Slackware ARM on a Raspberry Pi

An easier way to keep your system updated?

rpi-update is a tool created by Hexxeh for easily keeping your system firmware, kernel, and modules, up-to-date. It's very convenient and easy to use, although not totally in-line with the "Slackware way" of doing things. Slackware has its own package management system but rpi-update by-passes that and installs it all for you, 'apt-get -y install' fashion (a.k.a. install every thing and say 'yes' to any questions). Which isn't always the best thing to allow because you don't really know what's being installed on to your system. Using 'pkgtool', or 'slackpkg', puts you in total control of your package management on a Slackware system. Whereas, rpi-update takes away that control and does what it's programmed to do, which is; upgrade the boot firmware, kernel, and kernel modules, after backing up any existing files. It's totally autonomous after you run it.

You can of course choose to manage/install these system packages yourself. If required, the SARPi kernel, kernel modules, and boot firmware, packages are available on the Downloads page.

FatDog says ... It goes without saying that automated processes can go wrong when you least expect it. So, it's always a good policy to back things up before you go ahead. There have been some reports that rpi-update can break your system but in the years that we've been using it at FatDog.NL (since October 2012) it hasn't given us any trouble at all. If you want to use rpi-update just make sure you have at least ~20MB free space on your /boot partition, before running it, to avoid any issues.

You don't have to use rpi-update, there's always the manual method. The choice is entirely yours.

Type the following command as 'root' user to download and install rpi-update:

root@myrasbox:~# wget -O /usr/bin/rpi-update && chmod +x /usr/bin/rpi-update

As 'root' user you can now run rpi-update (at any time) by typing the following command:

root@myrasbox:~# rpi-update

So go ahead and run it now.

rpi-update then checks your system against any new updates, backs up existing files, and upgrades them accordingly. You are given the option to say yes or no [Y/n] to the upgrade.

You should see that the system is being updated with the latest firmware, kernel, and kernel modules. In the examples, our system was using kernel 4.4.8-v7-arm and that's been upgraded to 4.4.9-v7+. The kernel version you'll update to will (hopefully) be a lot more recent.

If there were no errors, the update was a success and you are advised that a reboot is needed to activate the new firmware.

Type 'reboot' at the command prompt and press the enter key.

root@myrasbox:~# reboot

After rebooting

After the system has rebooted, at the login prompt enter the name of the normal user that you specified in the previous section of this tutorial (i.e. NOT 'root') and enter the password you've set for this user during the account creation process. Remember that we used 'dave' as an example for our normal user account name. You should enter your own username here.

When you are logged in to your Slackware ARM system as a normal user there may be occasions when you require 'root' access. To change from a normal user to 'root' user type 'su -' at the command prompt:

dave@myrasbox:~# su -

Enter the root user password when prompted. You should now be logged in as root user. This is how you should always change from a normal user to 'root' user on your Slackware ARM system.

When you need to change from root user back to a normal user you should use the same 'su -' command followed by the normal users username. Use the following command (substituting your own username) to achieve this:

root@myrasbox:~# su - dave

You're now logged in as 'dave'. You will not be prompted for a password when changing from 'root' user to a normal user.

FatDog says ... NB: Always remember, root user is all powerful on a Linux system and should only be used when abolutely necessary! It is IMPORTANT never to use the root user for doing things that you can do under a normal user account.

Logging in as a normal user is always good policy. Sometimes after an update, logging in remotely (via ssh) as root is not permitted, which is an added security feature. To enable remote login with root user you need to edit and configure your sshd_config settings and allow it. Or, you can just download and install the SARPi rpi-hacks package from the downloads section. You can also achieve this by adding a ssh public key in the /root/.ssh/authorized_keys file. This is something we're not going to cover in this tutorial.

You now have the option to Optimise Your System Configuration and customise the system configuration and parameters of your Slackware ARM system.

Otherwise, continue to the the final section of this tutorial... Post-installation information

Updated: 24 Sep 2016 22:52:03