Going back to linux

Author: Steven Neiland

Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

With windows 8 being an unusable piece of crap (I'm withholding judgment on 8.1 for now) and if you believe the rumours the built-in nsa back doors in other versions of windows I have decided to give linux another go as a desktop OS.

Up until now I have run linux on my web servers but never as a desktop so I must admit I'm a bit rusty. To make the transition easier I decided to pull out an old laptop from storage and use that for my trial runs and testing.

Choosing the Distro

There are many different flavors of linux out there. If you are brand new I would recommend you go with one of the more popular versions such as Ubuntu. Personally since I use Slackware on my web servers I am sticking with that for now. It may be a bit old but in my opinion it is a solid reliable product and it was just recently updated to version 14.1.


First off I downloaded the latest ISO image from the slackware mirrors directory and burned it to a dvd.

Setup was then a simple of popping the dvd in the laptop drive and following the prompts. The setup dialogue nothing new, in fact I don't think the slackware installer has seen any cosmetic changes in years.

Im not going to go into all the steps involved in partitioning the hard drive, selecting the swap partition or any of that. If you want there are a million other blog entries covering the exact same thing. I just made some logical choices and accepted the setup defaults to installed everything.

When I got the lilo config I selected KDE as my preferred desktop. I then rebooted and set the root password and started the gui using the startx command.

Warning: For security you should create a standard user account for day to day usage and not use the root account.

Setup Standard User

Finally as I mentioned above its not a good idea to use the root user for day to day activities so lets finish off my creating a standard user account. To do this simply run the "adduser" command from the terminal and follow the prompts.


From now on this is the account I will use for day to day work.

Initial Impressions

After being away from linux desktop environments for a few years I must say I am quite impressed. The KDE environment looks quite slick and not so different from the windows desktop to be intimidating. In fact it feels more responsive than my windows 7 desktop right now.

My next job will be to do some post install configuration including:

  • Updating packages
  • Wireless network setup
  • Locking down the security
  • Configuring the database
  • Installing and configuring my apps

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