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After you boot off the diskettes you will be presented with a login prompt. You must login as root (the password is NULL). Now you can setup the hard disk and install Slackware.

You have to run the standard Linux fdisk program to setup your partitions. At first glance it looks a little scary, but it's really quite simple.

Starting fdisk

When you start fdisk you need to specify the device to use. By default it will try to open /dev/hda, but in some cases this is not the correct device to use. Just specify the device name after typing fdisk on the command line. For example:

fdisk /dev/hdb

This will tell fdisk to open the primary slave IDE hard disk. Notice that you do not specify a partition number on the device name.

An alternative to fdisk is cfdisk, which provides a menu-based setup program for the partition setup (DOS users comfortable with DOS's fdisk may find this program easier). Just run cfdisk at the prompt instead of fdisk.

fdisk Commands

Here are some key commands you should be familiar with when using fdisk.

p Display the current partition table.
m Display the help screen.
d Delete a partition.
n Add a new partition.
t Change the partition's system ID.
q Quit fdisk without saving changes.
w Write changes to device and quit fdisk.
Unwritten "Rules"

So what kind of partitions should you make? It is always a good idea to make the swap partition first so you specify an exact size for it. It is also a good idea to make seperate partitions for /, /home, and /usr. People will tell you many things about how to divide up your disk, but it really comes down to what you want. There are many good reasons to breaking it up into /, /home, and /usr. For example:

  • Home directories are always on their own partition and you can upgrade the distribution without having to backup the home directories.
  • /usr is where software goes, so you can keep that whenever you upgrade distributions.
  • The root directory should really remain untouched, except for the modified files in /etc and root's home directory.

Others may tell you that you must have a seperate /var partition so log files won't fill up the root filesystem or so that the mail spool gets its own partition. Really, the choice is yours. Experiment with it, you can always change it later.

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