Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 18th Oct 2006 21:54 UTC
Slackware, Slax Slackware Linux 11 was released at the beginning of this month, which marks 13 years of continued development. Slackware Linux, while not the first Linux distribution, is the oldest surviving one, and is starting to show signs of aging. The first version of Slackware Linux was released on July 16, 1993, by Patrick Volkerding. More here.
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Old is bad!!!
by csousa on Wed 18th Oct 2006 17:30 UTC
csousa
Member since:
2006-02-04

The big thing about this review is: old software is bad!

Reply Score: 0

"starting to show signs of aging"
by gavin.mccord on Wed 18th Oct 2006 22:47 UTC
gavin.mccord
Member since:
2005-09-07

Slackware is indeed aging; I would say we're at the fine old port stage now.

I recall a quote saying good software takes ten years to develop, and while you might argue that putting together a successful distro isn't quite the same as developing a mission-critical database system, for example, I think the effort and love Pat has put into Slackware is what makes it still relevant today.

Reply Score: 5

Author slightly misinformed...
by situation on Wed 18th Oct 2006 22:51 UTC
situation
Member since:
2006-01-10

Trying to pass off Slackware was taking 6 CDs is a bit silly, that's like saying all 4 zillion Debian CDs are required for install. Unless I'm using a ton of different software, the first Slackware CD always works just fine, even with 11.0.
Otherwise I found the article a little pointless, but then again I get defensive about Slackware ;)

Browser: Links (0.99; Linux 2.6.13 i686; 171x68)

Reply Score: 5

RE: Author slightly misinformed...
by fsckit on Wed 18th Oct 2006 23:07 UTC in reply to "Author slightly misinformed..."
fsckit Member since:
2006-09-24

Browser: Links (0.99; Linux 2.6.13 i686; 171x68)

Guess firefox wasn't on the first cd ;)

I'm just kidding. I've never used more than the first cd for a slackware install either.

Reply Score: 5

situation Member since:
2006-01-10

Thankfully OSnews doesn't need a fancy browser (yet). Plus it helps for slacking off at school / work since Links looks like I'm doing something _really important_ ;)

Reply Score: 1

Slack
by poohgee on Wed 18th Oct 2006 23:42 UTC
poohgee
Member since:
2005-08-13

For anyone who has not yet read the whole article - just read the summary at the end :

"The Slackware 11 release continues a long tradition of stable, no-frills releases for experienced users. Slackware can be a fine desktop system or LAMP system if you're willing to do a little tweaking. The bottom line is that Slackware is a distro that caters to users who prefer an old-style, Unixy way of doing things. It's a distro that's well-suited for users who don't mind recompiling a kernel or editing configuration files to get things working. But Slackware is not a suitable distro for new users who want something that "just works," particularly when compared to distros like Fedora and Ubuntu that have more comprehensive hardware support straight out of the box, as well as GUI management tools that make understanding of the command line mostly unnecessary."

The rest IMO is just compalining about it not being a "newbie will unclude unstable software & extra shiny" - distro like most other ones .

I dont use Slack but have great respect for it & the devs behind it .

Reply Score: 2

Misses the Point
by enloop on Wed 18th Oct 2006 23:46 UTC
enloop
Member since:
2005-11-13

The reviewer complains about things that attract people to Slackware in the first place.

If you know Unix, or want to learn, Slackware doesn't stand in your way with a cluttered overlay of distribution-specific GUI tools and hand-holding efforts. People who know what they're doing often resent all that handholding, especially when it interferes with them doing what they want to do.

I suspect the typical Slackware user is quite capable of compiling a kernel, so the continuing use of 2.4 is immaterial. Besides, how many current Linux users really have any idea of the capabilities delivered bt 2.6?

Slackware's reliance on untweaked upstream software is a real boon to anyone who wants to stay current with the latest releases. New KDE release? Just grab the code and compile. It'll work. Can't say that for distributions with bloated dependency resolvers standing in your way.

Finally, Slackware is the fastest Linus distro I've used. Making things easy for newbies often means slowing things down for everyone else.

If Slacware hadn't been around for years, and was released as a brave new stripped down Linux intended to counter the trend toward bloated know-nothing distros, I suspect this review would have been very different.

