My first notes ∞
Slackware's ZipSlack was recommended by name. I had heard of it, and had even researched this distribution lightly. A lot of people feared it [Slackware]. It was ancient.. it was complex.. it was positioned as being for hardcore users. To me at least, it didn't look much different from it's peers. Maybe I was apathetic after so many failed attempts and with such a depressing view of computers, operating systems and Linux. However, this attempt would prove to be different than my other attempts. In the end, this distribution actually worked. The dawning sun rises on the horizon of a cold long night.
I read the instructions.
- It seemed basic as hell: Looks easy, looks compatible. Wonderful bliss (sarcasm; I've played with too many installs.. none have worked).
- I went to get it, but learned it's not mirrored everywhere. I had to look through most of the mirrors to find it.
I learned it's a large number of files, not one nice large zip.
- That seemed like pointless extra work for me, since I have highspeed access, but that's fine because not everyone does. Later I would learn that this multiple files thing is necessary because they picked the zip format (sigh) which can't handle the large number of files etc etc etc..
Repartitioned my drive
- Set up a 1GB free partition which has been SYSed so I can boot from it. The install zips are on another partition.
- Entered vanilla DOS mode
pkunzip(2.50) the files.. notice that plain DOS mode cannot handle unzipping these files because of the 66 char pathname limitation.
Boot into Windows
- Attempt to unzip the files.. a half an hour later it coughs up a lung and dies because it runs out of memory on one of the latter archives.
I use my own
- It works fine. Later I would RTFM properly and learn that regular unzip can't handle the amount of files archived. Maybe a proper unzip was included with the set of files to download.. maybe it was in a dosutils dir or something. I should have looked more closely, my bad.. fine
- I unzip everything.. it coughs up a lung because it runs out of space.
- Fine, I allocate more space to the partition. Maybe the cluster sizing is biting me in the ass.
- I run out of space again
- I allocate the max available space, something over 2GBs.. and while it's uncompressing I move all the
/usr/src(someone explain why this bloat is included..) to another partition..
- I still run out of space
- I hop on the net, visit the online board and do some searches for keywords like bigslack huge space etc etc.. nothing.
- I email
support at slackware dot comasking if they were aware of the fact that an 850MB partition cannot handle an uncompressed copy of bigslack.
So I assume that all along I should have been using FAT32. FAT32 is an abomination and I'm not gonna. neener neener.
- Later I would learn that indeed this was the case. Funny that I didn't see that mentioned on the website. Even after the fact, when I searched through some of their help files and message board I couldn't find references pointing towards that fact. Big oversight.
It actually takes me a long time to delete the crap off the failed install partition. I suspect it would have been faster to boot to DOS, delete it and boot back to Windows. Oh well.
- Not mirrored enough
- Too many files to download
- No plain DOS utility to uncompress
Larger than 850 MBs
"Alright", I thought to myself, maybe I should try the other Slackware.. Zipslack. It is purported to be a very toned down slackware which has lots of functionality but doesn't have nearly the bloat which Bigslack has. Maybe the 100MB archive will uncompress and still fit on 2GBs. Sigh
Ok fine.. this is bigslack, but without the bloat. I doubt I'll even get Xwindows running (I was right).
- Search through the mirrors to find one which had it. Download the one file.
- unzip it into the dir with
unzip32. The one which worked with bigslack.
- Boot into plain dos mode, start
- Sacrifice a goat
- I boot. I load up root and screw around. I gag on the horrific CLI that is linux, but I explore and explore. I haven't a clue how to access my other drives etc, but that's because I haven't properly done my homework.. whatever. It's funny that all the other Linux research I've done actually stuck in my head. I remembered how to do obscure little things.
- I find the net setup software.. I play. I put in the info.
- I run
ftpand it doesn't work.
- Eventually I reboot and go back in.. I have no clue what made me reboot.
ftpis working, I remember the existence of Lynx and try it. It works. Bliss.
- I couldn't figure out how to get X to work. It's probably my fault.
- I went online, snagged the X windows distrib files and install it. I run the setup software.. I go through the horrible, horrible setup software.. again and again and again.. the best I can do is boot up to a crappy screen. The only way to exit was to crash the keyboard driver by repeatedly pounding on the keyboard. Gotta love having the touch. (I was accidentally doing the xwindows three-finger-salute of
Oh, I also screwed with mail.. trying to figure out how to make it access one of my pop3 email accounts.. it didn't work out.
So I'm left with a working decent distribution of Linux. Yes there are single-disk distributions of linux, but I wanted a real one. I am happy. I might accidentally be able to do stuff.
It's a miracle.
- Not mirrored everywhere
- Should be archived with a vanilla DOS archiver
Probably unrelated, but Xwindows bites
I then introduced myself to some other Linux users, and away I went.