Today’s Featured Distribution – Salix OS

Salix is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Slackware that is simple, fast and easy to use.

As many of you know, I’m partial to distributions with the Slackware pedigree. Salix is one that I had not tried before. My favorites up to now have been Zenwalk, Absolute Linux, and Vector Linux. However, I haven’t had any of those on any of my systems for quite some time. I’m patiently waiting for the 64 bit versions.

Now with Salix OS, I find a nice 64 bit version all ready to go. I installed it with the Xfce desktop. Installation was fast and easy using their familiar installer. No surprises here, folks. It just works. I had to do a couple custom tweaks here and there to get the system up and running, though.

After installation, I first booted into Salix using the kernel line alone. On my main system, Arch (my secondary OS) controls the MBR, and its GRUB rules. I had to modify Arch’s menu.lst to boot Salix. Once I was in Salix, I created an initrd using the README.initrd that you can find in most Slack derivatives. Nothing new here either. For you Slack veterans, this will all look very familiar to you. I re-edited Arch’s menu.lst to include the newly created initrd.gz line and away we went. Anyway, most of you will just use the LILO boot loader provided by Salix.

Salix booted up without a burp or hiss. I updated right off using the tried and true slapt-get command line package manager. Anyone who’s ever run Vector or Absolute Linux would be familiar with slapt-get. It’s a cool PM. The GUI frontend in Salix is gslapt. You can set up auto-updates with it. Makes you feel like you’re running Ubuntu, almost. ;)

After updating, I performed my usual Xfce customizations and then took a little screenie for you to look at:


Salix OS has the legendary stability of its parent Slackware along with some ease-of-use features, like the GUI package manager gslapt, more often found in more graphically oriented distributions. You grizzled Slackers will feel comfortable with it. You folks who’ve always wanted to run Slackware, but were afraid to, will love Salix OS. It’s not as hardcore as Slackware. It’s perfect for someone with only minimal GNU/Linux experience. That doesn’t mean it’s a minimal or hand-holding distro. Salix OS is a full-powered GNU/Linux operating system, fully capable of running your little laptop or that business server.

Go visit the excellent Salix OS website and download a copy for yourself. Give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised. While you’re there, check out the Salix Team of hardworking individuals whose passion and labors have made this wonderful distribution possible.



Image credits: Salix OS logo owned by Salix OS

Today’s Featured Distribution – Foresight Linux

Once upon a time, when I was a relative newcomer to GNU/Linux, I found a wonderful little distribution, which was also new at the time.

Tomas Forsman, a member of the Foresight Linux team, probably doesn’t even remember me from back then. I frequented the old support forums for Foresight Linux back when it was in version 1.0. I think that was sometime back in 2006. I remember FL creator Ken Vandeen from back then. I found Foresight, a fork of rPath Linux, while perusing Distrowatch one evening. It looked intriguing. Besides, I liked the green color theme. Green is my favorite color, you know.

I’ve had Foresight on many of my systems over the years since v1.0. It’s never been my primary operating system. You all know that I’m a Slacker, but that doesn’t stop me from experimenting with other distros. I have my favorites that are never far from one of my systems. I can usually be found tweaking (often breaking) these distros on any given day.

I did a major system overhaul a year or so ago and never was able to get a working copy of Foresight installed. It wasn’t Foresight’s fault, though. Tomas knows that I’m an Xfce fan, so he provided me with an alpha of their Xfce version. It didn’t seem to like my hardware for some reason. Well, that was a while ago, anyway. Their Xfce 64 bit version is in final release now and installs and runs perfectly.

I know this because I just installed it  a couple nights ago. I didn’t have any issues during installation. For any of you who have ever installed a GNU/Linux distribution on your system, you’ll not find any surprises with the Foresight installer. It’s pretty straight-forward and relatively easy.

