Slackware on Pandora: Overview


When I first installed Slackware on a PC, around 2002/2003, I already had some experience with system usage. C64, TO7/70, MO5, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Amiga 500, DOS 6.22, Windows 3.11 to XP, Mandrake (now Mandriva), Suse, Red Hat, and I may forget some. So at this time, it was just another experience. A good friend of mine recommended me this Linux version I barely heard of, so I went downloading and burning the .iso with confidence. The ncurse (semi-graphical) installation went flawlessly thanks to the always-clear on-screen explanations. I was surprised that all was fine, fast, without the inherent hesitation induced by new things. Then the real work began at first boot.

[The following is a guest post by Linux-SWAT from the Pandora Boards. He ported Slackware for the Pandora]

I had to configure the display, the usb adsl modem, the mouse scroll, the soundcard, the locale etc. And I loved it. I had to dig into the real UNIX world, where the files are everything. Even if I had to do manual editing, I never ran into the frustration I encountered with other Linux, where configuration tools were slow, buggy, half-working. I entered the world of total control over the machine, led by learning.


Slackware is the world’s oldest active Linux, created and maintained by one guy: Patrick Volkerding, benevolent dictator for life, He’s helped by a set of top-notch guys, and the reputed community. His goal is to provide the most stable and tested distribution, not the one with latest stuff. This way, we can work with confidence with a robust tool.

So once I became an Open Pandora first investor, of course I already made my mind: I’m gonna install Slackware on it, no matter what. I started to work as soon as I get my first OP : So it was a long road, and I will never thanks enough Notaz for his help there.

Okay, but users don’t care about all these stories, users want to use so here’s why SL4P can make their life better in two moves, downloading and running it.

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SL4P fully supports Pandora’s hardware, and also the dedicated functionalities like the brightness control, the usb, wi-fi, bluetooth on/off, and so on.

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Xfce is the window manager of choice, but you can choose between more than 10, including KDE for 512M ram (Rebirth and 1GHz units) owners. Although a bit heavy, KDE is very usable and brings some hype to your desktop.

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Pnd-filled SD cards are recognized, and the neat PNDManager is included.

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Around 75 % .pnds are working, a percentage which can be increased when reporting to the maintainers. The essential ones are already working, like Libre Office, PicoDrive, PCSX ReARMed, DraStic, mame4all. Music and video players are optimized for the OP.

Software : Staying in tune with the official Pandora firmware and it’s enhancements, SL4P is a full Linux distribution, it means it ships a lot more than Zaxxon, which is minimalistic because of the internal memory’s small size. So here you have everything you can expect from a complete system, development tools, firmwares to make your hardware work right out of the box, document processing, cd/dvd burner, scanner support (with xsane), printer support to fully enjoy office work, dhcp/dns/print/web/file/database/mail servers, manual pages, documentation. Core distribution’s software updates are done in two commands, and are downloaded directly from the official Slackware ARM repository. For user programs, there is no official Slackware binaries repo. All programs must be installed manually. Hopefully, a *BSD’s port-like system called sbopkg is available. Synchronized with the huge website, it grabs sources, eventually compiles them, packages them, and finally installs the resulting archive.

For the sake of easiness, i’ve already compiled more than 300 Pandora-optimized pkgs (, which can be installed with a shipped graphical tool named Gslapt.

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Still, dependencies must be manually checked on, something I may work on for the next SL4P release.

Knowledge : It’s nice to learn bits of Linux under Slackware, because everything follows a well-established UNIX standard, so what we learn here is common to many other systems, and it’s not a waste of time to know where some configuration files are, or how to enable services.

Build system : My real goal wasn’t to only create a release, I wanted to create a set of scripts that creates a working Slack SD card. Something modular from which I can generate a light Slack, for testing purposes, but also a full release with all goodies a Pandora user will find useful. Also I had to stay aligned with the official OP firmware, libraries, kernel, etc. I must say it was tough, and it’s not perfect as today, but I’m very happy about the job done because it saves me an incredible amount of time when I do an update, or when a new Slackware version is published. Also, with small modifications, this build system can be used to easily port any other Linux.

Pandora long-term support : As a Pandora zealot, i’ll continue to seek the perfection for this port. Beside this, i use SL4P as a backbone for other projects, like SOLEIL, which turns an OP into a powerful boot server for PC :

SL4P compared to Slackware ARM : Apart a full-blown install of Slackware and Pandora-related stuff, I also ship some useful programs, like linphone, cellwriter, geany, gtkam, speedcrunch, xournal. It’s a bit off the Slack philosophy, but this way, SL4P is ready for the country.

SL4P 14.0 (latest stable version) : Check the following thread:

SL4P-current (development version) : The -current will be numbered 14.1 when it will reach stable.

Download/Install : Absolutely everything is in the Wiki I wrote : – Ekianjo will also post an in-depth tutorial on Pandoralive soon.

Slackware for Pandora Donations : Please consider making a donation. This will help the SL4P project and also the whole Pandora community as part of it funds pre-orders. To do so, go to PayPal, log in and click on “Send Money”. Donate to . Important : indicate in the PayPal comment field that you are donating for the Slackware project.

Then PM me, so I will include you in my Thx list ;^).

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Disclaimer : SL4P is a Slackware ARM overlay. Slackware ARM is the official ARM Slackware port. Slackware ARM was formerly known as ARMedSlack.

Important notes : SL4P is not affiliated in any way with Slackware or Slackware ARM. DO NOT contact any of them if you have problems with SL4P. Contact ME. SL4P is not affiliated in any way with Open Pandora GmbH or Open Pandora Ltd. DO NOT contact any of them if you have problems with SL4P. Contact ME. This software is distributed as is. You are on your own responsibility when using it.

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2 Comments on "Slackware on Pandora: Overview"

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Excellent overview of Slackware for Pandora!….

Have used it a bit and it works very well….

Keep up the great work!

Is that a photo of the great Linux-SWAT or the benevolent dictator, Patrick Volkerding?