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The Illustrated Installation Process

This document intends to help new to Linux users install Slint Linux in text mode. If you have not already read how to get and install Slint, you should do so. It will explain how to create a bootable USB stick or DVD disc containing Slint.

  • Clicking on an image will display it in its original size
  • To have this document on hand during installation, click on the icon export to PDF on the right side of the page, and print or save it. Getting the PDF file can take some time as the document is big.
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Here are the installation steps:

Choose Locale and Begin Installation Process
Create the Partitions
Set Up the Partitions
Install the Software Packages
Configure the System

Choose Locale and Begin Installation Process

You will see this screen after (re)booting if your machine is in BIOS or Legacy mode:

Image: language selection in BIOS or Legacy mode

The screen is slightly different in UEFI mode. However it has the same features:

Image: language selection in UEFI mode

Select the language you prefer by using the down and up arrow keys. Press [Enter] once you make your selection.

The screen becomes black and displays a lot of messages. You generally do not need to read these messages. Basically it is information the Linux kernel discovers about your system while booting. The Linux kernel is being loaded into RAM. Once that is finished, you will see and hear a dialog asking you if you want to keep speech during installation at the bottom of the screen (new in version 14.2.1):

Image: keep speech during installation?

If you accept typing S then Enter, you will be proposed to display the keyboard shortcuts for reviewing the screen with speech (new in version 14.2.1):

Image: display keyboard shortcuts for speech?

If you type R then Enter the keyboard shortcuts will be displayed (new in version 14.2.1):

Image: keyboard shortcuts for speech.

You may then confirm or change the language set in the greeting screen of the boot manager (new in version 14.2.1):

Image: confirm or change language.

An option to load support for another keyboard is then displayed:

Image: change the keyboard map?

The keyboard map you choose should match the language you chose earlier. To choose a different mapping, enter [1] and press [Enter].

Image: selection of a keyboard map

If you chose to change the keyboard mapping, you will be presented with a dialog box. In this dialog you can test your mapping by typing some characters. Once you are satisfied, on a new line, press [1], followed by [Enter].

If you are unsatisfied with the change, enter [2] on a new line, followed by [Enter]. You will be brought back to the previous screen and be able to adjust your keyboard mapping again.

Image: confirm the choice of a keyboard map

You can adjust your keyboard mapping as many times as you want until you exit the process.

Once you choose your keyboard mapping, you will be presented with an informative screen:

Image: informative screen

Read through this information carefully. Once finished, type the administrator user name (root) into the prompt, and press [Enter].

This will display another screen with more recommendations:

Image: screen with more recommendations

We assume that you are installing a new Slint system, therefore only the last paragraph is relevant:

To partition your hard drive(s), use cfdisk or fdisk.
For systems using GPT instead of MBR, you can also use cgdisk or gdisk.
To activate PCMCIA/Cardbus devices needed for installation, type pcmcia.
To start the main installation (after partitioning), type setup.

Create the Partitions

If you have already created the partitions needed to install Slint Linux, you may skip this part and go directly to Set up the partitions

From now on, you are within a “live” system, running in RAM, or Random Access Memory. You can use most Linux commands within this environment. However you will still need the installation media (DVD or USB stick), as it contains the software packages needed by the Slint installer.

The cfdisk application can handle GPT partition tables, as well as MBR, which are also known as DOS partition tables. You can use cfdisk in all cases to set up your partitions. Of course, if the partitioning is already complete you can skip this step, and just type setup to display the main installation menu. If you are unfamiliar with the vocabulary (like partition, MBR or GPT) you can consult the glossary.

If you are blind use the fdisk command. fdisk has the same features as the previously mentioned partitioning software, but is easier to use with a screen reader. Type fdisk --help to see usage, and press [Shift] + [Page up] or [Shift] + [Page down] to scroll vertically.

In this an example it is assumed that you are installing Slint on a new hard disk. The example hard disk is 1 Terabyte in size, the system requires UEFI mode, and has not yet been formatted.

Here is the screen that you will see after having typed cfdisk and hit the [Enter] key:

Image: screen showing the list of possible labels or types for the partition table

On the bottom of the screen it says:

Device does not contain a recognized partition table.

This is expected because the hard disk has not yet been formatted. Create the partition table now. For UEFI you should select the GPT label type. select gpt and press [Enter] to continue.

You can choose the dos label type if you started the installation in BIOS or Legacy mode.

