather than remove the contents of the file, they simply remove the reference to the file, freeing that space to be re-used. Another type of link exists, the symlink. Symlinks, rather than being another reference to the same file, are actually a special kind of file in their own right.
These symlinks point to another file or directory. The primary advantage of symlinks is that they can refer to directories as well as files, and they can span multiple filesystems. These are created with the [-s] argument. When using symlinks, remember that if the original file is deleted, your symlink is useless; it simply points at a file that doesn't exist anymore.
Yeah, what exactly is a shell? Well, a shell is basically a command-line user environment. In essence, it is an application that runs when the user logs in and allows him to run additional applications. In some ways it is very similar to a graphical user interface, in that it provides a framework for executing commands and launching programs. There are many shells included with a full install of Slackware, but in this book we're only going to discuss bash 1 , the Bourne Again Shell.
Advanced users might want to consider using the powerful zsh 1 , and users familiar with older UNIX systems might appreciate ksh. The truly masochistic might choose the csh , but new users should stick to bash. All shells make certain tasks easier for the user by keeping track of things in environment variables. An environment variable is simply a shorter name for some bit of information that the user wishes to store and make use of later.
For example, the environment variable PS1 tells bash how to format its prompt. Other variables may tell applications how to run. Setting your own envirtonment variables is easy. Additionally, an environment variable can be removed by using unset. Don't panic if you accidently unset an environment variable and don't know what it would do. You can reset all the default variables by logging out of your terminal and logging back in.
The primary difference between set and export is that export will naturally export the variable to any sub-shells. A sub-shell is simply another shell running inside a parent shell. You can easily see this behavior when working with the PS1 variable that controls the bash prompt.
There are many important environment variables that bash and other shells use, but one of the most important ones you will run across is PATH. PATH is simply a list of directories to search through for applications. You will most likely first notice this when you attempt to run a program that is not in your PATH as a normal user, for instance, ifconfig 8.
Above, you see a typical PATH for a mortal user. You can change it on your own the same as any other environment variable. If you login as root however, you'll see that root has a different PATH. Wildcards are special characters that tell the shell to match certain criteria. The asterisk matches any character or combination of characters, including none.
Slightly less common is the?. This wildcard matches one instance of any character, so b? No, the fun doesn't stop there! In addition to these two we also have the bracket pair "[ ]" which allows us to fine tune exactly what we want to match.
Whenever bash see the bracket pair, it substitutes the contents of the bracket. Any combination of letters or numbers may be specified in the bracket as long as they are comma seperated. Additionally, ranges of numbers and letters may be specified as well. This is probably best shown by example. Since Linux is case-sensitive, capital and lower-case letters are treated differently.
All capital letters come before all lower-case letters in "alphabetical" order, so when using ranges of capital and lower-case letters, make sure to get them right. In the second example, 1[b-W] isn't a valid range, so the shell treats it as a filename, and since that file doesn't exist, ls tells you so. Still think there's entirely too much work involved with using wildcards?
You're right. There's an even easier way when you're dealing with long filenames: tab completion. Tab completion enables you to type just enough of the filename to uniquely identify it, then by hitting the TAB key, bash will fill in the rest for you. Even if you haven't typed in enough text to uniquely identify a filename, the shell will fill in as much as it can for you. Hitting TAB a second time will make it display a list of all possible matches for you.
One of the defining features of Linux and other UNIX-like operating systems is the number of small, relatively simple applications and the ability to stack them together to create complex systems. This is achieved by redirecting the output of one program to another, or by drawing input from a file or second program.
To get started, we're going to show you how to redirect the output of a program to a file. This might not be the best idea if you want to keep those contents in place. You can also re-direct the standard error or stderr to a file. Since bash can re-direct input, stdout, and stderr, each must be uniquely identifiable.
Finally, you can actually redirect the output of one program as input to another. This is perhaps the most useful feature of bash and other shells, and is accomplished using the ' ' character. This character is referred to as 'pipe'. If you here some one talk of piping one program to another, this is exactly what they mean.
This allows you to temporarily halt a running process, perform some other task, then resume it or optionally make it run in the background. You can return to that process later. Additionally, you can suspend multiple processes in this way indefinitely.
The jobs built-in command will display a list of suspended tasks. In order to return to a suspended task, run the fg built-in to bring the the most recently suspended task back into the foreground. If you have mutiple suspended tasks, you can specify a number as well to bring one of them to the foreground. You can also background a task with surprize bg.
This will allow the process to continue running without maintaining control of your shell. You can bring it back to the foreground with fg in the same way as suspended tasks. Slackware Linux and other UNIX-like operating systems allow users to interact with them in many ways, but the most common, and arguably the most useful, is the terminal.
In the old days, terminals were keyboards and monitors sometimes even mice wired into a mainframe or server via serial connections. Today however, most terminals are virtual; that is, they exist only in software. Virtual terminals allow users to connect to the computer without requiring expensive and often incompatible hardware.
Rather, a user needs only to run the software and they are presented with a usually highly customizable virtual terminal. The most common virtual terminals in that every Slackware Linux machine is going to have at least one are the gettys. Each of these gettys is available on different tty devices that are accessible seperately by pressing the ALT key and one of the function keys from F1 through F6.
Using these gettys allows you to login multiple times, perhaps as different users, and run applications in those users' shells silmutaneously. This is most commonly done with servers which do not have X installed, but can be done on any machine. On desktops, laptops, and other workstations where the user prefers a graphical interface provided by X , most terminals are graphical. Slackware includes many different graphical terminals, but the most commonly used are KDE's konsole and XFCE's Terminal 1 as well as the old standby, xterm 1.
If you are using a graphical interface, check your tool bars or menus. Each desktop environment or window manager has a virtual terminal often called a terminal emulater , and they are all labelled differently. Typically though, you will find them under a "System" sub-menu in desktop environments.
Executing any of these will give you a graphical terminal and automatically run your default shell. By now you should be pretty familiar with bash and you may have even noticed some odd behavior. For example, when you login at the console, you're presented with a prompt that looks a bit like this. The cause here is a special environment variable that controls the bash prompt. Some shells are considered "login" shells and others are "interactive" shells, and both types read different configuration files when started.
This has some advantages for power users, but is a common annoyance for many new users who want the same environment anytime they execute bash and don't care about the difference between login and interactive shells. When using the above, all your login and interactive shells will have the same environment settings and behave identically.
Let's start by configuring the prompt. Personally, I prefer short and simple prompts that take up a minimum of space, but I've seen and used mutli-line prompts many times. To change your prompt you need only to change your PS1 variable.
Click "Schedule Exports" and choose your preferred frequency, then you can sit back and wait for Slack to automatically email you exported data complete with private conversations and direct messages. Smart Home. Social Media. More Button Icon Circle with three horizontal dots. It indicates a way to see more nav menu items inside the site menu by triggering the side menu to open and close.
Steven John. You can export a Slack conversation from your workspace's channels and retain them for later review if you're an admin of a Slack workspace. Administrators of Plus Plan Slack workspaces can use a Corporate Export function that also lifts exchanges from private channels and direct messages. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
When not writing or spending time with his wife and kids, he can occasionally be found climbing mountains. His writing is spread across the web, and his books can be found at www.
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