Once I had FL installed, I did my usual tweaks here and there under the hood and with the Xfce interface. All went well. I have a completely updated and usable Foresight Linux installation on my system now. I made a quick custom wallpaper for it and took a nice screenshot for you folks.

If you’d like to give Foresight a tryout, you’ll find that the distribution has excellent documentation and a helpful support community. Tomas also visits Scot’s Newsletter Forums – Bruno’s All Things Linux quite often. You can catch up with him there occasionally. Foresight is a stable, full-featured distribution with a sterling pedigree (RedHat, rPath). It’s suitable for a home system or a business server.

Stop on by the Foresight forums. Tell Tomas I sent you. He’ll get you up and running with Foresight in no time at all.

Have fun with it! :)



Image credits: Foresight Linux “eye” logo owned by Foresight Linux.

Today’s Featured Distribution – Zenwalk (Revisited)

Today’s Featured Distribution – Zenwalk

Posted by V. T. Eric Layton on Apr 10, 2010

Ahhhhhmmmm… Ahhhhhmmmm… It’s a Zen thing.

Good morning faithful readers! Today we’re going to talk a bit about what I like to call “Slackware for the faint of heart” – Zenwalk Linux. Zenwalk is a tight, lite, and beauteous thing to behold. Only a geek can see beauty in operating systems, but it’s there. I assure you. Zenwalk (originally Minislack) is based on Slackware.

Its default desktop environment is the “little mouse that roars” – Xfce. For those of you unfamiliar with Xfce, it kinda’ looks like Gnome, but it’s a whole lot less bloated and much faster. Click HERE for a nice Zenwalk/Xfce screenie. Sharp looking, huh? It’s extremely customizable, so you can easily make it your own.

I first ran across Zenwalk about four years ago when I was experimenting with Slack-based Linux distributions. I was impressed from the very first boot up. Not only is Zen relatively easy-peasy to install, but it’s also easy to customize and operate. You don’t have to be a Linux whiz kid to drive this baby. And with all that going for it, it still has the guts of Slackware… one of the most stable distributions of GNU/Linux ever created.

Zenwalk Linux also has a few other things going for it. It has a dedicated development team, a wonderful support community, a great wiki, and excellent documentation.

Don’t just sit there. Run on over to the Zenwalk Main page and grab yourself the version of your choice. It’s free. Of course, any assistance you can offer is always welcome.

Ahhhhmmmm… you feel calmer just thinking about running Zenwalk, huh?

Peace out!



This article was originally published on my Nocturnal Slacker | Lockergnome blog. You can see it there by clicking HERE.

Multi-booting My Way (Not Necessarily the Easy Way)

The following is a brief step-by-step on how I’ve been multi-booting different operatings systems on my machines for the past few years.

It’s not necessarily the easy way to do things. It is the way I first learned and the way that I’m most comfortable with using. I’m posting it here, as I believe it may be helpful to some Linux Explorers out there. This tutorial is based on GRUB Legacy. I do not use the new GRUB2 on my machines.

Here we go…

I have multiple drives on my system, so multi-booting becomes a bit more interesting. Currently, I have three hard drives installed. They are /dev/sda, /dev/sdb, and /dev/sdc. We won’t concern ourselves at all with /dev/sdc because it is primarily used as a common storage/backup drive. My operating systems are installed on /dev/sda and /dev/sdb.

I use /dev/sda (1st boot device in my BIOS) as the drive that has my primary operating system and my secondary operating system on it. I break my drives down into numerous partitions because I always install GNU/Linux operating systems on at least two partitions; /(root) and /home. I also have a common /swap partition on each drive that I plan on installing GNU/Linux distributions on.