Reply Score: 5

slackware old?
by chocloman on Wed 18th Oct 2006 23:48 UTC
chocloman
Member since:
2005-12-29

C'mom, slackware is far from being aging. It's KISS philosophy is quite convenient. You just download 2 cd's , install them and that's it. You get a rock solid system.

This new release supports officially the 2.6.17 kernel, and provides you KDE 3.5.4, firefox 1.5.0.7, gtk-apps like gaim-1.5.0, gimp-2.2.13, etc, etc.That's quite updated to me.

Would you like openoffice?. Grab a package from www.linuxpackages.net or compile from "source" using the great scripts from www.slackbuilds.org.

Sorry, maybe I'm a little biased here because I love KDE, but if you are a fan of Gnome just install dropline gnome (a beautiful slackware gnome experience).

Keep Slacking!!!

Reply Score: 3

RE: slackware old?
by nazim on Thu 19th Oct 2006 10:32 UTC in reply to "slackware old?"
nazim Member since:
2006-02-28

Using rpm2tgz on the official OpenOffice packages has always worked well for me. It won't create menu entries or a nice symbolic link, but they aren't things I'm too concerned about.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: slackware old?
by rootz on Thu 19th Oct 2006 11:24 UTC in reply to "RE: slackware old?"
rootz Member since:
2006-10-19

Just install the rpm package and:

# rpm -ivh --force --nodeps *.rpm
# /opt/openoffice2.0/program/soffice

;)

BTW, I hate this review. The people that done it can't do review about slackware. Only new distributions that has thousands and thousands of freshness.

Reply Score: 1

ahh nostalgia
by Square on Thu 19th Oct 2006 00:41 UTC
Square
Member since:
2005-10-01

Back when I first tried linux, around the end of 1996, I chose Slack do to well made documentation explaining each step in the install as well as what files I needed to download to get a base install with a gui and c++ (a big deal when still useing a 33.6 dial-up(most other distros basicly said download everything))

Dependancy problems with installing software wasn't as big of a deal as it is today, it was rare to find a program that needed more then one other lib installed

It supported all my hardware with a bit of work and research. It supported my funky propriitary 1x cd-rom drive that required its own ISA interface card. My soundcard required me to boot into dos/windows first to initialize its PnP crap before linux could use it. The modem worked out of the box, but there was no tool for connecting to my isp. I spent like 3 weeks trying to get it to work before finding a script that did it for me with a ppp-on and ppp-off on the command line to connect to my isp.

Now its 10 years later ( doesn't seem that long) while im tempted to install Slack again I'm not sure if I want to deal with the dependancy hell that is modern linux software without a package manager

Reply Score: 2

RE: ahh nostalgia
by dimosd on Thu 19th Oct 2006 06:56 UTC in reply to "ahh nostalgia"
dimosd Member since:
2006-02-10

Now its 10 years later ( doesn't seem that long) while im tempted to install Slack again I'm not sure if I want to deal with the dependancy hell that is modern linux software without a package manager

You know, I think part of the dependency hell is caused by the package manager itself! Imagine this: "needs gnome". Now compare to "needs libfoo, libwhatsitsname-dev, etc"

Everyone who tried to use a minimal selection of packages on the desktop sooner or later ends up with 90% of the same "common base" and I think that's what Slackware is trying to offer. Having said that: more CDs, less work ;-)

Reply Score: 2

Whats the problem?
by amaze_9 on Thu 19th Oct 2006 02:12 UTC
amaze_9
Member since:
2005-11-12

I switched to Slackware in 2004, and never looked back (I had used mandrake, fedora, redhat, lindows, etc). I love it.

The truth of the saying 'if you learn slackware, you learn linux' really shows itself when you know you're using slackware because you can't tell what distro you're using.

Slackware is easy for anyone who isn't dumb. Unfortunately, there seem to be a lot of people around these days who like their hands being held, including the guy who wrote the article.

just my 2c.

Reply Score: 1

good
by happycamper on Thu 19th Oct 2006 03:39 UTC
happycamper
Member since:
2006-01-01

The bottom line is that Slackware is a distro that caters to users who prefer an old-style, Unixy way of doing things. It's a distro that's well-suited for users who don't mind recompiling a kernel or editing configuration files to get things working.