The next screen displays an empty partition table:

Image: screen showing the (empty) partition table

In our example we will set three partitions. Other partition layouts may require more partitions due to specific use cases. We will assume a generic scenario to simplify these directions:

  • A partition of type EFI system, called the ESP (EFI System Partition). It will store the files needed to boot the system. Be sure to make it at least 100 Megabytes in size.
  • A partition of type Linux swap. This partition will store swapped data when RAM (Random Access Memory) becomes full. The swap partition is optional. It becomes necessary if you have less than 4 Gigabytes of RAM, plan to compile very large programs, or intend to hibernate your machine. Hibernating your system will require more space because your system will store all of the contents of RAM in the swap partition. We will assume that you have 2 Gigabytes of RAM and will set the size of the swap partition to 3 Gigabytes.
  • A partition of type Linux system. Make it as big as possible. In our example , we will set its size to 300 Gigabytes, reserving the remaining space for future use.
In the case of a multi boot system you may need a bigger EFI system partition size. In some cases Microsoft recommends an EFI System Partition of 256 Megabytes. You can reuse the existing EFI System Partition if Microsoft Windows is already installed.
You do not need an EFI System Partition if your machine is set to boot in BIOS or Legacy mode.
It is common to set a dedicated partition to hold the /home directory. This may not be necessary and may result in the partition running out of space over time. Choose the Linux partition type if you want to set one up.

In cfdisk, you can navigate using the [Tab] and the arrow keys. Press [Enter] to confirm choices. Select [Help] and press [Enter] to see more about cfdisk usage.

First set up the EFI System partition. Choose [New] and then press [Enter]. By default the partition will take up all available space. Use 100 Megabytes instead by typing 100M:

Image: we set up a size of 100 M for the ESP

Confirm your changes by pressing [Enter]. By default the partition will be of type Linux system:

Image: partition created of type Linux system

To change that, select [Type], press [Enter], and then move the cursor upward with the arrow keys to select EFI System:

Image: partition type changed to EFI System

Confirm your changes by pressing [Enter]. Then press the down arrow key to create a new partition in the remaining free space:

Image: create a new partition in the remaining space

Repeat the same process to create a swap partition and the root file system. Set the swap size to 3G and the partition type to Linux swap. Set the root partition to 300G (300 Gigabytes) and the partition type to Linux system.

Up until now all changes have been stored in RAM. Saving your changes requires you to select [Write] to write the partition table on the hard disk.

Image: all partitions are now set up, ready to write the partition table

At this point you will be asked to confirm your changes. Type yes to confirm. Select [ Quit ] and press [Enter] to exit cfdisk.

The system is now ready to run the Slint Linux installer.

Set Up the Partitions

Type setup to begin the Slint installation process. This will display the setup main menu:

Image: main menu

The setup main menu lists the steps needed to install and configure Slint. Some of the presented choices are optional.

This article provides more detailed explanations than the HELP menu. Additionally, you should already have chosen your keyboard map. You do not need to choose the HELP or KEYMAP menu options.

Select ADDSWAP. The next dialog box explains that the swap partition has been detected. It gives you the option to select the swap partition you wish to use:

Image: our swap partition has been detected

The swap partition name is /dev/sda2. This means that the block device /dev/sda points to our first hard disk. A second hard disk would be named /dev/sdb. Each additional hard disk will increment (sdc, sdd, sde)

Confirm the addition of the swap partition(s) by pressing [Enter]. You are now asked to check the swap partition(s) for bad blocks:

Image: check the swap partitions for bad blocks?

You can safely accept the default answer: No.

The next screen displays a line describing the swap space. This text will be written to the file /etc/fstab at the end of installation process. This file records the mapping between partitions, directories, and associated file systems (fstab stands for File Systems Table):

Image: the swap space is now configured

After the ADDSWAP dialog, the next dialog displayed by the installer is the TARGET menu option. The TARGET dialog asks which partition should be used as the root partition. The root partition is designated as /, also known as the first directory in the Linux filesystem hierarchy.

The word TARGET designates the partition where all software will be installed.

Image: choose the root (/) Linux partition

In our example we set up one Linux partition. The block device to use for the root partition (or /) is /dev/sda3.

The term format refers to the process of configuring a partition with a filesystem so that files can be stored and managed. Choose Quick format with no bad bock checking. This option will be used in most cases.

