Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 28th Aug 2009 09:59 UTC, submitted by Witek Wasilewski
Slackware, Slax Among OSNews readers, Slackware is a surprisingly popular choice when it comes to Linux distributions. A new release came out today, Slackware 13, which comes packed with improvements, and even a whole new port.
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Nice and simple
by massysett on Fri 28th Aug 2009 11:38 UTC
massysett
Member since:
2007-12-04

I started using Slackware -current when I got a new laptop a month ago. The system is quite simple and easy to use, and transparent. It's the first set of init scripts that I can easily understand. I thought the lack of dependency tracking would be a problem, but it hasn't been since I just installed everything (now I have been pruning out some daemons I don't need.) Plus, without huge databases and complex tools, the package system is easy to use. I have needed some things from SlackBuilds.org (like xmonad, because KDE 4.2 is still not quite usable in my opinion) but downloading from SlackBuilds is not hard and all the builds have compiled easily.

If there's something I don't like about a package in Slackware or on SlackBuilds.org, it's easy to change. For instance I needed a newer Mutt than the one that's in Slackware. I edited the SlackBuild that came with Slackware to change the version number and add a compile flag, downloaded the newer tarball, and in a few minutes I was done.

Wicd works great for managing the wireless. It has a great curses interface.

With simplicity comes a system that is easy to configure and understand. About the only thing I didn't like is KDE 4.2, but seeing as 3.5 is now unmaintained I can understand that switch. I'm surprised I like Slackware because I have used Linux for a few years and never considered looking at Slack. Now that 13.0 is stable I'm glad I can stop using -current and instead just use 13.0 for nice, easy maintenance for the few security upgrades that will come along.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Nice and simple
by Zolookas on Fri 28th Aug 2009 12:14 UTC in reply to "Nice and simple"
Zolookas Member since:
2006-03-01

You might want to take a look at ArchLinux:

It has pacman package manager which tracks dependencies and PKGBUILD system with aur community repo (simmilar to SlackBuilds you have mentioned). KDE 4.3 in repos is modularized (that means you don't have to install that you don't need) and you can use another famous KDE repo called kdemod.

Arch's packages are always updated, but if you want to compile beta version, editing PKGBUILD will be as easy as SlackBuild.

In addition to wicd, Arch has netcfg utility. It is designed for quick switching between network configurations in terminal. Create your network profiles using simple config files and type "netcfg home" and you are connected to your home network, type "netcfg work" and you are connected to your work network. There is also ability to choose network profile when booting system.

ArchLinux is also as simple as Slackware and you can get KDE 3.5 from kdemod repo.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Nice and simple
by Morgan on Fri 28th Aug 2009 12:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Nice and simple"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I've played around with Arch a few times and I just can't get into it. Maybe it's because I am so used to Slackware's way of doing things but Arch just seems so obtuse to me. I honestly think I'd rather use LFS than Arch after my last attempt.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Nice and simple
by Zolookas on Fri 28th Aug 2009 13:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nice and simple"
Zolookas Member since:
2006-03-01

Can you clarify what do you mean by saying "obtuse"?

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Nice and simple
by Morgan on Fri 28th Aug 2009 18:18 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nice and simple"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

It just seems to be designed for developers rather than everyday users. I consider myself more than an average user by far, but not a developer beyond the occasional shell script. Even with my years of experience with Slackware, Debian and BSD I find myself frustrated with Arch every time I try it out.

I guess it's really just personal taste, but I don't care for it. That's not to say it's a bad distro; obviously a lot of people like it and use it or it would have faded away long ago. It's just not for me. I find Slackware to be that perfect balance between mainstream distro ease of use and the ultra-minimalist "do it all by hand" approach of LFS, Gentoo and Arch.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Nice and simple
by massysett on Fri 28th Aug 2009 13:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Nice and simple"
massysett Member since:
2007-12-04

You might want to take a look at ArchLinux


Yeah, I looked at Arch and I did like the philosophy, and Pacman looks good too. What I didn't like about Arch though is the rolling release system. Then I'm always upgrading and tinkering with the system. I prefer to have a stable release that just gets security updates. I used rolling releases with Gentoo and it ends up being a lot of work.

