Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 22:33 UTC, submitted by Rich Morgan
Slackware, Slax Open Addict reviews Slackware Linux 11.0, and concludes: "The latest Slackware release is more of the same pure Slackware goodness from Patrick and Company. It doesn't drastically diverge from 10.2 but adds some new software packages and includes some newer kernel support. Hardware detection is pretty much as basic as it can be with much of the configuration and tweaking on you - the end user. Thankfully, it isn't hard to configure Slackware through its easy to find textfile-based configuration files, but newbies might be lost."
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Mmmm
by oxleyn on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 23:20 UTC
oxleyn
Member since:
2005-10-04

....lovely! As much as I love Debian I still have fond memories of using Slack 9 and so will have to give version 11 a go as a server.

I kind of look at Slackware as the "O.G." of Arch Linux. :-)

Reply Score: 1

but newbies might be lost.
by drynwhyl on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 23:31 UTC
drynwhyl
Member since:
2006-05-14

> but newbies might be lost.

I dont think Patrick has sleepless nights over this issue.

Whats this bullshit lately about making each and _every_ distro "newbie friendly"? Whats the point of judging a distro on its "newbie friendliness" even though the distro is explicitely _not_ aimed at unwilling to learn newbies?

Whats next? "Solaris hard to configure, newbies might be lost, everybody stick to Ubuntu."?

Reply Score: 5

RE: but newbies might be lost.
by hitest on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 23:49 UTC in reply to "but newbies might be lost."
hitest Member since:
2006-10-28

Heh-heh, good point:-) I like being able to configure my Slackware boxes the way I want. Yes, we should perhaps make FreeBSD more user-friendly with a shiny anaconda GUI installer......NOT.
People who want things to just work can have Suse, Mandriva, Fedora, or Ubuntu.
If you're not afraid to learn a bit then try Slackware or FreeBSD.

Edited 2006-11-22 23:50

Reply Score: 2

RE: but newbies might be lost.
by Doc Pain on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 12:22 UTC in reply to "but newbies might be lost."
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"Whats this bullshit lately about making each and _every_ distro "newbie friendly"? "

I have to admit that Slackware was my very first Linux distribution in use, long long time ago (SlW 3.4, K 2.0.32 / 2.1.57, X 3.1.1) because i needed someting to typeset a scientific paper (I decided to use LaTeX).

Slackware still achieves the goals of being able to be configured easily. And that's what I think is important to a newbie. It has KDE ("newbie friendly"), so that should be enough. (But I'd like to remember you Slackware comes with XFCE as well, which is much faster and is "newbie friendly" as well.)

"Whats the point of judging a distro on its "newbie friendliness" even though the distro is explicitely _not_ aimed at unwilling to learn newbies? "

Let me try a definition of "newbie friendly":
1. The software installes itself without needing to be removed out of the box it came in.
2. The software is fully configured to what the newbie wants it for.
3. The software tells the newbie what he has to do in every matter.
4. The software silently corrects every newbie user error.
5. The software makes the correct output out of wrong or incomplete input.

But if it's not from MICROS~1, it's not newbie friendly. :-)

People who don't want to learn anything should not be allowed to own a computer. Because people like car analogies: If you don't want to learn to drive a car and what the rules of public traffic are about, you're not permitted to drive a car. Simple solution.

And for installing Slackware, you don't need to be a "computer person". Even my neighbor got it running, and he hasn't seen any Linux in his life.

Reply Score: 2

Reviews
by situation on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 00:03 UTC
situation
Member since:
2006-01-10

The reviews come out as slowly as the OS revisions themselves!

Kidding, kidding, I'm a devoted Slackware user. Not much to review though, things are pretty much the same old same old in Slackware land (which is a good thing).

Browser: Links (0.99; Linux 2.6.13 i686; 172x68)

Reply Score: 2

Slackware is easy
by JeffS on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 00:28 UTC
JeffS
Member since:
2005-07-12

Slackware, IMHO, is as easy as say, Madriva. It's just that the configuration and set up is in the command line, editing text files, and ncurses menu driven utilities, rather than shiney GUIs.

But the documentation is so good (and succint, and easy), and the cofig files very well commented, with Slackware, that doing the configuration is as easy, if not easier, than any fancy GUI tools offered by "newbie friendly" distros.

Also, the system itself, is well, simplicity itself. Everything is so well assembled and put together, and there is so little complexity and bloat, the making stuff work is simple.

After having gone through the full gammut of distros, that were supposedly more desktop oriented and easier, I've come to really appreciate Slackware's simplicity, stability, extreme lack of bugs, extreme efficiency and speed, and overall elegance and beauty of the system. Other distros, save for a few fine Slack deriviatives (Zenwalk and Slax are both great), I now look at as being too bloated, buggy, and unstable.

