SD Card Config - Slackware ARM Installer

In order to boot the Raspberry PI you need to prepare a SD card. If you have a Raspberry Pi model B+ then you'll need to prepare a microSD card. This guide covers preparation of a SD/microSD card for both Windows and Linux users. The procedure is exactly the same for both types of card. Just treat SD/microSD cards as the same thing.

Windows users - please click here.

Configure a SD card to install Slackware ARM... Linux Users

We will be using a Slackware 14.1 Linux system to prepare a SD card. If you are using another Linux distribution the command structure may be a little different (e.g. you have to type 'sudo' before a command on some systems). As stated previously, we have given the name 'mynixbox' to our Linux system and we are using a 8Gb SD card (Kingston SD10G2/8GB). Using larger capacity SD cards works too! Of course, it's very possible to install Slackware ARM on a SD card smaller than 8Gb but you won't have a full install. You will have to omit some packages (such as KDE) during installation in order to be successful with a smaller amount of storage space than recommended for a full install. Experienced Slackware users will already know what to do under these circumstances. If you're installing Slackware ARM for the first time, it's recommended you go for a full installation on an 8Gb (or larger) SD card.

So, assuming you have at least 8Gb capacity on your SD card, here's what you need to do:
• put the SD card into the card reader of your Linux system
• login as root user
• at the command prompt type the following command:

root@mynixbox:~# fdisk -l

This will give you details of all the drives currently connected to your system. You're looking for the 8Gb drive you've just plugged in. On our system we received the following information:

So we now know that our SD card is device /dev/sdc on the system. That's the important bit. We can also see there is no file system on the card. It's blank. Yours may have existing data and/or file systems. Be sure you do not use a SD card that contains important information because this process will overwrite everything!

Next, you're going download the Slackware ARM installer image file. This installer is based on the previous work of David Spencer @ Dave's Collective and uses the latest kernel and firmware from the official Raspberry Pi Foundation GitHub Repository. First we are going to change to the /tmp directory. At the command prompt type the following:

root@mynixbox:~# cd /tmp/
root@mynixbox:/tmp# wget
FatDog says ... You may also want to verify the integrity of the installer image file using the MD5 checksum. If so, type the following:

root@mynixbox:/tmp# wget
FatDog says ... Now you can check to see if the contents of the installer image are genuine. You should see "OK" after the filename:

root@mynixbox:/tmp# md5sum -c rpi-slackwarearm-install_30Mar15_fd.img.xz.md5
/tmp/rpi-slackwarearm-install_30Mar15_fd.img.xz: OK

NB: The Slackware ARM installer is also available from the Downloads section, along with the latest packages.

So you should now have the Slackware ARM installer image file in the /tmp directory on your system. You can check by typing 'ls' at the command prompt. If you carried out the MD5 check you'll already know you have the file. ;)

root@mynixbox:/tmp# ls

If you see something similar to the above (given that there may also be other files of your own already in this directory) you have downloaded the installer image file successfully. So the next thing to do is write the installer image to the SD card. Remember, in this guide our SD card was /dev/sdc (yours might be a different designation) and we're going to use that in the next command. Type the following command, where [device] is the given designation of your SD card (e.g. /dev/sdc).

root@mynixbox:/tmp# xz -dc rpi-slackwarearm-install_30Mar15_fd.img.xz | dd of=[device] bs=65536

Example: xz -dc rpi-slackwarearm-install_30Mar15_fd.img.xz | dd of=/dev/sdc bs=65536

FatDog says ... xz may be a package you need to install on your Linux system if you do not already have it. The currently available releases of Slackware Linux comes with xz installed by default. If you need to install the xz package from source, it's available from the XZ Utils website.

If you receive an error at this stage telling you 'dd: failed to open /dev/sdc : Read-only file system' then your SD card is locked and you need to unlock it by moving the little slider on the side of the card to the unlocked position. ;)

It takes a moment for the installer image to be written to your SD card, after which it will be configured to boot with the Slackware ARM installer. You can check this by typing:

root@mynixbox:/tmp# fdisk -l

The results from the fdisk command will show you there is a partition on your SD card. You should see something similar to the following:

If you can see there is a FAT32 *bootable* partition then this is looking very good indeed! Now you can remove the SD card from your card reader.

If you don't see the partition listed try writing the image to the SD card again using the xz command shown above. Also try removing the SD card from your system and plugging it in again. If this process fails continually you may have a faulty or incompatible card. In this case, locate another SD card.

That's it for configuring your SD card in Linux. You can now go on to the next section... Install Slackware!

Configure a SD card to install Slackware ARM... Windows Users

Using a Microsoft Windows based system with a SD card reader installed, it is possible to configure your SD card to boot the Slackware ARM Installer on your Raspberry Pi. Here's what you need to do:

For Windows XP/Vista/7 users:
• Insert your SD card into the card reader on your Windows system.
• Click on your Start button/menu and right-click Computer (on Windows XP it's MyComputer) and select Manage.
• Near the bottom of the Computer Management window click on Storage/Disk Management.
• Right-click your SD card's space diagram and click Delete Volume. If you already have any partition(s) on it, DELETE them.
• Now right-click on your SD card again and select Create Partition or New Simple Volume and create a 64Mb partition.
• You should format the 64Mb partition within the creation wizard. This partition should be formatted FAT32.

For Windows 8 users:
• Press the keys [Win-Logo]+[R] and type "diskmgmt.msc" in the edit-box and press the [ENTER] key.
• Click on your SD card in the list of available drives in the top section of the Disk Management window.
• In the bottom section of the window it will show you if there are any existing partitions on your SD card.
• If any partitions do exist, right click on your SD card at the top of the window and select Delete Volume.
• At the bottom of the window, right-click inside the unallocated space and select New Simple Volume.
• A New Simple Volume wizard will appear. Click the [Next] button and follow the instructions to create a new partition. You should create a 64Mb partition within the creation wizard.
• Right-click the new partition and select Format from the menu.
• Select FAT32 from the File system drop-down box and click on [OK].

Make a note of the drive letter (i.e. G:, K:, Q:, etc.) your Windows system has assigned to the newly created partition on your SD card.

FatDog says ... If any existing partitions on your SD card are unmanageable in the Disk Management interface, Google for 'DISKPART' and learn how to modify/delete partitions using a Windows command prompt.

There's a useful tool available to format your SD card called SD Formatter 4.0 for SD/SDXC for Windows (and Apple Mac) users. You may find this tool easier to use than the utilities provided with your operating system. For information on how to download, install, and use the SD Formatter 4.0 for SD/SDXC tool click here.

Next, download this .zip file : [MD5]

Extract the contents of the .zip file to your SD card (this is the 64Mb partition you've just created). You will know which drive letter it is from the Disk Management procedure. This compressed file contains the same files as the Linux installer image but in a .zip format. The config.txt file has been updated to accommodate screen overscan, for a more user-friendly display during installation, and the CPU/GPU memory allocation has been configured to give you 16Mb of (video) GPU RAM with the rest being used by the operating system and a small amount of reserved memory.

Check that the files are actually on the SD card by viewing it in Windows Explorer. Once you have confirmed all the files are there, you're ready to go on to the next section... Install Slackware!