Slackware ARM on a Raspberry Pi

Notes for Pre-installation

In this tutorial we will be installing Slackware ARM -current on a Raspberry Pi 3. The hostname 'slackware' is assigned to your system during the installation process.

We are using a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, a 32Gb microSD card (Kingston), and a 16GB USB memory stick. Your Raspberry Pi model/version and storage devices may be different so bear that in mind throughout this tutorial.

Installing without a screen/monitor

In the event that you do not have a screen/monitor/tv to connect to your Raspberry Pi, it's possible to boot the Slackware ARM installer with networking enabled and a specified keyboard layout (locale) in order to login and perform the installation remotely via ssh (i.e. from another computer). It's just a matter of editing the 'cmdline.txt' file on the boot partition of the microSD card (see this example) before you boot your Raspberry Pi with it. So, if you wanted to perform a remote installation, you would insert the following code into the cmdline.txt file:

kbd=us nic=auto:eth0:dhcp

Alternatively, if your network does not have DHCP enabled you should specify an IP address and netmask. In this example the IP address is and the netmask is (24-bit netmask):

kbd=us nic=auto:eth0:static:

Of course, you should specify your own IP address, netmask, and keyboard layout here. See this keymaps list for supported keyboard layouts and select one which suits your own keyboard configuration (e.g. kbd=es , kbd=fr , kbd=de , kbd=it , kbd=ru , etc.). So, when you boot the Slackware ARM installer on the Raspberry Pi you will not be required to enter a keyboard map and networking will already be configured. You can simply login remotely via ssh as 'root' user and just hit the enter key when asked for a password. If you're installing Slackware ARM remotely then some parts of this tutorial may not apply to you, so you'll have to work around those areas. ;-)

To boot the Slackware ARM installer normally, with a US keyboard layout, just leave the cmdline.txt file unmodified.

Plugging in and powering on...

If you haven't done so yet...
• Insert the microSD card you've just configured into the slot on the underside of the Raspberry Pi.
• Connect the USB keyboard to one of the USB ports.
• Insert the USB memory stick into another USB port (if you are using it for your source media).
• Plug in the relevant HDMI/RCA video cable.
• Attach the Ethernet cable to the Ethernet port on the Raspberry Pi
• Plug the other end of the Ethernet cable into your Internet router/hub/switch.
• Turn on your screen/monitor.
• Connect the Micro USB power cable to the Raspberry Pi...

If you don't have a USB stick available you're still able to install Slackware ARM by configuring your network connection and using a FTP/HTTP server as your source media. Instructions on how to do this are included later in this installation tutorial.

The red PWR (power) LED illuminates and the green ACT (activity) LED starts to flash intermittently, while the rainbow splash screen appears briefly, followed by the scrolling loader text. This tells you the system is booting normally and the Slackware installer is loading.

If the device is not booting and the green ACT LED stays lit permanently, you may have a misconfigured microSD card and will have to write the installer image to your microSD card once again. If the green ACT LED flashes and then stops there's a problem locating the second stage bootloader so, again, you should re-write the installer image to your microSD card. If there is no ACT LED activity at all, make sure your microSD card is correctly inserted and also power off/on the Raspberry Pi because it may simply be a glitch. Also try powering off/on if it hangs on the rainbow splash screen. If the problem persists try using a different microSD card, or write the image to the card using a different host system.

For further help with troubleshooting you might want to read the R-Pi Troubleshooting page at which lists the most common problems and suggests some solutions.

If all else fails and your Raspberry Pi is still refusing to boot, there's a tried and tested Slackware Docs HOW TO: work around the problem by borrowing some stuff from Raspbian tutorial, under the heading "Manual installation method", which you may wish to look into.

If all went according to plan; on the RPi 1 you should see a Raspberry Pi logo at the top of the screen, and on the RPi 2, 3, and 4 you should see four of them, with text scrolling down underneath. If this is what you can see on your screen then everything is working as expected and you're almost ready to begin installing Slackware ARM.

Continue to the next section of this installer tutorial... Configuring the system for installation

Updated: 26 Jun 2019 08:31:46