25 January, 2008

Installing VMware on Slackware

As with many Unix users, I have tried many flavors, but these days there are a small number I actually use daily. The Linux distribution that I used to really get my feet wet when I first started was Slackware. Back when I first discovered Unix-like operating systems, I researched quite a few Linux distributions. One of the things that appealed to me about Slackware was, even back then, it was considered old-school. It seemed like a good choice if I wanted to learn as much as possible about everything under the hood, so to speak.

I still use it on a daily basis. Despite that, for some reason I had never installed VMware on a Slackware system. I don't believe VMware officially supports Slackware, and this can be seen pretty easily when you install it. The second question the installer asks is:

What is the directory that contains the init directories (rc0.d/ to rc6.d/)?

As many will know, the answer on Slackware is null. Slackware does not use SysV-style init by default, instead using a BSD-style layout for init scripts. The above question assumes that you are using a system that has a directory for each run level, which isn't the case on Slackware.

I assumed I could just create the empty directories and point the installer there without problems. A quick search confirmed my assumption. Using the simple for loop from that page:

$ sudo mkdir /etc/init.d
$ cd /etc/init.d
$ for i in {0,1,2,3,4,5,6}; do sudo mkdir rc$i.d; done
$ ls
rc0.d rc1.d rc2.d rc3.d rc4.d rc5.d rc6.d

Once the install was done, I removed the init.d directory and everything below it. One other note about the link is that I don't think you need to use the --compile switch with recent versions of VMware. It seemed to recognize that my Slackware generic kernel could not use the pre-built VMware modules. The only advantage to the --compile switch seems to be that it will skip the confirmation requests prior to compiling the modules, whereas running vmware-config.pl without the compile switch will ask for confirmation before compiling each module.

For the record, I was using slackware-current, kernel-generic-, and VMware Workstation 6.0.2.

On a side note, I think my Slackware experience definitely translated well when I first tried FreeBSD. There are certainly plenty of differences, but it seems to me that going from Slackware to FreeBSD was a smaller learning curve than someone would have coming from a distribution like Ubuntu.

1 comment:

  1. Slackware is what got me started too... I'm so glad I had the chance to work with it and learn Linux than if I started off with a distro like Ubuntu, or Fedora is today. I only switched to Ubuntu on my laptop because I don't feel like admin'ing it, but I still have it running on my old 200MMX, running like a champ!!

    I ran into the same problem two years ago when install VMWare Workstation and I wrote that same little script to make the directories for me too, haha.