Slackware FAQ, last revised: 9 June 1994

These are questions people ask me quite often. Hopefully now that they're
answered here that won't be the case. :^)


Q: Why do I get "network unreachable" under Slackware?

A: There are a couple of possibilities. For most users, things work right out
   of the box. However, if you're running into this problem here are two
   workarounds you can try:

   1. Reverse the broadcast and netmask arguments (and their variables)
      in the call to ifconfig in /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1. Make sure you are
      not trying to route your own IP address - you shouldn't have to.

   2. Make sure /etc/networks is properly configured.

   3. You may want to try the 'netconfig' script (in the package netcfg.tgz).
      It's not perfect, but does a pretty good job. 


Q: Why the $%#@! isn't my UltraStor SCSI detected? It works under DOS!

A: Set the I/O address to 0x340 instead to 0x330.
   For any hardware that doesn't work, a good rule is to try playing around
   with the IRQ and I/O settings on it to see what happens. If your system
   is up and running and you're having problems with a CD-ROM or tape or
   something like this, you can always look around for the driver source in
   /usr/src/linux/drivers... really, it won't bite!  Often, the source 
   contains important documentation, such as the default IRQ settings for
   that type of device, and the major number for the entry in /dev. Also,
   try other bootkernels and see if that helps.


Q: I'm using UMSDOS and would like to use the same swapspace under Windows
   and Linux. Can this be done?

A: If you want to share a Linux-UMSDOS swapfile with MS-Windows, you can
   do the following:

   1. Create PERMANENT(!) swap file in MS-Windows with size NNNN kbytes.
   2. In /etc/rc.d/rc.local add the following lines:

   rm -f /DOS/windows/spart.par  <--- Needed in order to suppress
                                      Windows complain on next start!
   mkswap /DOS/386spart.par NNNN
   swapon /DOS/386spart.par

   3.In /etc/rc.d/rc.0 add "swapoff" for this file.


Q: How can I install and remove software now that the Slackware Linux 
   distribution is installed on my machine?

A: To remove packages, type "pkgtool" and follow the prompts. Pkgtool will
   also allow you to add packages that are in the current directory.

   The preferred way to install software is with the "setup" script.
   When you do your initial installation, setup puts a copy of itself in your 
   /sbin for future use. You can also add software to your machine using the 
   boot/install disk, if you really want to. 

   When adding software to a running system via NFS, it is preferable to
   mount the partition yourself and then use the 'install from a mounted
   directory' feature of setup.

   There are also command line utilities that allow you to create, install,
   and remove packages. For these, you should refer to the manpages:
   installpkg(8), removepkg(8), makepkg(8), explodepkg(8). A simple example
   of how you would install a package with installpkg:

   installpkg package.tgz


Q: I set my partitions to "Linux native" but Slackware still won't detect
   them! What can I do?

A: This problem is rare and I still don't know what causes it.

   [ Note that this is not the same problem that usually affects the IBM PS/1,
   Thinkpad, and similar machines that do not detect the harddrive. If you've
   got one of these machines, and fdisk is giving you problems, your answer is
   still ahead :^) ]

   Here's a workaround you can use to install anyway:

   1. Start tty12 or tty144 using one of the bootkernel disks.
   2. Make and format partitions for Linux.
   3. Mount the target partitions under /mnt.
   4. Type "setup -target_mounted"
   5. Follow the rest of the instructions to install.
   6. Type "vi /mnt/etc/fstab" and enter an appropriate fstab.
      As an example, here's what mine contains:

/dev/hdb2   swap    swap   defaults 
/dev/hda2   /       ext2   defaults
/dev/hda3   /usr    xiafs  defaults 
/dev/hda1   /dos    msdos  defaults 
/dev/hdb1   /os2    msdos  defaults 
none        /proc   proc   defaults

   To give you some more info about this file, the first field is the
   partition to be mounted, the second is where it should be mounted, the
   third is the filesystem type, and the last field is the options to use.
   Unless you're a Linux wizard, just set this to "defaults".

   Other things to remember about this file:
      - Make sure that you list the root partition before any other partitions
        that are mounted beneath it.
      - Add the /proc line, or "ps", "w", etc, won't work.
      - It's a good idea to put a blank line at the end of the file, as I've
        had reports that partitions listed on the last line might not be 

   7. Once you've made and saved this file you can reboot with ctrl-alt-delete.


Q: I have a (PS/1 || Valuepoint || Thinkpad), and can't install because fdisk
   can't see my hard drive. How can I get around this?