Image: quick formatting of the root partition with no bad block checking

Several types of file systems can be used to format Linux partitions. The ext4 filesystem type is highlighted by default. Choose it by pressing [Enter] to assign it to the root partition.

Image: the root partition's filesystem will be of type ext4

Formatting the partitions takes a few seconds. On older systems it can take a bit longer. The next screen displays the text that will be written to /etc/fstab for the root partition at the end of the installation process.

Image: line added to /etc/fstab for the root partition

Format the EFI System Partition. This will allow the installer to create the files needed to boot in EFI mode.

Image: we agree to format the ESP (EFI System Partition)

The line displayed is what will be written to /etc/fstab.

Image: line added to /etc/fstab for the ESP

The next part of the installation process is the INSTALL menu option.

Install the Software Packages

In this section you will be guided through the media selection and software installation portion of the installation process. A predetermined set of software packages will be installed onto your hard disk.

A software package contains a program (also known as a binary) and the related files required to run it. A software package lets you install software in a reliable and repeatable fashion. It includes the program, documentation, support files, and configuration file(s). Sometimes a software package contains more than one binary.

You will be asked to select the media from which the installer will copy the Slint software packages to your hard disk. In this example the installer will copy its files from a DVD.

In this case the installer and the software packages are located on the same physical media. It is possible to install the software packages using a different physical media than where the installer resides. An example would be hosting the software packages on a web server or software mirror.

Select option 2, Install from a Slint CD or DVD.

Image: choose the type of media that contains the software packages to be installed

The installer will find the DVD drive automatically. Select the recommended option auto, Scan for the CD or DVD drive.

Image: the installer will find the DVD drive automatically

The installer will find the DVD. Confirm that you are ready to install the packages by selecting Yes and pressing [Enter].

Image: we confirm that we are ready to install the software packages

You can choose to install or not the KDE packages (new in version 14.2.1):

Image: install the kde packages or not

One line is displayed on the screen for each software package installed.

Image: packages are being installed

Please be patient. The installation of all software packages will take a few minutes. This process may take longer if you have an older system. The next step is the configuration process of your system.

Configure the System

The installer will automatically register the system fonts after all software packages have been copied. This takes just a few seconds.

Image: the installer sets up the installed fonts

Then a font cache is generated so that system fonts can be accessed quickly in the future. This also takes a few seconds.

Image: the installer writes the fonts' cache

Then the installer asks to make a USB boot disk. This USB boot disk will aid you in starting up your system if it becomes unable to boot. An example of such a scenario is if the boot loader fails or if the boot sector is not updated when a kernel upgrade occurs. This step is skipped in this tutorial, but it is a recommended safety measure you should consider.

Image: the installer proposes to make a USB boot flash

Your installation media can also be used as a boot disk to access your system in the event of such issues

The next step is installing a boot loader.

There are two ways of booting an operating system like Slint Linux:
  • In BIOS mode. This is also known as Legacy mode, It uses the boot sector written directly to the Super block of a disk partition, or to the MBR (Master Boot Record) of a disk.
  • In EFI mode. This uses an EFI image (file in a specific format) written to the ESP (EFI System partition).
In Slint we uses these applications to set up the system boot loader:
  • LILO in BIOS mode
  • ELILO in EFI mode
  • Many systems are able to boot in both modes
If a boot loader like LILO or Grub is already used to boot another system on the same machine, you may prefer to skip this step altogether. After installation you can then re-configure the existing boot loader to add a boot entry for Slint.

In our example we booted the installer in EFI mode. The installer asks to skip the installation of LILO in order to install ELILO instead. It is safer to prepare the system to boot in both modes (BIOS and EFI). You will install LILO alongside ELILO.

Select install, Install LILO anyway.

Image: we decide to install LILO

Next, you will be asked several questions about installing LILO. In each dialog you should accept the default choice.

Select simple, Try to install LILO automatically:

Image: try to install LILO automatically

Select standard, which is the safest choice, Use the standard Linux console:

Image: select the standard video mode

If you do not need extra parameters passed to the kernel to boot, press [Enter].

Image: no extra parameters needed in the boot command line

Select MBR, Install to Master Boot Record:

Image: install LILO on the MBR

Next, select to install ELILO. This will write the necessary files to boot in EFI mode onto the EFI system partition.

