SBdocs - SlackBuilder Tutorials - the_installer

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The Installer


Setup is the command that invokes the installer and is the flagship tool which enables the user to create custom installations.

At the outset the idea was to just add extra features to Slackware's 'setup' program, but they proved to be incompatable. As a result there is no shared code with 'setup' and it funtions quite differently. There is however a few remnants of my attempt to intergrate.

Similarities with 'setup'

  • It writes cache data to /var/log/setup/tmp
  • The "set-" prefix naming convention for some commands. ie: set-target, etc...
  • Config data was stored to file names for use by 'setup'. This was abandoned but some file names may be simmilar
  • It uses dialog as the user interface.
  • Menu familarity choices. ie: TARGET, SOURCE, etc...
The differences out weigh the similarities and the rest of this article is an attempt to explain them as best I can.

How it works

All distribution installer programs perform the same tasks to varring degrees or other and are designed to run from an intallation image only (iso, usb, pxe, etc...).

Four main tasks

  • Choose a device (hardrive) to partition, format, etc..(on Slackware...this is done in advance to running 'setup')
  • Select a source to install from (CD, DVD, directory, http, etc...).
  • Install...
  • Configure the new system.

SlackBuilder 's installer differes only in how it accomplishes these tasks.

Some Key Features

  • 'Setup' runs from usbboot images and your localhost workstation
  • Installs to physical hardrives/partitions, virtual image files and to a directory.
  • It uses pkgslists files (similar to Slackwarearm) located in /etc/slkn-setup/pkgslists assigned to sources defined in /etc/slkn-setup/SRC.
  • Can pick and choose which postinstall scripts are run to configure the system.
  • Sources, pkgslists, and configuration scripts can be saved as settings profiles
  • It relies on the package manager and has some behind the scenes support commands that accompany it.

The Main Menu

The following are key fuctioning features of the main menu...

Option Description
NETWORK Connect to a network. Wifi is supported. (Offical Slackware installation does not provide this ability)
TARGET Setup the target device etc...simmilar to Slackware but with additional features
USB2DISK You can install the usbboot.img to target. Nice for a small Grub management partiiton.
SOURCE Add, remove, or edit sources.
SELECT Choose which packages are to be installed. Same as 'setup' but the method is different. It uses pkgslists assigned to sources
INSTALL Do the install...
CONFIGURE Configure the new system.
SETTINGS Load, save or clear the settings profile

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By: Lance Peterson -- Slackerson