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Home -> Resources -> Linux -> Recommended packages to get a compile environment in a Slackware VPS

Slackware makes for a wonderfully lean VPS config, a mere 77MB diskspace consumed out of the box (as of Slackware 12). You can then install only the packages that you need and save a substantial amount of space.

If you want to compile your own stuff from source .tar.gz, I recommend installing at least the following packages to have the capability to compile software written in C (such as lighttpd, apache, python, mysql, etc...). Note that this only applies if you want to install from source for some reason. You can easily get binary slackware packages (.tgz) from many different sources, one of the best which is linuxpackages.net.

  • d/binutils-*
  • d/gcc-*
  • d/make-*
  • l/glibc-*
  • d/kernel-headers-* (yes, a lot of people might miss this one)

If you find that you still get error messages when you try to compile something, it usually means that the software you are trying to install has further requirements. Sometimes this is pretty obvious in the message, other times you may have to try to do some interpretation. Two files are very useful in order to find out which additional packages you may need to install, they are MANIFEST.bz2 and PACKAGES.TXT. PACKAGES.TXT is a summary of every single package in a Slackware distribution and can be searched to get a quick description of a particular package, the package name itself, and which package directory it can be found under.

For example, in trying to configure lighttpd for compilation, I got the following error:

configure: error: pcre-config not found, install the pcre-devel package and build with --without-pcre

This indicates that I have to install the pcre package. I grep PACKAGES.TXT with the string pcre, and I quickly find out that the package I need is named and found at:

PACKAGE NAME:  pcre-7.0-i486-1.tgz
PACKAGE LOCATION:  ./slackware/l

In this case, I download it via wget,

# wget http://slackware.mirrors.easynews.com/linux/slackware/slackware-12.0/slackware/l/pcre-7.0-i486-1.tgz

install it,

# installpkg pcre-7.0-i486-1.tgz

and rerun ./configure again...

MANIFEST.bz2, on the other hand, contains a list of every single file (excluding symbolic links) in every single package in a Slackware distribution, grouped according to package name. If you're not sure which package you need to get a particular file, this is where you should look. A quick way to browse through MANIFEST.bz is to do bzcat MANIFEST.bz | less.

© 2008 by Andy Sy
last updated: 2008-02-01

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