Just the way I like it and i hope it never changes.

Reply Score: 2

Well
by Xaero_Vincent on Thu 19th Oct 2006 05:14 UTC
Xaero_Vincent
Member since:
2006-08-18

Perhaps hardcore Unix geeks appreciate Slackware's long tradition of being the most primitive distribution, but 99% of the rest of the world just wants their computers to work. Yet with Slackware, it is the user who ends up working; not the computer.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Well
by garymax on Thu 19th Oct 2006 06:12 UTC in reply to "Well"
garymax Member since:
2006-01-23

Ahh...there's the rub. People who want a ready-made system like a distro that "just works" and allows them to be immediately productive.

But they end up paying in the long run. With more developmental overhead there is software bloat and a propensity towards more bugs. These are the first people who cry loud and long about the faulty patch their favorite distro provider sent them.

Slackware allows me and others who use it the ability to clean house ourselves and to ensure an airtight system.

You work more, but frankly, I'm loving it.

And it isn't work for work's sake; everything I learn and take to the keyboard results in a more secure and speedier system.

As someone once said, I'd rather spend a few days tweaking Slackware and then having a rock-solid, stable distro then constantly working through bugs and instability on other systems.

I switched to Slackware in September from Ubuntu and I am not going back. The whole system feels faster and a lot more stable and secure.

Hats off to Pat V and the Slackware development team for a job well done.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Well
by VenomousGecko on Thu 19th Oct 2006 13:10 UTC in reply to "Well"
VenomousGecko Member since:
2005-07-06

I think the most important thing to remember here is that for those that want a "just works" (whatever that really means, because Slackware just works on my end) they have many options.

The beauty of Linux distributions is that they can each fill a niche and the users in that niche are happier than if they are forced to use a one size fits all. Slackware strives to remove all of the fluff and bloat from using Linux distros, stripping it down to the essentials but providing an extremely powerful system for creating the system you want to use. Its ability to get out of your way and let you learn the system and how it works can not be undervalued. It provides users who are truly interested in how a system works a way to learn and enhance their skills.

I hope it never strays from that goal. You don't get to be on of the oldest distributions by not knowing how to make your users happy.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Well
by situation on Thu 19th Oct 2006 15:40 UTC in reply to "Well"
situation Member since:
2006-01-10

I think the amount of work levels out in the end (depending on how long you plan on using Linux). Slackware has a lot of "up front" pain / time / effort to get everything customized as needed (this can vary depending on how deep you want to get with the customization). But once setup in this way, a user can just keep upgrading their existing install without any problems.
Now for the "just work" type of users (that you seem to think everyone is), they technically get an easier initial setup (since guis are easier, right :/ ). But in the long run there will be upgrade conflicts, reinstalls, etc. Try maintaining a Red Hat install from version 4. Now try the same with Slackware from version 8 to current.
This is broad of course, but good to keep in mind. Plus I think that the "full" install of Slackware does just as good a job at letting people "just work" right off the bat. Since it sounds like you haven't tried Slackware recently, you probably didn't know that.

Reply Score: 1

Simple and Uncluttered, Not Primitive
by enloop on Thu 19th Oct 2006 20:21 UTC in reply to "Well"
enloop Member since:
2005-11-13

Slackware is simply, not primitve.

If ideological reasons drove you to Linux, or if you just like the idea of not paying for sotware, then what you are really looking for is a clone of Windows.

But, if you use Linux because you know and like Unix, then Slackware is the way to go. If I remember, that's why Torvald's started that little project in the first place.

All the handholding, dependency resolving, GUI-fied junk that clutters up other distributrions just gets in the way. I suppose it is necessary if you don't know what kind of video card you own, or the refresh rate of your display, or are clueless about your network card. But, if you do know those things, and have enough wit about you to follow instructions. Slackware is for you.

Reply Score: 1

Slackware & BSD
by dimosd on Thu 19th Oct 2006 01:34 UTC
dimosd
Member since:
2006-02-10

Slackware (and Arch nowadays) are the most BSD-like linux distributions.

Much of the author's criticism towards Slackware also applies to the various BSDs. The "BSD way" of doing things.

So, Slackware (and BSD) are not the operating system of choice for those who only want to surf (Firefox), use a word processor (MS Word!), watch a movie and play games. 95% of the population, I presume.

