Easy to follow tutorial on installing Slackware Linux onto a Virtual Machine
I have been interested in trying out Slackware for some time now. The Slackware Linux Essentials ( aka Slackbook) is an excellent review of Slackware and Linux in general. I went through it one winter a few years ago and was impressed as it was a great refresher course on Linux. After a while I tend to forget some of the tricks on the command line that I do not use on a regular basis. Going over a manual like this is a good brush up. Reading the book convinced me that I would have to try out Slackware someday.
I had no trouble following the tutorial and getting Slackware up and running on a VirtualBox VM. The current version 14.2 (February 2018) is similar enough to the 13.0 install in the guide that the few differences are not a problem. The one difference that I noticed is that when the disk is partitioned the option for bootable did not appear for me as it did in the tutorial. I just went ahead and wrote the disk and it was fine. The tool might have some logic built in to decide what to do and does not required you to tell it that it has to be set as bootable anymore.
This is meant to be an outline not a complete guideline. It is based off on notes I took and may be helpful to keep me or someone else straight on the process in the future. There are some sections that are a bit light, but there is more out there on the web and half the problem for me at least is remembering this kind of outline. If I have the outline, I can jump off and find more. This particular post on the install is rather long, but it didn’t seem like a good idea to break it up.
Install, using Ubuntu Server 12.04
Boot via the DVD that was created by burning the downloaded ISO to it.
Select Install Ubuntu Server, unless of course you want to test out RAM, a good idea if it has been freshly installed. Which was true in my case. So I ran MEMTEST overnight via this menu first.
Next you will be presented with screens to select language, location and keyboard type.
If you know what kind of keyboard you have select no to the next screen. If not selecting yes will put the keyboard through a test, having you press various keys to identify it.
Next the Ubuntu Server install will start loading additional components, this can take a few minutes…
Ubuntu Server will automatically configure DHCP. Later on, after the install, this will be switched to a static IP address.
Create a hostname for the computer. Choose something that makes sense for you. A really long hostname ( I think > 14 chars) can present issues with Windows when using Samba. It will truncate the name, just something to be aware of.
User and Password
You can set up a user next by filling out a username and password. After the installation you can add more users if you need to.
The first screen will ask for your name, this could be your real name.
Next you will enter your username. Something simple like your first name in all caps is a good choice.
Choose a decent password. Something not listed in a dictionary is a good choice, with some numbers and a capitalized letter, punctuation as well. One approach taken is to take two unrelated words that are easy to remember and concatenating them. Whatever you do, don’t lose it, I am not sure you can recover it unless you can reset it as root, provided you have that password. In Ubuntu, you have to log in as a user to even execute sudo. So if you have one user and lose the password, it’s probably game over.
To encrypt or not to encrypt your home directory on your Ubuntu Server install. I chose no, it’s a server, I am not going to do much with the home directory. Encryption is nice, but it comes with a small speed cost of decoding, this could be a burden on a slow processor.
Where are you in the world? I think the install is taking an educated guess as to where you are, so what it chooses may be correct, just double check. If not, set up your time zone via this drop down menu. After the install it is possible to install ntp which can keep the server clock sync’ed up with an atomic clock time.
Whole disk, LVM. Lots of options. I choose to wipe the disk clean and use LVM. I will be adding disks to this machine and with LVM, they can appear as one big disk, not mounting required. LVM is a thin layer of software that manages the Logical Volumes. Therefor it does consume a small amount of resources and must lower disk transfers slightly. One thing that I did noticed once with an LVM disk, is that I could not read it using a IDE to USB adapter. It was invisible to it. I have to try plugging that disk into a Linux machine at some point to see if I can read it’s contents. So it seems that LVM could complicate a recovery of a disk. Supposedly an advantage of LVM is that you can mirror copy the volumes and expand them across disk. I need to research this some more as it is new to me.
If you have more than one disk, you have to choose which one the OS will install to.
At this point in the install, I ran into an issue with the fact that the disk I was trying to use was originally used in another Linux machine with 3 disks used in LVM. Nothing I did seemed to work as it gave me a warning about the disk being a part of a 3 disk LVM set. I stopped the install and used a CD that came with a drive I bought years ago and wiped out the drive. Then I did the reinstall and successfully made it to the following confirmation screen. If all looks well you can hit Yes, if not hitting No will allow you to work backwards. Hitting Yes is final as disk writes will occur.
System Install, Configuring Updates and Installing Software
Once the partition in complete the OS will install, which will take several minutes.
There is an option to have automatic updates, this is a good idea, especially for a headless server. So it can take care of itself with a minimum of fuss.
Choose software to install. Open SSH is a must if you are to remotely shell into the server. Because I will be running OwnCloud on this unit and it uses a web interface and a database and PHP, installing LAMP Server is a must. I will also make a few folders that can be reached directly from Windows computers on the network, mostly for direct backups, so Samba file server is a must.
Final Steps for Ubuntu Server 12.04 install
The Ubuntu server install will prompt for installation of software. Install the following when prompted by the screen.
Because the LAMP Server (Linux-Apache-MySql-PHP) installs MySql a password is needed for the “root” user of the database. During the process of configuring LAMP, a prompt will appear for a MySQL root password, make it something memorable in case you ever have to manage or do work with the database manually, or if a program asks for it, such as when doing a WordPress install.
As the description for GRUB states this is the only install going in, so it safe to hit Yes and go ahead. Results may vary for you specific case. If you have a multi boot machine, GRUB will setup Ubuntu Server to load first, if you are configuring a multi boot machine.
The done screen, pull out the disk hit continue and the PC now will reboot, I went into the BIOS and did a few more things to it.
Additional Steps in the BIOS
All BIOS are a bit different. Yours may not look the same, but should have similar settings. This is a Dell Dimension 2400. Configure the BIOS to ignore keyboard errors “Do Not Report”, important for unattended operation with a keyboard and monitor!
I also set “Remote Wake Up” to On as I will use Wake On LAN to wake this machine up remotely. I cover it here … Wake On LAN via Ubuntu Linux
I will set Suspend Mode to S3. This has worked well for me with Dell machines in the past. I am considering writing a CRON script that will suspend to RAM when the server is idle for a period of time, so setting this to what I want it to be now is a good idea.
If the power goes out and comes back on I want the server to go back to what ever state it was in, if off stay off, if it was on, restart. I have used this in the past and it does work well.
Final Steps for Install when the machine reboots
When you exit the BIOS, you be prompted for your username and password.
For good measure run the update and upgrade commands, if all is well they should complete without error.
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
One of the first steps when configuring a server post-install is to set up a static IP address.