Slackware on RockPro64 – Progress

The Past

The last posting I did on Slackware was back on a Pi Model 2, but I was also discussing my latest round of efforts on a page about Gentoo.

Progress With Adding Software

Well, today I made a fair amount more progress. The key bit being that I got familiar (again…) with the “slackpkg” command.

The biggest help came from the Manual Page via “man slackpkg”. Realize there is a whole ‘nother way to install packages too. And older more long hand way. I’m skipping that for now.

So first off, you must configure the mirrors configure file…

Before you do anything, you will need to uncomment one mirror in
/etc/slackpkg/mirrors file and run:

# slackpkg update

The “update” action will download and format the list of files and
packages in Slackware. Every time this list is changed, the update
needs to be run.

where I uncommented the ftp line:

# slarm64 AArch64 current

It then listed a bunch of things to do, starting with “slackpkg update”, then:

Slackpkg can be used to upgrade the whole distribution.
       The usual way is to do:

            # slackpkg update
            # slackpkg install-new
            # slackpkg upgrade-all
            # slackpkg clean-system

This worked fine, sort of,… First off, “upgrade-all” takes a LONG time and downloads a heck of a lot of stuff. This image was “only” 8 GB partition on a 16 GB uSD Card. (No, I don’t know why it didn’t use the whole card) This promptly filled up root. Several hours later…. Having done a dump of an image, then using gparted on another system to grow the partition, I discovered I’d blown the starting point and wiped out the 16 kb or so of boot stuff at the head of the card… so a “restore and do over” was on order. The original 8 GB partition having 7.xx GB actually usable, and this wanted slightly over:

bash-5.0# df
Filesystem      1K-blocks      Used  Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/root        14269840   8028132    6225324  57% /

Eventually I got it done, booted the now bigger partition, and restarted the “upgrade-all” that had died in the middle. It completed normally. I rebooted.

Trying a ‘clean-system’ it wanted to remove some firmware bits that I was not sure were optional, so I cancelled it. All it’s supposed to do is remove unused leftovers, so not a big issue to skip it. I’ll try the clean later after making a backup of THIS image and checking on what the firmware is.

Installing New Applications

So then I gave a try to installing ‘gparted’ (the only bit missing that I really use a lot on my normal desktop / systems admin station). This gave an md5sum error. Either:

The data stream was corrupted in transmission from dirty coms.
There is a MTM attacker substituting a buggered version of code.
The system maintainer put up a new version and forgot to regenerate the md5 hash file.
The check code is sick.

After several tries, and having zero history of bit corruption for any other download for years, I figured I could scratch the first one. Since md5 is used for everything, the last one is close to nil. Of the middle two, I’m unlikely to be subject of an attack on a download of an OS I’ve hardly ever used (though someone might be trying to damage Slackware).

Figuring “forgot to do the hash update” was most likely, I found where to turn off md5sum


Registered: Oct 2005
Location: France

By default, there is a md5sum check. So it matters. From /etc/slackpkg/slackpkg.conf:


# If CHECKMD5 is “on”, the system will check the md5sums of all packages before
# install/upgrade/reinstall is performed.

So I went there and set it to “no” and tried again.

bash-5.0# cat /etc/slackpkg/slackpkg.conf
# slackpkg.conf – Configuration for SlackPkg
# v2.8

# SlackPkg – An Automated packaging tool for Slackware Linux
# Copyright (C) 2003-2011 Roberto F. Batista, Evaldo Gardenali
# If CHECKMD5 is “on”, the system will check the md5sums of all packages before
# install/upgrade/reinstall is performed.

Then both gparted and thunderbird (a mail reader) installed. Launching Thunderbird, it ran fine. Launching gparted gave an error message. When launched from the dropdown menu in XFCE, it silently failed, but launched from the root command line as "#gparted" it said:

bash-5.0# gparted
/usr/sbin/gpartedbin: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

Which brings me to one of my complaints about Slackware. (My only one, really). It refuses to do automated dependency management. Because YOU ought to know what’s on your system and YOU ought to decide… except 99% of the time I just want the package as designed. Oh Well, their system, their rules and preferences.

So still no ‘gparted’ working, but I know what library I need to find.