My /dev/sda partitions look like this:

/dev/sda1   *       16065    51215219    25599577+  83  Linux <– Slackware /(root)
/dev/sda2        51247350   153645659    51199155   83  Linux <– Slackware /home
/dev/sda3       153661725   488392064   167365170    5  Extended
/dev/sda5       153661788   204860879    25599546   83  Linux <– Arch /(root)
/dev/sda6       204877008   307275254    51199123+  83  Linux <– Arch /home
/dev/sda7       307307448   311403959     2048256   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda8       311420088   488392064    88485988+  83  Linux <– Archives

My /dev/sdb partitions look like this:

/dev/sdb1   *       16384    51216383    25600000    7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT <– MS Windows XP
/dev/sdb2        51232768   102432767    25600000    7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT <– MS Windows Programs
/dev/sdb3       102453181   488270159   192908489+   5  Extended
/dev/sdb5       102453183   106550639     2048728+  82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sdb6       106565823   137289599    15361888+  83  Linux <– CentOS tester 1 /(root)
/dev/sdb7       137304783   188501039    25598128+  83  Linux <– CentOS tester 1 /home
/dev/sdb8       188516223   219239999    15361888+  83  Linux <– Foresight tester 2 /(root)
/dev/sdb9       219255183   270451439    25598128+  83  Linux <– Foresight tester 2 /home
/dev/sdb10      270466623   301190399    15361888+  83  Linux <– Debian tester 3 /(root)
/dev/sdb11      301205583   352401839    25598128+  83  Linux <– Debian tester 3 /home
/dev/sdb12      352417023   383140799    15361888+  83  Linux <– vacant tester 4 /(root)
/dev/sdb13      383155983   434352239    25598128+  83  Linux <– vacant tester 5 /home
/dev/sdb14      434367423   488270159    26951368+  83  Linux <– common storage

You get the above information on your drives using the fdisk -l command as root from the command line.

Alright then, let’s say that I now want to install Fedora Core Linux on my tester 4 partitions of /dev/sdb. Here’s how I would do that step-by-step:

1) Begin the Fedora installation setting /dev/sdb5 as swap, /dev/sb12 as /(root), and /dev/sdb13 as the /home partition from Fedora’s installer.

2) When the Anaconda installer reaches the point where it asks where I want to install the GRUB bootloader, I choose to SKIP installation of GRUB.

3) Once the install is finished, I reboot my main operating system (Slackware) and from the command line I mount the newly installed Fedora /(root) partition:

root_Slackware/home/vtel57:# mount /dev/sdb12 /mnt/tmp

*Note: I have a /mnt/tmp directory in my Slackware. If you don’t have a /mnt/tmp, just mount in /mnt. You’ll be fine.

4) I list the contents of the Fedora /boot directory:

root_Slackware/home/vtel57:# ls /mnt/tmp/boot

5) I copy down the vmlinuz and initrd information. You’ll be looking for the vmlinuz-<kernel version> and the initrd-<kernel version>.img files specifically. You’ll need that information for the next step.

6) I edit my /boot/grub/menu.lst file to add the new Fedora Core entry. Note: my MBR-controlling GRUB is in my secondary OS, Arch Linux. I can still mount and modify it from within Slackware, though.

root_Slackware/home/vtel57:# mount /dev/sda5 /mnt/tmp

root_Slackware/home/vtel57:# vim /mnt/tmp/boot/grub/menu.lst

I’ll add this entry to the file:

# Fedora Core

title          fedora (t4)

root         (hd1,11)

kernel     /boot/vmlinuz-<kernel version> root=/dev/sdb12 ro

initrd       /boot/vmlinuz-<kernel version>.img

7) I reboot and choose “fedora (t4)” from the GRUB menu to boot my new Fedora installation.

That’s it, folks. Straightforward, but not necessary the easiest way to do this. That’s the beauty of GNU/Linux. You can do it your way.

Have fun!


P.S. I’m still working on the next shell scripting lesson. It’s going to be about variables and parameters, a necessary lesson for further BASH learning. Unfortunately, it’s also kinda’ complicated, so it’s taking me a bit to figure out how to formulate a lesson and still stay loyal to my primary goal here… keeping it as simple as possible. Stay tuned…


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