It's like the feeling I first got when getting into Linux (RH 7.3 / 9.0 back then), jumping from Windows. RH seemed so much more efficient and stable than bloated, buggy, unstable Windows. Now I get that same feeling when using Slackware, comparing it to other distros.

Prior to using Slackware, I always kept it at a distant, and didn't fully understand why so many people sang it praises so heavily, and remained so fiercly loyal to it. I kind of dismissed then as elitist uber geeks wanting an ultra hard, command line driven, elitist distro.

But that changed, of course, when I started using Slackware. I found, shockingly, that it is really quite easy to install. I had Slack 11 installed on 1.2 GHz cpu, 256 meg RAM, laptop, fully configured (with added regular user, X set up automatically, runlevel set to 4 booting into KDE, etc), and tons of software (3 gigs worth), in under 30 minutes.

Then working with the system, and tweaking, and adding new software with pkgtool, installpkg, et al, was a snap.

I now understand why people say "Once you go Slack, you never go back".

Reply Score: 5

RE: Slackware is easy
by Dudesdad on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 06:20 UTC in reply to "Slackware is easy"
Dudesdad Member since:
2005-07-10

I will have to agree.
I just did the same set up for my granddaughter on her computer about two weeks ago. It took about 30 minutes flat.
She has gone just over two weeks now without coming to me and complaining about something being messed up on her computer. (It formerly had Windows2000 on it.)
That is a record.
I just took a look at it tonight saw that she had reset all of the fonts, installed a new background image and some wallpapers for the taskbar.
Slackware is different, not harder, just different.
I have had several friends install Slackware with my helping them over the phone and every one of them has been amazed at how easy and fast it really was.
If you know the basics of how to partition a hard drive the rest is just reading the instructions as you go along.
IMHO: Slackware 11.0 is the best Slack ever. Pat did a bang-up job of sorting this one out.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Slackware is easy
by Jon Dough on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 17:13 UTC in reply to "Slackware is easy"
Jon Dough Member since:
2005-11-30

But the documentation is so good (and succint, and easy), and the config files very well commented, with Slackware, that doing the configuration is as easy, if not easier, than any fancy GUI tools offered by "newbie friendly" distros.

Good documentation is the key. The fanciest GUI configurator is worthless if you don't know what the options do. Anyone, newbie or seasoned user, can follow a well-commented config file.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Slackware is easy
by Doc Pain on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 18:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Slackware is easy"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"Good documentation is the key. The fanciest GUI configurator is worthless if you don't know what the options do. "

The standard is "trial and error", not "read and see, what you need"...

"Anyone, newbie or seasoned user, can follow a well-commented config file."

You're completely right, and I agree with you. BUT: Users considered as newbies (or John Q. Average or Jane Average) usually don't want to read anything; they just want to go there and clickityclick.

As long as I used Slackware (many years ago), I felt very comfortable with the good documentation. Many other Linusi do not offer this quality. I think this speciality is a good way for newbies to "fall in love" with this special Linux distribution. :-)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Slackware is easy
by JohnMG on Fri 24th Nov 2006 21:48 UTC in reply to "Slackware is easy"
JohnMG Member since:
2005-07-06

JeffS wrote:
> But the documentation is so good (and succint, and easy), {snip}

Jeff, which docs are you referring to? Last time I tried Slack, I remember being disappointed with the documentation.

Thanks.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Slackware is easy
by JeffS on Sat 25th Nov 2006 04:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Slackware is easy"
JeffS Member since:
2005-07-12

"Jeff, which docs are you referring to? Last time I tried Slack, I remember being disappointed with the documentation. "

Well for starters, there's the Slackware book, which you can either download for free from here:

http://www.slackbook.org/

Or purchase in printed, binded form from the Slackware store.

This book is excellent, very easy to read, very informative, and has had the answers to most of my questions. It also provide pretty much every thing I needed for installing and configuring my Slackware system.

If the Slackware book doesn't provide what you're looking for, there's always slacktips, userlocal, and LinuxQuestions.org (the official Slackware forum).

Also, of course, a full install of Slackware will have lot's of documentation in it. The man pages are very thorough, as are the info pages, the How-To's (in /usr/doc), and the various docs for individual programs. Also, the KDE helps has tons of stuff.

In my experience, Slackware installs more documentation, and thorough, easy documentation at that, than most other distros. Some distros will skimp out a bit in this category.

Anyway, the Slackware book (again, free download, or you can buy the printed version) is fantastic.

Reply Score: 2

Slackware is the way to go!
by hitest on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 02:12 UTC
hitest
Member since:
2006-10-28

Very well-said, JeffS:-)
Slack is the way to go!