In Conclusion

Now, at this point, I’m pretty much settled in. I have working desktop, windows via XCFE, working Firefox, Libreoffice, GIMP, and more. Only bit not really quite right is ‘gparted’ and md5 sums. I’m OK with that.

Whenever I’m doing “disk partition management” I’m usually booting a few systems and swapping between them. Often a new install on one and tools on another. Easy enough to use some other system for that. So ‘gparted’ on the Pi is fine. (Or the Odroid N2. It sits on the TV in the other room. Today when trying to grow the ext4 root partition on this Slackware, I found that it was the “new ext4” and not compatible with the gparted / fsck on the Odroid XU4 / Jessie… that surprise incompatible ext4 upgrade they did in Linux land… So in fact I did the ‘gparted’ grow file system on the N2 that was a very new gparted / ext4 system.)

With that, I’m moving onto the RockPro64 with Slackware as my ‘Daily Driver’ until further notice. It does all I want in a daily desktop, even if it is a bit lacking in ‘gparted’ partition management for those infrequent disk diddling days.

Also, now that I’m comfortably doing “add software” and “update systems”, I’m going back to some other boards where I have a Slackware installed and getting them similarly up to speed. The Rock64, a Raspberry Pi M3 image, and likely a Pine64 image as well

Yes, this marks my move to Slackware First, Armbian / Debian only 2nd. Devuan as sort of an ‘almost first’ depending on which boards run Slackware vs Devuan.

Oh, and for the future, getting the user contributed Slackbuilds stuff configured:

Used for all manner of stuff not in the basic Slackware distribution.

As per BSD:

I’m still going to be making some infrastructure boards run on some BSD. I’m also going to continue working to get a desktop on one of them with “all the usual” software running. NetBSD almost made it, but a broken FireFox on several installs was not going to cut it. FreeBSD still had me get everything installed, and told to “go fish” on actually launching the XCFE window system. Configuring X11 / xorg is painful on a good day and not something I’ll do if any other option exists.

So I’m relegating the BSDs to putter time and infrastructure (i.e. don’t need windows) uses until such time as I get one with a working browser and windows system without excessive pain and hours.

So, a productive day. I’ve got a new fast desktop and I’ve got most all the software I typically use installed and running. TBD is the Python / SQL stuff for the temperature database, but I doubt that will have problems. Python is used all over the place. But, as usual, “we’ll see” ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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3 Responses to Slackware on RockPro64 – Progress

  1. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, python 2.7 is installed by default. I installed python3 via “slackpkg install python3”.

    SQL is another issue. Doing “slackpkg search sql” yields nothing:

    bash-5.0# slackpkg search sql
    Looking for sql in package list. Please wait... DONE
    The list below shows all packages with name matching "sql".
    [  upgrade  ] - sqlite-3.30.1-aarch64-1 --> sqlite-3.33.0-aarch64-1
    You can search specific files using "slackpkg file-search file".

    As does MySQL:

    bash-5.0# slackpkg search mysql
    Looking for mysql in package list. Please wait... DONE
    No package name matches the pattern.

    And it isn’t already there:

    bash-5.0# which mysql
    which: no mysql in (/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/sbin:/usr/sbin:/bin:/usr/bin)


    Installing MySQL

    Install MySQL from the official Slackware discs or using slackpkg. If you performed a full install of Slackware, then you already have MySQL on your computer.

    So I’m guessing “someone” decided nobody would ever be running Big ‘Ol Databases on an ARM chip… so prioritized it as “someday” in the porting process.

    Oh Well….

    So guess climate database stuff will be in BSD instead… (Or fall back to Devuan on the Pi M3, which was fast enough, really.)

    I do wish folks would get over the 1990 mindset that ARM chips are dinky little things for cell phones and tablets. It hasn’t been that way for a decade or so. This ARM chip I’m running on right now is WAY faster than our 1990 Cray XMP-48 supercomputer… Just sayin’….

    Oh Well…

  2. Pingback: SBC OS Choices & Opinions | Musings from the Chiefio

  3. mara says:

    MySQL replaced with MariaDB.
    Regarding the increase in the size of the sdcard, all this is done automatically when you automatically restart the first launch

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