Guess what: I didn't switch to Linux for that!

What about the 5% who hacks, tweaks, breaks, runs experimental configurations, develops?
What about the no frills, gets the job done server?

The average distribution review assumes: newbie seeks desktop distro. Well, to that user I would say: stay away from Slackware (for now).

Reply Score: 2

Not as old as
by pfortuny on Thu 19th Oct 2006 07:30 UTC
pfortuny
Member since:
2006-02-05

TeX or even LaTeX, and probably half as old as emacs and vi (or even more).

"Signs of aging" meaning?

package manager: ha ha, only serious. I guess they will then go and tell you about "emerge".

Reply Score: 1

Webserver
by biteydog on Thu 19th Oct 2006 10:33 UTC
biteydog
Member since:
2005-10-06

Although an Ubuntu (mostly Xubuntu) user I keep an old (P233/32M/4G) machine on my network as a direct webserver - running Slackware 10. It doesn't run all the time, I use it when I need to give a client a largish upload in a hurry (it cuts out the upload phase to my host's server followed by a download, and saves a little time)

Apart from the fact that no other Linux distro will do an "out-of-the-box" install on 32M (some say they will, but don't) the "BSDish" nature of Slackware is ideal for the task. (Some strange hardware on the machine borks the BSDs themselves.)

I also had an ancient laptop (c 1996) that would only run Slack or its derivative Vector, as it had a strange old-type TFT screen of non-standard type that only Slack still had drivers for, as they only ran under Xfree86 3.3.6 (I think that's the version). This was passed on to a friend's child a couple of years ago and is still running fine for her.

Considering Patrick Volkerding has had illness to contend with he is still doing a great job - thanks!

Reply Score: 2

Spinal Tap?
by elvstone on Thu 19th Oct 2006 14:07 UTC
elvstone
Member since:
2005-09-08

I like the reference to Spinal Tap in the title, "it goes to eleven" ;)

Reply Score: 1

Raid/LVM
by atari05 on Thu 19th Oct 2006 14:39 UTC
atari05
Member since:
2006-06-05

I would love to see Slackware come with Raid/LVM support from the installer. If they had that Slackware would be my number 1 distro. If I had the skill I would add the code to the installer and submit it to Pat myself ;)

Reply Score: 1

Things are changed.
by Excessive on Thu 19th Oct 2006 15:02 UTC
Excessive
Member since:
2006-10-19

I was using Slavckware since 1997, done everything manually since then. Then I found Arch, I'm always up-to-date with latest stable software.

Thanks to Pat for a wonderful distro, and good memories.

Good bye Slack, welcome Arch..

Reply Score: 1

Things are changed.
by Excessive on Thu 19th Oct 2006 15:03 UTC
Excessive
Member since:
2006-10-19

I was using Slavckware since 1997, done everything manually since then. Then I found Arch, I'm always up-to-date with latest stable software.

Thanks to Pat for a wonderful distro, and good memories.

Good bye Slack, welcome Arch..

Reply Score: 1

Stability over bleeding edge - refreshing!
by JeffS on Thu 19th Oct 2006 16:52 UTC
JeffS
Member since:
2005-07-12

With the glut of unstable, bloated, buggy Linux distros that shoot themselves in the foot by always trying to be bleeding edge in the pursuit of consumerism and Linux geek short attention spans, Slackware's (along with RHEL, CentOS, Deb stable, etc) preference towards battle proven older software that is both stable and efficient, is very very very very refreshing.

One of my original attractions to Linux/BSD/*nix was to get away from bloated, buggy, unstable Windows. But when I use bleeding edge distros like Fedora or Mepis, or a host of others, I'm quite often no better off (in the stability/efficiency department).

Enter Slackware - which goes for stability over bleeding edge, simplicity of design over superflous features (and the added complexity that comes with it), efficiency over, again, superflous features (and the bloat that comes with it).

Then there are Slackware based distros like Zenwalk, Slax, Vector, MyahOS, etc. These distros manage to be as simple and efficient and stable as Slack (because it's such a great base), but also manage to be more up to date (without being overly bleeding edge) and add extra "niceties" like improved installers and hd detection.

