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Home » , » Ready or not, Slackware has now gone 64-bit with an official x86_64 port being maintained in-sync with the regular x86 -current branch

Ready or not, Slackware has now gone 64-bit with an official x86_64 port being maintained in-sync with the regular x86 -current branch

Ready or not, Slackware has now gone 64-bit with an official x86_64 port being maintained in-sync with the regular x86 -current branch. DVDs will be available for purchase from the Slackware store when Slackware 13.0 is released.

Many thanks go out to the Slackware team for their help with this branch and a special thank you to Eric Hameleers who did the real heavy lifting re-compiling everything for this architecture, testing, re-testing, and staying in-sync with -current.

We've been developing and testing Slackware64 for quite a while. Most of the team is already using Slackware64 on their personal machines, and things are working well enough that it is time to let the community check our work.
We'd like to thank the unofficial 64 bit projects for taking up the slack for us for so long so that we could take our time getting everything just right. Without those alternatives, we would have been pressured to get things out before they were really ready.

Slackware Linux doesn't require an extremely powerful system to run (though having one is quite nice :). It will run on systems as far back as the 486. Below is a list of minimum system requirements needed to install and run Slackware.

* 486 processor
* 64MB RAM (1GB+ suggested)
* About 5GB+ of hard disk space for a full install
* CD or DVD drive (if not bootable, then a bootable USB flash stick or PXE server/network card)

Additional hardware may be needed if you want to run the X Window System at a usable speed or if you want network capabilities.

Slackware Linux was first released before CD-ROMs became a standard in systems and before fast Internet connections were cheap. Because of this, the distribution was broken down into software sets. Each set contains a different group of programs. This allowed for someone to get the Slackware Linux distribution quickly. For example, if you know you don't want the X Window System, just skip all of the X software set.

A - The base system. Contains enough software to get up and running and have a text editor and basic communications programs.
AP - Various applications that do not require the X Window System.
D - Program development tools. Compilers, debuggers, interpreters, and man pages. It's all here.
E - GNU Emacs. Yes, Emacs is so big it requires its own series.
F - FAQs, HOWTOs, and other miscellaneous documentation.
GNOME - The GNOME desktop environment.
K - The source code for the Linux kernel.
KDE - The K Desktop Environment. An X environment which shares a lot of look-and-feel features with the MacOS and Windows. The Qt widget library is also in this series, as KDE requires it to function.
KDEI - Language support for the K Desktop Environment.
L - System libraries.
N - Networking programs. Daemons, mail programs, telnet, news readers, and so on.
T - teTeX document formatting system.
TCL - The Tool Command Language, Tk, TclX, and TkDesk.
X - The base X Window System.
XAP - X applications that are not part of a major desktop environment. For example Ghostscript and Netscape.
Y - Games (the BSD games collection, Sasteroids, Koules, and Lizards).

In order to install Slackware Linux you must boot a small version of it from diskette. The first diskette holds the Linux kernel and the other diskette holds the root filesystem. Slackware Linux comes with several boot disk images from which you can choose one. The table below describes the differences between the images.

Creating The Boot Disk

Once you have selected a boot disk image file from the list below, you will need to create the disk. If you are creating the image from a Linux system, the following command should work just fine:

dd if=[image file name] of=/dev/fd0

You may need to change /dev/fd0 depending on your configuration. If you are creating the image from a DOS system, the included program RAWRITE will help you make the disk. Here is the syntax for RAWRITE:

C:\>RAWRITE [image file name] [destination drive letter]:

For example, if I wanted to make a boot disk from the net.i image on a DOS system with the floppy drive as A:, I would use the following command.

C:\>RAWRITE bare.i a:

You should now have a working boot disk to use during the Slackware Linux installation.

The Image Files

IDE bootdisks (.i suffix)


This is the disk to use for installation on most IDE based PCs, with support for nearly all IDE controllers and support for IDE/ATAPI CD-ROM/DVD drives. Most CD-ROM drives made today fall into this category.


This is similar to the bare.i bootdisk, but the kernel also contains support for ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface). If you aren't using a laptop, then you probably will not need ACPI (or APM) support.


This is a bootdisk with support for IDE RAID controllers. The install disks now have preliminary support for these controllers as well. The drivers included are: 3ware Hardware ATA-RAID controllers. Promise Fasttrak(tm) IDE RAID. Highpoint 370 software RAID. Many of these controllers will require some degree of do-it-yourself setup before and/or after installation.


This is a really stripped-down Linux kernel which might be useful for installing on IDE systems with a low amount of RAM (less than 8MB). It's also the only Slackware kernel that supports old 386 machines. If bare.i runs into problems, you might try this. NOTE: On systems with extremely low memory (4MB), ZipSlack plus the fourmeg.zip add-on (found in the zipslack directory) may boot and run even in cases where lowmem.i doesn't. If you have to use lowmem.i to install, you'll then probably have to compile a custom kernel with the minimal additional features that your machine requires.


This is a version of bare.i with additional support for old CD-ROM drives on non-standard proprietary interfaces. The CD-ROM drives supported by this bootdisk are: Aztech CDA268-01A, Orchid CD-3110, Okano/Wearnes CDD110, Conrad TXC, CyCDROM CR520, CR540. Sony CDU31/33a CD-ROM. Sony CDU531/535 CD-ROM. Philips/LMS cm206 CD-ROM with cm260 adapter card. Goldstar R420 CD-ROM (sometimes sold in a 'Reveal Multimedia Kit'). ISP16/MAD16/Mozart CD-ROM drives. NON-IDE Mitsumi CD-ROM support. Optics Storage 8000 AT CD-ROM (the 'DOLPHIN' drive). Sanyo CDR-H94A CD-ROM support. Matsushita, Kotobuki, Panasonic, CreativeLabs (Sound Blaster), Longshine and Teac NON-IDE CD-ROM support.


This is an extended version of bare.i with support for a wide variety of parallel-port IDE devices. Supports parallel-port products from MicroSolutions, Hewlett-Packard, SyQuest, Imation, Avatar, and other manufacturers.
sata.i This is a version of bare.i with support for SATA controllers made by Promise, Silicon Image, SiS, ServerWorks / Apple K2, VIA, and Vitesse.

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