How to install the sbopkg Slackbuids.org package manager with Slackware 14.1.
One of the more frequently voiced complaints you will hear about Slackware is that it has a limited number of software packages available. There is a fair amount of truth in this claim, as my full install of Slackware 14.1 has just over 1200 packages installed.
That said, Slackware has, in my experience, one of the best environments for compiling your own software, and the site Slackbuilds.org has scripts for compiling a large number of packages which are not included in Slackware.
The problem with Slackbuilds.org is that it is not integrated into Slackware in anyway. You have to manually download the slackbuilds script for your software, manually download the source code from another location, and manually compile the software. This is not, by most people standards, a particularly user friendly process.
For those Slackware users not feeling up to this process, there is a command line tool to automate it for you. That tool is sbopkg, and it provides a dialog/ncurses interface to Slackbuilds.org which automates the building and installation of packages for you.
Here are the steps for installing the latest version of sbopkg with Slackware 14.1.
1) Download the latest Slackware package from https://www.sbopkg.org/downloads.php using whatever method you find most convenient. At the time of this article, the latest version is 0.37.1 and the package filename is sbopkg-0.37.1-noarch-1_wsr.tgz. I will use that version in the commands below. If the version has changed, you would use the new filename in the commands.
2) Open your favorite terminal and su to root.
3) Change to the directory where you downloaded the package.
4) Run the command installpkg sbopkg-0.37.1-noarch-1_wsr.tgz
And if all goes well, sbopkg will now be installed.
To run sbopkg, open your favorite terminal, su - to root (while the sbopkg authors recommend using the - argument, I've never had a problem not using it. YMMV), and type sbopkg.
Note that the current version of sbopkg defaults to the Slackware 14.1 Slackbuilds repository. If you are running an older version of Slackware, you will probably want to change to repository for that version. To do so from within sbopkg, select Utilities from the main menu, then select Repository and select the desired Slackbuilds repository. I've never had a reason to change any of the other configuration options.
Once your repository is set you will want to sync your local repository with the remote one. You do this by selecting Sync from the main menu.
With sbopkg installed and synced you can browse or search the repository for packages to install, you can list and uninstall installed packages, and you can search for updates to your installed packages.
Once you find a package you wish to examine you can select it and the various menus will allow you to view the enclosed readme file (which lists the package dependencies), view the info file, view the Slackbuild file, pass build options to the package, and build the package. It also allows you to add the package to a queue, which is useful if your building a set of packages (like a package with its dependencies).
Slackbuilds.org greatly expands the number of packages available for Slackware, and sbopkg makes compiling and installing those packages comparatively easy. If you're a Slackware user and haven't tried sbopkg, I hope you will find this article useful.