For similar reasons I didn't use Debian unstable, though I have Debian stable on other machines and like it. I went with Slackware -current because I needed a newer kernel and xorg than is available in Debian stable, and running Slackware -current seemed like it would be less work than Debian unstable. Now that 13.0 is out I will happily use that.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Nice and simple
by agnosticnixie on Fri 28th Aug 2009 14:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nice and simple"
agnosticnixie Member since:
2009-08-20

LOL, seconded, I migrated my Slackware box to Archlinux, and for a while I was running updates twice a week, it took me a while (along with the end of my finals (so no excuse to procrastinate) and a broken X) to stop doing it and go back to a more stable cycle (which is still more than my "update every three months or when the drivers you need come out of beta" on Slackware).

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Nice and simple
by NicePics13 on Fri 28th Aug 2009 22:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nice and simple"
NicePics13 Member since:
2009-06-08

Then how about Crux? Archiness sans rolling seas.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Nice and simple
by reez on Fri 28th Aug 2009 16:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Nice and simple"
reez Member since:
2006-06-28

Yeah arch was a really good distro. The problem I have is that there are pretty bad package maintainers even in the core team.

No security updates, even if you provide patches. You get hard and stupid answers, if you provide a patch and months later exactly this patch gets committed without any attribution. A lot of people also add wrong licenses to their packages.

I'm talking about core and extra here. A lot of these problems still apply. As I said I provided patches and even wanted to take over a package as maintainer.

I was a real big fan of Arch a few versions ago, but the quality always got worse. It's still good enough for many things, but I'm really sad about it.

If you need quality Frugalware might be a good alternative. IMO it's a mix of Arch + Slackware + many extras.

I'm thinking about switching back to Slackware because it seems that all good new distributions loose quality after a while. Gentoo, Arch, Fedora, ... Even Debian has some problems. But I guess their biggest Problem is that their release cycle got faster.

I know this sounds like a big flame, but the quality of many systems is shrinking. I'm not sure about why. Maby things are done quick and dirty. Only the number of commits/changes matters and not the quality.

I'm not sure how Gentoo and Arch Linux solved the quality problems in the early days. There were fewer commiters, the packages were more up to date and the quality was better.

Maybe there should be more reviews. Maybe it's also a problem of test automation. If things compile and even the automated tests work it's fine, but these tests can't cover everything and also more complex things aren't really testable.

Okay, that's off topic. I'm sorry!

Reply Score: 7

RE[3]: Nice and simple
by strcpy on Fri 28th Aug 2009 20:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nice and simple"
strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20

Off-topic, but well spoken!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nice and simple
by google_ninja on Fri 28th Aug 2009 12:24 UTC in reply to "Nice and simple"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

The other really cool thing is that the philosophy pat uses when it comes to package selection. Most distros patch the hell out of packages to integrate with their tools, or just to get something working that has a bug. The problem with this is you can end up with distro specific issues that has to do with their modifications, not with the actual code that the project is putting out.

Pat doesn't patch things to get them working, he just waits until the project is stable enough to include. This has a suprisingly positive effect on stability, and it also makes working with tarballs relatively painless compared to other distros.

Reply Score: 4

Long Awaited
by Siamhie on Fri 28th Aug 2009 12:09 UTC
Siamhie
Member since:
2007-02-05

I've been running -current for the last two months updating the system as the fixes come out and I'm impressed with the work that has gone into this release. One big change I noticed was X. I'd boot over to 12.2 and can see the big difference in the graphics rendering. Icons are much smoother than with X that came with 12.2.

It's too bad today isn't Friday the 13th, that would have completed my world dominance. ;)

Reply Score: 0

RE: Long Awaited
by gavin.mccord on Sat 29th Aug 2009 10:56 UTC in reply to "Long Awaited"
gavin.mccord Member since:
2005-09-07

Well the -current tree generally remains pretty stable, as Pat doesn't introduce new stuff (e.g. KDE4) until it runs true.

Off-topic, when I login to this site, "Login successful" is pretty damn confusing when I type in the wrong username or password.

Reply Score: 2

Surprising choice?
by darknexus on Fri 28th Aug 2009 12:58 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

I don't see why Slackware would be a surprising choice among osnews readers. It's lean, stable, clean (as in mostly vanilla sources without a lot of distro-specific patches), and the most BSD-ish of all the Linux systems around. The package manager is simple and straight forward without all the dependency issues you can run into with other package managers. Slackware assumes you know what you're doing, lets you do it, and stays completely out of the way while you do it. There's no handholding, which means no safety net, but that's a plus imho. My only issue with it is, of course, that Pat dropped GNOME but there are many good GNOME builds for Slackware around and, given Slackware's simple nature, it's hardly KDE-centric unlike, say, Mandriva.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Surprising choice?
by danieldk on Fri 28th Aug 2009 13:15 UTC in reply to "Surprising choice?"
danieldk Member since:
2005-11-18

It's lean, stable, clean (as in mostly vanilla sources without a lot of distro-specific patches), and the most BSD-ish of all the Linux systems around.


