Saturday, March 21, 2009

How to use slackbuilds

I posted this on the hackmy forums and figure my blog is a good place for this as well. Enjoy Slackers!

If you're using slackware, you'll find there are many packages not "included" with the base distribution. Slack tends to use vanilla packages with little or no patching from how the application was intended by the author upstream... so this means that you can build virtually anything you need with the excellent build tools.

Utilizing slackbuilds from is a good way to do this.

First, we need to su to root so that we can build and install the packages. so we open a terminal and type

su -

then we need to create our build directory. this can be anywhere, but you may want to put it in your user's home directory. So we create the directory like so.. substitute your user name where "user" is listed.

mkdir /home/user/build

then we'll change directory to our build directory

cd /home/user/build

now we can begin building packages. navigate in your favorite web browser to

On the right hand side of the screen you will find a search navigation tool, and the version number. So if you're using slackware 12.2, you select that and then search for the package you want to build. Let's try something simple like flash... which brings us to this page.

now at this point the different options available for building flash are listed. We'll simply go with flash-player-plugin so we can watch some videos on youtube.

Now that we're on this page, we have access to the slackbuild tar ball and a link to the source required to compile it. It's a good idea to read the README file linked to at the bottom of the page and to peruse the slackbuild script.

Next we'll download the slackbuild in our terminal session using wget which is very reliable. Simply right click on the link to the slackbuild source under "Download slackbuild" and select "copy link location". Then type


then leave a space and right click in the terminal and select paste. this will paste the location of the source slackbuild for you to download. then hit enter. so in this case it would look like this.


now we need to untar the archive

tar -zxf flash-player-plugin.tar.gz

now we need to see what directory has been created, and we can do this with ls


it will show the directory. in this case it's "flash-player-plugin". so we'll change to that directory.

cd flash-player-plugin

now we'll download the source linked to on the slackbuild page under "Download Source"


we now want to make sure that our slackbuild is fine, so we can open a text editor and take a look to make sure everything seems fine. sometimes the slackbuild site doesn't link to the latest version available, so we can navigate to the homepage of the original author, download the source and edit the slackbuild. we'll cover that another time however and focus on installing this slackbuild.

next we have to ensure that the slackbuild is executable.

chmod +x flash-player-plugin.SlackBuild

now we're ready to build the package.


the program will compile now, assuming we've met the needed dependencies. flash-player-plugin doesn't have any additional dependencies, so it should compile just fine on a stock slack install.

the created package is created and moved to /tmp, and the full file name is listed. we can either cd to the tmp directory and then use installpkg, or we can simply use the full path. so our next step is to install the package now.

installpkg /tmp/flash-player-plugin-10.0_r22-i386-1_SBo.tgz

congrats! you have just compiled your first slackware compliant package and installed it.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this tutorial. i wish there were more like it in the Net! For a newbie like me, sometimes cookbook steps as this make learning Slackware easier and less frustrating.

Anonymous said...

Thank-you a thousand times!

Anonymous said...

Thanks just installed first slackbuild, libreoffice in under 10 mins.

Anonymous said...

Hello! Thanks for tutorial. I have one question. Lets say I go to source page, download tar.gz or tar.gz2 file, extract it. Then I open terminal, navigate to extracted folder and execute 3 commands: configure, make, make install. What is the difference between your method and this one?

muaythaimaster said...

Installing a "slackbuild" creates a package that is easily installable or uninstallable in a clean manner. Building from source can be just as effective, but sometimes results in a "messier" uninstall method.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful. There aren't enough step-by-step tutorials for linux that assume the user is a newbie! Gotta get the xp from someplace...

I'll be trying this soon, since trying to install flash player in Slackware was a terrible experience.

Anonymous said...

That was a great tutorial for a newbie like is far better than that given in slackbuilds site.Thank u very much.u r the best.

Anonymous said...

This is great work, and helped me a bunch. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you kindly dear Sir: you have put an end to hours of hair-pulling and bitter self-recrimination of the form:
"why can't you get it, ding-bat!"

I must agree with other posters here: your way of wording it just worked a charm for me, a newbie and non-technically inclined, but smitten by slackware's beauty and simplicity and power.

I can't thank you enough for launching me on my path to build my system!


Anonymous said...

you have put an end to hours of hair-pulling and incomprehension, staring at howtos which just don't seem to produce the promised results.

you have the gift of communication

bravo, kind sir, bravo

and thanks kindly
(michael, australia

luke russell said...

well this worked.gud stuff!thanx