Slackware Configuration On VMWare

Those of you know me from the Linsux, OSTalk or Ubuntu’s Forum’s Other OS Talk section will know that when it comes to Linux, Slackware is and probably always will be my favourite distro, so undoubtedly there are bound to be a few posts from me about this from time to time. In comparison to other distros there is relatively little coverage of Slackware however this is not the case on Techsnap.

This is just to show the way I like to do things on Slackware and the official documentation should be more than sufficient to get you up and running, this is purely a real world example of my configuration.


Partitioning – I opt for a swap file rather than a swap partition as it’s just a home use VM but you may prefer a swap partition (and this requires less configuration after installation). If you’d like to do this yourself then create just one single partition as in image. Once you have run setup, go straight to the TARGET option as you will not need to set up a swap partition at this time.

Package Selection – I don’t do anything particularly unusual here. I just select the KDEI (For the Prop’a Bri’ish English) group and deselect XFCE (I personally have no use for it). I then select the Full option to get all of the packages but make some adjustments after installation rather than going through them manually prior to the installation.

After Installation Initial Tweaks

Swap File – Getting the swap file set up is a priority. It can be created by logging in as root and typing (for a 4GB swap file):
dd if=/dev/zero of=/swap bs=1M count=4096 – This creates the swap file itself.
chmod 600 /swap Ensures that the permissions are correct for the swap file.
mkswap /swap Sets up the file to be used for swap.
swapon /swap Enables the swap file.
Add the following to /etc/fstab:
/swap none swap defaults 0 0

Updates – I think it’s always best completely update the system after a clean installation before doing much of anything else. This can be done easily by uncommenting the local mirror in /etc/slackpkg/mirrors and running slackpkg update && slackpkg install-new && slackpkg upgrade-all

As this will be a large chunk of updates and a kernel update slackpkg should offer to run lilo for you. Definitely reboot after running his initial batch of updates.

LILO Tweaks – There are two things which I always do with the LILO configuration to slightly speed up boot time, especially if only Slackware is installed. In /etc/lilo I always uncomment compact which significantly speeds up boot time and change the timeout to 30 (3 Seconds). lilo Must be run after making any changes to this file.

VMWare Tools – Due to the age of Slackware 14.2, I usually go for the official VMWare tools rather than the open-vm-tools package. These can be installed fairly easily by running the following command:
mount /dev/sr0 /media/cdrom && cp /media/cdrom/V*.tar.gz /root && tar xvf /root/V*.tar.gz && mkdir /etc/pam.d && cd /root/vmware-tools-distrib && ./ In Slackware all defaults should be fine. Although the services are automatically started, I usually reboot for peace of mind.

The above command creates an /etc/pam.d folder for no reason other than the VMware Tools installer calls for it and will fail without it.

Pre X11 Tweaks

It pretty much should be business as usual from this point on. Check that xinitrc.kde is selected in xwmconfig. Then modify /etc/inittab to runlevel 4 to ensure that KDM is launched on startup.

Create a user as normal and if you live outside the US or want the proper British keyboard layout (why not?) modify /usr/share/config/kdm/Xsetup to include the line setxbmap gb.

This is about all of the tweaks I make to a new Slackware install on VMWare. It’s nothing fancy but it’s just a few things I like to do. Hopefully this might be useful for somebody. Enjoy!