First and foremost, Slackware is very carefully crafted. Pat is a great guy and builds a solid distribution. I have used it with pleasure for many years (from 1994 up till a 2006 or 2007).

However, I am not using it anymore these days. The number of packages in Slackware has grown to a point where package management would become very convenient. Many Slackers that I have seen solve this problem by just installing every package from every disk set. Besides that, there are distributions that carry far more packages, which is very convenient when you do not have the time anymore to write your own SlackBuild scripts.

As a lightweight system, the BSDs and Debian fulfill the same niche better for me know. On desktop systems I prefer OS X with a ports system / package manager such as MacPorts.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Surprising choice?
by kenji on Fri 28th Aug 2009 15:12 UTC in reply to "Surprising choice?"
kenji Member since:
2009-04-08

My only issue with it is, of course, that Pat dropped GNOME but there are many good GNOME builds for Slackware around and, given Slackware's simple nature, it's hardly KDE-centric unlike, say, Mandriva.

Mandriva is not really a KDE-centric distro. I have been running Mandriva 2009.0 and 2009.1 with GNOME exclusively for some time now one one of my systems. Mandriva does a very good job of integrating with GNOME.

Reply Score: 1

Congratulations, Pat:-)
by hitest on Fri 28th Aug 2009 14:36 UTC
hitest
Member since:
2006-10-28

I've been Slacking since version 10.0, it is my distro of choice. The only other distro I like is FreeBSD, but, I'm exclusively running Slackware now.
I downloaded Slackware 13.0 last night and will install today.
I'll be heading to the Slackware store later today to buy a DVD.
Congratulations to Pat, Robby, Eric, and the entire Slackware team!

hitest

Reply Score: 2

RE: Congratulations, Pat:-)
by Laurence on Mon 31st Aug 2009 23:37 UTC in reply to "Congratulations, Pat:-)"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I've been Slacking since version 10.0, it is my distro of choice. The only other distro I like is FreeBSD, but, I'm exclusively running Slackware now.
I downloaded Slackware 13.0 last night and will install today.
I'll be heading to the Slackware store later today to buy a DVD.
Congratulations to Pat, Robby, Eric, and the entire Slackware team!

hitest


Sorry to be pedantic, but FreeBSD isn't really a "distro" of BSD (in the sense that Linux uses the term), let alone Linux.

Reply Score: 2

A great thing about Slackware
by reez on Fri 28th Aug 2009 17:02 UTC
reez
Member since:
2006-06-28

A great thing about Slackware is that dot zero versions don't mean it's an unstable system.

It's really a great system, if you need something to rely on, even in future versions.

Long live Slackware!

Reply Score: 2

Slackware 13?
by TaterSalad on Fri 28th Aug 2009 18:22 UTC
TaterSalad
Member since:
2005-07-06

And to think I started out with Slackware 3.0 back in the mid 90's. They grow up so fast ;) Although I haven't tried it in a while, Slackware is still my favorite for getting down and dirty with linux. Its always been solid, and compiling packages for it has been a snap. Glad to see its still around.

Reply Score: 3

Slacker
by fretinator on Fri 28th Aug 2009 18:50 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

Rev. Bob declares, "It's almost been arrived yet!", and gives it a full half-pipe.

Reply Score: 3

Blind date
by Karitku on Fri 28th Aug 2009 20:16 UTC
Karitku
Member since:
2006-01-12

I don't know which to blame Osnews or Slackers for not posting any picture. I'm sure 90% of readers doesn't care because it has xkdfsuperstar5000.1 and other parts which can only pronouced thru the nose. Unfortunatly for me most Linux distros introduced with only words are like puddle of sick, bits of a lunch, a breakfest and the snacks from bar mixed in soup. I'm sure most of you can point out that I been eating Chorizo 1.5 rather than spicy 2.7xka, but I can't. For me picture of Sheppards Pie tells more that saying it ingridients, but then again for you I'm just a hungry troll.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Blind date
by fretinator on Fri 28th Aug 2009 20:38 UTC in reply to "Blind date"
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

I translated the above to english (with Babelfish), and I think he wants more screen shots, although another possible interpretation involved meat trays.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Blind date
by StephenBeDoper on Fri 28th Aug 2009 21:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Blind date"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

I translated the above to english (with Babelfish), and I think he wants more screen shots, although another possible interpretation involved meat trays.


That, or he's trying to take the title of "Least-coherent OSNews Poster" away from Moulineuf.

Reply Score: 7

RE[3]: Blind date
by Karitku on Sat 29th Aug 2009 11:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Blind date"
Karitku Member since:
2006-01-12

"I translated the above to english (with Babelfish), and I think he wants more screen shots, although another possible interpretation involved meat trays.
That, or he's trying to take the title of "Least-coherent OSNews Poster" away from Moulineuf. "
Yes I did fancy kebab and no I shall not challenge sir/mam Moulinef. What I want is just screenshot or video how all those components work together to make Slackware Linux. I mean even I can put all parts together and call it OS, doesn't matter if none work together.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Blind date
by gavin.mccord on Sat 29th Aug 2009 14:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Blind date"
gavin.mccord Member since:
2005-09-07

Ah, somebody could possibly recommend, where this horseman could see something screenshot or to observe a video, where he understands can, because Slackware works.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Blind date
by Laurence on Mon 31st Aug 2009 23:42 UTC in reply to "Blind date"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I don't know which to blame Osnews or Slackers for not posting any picture. I'm sure 90% of readers doesn't care because it has xkdfsuperstar5000.1 and other parts which can only pronouced thru the nose. Unfortunatly for me most Linux distros introduced with only words are like puddle of sick, bits of a lunch, a breakfest and the snacks from bar mixed in soup. I'm sure most of you can point out that I been eating Chorizo 1.5 rather than spicy 2.7xka, but I can't. For me picture of Sheppards Pie tells more that saying it ingridients, but then again for you I'm just a hungry troll.


I don't see how screen shots of BASH or KDE will tell you any more about Slackware than it would about Kubuntu or Arch + KDEmod.

At the end of the day, screen shots mean jack shit about Linux distro's unless said distro ships with it's own unique desktop environment (which none do).

Reply Score: 2

Build it as you see fit.
by factotum218 on Sat 29th Aug 2009 05:23 UTC
factotum218
Member since:
2007-03-20

From the announcement:

"..Properly set up, Slackware's desktop should be suitable for any level of Linux experience.."

I'm so glad something was said about this directly from the team. It's a concept that seems weird to some, but I miss erector sets. This comes close.

Reply Score: 2

What is so surprising ?
by plantagenesta on Sun 30th Aug 2009 19:23 UTC
plantagenesta
Member since:
2009-08-30

I don't understand what is so surprising about Slackware being a popular choice among osnews readers. All other Operating Systems except BSD and Slackware are inferior crap. I prefer BSD systems but when I have to use Linux (due to a system that needs bleeding edge driver support for very new systems) then I will only use Slackware. I would never use any other Linux distribution. All other Linux distributions are for bitches. Indeed generally speaking Linux is for bitches and dumb ones at that.

Reply Score: 1

RE: What is so surprising ?
by plantagenesta on Sun 30th Aug 2009 19:27 UTC in reply to "What is so surprising ?"
plantagenesta Member since:
2009-08-30

of course what I mean by BSD above is the three main BSD choices of operating systems.

Reply Score: 2

slackware in virtualbox
by g0nad on Mon 31st Aug 2009 07:12 UTC
g0nad
Member since:
2009-02-22

I thought, hey I'll finally give Slackware a go! So I installed it as a virtual machine guest using VirtualBox. The install was pretty easy really, so that was good. Problem is the guest uses 50% CPU when it's idle, when other guests (Debian/XP) don't.

Regardless; I think Pat deserves mad props ;)

Reply Score: 2

Got it installed on my laptop
by siimo on Mon 31st Aug 2009 21:39 UTC
siimo
Member since:
2006-06-22

I had avoided using linux on my laptop in the past due to issues I had with wireless, hibernation and an annoying headphone port not muting speakers issue.

But I decided to give this a try not expecting much (since I had failed with well supported distros like Ubuntu in the past) but I was pleasently surprized how well it worked with my laptop. Brightness controls, Wireless on/off etc worked out of the box. Still had that headphone/speaker issue but googled and found a workaround for it. Had to put model=something when loading the snd-hda-intel module.

I am very happy with the setup now with Xfce 4.6.1 and its mobility applets that control cpu frequency and hibernation/suspend and just work. Wireless works perfectly with wicd as I connected to my WPA2/PSK network straight away.

Reply Score: 2