Image: we install ELILO

Select install, Install a boot menu entry. This entry will go in the firmware's boot menu. It will be written to the CMOS instead of on the hard disk. It will give you an alternate way to start the boot process.

Image: add an entry in the firmware's boot menu

The next screen confirms the installation of the menu entry.

Image: the boot menu entry has been added

You probably won't see then the next screen. USB mice are auto-detected by default.

Image: list of mouse types

Next you will be asked if you want a Console mode mouse cursor. This may not be necessary if you strictly use Graphical mode. It doesn't hurt to enable this option if for some reason you only have access to Console mode at some point in the future.

Image: we choose to use the mouse to select and paste text in Console mode

Select Yes to configure the network settings. This is needed to access the internet, even if you do not have a local network,

Image: we confirm that we want to configure the network

The hostname is needed to identify the machine in a local network. If you do not have a local network, you can use any name. Some examples could be machine or box.

Image: we type the hostname

Enter a domain name that will allow other computers on the internet to reach you. This is useful if you are hosting a web server, or other network services. If you are not planning to do so, enter any name you wish.

Image: we type the domain name

Next you will be asked how you would like to configure the network. In most cases the best choice is to select NetworkManager, Autoconfigure network using NetworkManager.

Image: we will use NetworkManager to configure the network

Select Yes to confirm your choice. You will automatically see a widget on your Slint desktop panel. It will allow you to manage both wireless and wired network connections.

Image: we confirm our network configuration choice

Slint can be used as a server and a desktop. This dialog asks what services you wish to run on your Slint system. It is safe to accept the default menu options. You can easily change your system configuration after the installation process is complete, and you are booted into your new system.

Image: we accept the list of proposed services to run at startup

You will now choose if your computer should start in Graphical or Console mode. A novice Linux user will often prefer Graphical mode, but in this example Console mode is chosen. This can easily be changed later on when you are booted into your new system.

Image: choose to start the computer in Console or Graphical mode

Several Windows managers are available in Slint's Graphical mode. Pick the one you like or one at random. You will be able to change this setting and try other window manager after the installation process.

Image: choose the default window manager

If you travel a lot, set your computer's clock to UTC. If in doubt, answer No.

Image: tell how the hardware clock is set

Select your preferred timezone. Use the arrow keys or [Page Up] and [Page Down] to find your timezone. Press [Enter] when you have it highlighted.

Image: select the timezone

Next you are asked if you want to set up a password for the root account. The root account is the administrative account that is allowed full access to all aspects of your system. It is strongly recommended that you choose Yes.

Image: we confirm that we will set a password for root

Enter your password and press [Enter].

Image: we type the password for root

Type the root password again to confirm it and press [Enter].

Image: we confirm the password for root

It is also recommended that you set up a limited user account (non-privileged). This is the account you will use for day to day activities such as browsing the web and checking e-mail. Select Create a new account and press [Enter].

Image: we create a regular user account

Then type the name associated with the account. It can be your first name or a nickname you will remember.

Image: we type the name associated to the user account

Enter the password for the new account and press [Enter].

Image: we type the password

Type the password again to confirm it and press [Enter].

Image: we confirm the password

You can create as many user accounts as you wish. Once you are finished, Select Exit user setup and press [Enter].

Image: we select Exit user setup

We chose English as the default language for this installation process. If English is not your native language you can set another language for the installed system.

Image: we set a language for the installed system

At this point the installation is complete. You are asked to remove the installation medium. If you used a DVD, open the DVD tray, and remove the disc. If you used a USB stick, remove it from the USB port.

Image: we remove the installation disc

Finally, you can select Yes and press [Enter] to reboot into your new Slint Linux system.

If for some reason there is another task to complete, choose No and press [Enter]. You will be dropped to a root shell on your system.

Image: we confirm that we want to reboot the system


You have successfully installed Slint Linux. You system should be fully functional and ready for every day use. You may, however, have a few questions about what to do next. For example, you may wish to manage users or groups, change the keyboard map or language, install a printer, configure sound, manage your network connections, or initialize network services. You may also have questions about how to install, remove, and upgrade software on you system. Or quite possibly, you simply need a brief introduction to Slint's graphical user interface. All of these questions and more can be answered by returning to the section of this wiki that describes Slint's usage.

If for some reason you find a topic is uncovered, please visit the support section of this wiki, and follow the directions.

en/installation_process.txt · Last modified: 2019/11/18 12:54 (external edit)