The surefire way to develop a stoic, growth mindset

Arindam Basu
3 min readMay 24


…. is to hack an old computer and trying to install Slackware 15

I am serious. I love Linux and I hate linux. Regardless, distro hopping and trying to install little known text based linux distros has made me. Here is the website of slackware:

With a design that looks like this,

List of problems

  • You have to type everything, there is no graphical installer.
  • A single error will show up in unexpected circumstances or you cannot use the computer after booting
  • The partition is a dreaded experience. It does not have a boot partition, the image loads from the root partition. It is OK because that makes things simple but if you do not know it, your installation will fail. First time I misunderstood this and used my old partition tables, and it wrecked the installation. Second time I misunderstood instructions by a guy who posted 20 GB for the root partition and 4 GB for swap, that’s fine, but soon I realised this thing was installing everythign in the root partition and out of my 320 GB, 294 was laying waste. There was no easy way in which I could then repartition everything (arghhh!)
  • So, when you do partition with cfdisk make sure you have only TWO partitions, one for the root and the other for the swap. Later, you can invoke partition software to repartition your root. But that was my experience.
  • Hold on, it’s not done yet. When you have to install Slackware, the software devs insist that you install the shebang, that is all, of their 3.7 GB compressed whatever in the USB stick, that expands to something like 15 GB and it takes half a day to install that thing!! Cannot get more taxing than that for patience!
  • So the idea is that, you install everything first, and then uninstall. KDE is their default window manager. I used to love KDE for how slick it used to look, but after installing with Slackware, I HATE KDE!
  • Then, after it install its gigantic software base, you will need to set EVERYTHING all over again by hand, if you make ONE mistake, you’re fried. Example: it asks for a computer name (hostname) and a domain name. You can, but NEVER EVER leave them blank and DO NOT type “localhost” in any of these fields. If you do, you will be fried next time you log in, and use wireless networking. Wireless networking will NOT work with your terminal or indeed any window AT ALL! It took me six hours of intense search on the net to figure out how wireless networkign messes up with your domain name. So, set your domain name to something like localdomain or whatever, just do not leave it blank or give it a name like localhost! So basically, you either get a browser up or you get your wireless up. You cannot browse the web with your wireless networking if you mess up with your domain name!
  • You can set up user accounts, and assign them to groups such as wheel, but on rebooting as a user, you will not be able to sudo or do things that roots can do till you do su — and change things or visudo sudo and then uncomment blocks of text that will let a user perform root tasks
  • This thing is so archaic that you will need to update the distribution, but in order to do so, you are allowed to use ONLY ONE mirror! If you try to use more than one mirror, it will complain and you will not be able to do anything.

I don’t know.

I used to love linux, I have started hating linux after my experience of repeated attempts to install Slackware!



Arindam Basu

Professor @ University of Canterbury, Doctor, scholar, data scientist, Cantabrian. ENS: arinbasu.eth & mastodon instance: