Slackware Linux is the oldest Linux system which still is being updated and, its latest stable version, 15, is a great opportunity to discover this unusual operating system, not suitable for beginners.

You can download a ‘live’ version (bootable from USB) on https://download.liveslak.org/.

Table of Contents

Booting

Slackware boot menu allows to select a keyboard layout and language, among other things.

Slackware boot menu

After setup, a graphical login screen will appear. Live version has two users: ‘live’ (password: ‘live’, with sudo permissions) and ‘root’ (with password: ‘root’). As you can see, you can choose between KDE and XFCE session.

Slackware login

Desktop

I used the default KDE, a beautiful and elegant desktop environment. Popular apps are installed on this Live image, like ‘Dolphin’, ‘Firefox’ and ‘GIMP’ (and default KDE apps).

Slackware KDE menu

Slackware file manager

Slackware KDE apps

Installing software

This is the main Slackware “feature”: there is no package manager, you need to download and compile any program you want to install (you can execute AppImage files). But there is a “repository” website (https://slackbuilds.org/) where you can search and download packages. Installation process is not easy but not the hardest:

  1. Download source code and SlackBuild compressed files.
  2. Decompress SlackBuild file and, inside the new folder, add the source code compressed files.
  3. Read README file from SlackBuild folder to check optional dependencies or compiling configuration.
  4. Run <app>.SlackBuild file with root permissions.

Troubleshooting

GRUB command-line

If, when booting, GRUB command line appears, you need to specify the right boot file (/EFI/BOOT/bootx64.efi, under the main USB partition where Slackware Live is installed, NOT the small ‘fat’ partition). Check GRUB only shows a command-line, not the boot menu.