Installing 3.1.1 (or indeed any other version) in VectorLinux Light 6.0

Okay, I still haven’t given any final comments about why VectorLinux is the best Linux distribution for me, but this time I wanna dive deep into the midst of things for a very newbie-specific little how-to.

As I believe in Linux’ capability to be a “middle-of-the-road” OS for “average” users, I want to focus on something *really* average today, which will hopefully be of use for some newcomer to VectorLinux with average needs, just like myself: how to install 3.1.1 on VectorLinux Light 6.0.

Why such a very basic tutorial? Well, installing new applications in Linux isn’t always a piece of cake, at least not in comparison to Windows, where you download an installer / .exe file, double-click on it and off you go with a graphical installation interface (well, more or less graphical in some cases) which guides you through the whole installation process. In Linux you often have several choices (ranging from easy to “you got to know how”): a) installing binary packages with a package management system, b) installing binary packages via console input, c) compiling and installing from source, etc…

The main reason why I write this wee tutorial is because there are no official packages for 3.1.1 for VectorLinux in the repositories AND there are no VectorLinux or even Slackware packages available for download via the OO.o website, so if you want to be state-of-the-art now, you have to install it “by hand”. Thankfully, by hand in this case doesn’t mean “compiling from source”, it means, pressing a few buttons and you are there.

So, first of all, what you need to do is go over to and download the latest version of OO.o. If you are running VectorLinux Light 6.0 on older hardware (like I do), make sure to choose the Linux 32-bit RPM version in your language.

Next, you will have to choose where to install OO.o. If you have installed other applications, you might already know where they usually go. For my own system I chose to create a /opt/ directory, according to the File Hierarchy Standard, but I didn’t go quite as far as to hierarchize applications according to manufacturer LANANA names (as suggested by the FHS). For ex-Windows users, /opt/ is simply what used to be C:/Program Files/ in Windows.

So, you’ve downloaded a file called something along the lines of OOo_3.1.1_LinuxIntel_install_wJRE_en-US.tar.gz, hence, an archive. You will have to unpack the archive first of all, and you do this by opening a console window (e.g., Menu > xterm) and make yourself superuser, then create an /opt/ directory, then “unpack” the archive to /opt/ (actual commands in bold):

user:$ su
Password: **********
You are working as root
Frequently used programs:
Configuration  : vasm
Package manager: slapt-get, pkg
Network tools  : ifconfig, host, ping, nmap, iptables
File manager   : mc (press F2 for useful menu)
Editor         : mcedit, nano, vi
Multimedia     : alsamixer, play
root:# mkdir /opt/
root:# cd /home/user/downloads/ {or wherever you saved the tar.gz file to}
root:# tar xzvf OOo_3.1.1_LinuxIntel_install_wJRE_en-US.tar.gz -C /opt/

Now you have a newly created directory /opt/ and within it a directory called OOo_3.1.1_LinuxIntel_install_wJRE_en-US (or similar, but you will recognize it, I trust!). This directory again has 3 subdirectories, one of which is called RPMS (/opt/OOo_3.1.1_LinuxIntel_install_wJRE_en-US/RPMS/) which you now switch to. If you list the contents of this directory, you will find a number of .rpm files as well as another directory called desktop-integration/. desktop-integration/ includes packages for different Linux distros, which we will use later to include the OO.o applications in the start menu of our WM. But first of all, we have to make use of the .rpm files somehow to install the apps in the first place.

While RPM was developed by RedHat originally, it is now used for many Linux distributions and in fact was made the baseline package format of the Linux Standard Base (see Wikipedia for more info). The problem is: VL Light (and Slackware) cannot make direct use of .rpm files. Hence, they have to be converted to .tgz files (tarballs of the .tar.gz or .tgz format, the standard Slackware package format). Fortunately, VL comes with the converter rpm2tgz, so conversion is straightforward:

root:# cd /opt/OOo_3.1.1_LinuxIntel_install_wJRE_en-US/RPMS/
root:# rpm2tgz *.rpm

This will take a wee while, and once you’re finished, you should have one corresponding .tgz file for each existing .rpm file. You may now delete the .rpm files to free more hd space (rm *.rpm).

The next step will already install the whole OpenOffice suite to your system. To do this, you can use the basic package installation command for Slackware and Slackware-based distros: installpkg.

root:# installpkg *.tgz

Again this will take a wee while (all in all, 49 packages are installed if I remember correctly). After this has been finished, you could now simply go to /opt/openoffice.org3/program/ and start the OO.o suite by typing soffice, but we want to go the whole way and add all OO.o apps to the program menu as well. This is done by installing the respective package file in the above-mentioned /desktop-integration/ directory, and refreshing the menu (in my case, IceWM’s menu). Additionally, you may delete all packages you don’t need for desktop-integration.

root:# cd desktop-integration/
root:# installpkg openoffice.org3.1-slackware-menus-3.1-noarch-9420.tgz
root:# ~/.icewm/

And you’re finished! Check the “Office” section of your menu and you will find all the fine office applications from Enjoy!



Filed under How-To

11 responses to “Installing 3.1.1 (or indeed any other version) in VectorLinux Light 6.0

  1. The post is really great. I have installed openoffice 3.3 and it’s running without problem. But i can’t install the package file .tgz in directory /desktop-integration/ because i can only find .rpm-files

    Thanks a lot

  2. That is a well written tutorial! I will install VL 6.0 Classic KDE on a friends machine next week. He wants to use OOffice, not KOffice – so I hope that by following this tutorial I get the job done.

  3. My laptop is latitude C610 with P3 mobile 1GHz, 128 SDRAM and 20 GB hardrive. I have installed VL 6.0 light edition and I would like to install OOo. Can I use OOo 3.2? I heard 3.2 more RAM so I think I will use 2.4.X but I don’t know how to get the source. Do you have any idea for this? Thanks a lot!

    • S

      Hi Hany,

      Of course you can use 3.2 in VL Light 6.0. I haven’t noticed a huge difference in speed between the two versions, although of course the hardware limitations can be felt in general. It is still fast enough to serve its purpose. Just follow the how-to above, and make sure you’ll have a look at my post at, because you might come across a menu item query, with OO.o menu items not showing in IceWM.


  4. I am pleased to come across this blog and I find out this article is helpful for me so I’ve scraped it using scrapebook(firefox addon). But I need your help can you recommend any books about linux? thx :D

  5. I think there’s also a way in mc (I’m not typing this on VL, so can’t check). via xterm go to root, type mc. When you are on a file and hit F12 (?) then a menu appears, where you can chose to install rpm’s. Nice feature. Just check it out.

    (sorry for being a little vague)

    • S

      Yes, indeed! Thanks a million for the great hint! It works by pressing F2 (for menu) when on an .rpm file and then simply choose install.

  6. Pipps

    This is incredibly useful! Thank you!

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