For now, I'm done with all the deb or rpm based distros that resource hungry and buggy.

Just give me Slack, or more specifically, Zenwalk (my current favorite).

Reply Score: 1

I love these threads
by zombie process on Thu 19th Oct 2006 17:44 UTC
zombie process
Member since:
2005-07-08

Don't break your elbows patting yourselves on the backs, folks.

Slack is awesome, for what it is, but it really does involve a lot more investment in your system than, say, Ubuntu. On the other hand, it's also a lot easier to figure out what's not working when something breaks. While I don't use ubuntu, I think it has a purpose, and it's done more for the promotion of linux than any other distro I can think of. It also makes many things *just work* that simply don't on slack. Sure, there are regressions becaus eof the features included, but I think for many end users, new ones especially, the initial ability to get their foot in the door matters.

Even for people with a clue, slack can be a bit daunting if you want to install packages like, say, hal or dbus. Whose package works with your version of slack? Many slack forums I've been to are full of issues like these. Yes, autodetection isn't needed for servers, but for me at least it's part of a good desktop experience.

I like slack a lot, for what it is, but the author does have some valid points, even if they are presented is a somewhat whiny tone.

Reply Score: 1

I love it!
by ccchips on Thu 19th Oct 2006 19:56 UTC
ccchips
Member since:
2006-05-24

But, unfortunately, I don't have the time these days to do all the things I love.

However, I would *strongly* recommend Slackware for anyone who wants to *learn* about this stuff, and be able to really claim they know it well. I am forever indebted to Pat for having that system available when I was first exploring UNIX. In particular -- at that time, I was just given the responsibility to generate the nucleus of an IBM 370 VM/CMS system, and it scared me to death just thinking about what would happen if I damaged a system that 500 people depended on. But at home, I discovered I needed to recompile my kernel on Slackware to address a problem with dicey hardware from a no-name vendor. After having to do that a few times, my fear of doing it on the mainframe ebbed to almost roller-coaster thrills, and I was far more self-confident.

You never really *know* a system until you have to do a lot of things yourself, and so if you want that kind of experience without going FreeBSD, get slack, and roll up your sleeves. You'll never regret it.

Reply Score: 1

For "zombie process"
by ccchips on Thu 19th Oct 2006 20:05 UTC
ccchips
Member since:
2006-05-24

"I like slack a lot, for what it is, but the author does have some valid points, even if they are presented is a somewhat whiny tone."

I agree---and, again, I don't have the time I would like to have to do Slackware. Nonetheless, consider your comments about hal and dbus. After a computer student gets "a foot in the door" by installing and fiddling witu Ubuntu or such, I would say that if the direction is operating systems, it's time to start working with Slackware (or BSD.)

I feel Pat's objectives are very clear, and I think he meets them very well. But if it's not for the article's author, then I don't think it's right for him to whine about it.

I'll never forget my attempts to get early versions on Gnome working on Slackware. That experience is what made me quit the distro - I *wanted* to get them working, and I *wanted* to learn them in the process, but I just plain didn't have the time. I wish I had been able to.

Reply Score: 1

enloop: Right on the button.
by ccchips on Thu 19th Oct 2006 20:29 UTC
ccchips
Member since:
2006-05-24

You laid it out beautifully.

One of the things I did when I was still on Slackware was to help fix the floppy-tape driver (I was using those devices from Mountain Hardware, CMS, and Seagate in those days.) I also helped fix one of the backup/restore utilities that was around in those days.

Honestly, I feel kind of lazy with even Debian, let alone Suse or Ubuntu..... ;)

Reply Score: 1

I wanted to ...
by jpg_ny on Thu 19th Oct 2006 21:29 UTC
jpg_ny
Member since:
2006-10-19

I did first try to use Linux with Yggdrasil, it wasn't that easy and I moved to Slackware since I always wanted to move away from slackware because of some ads, or articles, whatever, I have tried some Linux, and honnestly very few of them are not easy to use obscure, package management is always missing something (what is that hard to do a ./configure make make install ?)... you want to upgrade well pay first, Red-hat fedora, mandrake, suse, gentoo, debian, I have been to user group... but you know what I always get back to Slackware...
People that are jocking about it should really give it a try, it is worth it, and quite addicting

Reply Score: 1