Installing ZipSlack Linux

This month, to complement our hacker shoot-out feature, we have provided the ZipSlack Linux distribution on the cover CD. The latest release, ZipSlack 8.0, contains the basic software of the Slackware 8.0 Linux distribution without a lot of the larger applications, such as XFree86. Furthermore, ZipSlack uses the UMSDOS file system, which lets all Windows 9x users try Linux without having to partition their hard disk or change their regular boot process.

To install ZipSlack, follow these steps. Note that this installation is not "for Windows NT/2000 operating systems.


While running Windows, insert the PC World cover CD and go into the ZipSlack directory. You will have to have an extraction tool installed to be able to extract the 31MB file. WinZip is fine for extracting ZipSlack and is included on the cover CD under Essentials.

With WinZip installed, double-click on the file, which should have the WinZip icon next to it. WinZip will then start and show all the files which are in the archive. Click Extract and extract all the files to the C: drive. It is important that you extract the files to the top level of the drive and not any subdirectories, since a directory, "linux", will be created automatically upon extraction.

When the extraction is complete, you should see a newly created directory called "linux" that contains all the ZipSlack files and directories, and occupies about 65MB of disk space.


Now that you have extracted the files, the easiest way to begin using ZipSlack is to create a boot disk and boot directly into it. The Rawrite command can be used directly under Windows to create a boot disk. First, insert a blank floppy disk into your drive and then double-click on the Rawrite file in the ZIPSLACK directory in the cover CD. A MSDOS prompt terminal window will appear (FIGURE 2) asking you to enter a source file name. With the cover CD still in the drive, type:


At the command prompt, press . You will then be asked to enter a destination drive, so type a: and press . Another line will then appear asking for a blank floppy to be inserted into the drive. With a blank floppy in the drive, press and the boot image will be written to the disk.

When this is done, reboot your computer using the boot disk you just made. Make sure that your computer's BIOS is set to boot from the floppy drive before the CD-ROM or hard disk; if it's not, go into your BIOS and set the boot sequence to A-CDROM-C.


When you restart your computer and boot directly from the boot disk, you will be presented with a "boot:" prompt. Type:mount root=/dev/hda1 rwwhere "hda1" is the partition where the linux directory containing ZipSlack is located. Substitute "hda1" for "hdb2" if linux is on the second partition of the second IDE disk, and "sda1" in the case of the first partition on the first SCSI disk. ZipSlack will begin loading.

When text stops appearing on the screen (a normal process), you can log in to ZipSlack by typing root at the login prompt. Since this is the first time "you have logged in, you don't have a "password. To set a root password, use the npasswd command and enter a password when prompted. Be sure to "choose a password that you won't forget, and remember that they are case sensitive.

Using the root account while learning to use Linux is not a good idea, as you can irrevocably damage your installation. To create a regular user account, ZipSlack has the adduser program. At the prompt, simply enter:

# adduser

Follow the step-by-step process for adding a user. If you would like to connect to the Internet with ZipSlack, you can use the "pppsetup" program to configure the necessary settings.

To help you discover more about Slackware, and Linux in general, we have provided a free book - Slackware Linux Essentials - on the cover CD.

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Rodney Gedda

PC World
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