Thursday, October 4, 2012

Slackware 14.0 I AM RUNNING YOU!

Ok, I got a bit carried away there, but you can understand the exhilaration I feel, having waited this long, and finally getting Slackware 14.0 up and running on my computer.

And it wasn't easy either.

I got tired of waiting for the official DVD set to be shipped out, so yesterday afternoon, I downloaded the x86-64 DVD ISO image from one of the mirror sites, burned it to a disc, backed up my /home directory, then rebooted into the DVD installer and went for broke. The install went off flawlessly. I love the Slackware command line installer... it is relatively easy to use (once you figure it out, which I did many years ago), generally performs well, and is FAST! In less than 15 minutes I was popping the DVD out of the drive and getting ready to send the three-finger salute to reboot the system.

This is where the difficulty started.

The first reboot was looking good, no errors displayed, and then it just stopped. No warnings, no errors, no nothing. Just stopped. So, I sat there for a bit, hoping beyond hope that it would start back again. It didn't. So I rebooted it. And it did the same thing. Three more times I tried, then I gave up and went to watch TV for a while, feeling somewhat despondent. Later on, I came back in and started digging through the web for anything I could use. I finally found a way to get it to boot up, using a boot parameter:

linux nomodeset

This worked, and I was finally able to login as root and hopefully fix it. A bit more digging and I found that the open source Nouveau NVidia driver has issues with some NVidia chipsets, and mine is apparently one of them. The fix wasn't that hard either. Remove the existing xf86-video-nouveau driver, install the xf86-video-nouveau-blacklist-1.txz package and restart X. This caused it to come up and use the nv NVidia driver (which sucks, but at least I could get in and run X). The commands used were:

# removepkg xf86-video-nouveau
# installpkg xf86-video-nouveau-blacklist-1.txz

After that, I was able to use the slackbuild scripts to build and install the commercial NVidia kernel and video drivers, and my system was back up in all of its 1920x1200 full color goodness, with composting! Since then, I've spent the majority of the day building and installing packages using slackbuild scripts, to enhance the functionality of my system. Just a few more to go and I'll be fully back up to speed.

After 17 months of development, and three months of nail-biting anticipation by me, Slackware Linux is once again running on my desktop. Hopefully I won't get the urge to put something else on for a long time!

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