SBdocs - SlackBuilder Tutorials - installing

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Installing Slackbuilder

Setup is the command to start the Slackbuilder installer. This article is about gettting that command available to execute.

First of all you will need to download your choice of installation mediums here.

Usbboot Image

Once downloaded you can ...

  • load up the usbboot image in a virtual machine (Qemu) along with another disk image to install to. Or
  • write the image out to a usb disk for hard drive installation.

Creating a boot disk

If installing to hard drive then after downloading you will need to create a boot disk.

From Linux

open up a terminal as root and use dd like so...

dd if=usbboot-x86_64-current.img of=/dev/sdc
where /dev/sdc should obviously be replaced with whatever your usb device is.

CAUTION !! For the uninitiated the above dd command will wipe out all data previously on the disk so be sure to back it up. Or just use a blank one.

From Windows

There are at least two programs that let Windows users write disk images to disks that I know of. I'm not a Windows user so I'll let them provide the instruction...

Boot disk requirements

You only need a usb stick of about 200MB.

The initrd.img and huge.s kernel image only take up about 100MB which is a bit larger than slackware's. The complete boot image is 150MB to accomodate any needed future expansion.

Package Manager

The Slackbuilder installer is supported on Slackware 14.2 and up only. However the package manager may work on 14.1. It was originally developed on that version. But 14.2 introduced several new changes prevelant at the time in many of the linux core system commands. I started taking advantage of newer output which was not supported in previous versions, especially for the Installer.

Once you have followed the intructions on the downloading page. And perhaps read a little about the package manager. Assuming you are running a complete or close to it installation of Slackware the pkg-tools should just work. If they don't you may need to install any dependencies required. Most Slackbuilder tools are just bash scripts that rely on common linux utilities that should be present on the most basic of systems. The only one that deserves mention here would be sqlite3. If you dont't have it installed it needs to be for the pkg-tools to work.

Since we are interested in the installer here. Lets go ahead and get it. In a terminal as the root user do...


To update the database then...

  pkg-get slkn-setup

This will download slkn-setup ( the installation package ) and all its dependencies. Which most should already be installed from the pkg_manager.tar.xz installation. If pkg-get fails because it can't find a dependancy you can use...

  pkg-getd slkn-setup

It will install whatever is available without question.

There is one more thing to do before the installer will work fully. It assumes that kernel level auto partitioning is performed for loop devices. So if you are planning on installing to an image file this needs to be configured. This is done in the /etc/rc.d/rc.loop boot script.

  1. unload the module if loaded with rmmod loop
  2. edit rc.loop
  3. reload the module by executing rc.loop

make sure the rc.loop modprobe line looks like...

  modprobe loop max_part=15 

You can replace the 15 with a smaller number if you wish. Its highly unlikely than anyone would need 15 partitions on an image file. I got this number online somewhere. I've been using it ever since.

Setup should now be ready to execute.


The use of a rootfs as an installation medium is my favorite method. With it we can install Slackbuilder or do anything else we decide to to with it on any Unix or Linux system not just a Slackware one. On an old laptop without usb boot capabilites running an old version of Slackware for example. It can be downloaded and used from some other Linux distributions installation image if need be. Etc...etc... Bottome line. They are smaller in size, give us some extra versatility and I think are a bit more fun too.

There is a News article that among other things discusses the use of a rootfs. The short of it is, that the best option is to use one that is the of same architecture as the host.

Each rootfs is sanitized for use with Setup installation settings. In order to use them manually they need to be prepped first. So after downloading the appropriate one and unpacking it to a working directory such as rootfs/. We need to...

  tar xvf rootfs/etc/slkn-setup/settings/SbArmFs_current/tools/root-tools.txz -C rootfs/root
  chroot rootfs/

The root-tools.txz are a collection of scripts and other files etc... hello is an alias command defined in .profile. It calls some commands in the newly populated rootfs/root/bin directroy that mounts proc tmpfs sys etc... so pkg-tools and Setup will work.

When your ready to exit the rootfs use the alias logout. This will properly umount everything before exiting the chroot environment.


The install to hard drive instruction are applicable to all methods of installation.

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By: Lance Peterson -- Slackerson