Reply Score: 2

Lack of x86_64
by mike_m on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 02:15 UTC
mike_m
Member since:
2005-08-30

I had a Slackware subscription up to 10.2, but when Slackware 11 came out I gave it up because I needed x86_64 support,

Reliable and simple distribution to use if you spend a little bit of time learning how it does things.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Lack of x86_64
by MobyTurbo on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 04:01 UTC in reply to "Lack of x86_64"
MobyTurbo Member since:
2005-07-08

I had a Slackware subscription up to 10.2, but when Slackware 11 came out I gave it up because I needed x86_64 support

There is an AMD64 fork of Slackware called Slamd64. I've never run it, but you might want to give it a try before you give up on Slackware's simplicity. :-)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Lack of x86_64
by gavin.mccord on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 13:20 UTC in reply to "Lack of x86_64"
gavin.mccord Member since:
2005-09-07

I've tried Gentoo, and Suse 64-bit editions over the last couple of years, but I keep coming back to Slackware, even though it's still 32-bit. It's good enough that I don't notice the lack of 64-bit.

Reply Score: 1

...
by twenex on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 11:22 UTC
twenex
Member since:
2006-04-21

Yay Slack!

Edited 2006-11-23 11:22

Reply Score: 2

Very good distro!
by acobar on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 12:37 UTC
acobar
Member since:
2005-11-15

Also, contrary to others usually say, it is easier to maintain then most of the others distros.

Got the basic running and want to add something does not exist on official repositories? Afraid of using a binary package of unofficial place? Well, with slack you can grab the source, compile and install it with a lot less hassle than most of the other Linux flavors (I would recommend using checkinstall - http://asic-linux.com.mx/~izto/checkinstall/ - if you donīt want to mess a bit your system).

And keep it up-to-date is a breeze with slackpkg, swaret or slapt-get (I like slackpkg, but many may prefer swaret).

A post above commented that it runs well on less capable computers, I could not agree more as I help a public school to keep its computers running and some are really old, what makes ?buntu, Fedora, SuSE and Mandriva not an option on these.

Reply Score: 2

"newbies might be lost"
by stodge on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 13:48 UTC
stodge
Member since:
2005-09-08

Should be: "newbies WILL be lost"

Reply Score: 1

Slackware package management
by JeffS on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 14:47 UTC
JeffS
Member since:
2005-07-12

As if I haven't sang the praises of Slackware enough already, I have another thing I'd like to gush over:

tgz

Yes, installing Slack formatted packages in tgz form, using pkgtool, installpkg, slackpkg, etc, is turning out to be a complete breeze, and somewhat of a revelation.

Using tgz with pkgtool, et al, has worked with both the official packages from the Slackware package browser (from which I installed the Java sdk, and K3b), and from LinuxPackages.net, both flawlessly, without going into "dependency hell", or without something else getting borked.

First, Slackware installs by default (with a complete install), pretty much every supporting library any package could ever need. So dependency resolution is usually not necessary. Second, if a package requires a library that's not already there (a rarity for me so far), it's a simple matter of launching the program in the command line. The resulting error will tell you exactly what's missing. Then just install that missing thing, and you're good to go.

Also, and most importantly, I have found that in my experience, and automatic dependency resolver like apt-get is not always a great thing. For a few years, I had a big time enthusiasm for Debian and Debian derived distros, due to thinking that apt-get was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I went through the gamut - Ubuntu, Kanotix, Mepis, Knoppix, Freespire, Debian stable. And quite often, while installing and/or updating packages, something would become screwed up. This was with being very careful, looking at the warnings apt/Synaptic would give, etc. It would seem that apt's aggressiveness on resolving dependencies would cause it to override existing libraries that other packages depended on, causing those other packages to not work properly anymore. The only time this did not happend was with Debian stable (where the pools are very stable and consistent and the packages won't step on each other's toes), and Freespire (where they do extra testing and integration with their Click-n-Run warehouse).

Anyway, the problem with an automatic dependency resolution is the packaging itself, and apparent lack of sane defaults (don't override existing dependencies). It's too easy for a package maintainer to not properly mark dependencies, or to have it not override existing dependencies.

This has been my experience. Fans of apt feel free to correct me.

Patrick Volkerding said in the most recent interview that he is not a fan of automatic dependency resolving systems, due to what I described above. Simply, it's dangerous. Now, they do have Slackpkg, which is less aggressive then apt, and maintains a more stable system.

Long post (sorry) short, tgz with pkgtool is a dream. It's super easy and it keeps your system from becoming screwed up.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Slackware package management
by da_Chicken on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 15:42 UTC in reply to "Slackware package management"
da_Chicken Member since:
2006-01-01

AFAIK, APT doesn't have a "rollback" feature that would be useful in the kind of problems you describe. APT stores packages in /var/cache/apt/archives/ and you can check if the older version of the package that is causing trouble still exists there. There's also http://snapshot.debian.net/ that makes older versions of packages available. Then you can use dpkg to downgrade the troublesome packages.

