How To Install and Use Slackpkg

Andrew J. Nelson
Published: 1 December 2010

Introduction

The purpose of this How To is to explain installing and using Slackpkg to keep an installation of Slackware updated. Slackpkg is an easy to use command line tool which simplifies keeping your favorite Linux operating system up to date.

Required Materials and Prior Knowledge

It is assumed that the user has Slackware Linux installed and connectivity to the internet. Furthermore, it is assumed the user has at least some familiarity with navigating in a Slackware shell environment. This How To was written using Slackware 64 13.1 as the OS, Firefox 3.6.12 for a browser, and the BASH shell environment.

Disclaimer

WebGnuru takes no responsibility for any loss of data, hardware, time, hair, self esteem, or opportunities that may result from following the instructions in this How To.

Step 1: Download Slackpkg

Using your favorite browser, navigate to Slackpkg.org and download the current stable version. This tutorial utilized slackpkg-2.81.1-noarch-1.tgz. And no, I did not link directly to that particular package. I cannot count the number of times I have followed an invalid link to a specific package in a How To, and will refrain from inflicting the same indignity on others. Save the file to your /Download directory (or wherever you like to keep such things).

Downloading Slackpkg
A screenshot of using Firefox to download Slackpkg.

Step 2: Install Slackpkg Using Slackware's Default Pkgtool

Navigate to the directory which contains the downloaded Slackpkg file. Use Slackware's pkgtool to install. Below are the command lines to do this, and a screenshot of the output. Note from the screenshot I did a great impersonation of a Windows user by downloading the file to my desktop.

  • cd ~/Downloads
  • installpkg slackpkg-2.81.1.-noarch-1.tgz
Installing Slackpkg
A screenshot of installing Slackpkg.

Step 3: Configure Slackpkg

Slackpkg has a file called mirrors located in /etc/slackpkg.This file contains a full list of all the official mirrors for the recent versions of Slackware. Edit this file by uncommenting one, and only one, mirror for your version of Slackware. You uncomment a line by removing the sharp symbol (#) from the beginning. By doing so you are selecting which mirror you want to use to update your Slackware Linux install. It would probably be best to select a mirror that will provide the best performance for you.

Make sure to select a mirror for your version and architecture of Slackware!!

  • pico /etc/slackpkg/mirrors
Editing The Mirrors File
A screenshot of editing the Slackpkg mirrors file.

Step 4: First Time Use

Before using Slackpkg for the first time, you will want to update the GPG key. Do this by entering slackpkg update gpg in bash. This is a one time command, and does not need to be run again. You can learn about what a GPG key is at gnupg.org.

Updating The GPG
A screenshot of updating the Slackpkg GPG key.

Step Five: Updating Your Slackware Linux With Slackpkg

There are three steps to doing this. First we update, which will download the latest package list from your selected mirror and compare that against your installed packages. Next we install-new, so that any new packages are installed before upgrading existing packages. This is important to make sure that newly installed packages can also benefit from necessary upgrades. Last, we upgrade-all, to bring all packages up to date. Obligatory Statement: See the slackpkg man pages for details.

  • slackpkg update
  • slackpkg install-new
  • slackpkg upgrade-all
Upgrading Packages With Slackpkg
A screenshot of upgrading packages with Slackpkg.

Conclusion

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Performing the upgrade ritual once or twice a week should ensure that your installation of Slackware Linux stays up to date with the official package releases. Slackpkg has many other features, such as cleaning your system of non-standard packages or being used as a network deployment tool. I find it to be an extremely efficient, and easy to use, utility.

If you have any questions, concerns, suggestions, or constructive criticism, please email me.

Copyright © 2008 - 2013 Andrew Nelson under the GPL v3 License except where noted.
Please see the README file for full licensing disclosure and credits.