A: You'll need to enter your drive parameters at the bootkernel prompt. You
   can even specify the geometry for your second IDE drive by supplying a
   second  hd= parameter right after the first one. 

   When you boot the bootkernel disk, you'll see more information about the
   format used to pass your drive parameters to the kernel at the LILO prompt
   and allow your drive to be recognized.

   You'll have to edit your lilo.conf file to add a similar hd= flag if you
   want LILO to work. Add this as the TOP line in the file:


   Where "cyl", "hds", and "secs" are the number of cylinders, sectors,
   and heads on the drive.

   If you have two IDE drives, specify both drives (like this):

   append="hd=967,13,31 hd=944,14,40"


Q: Why do my /etc/issue and /etc/motd keep resetting themselves at boot time?

A: The /etc/rc.d/rc.S resets them out every time you boot after figuring out
   which kernel you're running -- otherwise the kernel version printed at login
   might not stay current.

   If you want to write your own /etc/issue and /etc/motd, you need to comment
   out that part of /etc/rc.d/rc.S.


Q: Emacs dumps core, complains of a missing library, or lacks X11 support! Why?

A: The GNU Emacs series includes your choice of a version with X11 support, or
   one without. Make sure you have the right binary for your machine. 

   The binary supporting X11 is installed as part of a package on the first 
   disk that you'll need to install whether you want X11 support or not. If
   you DO NOT want X11 support, install the package 'emac_nox.tgz' on the last
   disk of the Emacs series.

   If you just install all of the disks, you don't get X11 support. It had to
   be one way or the other, so if you're not paying attention when you install
   at least this way it will run no matter what.


Q: Why do my compiles sometimes die with 'signal 11: internal compiler error'?

A: This indicates a hardware problem in about 99% of the cases. It can usually
   be fixed by increasing the number of wait states in the CMOS settings. It
   can almost always be fixed by turning off the RAM cache, but this should be
   your last resort since it will cause a noticeable slowdown.


Q: How can I change (or get rid of) the color ls?

A: Read the man page, and check out the file /etc/DIR_COLORS. You can
   configure the colors any way you like, or shut them off entirely. Also, you
   can copy /etc/DIR_COLORS into your home directory as '.dir_colors' to 
   override the global defaults on a user by user basis.


Q: I start X with "openwin" and it works OK, but I can't switch virtual
   consoles. Why?

A: On a Linux text screen, you switch virtual consoles with Alt-F1 through 
   Alt-F8. Under XFree-86, you must use Ctrl-Alt-F1 through Ctrl-Alt-F8. 
   Another useful 'secret' key combination is RightShift-PgUp/PgDown for
   scrollback. (a random amount ranging from none to a few pages, depending
   on the state of your video text buffer memory)


Q: Why can't I use the new ghostscript with X?

A: Make sure you have gs_x11.tgz from disk XAP1 installed.


Q: I can't get anything to work at all! What's the deal?

A: If you seem to suffer catastrophic failure (!), then check the file FILE_LIST
   on in /pub/linux/slackware against the contents of your disks
   and make sure you're not missing any files. 

   Also, I've noticed that most of the reports of kernel panics and system 
   hangs have come from people with 4MB. If you're running into these types
   of problems I'd suggest forking over the $$$ for 4 more meg. I have 8 MB of
   RAM and never have crashes. (well, only when I really push my luck)
   If you don't want to do that, then go through your /etc/rc.d/rc.* files and
   get rid of any daemons you don't use, like crond, lpd, or selection.

   If you've got 4 MB and you're getting 'virtual memory exceeded in new'
   warnings, make sure you set up and activate a swap partition before running
   setup. If you're really hard up on memory, you can boot a rootdisk using
   'editroot' instead of one of the usual boot kernels. This will mount the 
   floppy in the root drive, and you'll have to install from the other drive
   or from the hard drive. You will also not be able to create any kind of boot
   disk, so you'll have to install LILO and take your chances. I only suggest
   using this approach if a swapfile will not work.


Q: How do I make a bootkernel disk that uses a custom kernel?

A: Look in the ./kernels subdirectory. You'll find complete instructions
   on how to make them in there.


Also - at are some more
networking hints.

In addition, the LDP people have put out an excellant set of manuals that I
may include in a future Slackware release. These are available on in /pub/Linux/docs/LDP.

Patrick Volkerding