Dpkg has a log file in /var/log/dpkg.log and if you use aptitude, you can find its log file in /var/log/aptitude. These log files should help you in finding out exactly which packages you upgraded before the problems appeared.

There is also a tool called apt-listbugs that should automatically scan bug reports and show you a warning about packages that have known problems before you install them.

Reply Score: 1

Long Life Slackware
by Nephelim on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 20:06 UTC
Nephelim
Member since:
2006-07-26

No more to say, my friends have said it all above.

Reply Score: 1

deb2006
Member since:
2006-06-26

- The setup routine of Slackware is really bad - I don't need a graphical installer, but something like the console installer of Debian should really be implemented.

- There is no decent package manager in Slack - Once you get used to the ease of packages you won't miss them

- a standard kernel 2.4 in a modern distro is a joke - sorry to say this. And it misses out on so many features in 2.6.

- where is native GNOME? It is niot acceptable that a modern Linux distribution misses out on it (and one shoukld not invent stories about how bad GNOME is - every other distributor is able to support it)

Edited 2006-11-23 22:44

Reply Score: 1

MobyTurbo Member since:
2005-07-08

There is no decent package manager in Slack - Once you get used to the ease of packages you won't miss them

That works great most of the time, unless you want to install something not in the repository from source. Then you'll be chasing a thousand -dev files just so you can have the headers that Slack includes for all of its open-source programs. Then there's the RPM-hell, and even sanely packaged systems like Debian can have problems.

a standard kernel 2.4 in a modern distro is a joke - sorry to say this. And it misses out on so many features in 2.6.

2.4 is very stable, 2.6 is less-so. If you want 2.6 however Slackware offers you a choice of 2.6.17 (huge26.s) or 2.6.18 (in /testing), the latest when it was released. That's reasonably up to date. Slackware has even been "2.6 ready" since version 9.1 several years ago before it was part of the official disks. Now that it offers 2.6, why should you care if 2.4 is the default when you can change it?

where is native GNOME? It is niot acceptable that a modern Linux distribution misses out on it

Just grab it from freerock, gware, or dropline, there's nothing "non-native" about it (well, except dropline perhaps :-) ) Pat figured that since third parties were already doing a fine job of packaging GNOME, a very time-consuming process, that he didn't need to spend extra time on it that could better be used making the rest of the distro better.

It's OK that you don't like Slackware, but that's your loss. No need to whine or attack it because its not your favorite distro, especially since your complaints are easily solvable. There is however a reason why Slackware has been around so long, the reason is because in a lot of ways it's an excellent distro.

Reply Score: 3

unixtourist Member since:
2006-08-11

Slackware waas my first distro back at version 9.1 and it worked well at that time.

Now I use Ubuntu - something I would have rejected vehemently even a couple of years ago.
Why? Simply put..Ubuntu has progressed IMMENSELY
in two years..sure you can muck up your system with apt-get..but it that seems a lot harder to do now too and the checks against this are pretty good now.

While Slackware I would gladly use for Server , there
is just too much software that you cannot EASILY
install on slackware. And sorry .tgz files are few and far between compated to .deb packages.
Don't believe me? Try getting SCIM (an input method for asian languages) or even aMule (a popular p2p client) to work on slackware. I tried and the dependency hell was just too complex( a packaged .tgz version didnt work).

Headers? you can get all you need from Ubuntus
development repos if you want to compile something.
No need to hunt all over ;)

Reply Score: 1

MobyTurbo Member since:
2005-07-08

Headers? you can get all you need from Ubuntus
development repos if you want to compile something.


I've gotten into trouble with that from Debian, it's not always a simple act to know what -dev files are needed, especially if they are named differently than the binary packages they belong to. The same is probably true of Ubuntu. That having been said, Ubuntu is a pretty impressive Windows replacement, and apparently that's what most people want.

The reason why I use Linux has always been because it's free Unix, even a couple of years (kernel 0.95 and the long series of 0.99 kernels) before Windows 95 was released. That's what Slackware was meant to be, free Unix, and that's why I like it.

Reply Score: 2

re[4]
by unixtourist on Fri 24th Nov 2006 07:48 UTC
unixtourist
Member since:
2006-08-11

Well linux is a unix clone but its close enough for the average joe..

Actually, most of the time you dont need a development
package to compile something and if you do , most of the time, there is a guide. The number of "How to's" and user tweaks in the Ubuntu Forums is astonishing.
Is Ubuntu a "windows replacement"? I'm not sure what that means exactly or why it woudn't be a goal of linux in general and Slackware in particular as well(.tgz files).

By the way I worked as a professional programmer
so I DO appreciate slackware's design. It is far more stable and better thought out than others(hello gentoo, arch) But even programmers want to get stuff up and running quickly.
We also like a system that is easy to hack -should we feel like it or need to - and customize...Ubuntu gives both and hence is really more like a BETTER windows.

Reply Score: 1