Sunday, May 31, 2009

The project is maintained by a small group of people, but we want the scripts in our repository to be representative of the entire Slackware user community. There's no way that the few of us can possibly write scripts for all of the extra applications that users want to have, so we depend on YOU to help us out. If there's some application that you use, and we don't have it in our repository already, please consider writing a build script for it and submitting it to us for possible inclusion - see the Submissions page.

One of the frequent criticisms of Slackware is the lack of official packages available. While the official package set provides a good, stable, and flexible operating system (and is quite adequate for many individuals), the fact remains that many users want/need quite a few additional applications in order for it to meet their needs. There are a few well-known third party package repositories, but many users justifiably do not want to install untrusted packages on their systems. For those users, the traditional solution has been to download the source code for desired applications and compile them manually. This works, but introduces another set of problems associated with managing those applications; version updates and such require more of the admin's time than precompiled packages, and lack of notes will often mean that the admin forgot which configure flags were used earlier (as well as any other special issues encountered).

In our opinion, the best solution to this problem is for the admin to automate the compile process using a SlackBuild script. Patrick Volkerding, the maintainer of Slackware, uses SlackBuild scripts to compile the official packages, so it makes sense for us to use the same idea for extra applications we want to add.

Our goal is to have the largest collection of SlackBuild scripts available while still ensuring that they are of the highest quality - we test every submission prior to inclusion in the repository. We do not now nor will we ever provide precompiled packages for any of the applications for which we have SlackBuild scripts - instead, we want the system administrator (that's you) to be responsible for building the packages.

SlackBuild Usage HOWTO


All of our scripts are written for usage on the latest stable release of Slackware; if you're trying them on older versions of Slackware, you should read this page referenced in our FAQ.

Step 1 - Download

Download the SlackBuild archive of the application you wish to build and extract it in your build environment. For example, after extracting the chemtool.tar.gz archive, you should have the following directory tree:

|-- chemtool.SlackBuild
|-- chemtool.desktop
|-- chemtool.png
|-- slack-desc

Anonymous ftp access is available via if that's more convenient for you.

Next, download the source of the application from the address listed in the file and place it in the chemtool directory listed above. There is also a direct link to the source tarball on each application's page within our repository.

Step 2 - Edit SlackBuild script if necessary

If the version of chemtool is newer than what is specified in the SlackBuild script, you will need to change the script accordingly. Using your preferred editor, open the chemtool.SlackBuild script and find the line which starts with "VERSION"


Change this line to reflect the current version of the chemtool source.

  • If a newer version of some application does not compile correctly with a simple change of the "VERSION" string, let us know by following the instructions on reporting SlackBuild Bugs.

Step 3 - Execute the SlackBuild Script (as root)

If necessary, make the script executable with chmod and then run the script:

chmod +x chemtool.SlackBuild

Step 4 - Install the Package

Assuming everything happened according to plan (the compile finished without errors), the finished package should be in the directory declared as "OUTPUT" in the SlackBuild script (this defaults to the /tmp directory). Use installpkg to install it; you'll probably want to move it to some other location for safekeeping after it's installed.

Other Resources

For more information on using, editing, and creating SlackBuild scripts, have a look at these and other tutorials at


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