Linked by Marc A. Mironescu on Mon 31st Mar 2003 17:18 UTC
Slackware, Slax Slackware is the oldest surviving Linux distribution out there. For those who believe that Slackware was the first Linux distribution I have news, because SLS was before Slackware, but that is another story. It is the most *NIX like distribution and has borrowed many of the things we can find in BSD *NIX. Here is a mini-review of their latest release, 9.0.
Order by: Score:
by Luckett on Mon 31st Mar 2003 18:03 UTC

Got my official cds today! Mmm..slackware.

stability criteria and other
by monty on Mon 31st Mar 2003 18:04 UTC

Slackware 9.0 is overall a very up to date release, rock solid and damn stable.

Given that 9.0 has been released on March, 19th, i.e. less than two weeks ago, don't you think the last part of that statement might be a bit rash? I don't want to troll, mind you, I just think 12 days or less (when did you install it?) is too short for such a broad judgement.

I'm surprised about the audigy 2 support - afaik there's no driver for that chip out yet. Could you please tell me the name of the memory module (via modprobe or a look into 'modules.conf')? I'm really interested in that. Thanks.

Last, what's up with that *NIX thing? The name's UNIX. I know about the trademark stuff, but maiming the name thusly won't protect you or anyone else from infringements suits if The Open Group were to pursue such infringements.

Re: stability criteria and other
by Jim on Mon 31st Mar 2003 18:24 UTC

Linux is not UNIX, but it is a *nix. As in "UNIX(tm) and/or UNIX(tm)-like".

.. if The Open Group were to pursue such infringements.

I believe The Open Group and UNIX trade mark are now owned by SCO...

the joy
by Robert Renling on Mon 31st Mar 2003 18:31 UTC

I Remember SLS nice little distro, the floppies, the frustration, the Cheer joy of toying with a free *nix ;D

I liked th review , do some more and you'd be a-o-kay in my dept.

networking great? hmm...
by KOMPRESSOR on Mon 31st Mar 2003 18:52 UTC

I have to disagree that slackware's net config is one of the best. I have had a lot of trouble with getting it to do certain things the way I want.

I have two slackware machines right now, one running 8.0 and the other 8.1. I use the 8.1 machine as a file server.

The file server is hooked up to an 8-port switch and has 3 ethernet cards (to take advantage of the switch--I can get very fast streams out of it from multiple systems this way). HOWEVER, slackware 8.1 made it very difficult to get all of the ethernet cards working. Use of the default tools only configures eth0; I had to manually edit my rc.inet1 to get the other two cards working properly. Hopefully the tools for this have improved...

I still like slackware because it's easy to find my way around the /etc directory; but I'm thinking of converting to Gentoo because of the package management issue which (IMHO) was glossed over a little bit in the article and is a major achilles heel for Slack as it tries to keep up with more modern distros.

Just my 0010 cents.


Slackware 9 (mini review)
by n0dez on Mon 31st Mar 2003 18:57 UTC

Nice minireview!

About this:

>The program looks a little like the install from Free BSD, >but it is very intuitive, although text based. Many users get >scared when they see text based installers and very often >they don't take a Linux distribution into consideration only >because of this particular reason.

Yeah, you're right, many people don't take a distro into consideration just because of its text-based installer.

Slackware runs pretty fast and eats little resources. I also like Red Hat Linux. Both of them are my favorites. ;)


by Eru on Mon 31st Mar 2003 19:40 UTC

A lot of people complain about the package management, but really I'm finding it to be a lot more flexible than people seem to think of it :> As an example, earlier on I was moving around files as root, and I accidentally wiped out one of KDE's subdirectories while it was still running (yeah, I know..don't ask ;>). Anyway, I just removed the package that the files were in, installed it back again, and that was it..everything worked fine. I can't really see it being an "Achilles heel" to be honest, so far I've upgraded successfully to KDE 3.1.1 and installed a number of packages from source that weren't included with the distribution at all. If you meant in the way of mainstream acceptance, however, that would make more sense..I don't think Slackware's goal is mainstream acceptance anyway, so much as it is to make Slackware users happy :>

I can understand it not being for everybody though, not everyone wants to keep track of dependencies and things on their own. I think there's a different distribution that caters to everybody, and there's nothing inherently wrong with choosing one that you enjoy using more over another :>

by Mongrol on Mon 31st Mar 2003 19:45 UTC

Audigy2 support has been available in the emu10k1 project since January.

Re: stability criteria and other
by Anonymous on Mon 31st Mar 2003 19:49 UTC

"I believe The Open Group and UNIX trade mark are now owned by SCO... "

How about 15 seconds of fact-checking before posting stuff like the above? SCO acquired the old AT&T UNIX source code from Novell in 1995. The UNIX trademark was transferred to an industry consortium, X/Open, which is The Open Group nowadays. (with Fujitsu, HP, Hitachi, IBM and Sun being the main sponsors).

Wireless and Hotplug
by Gabriel on Mon 31st Mar 2003 20:21 UTC

The hotplug subsystem recognized my laptop's WPC-11 wireless card as eth1 (using the Orinoco driver) right off the bat, making Slackware the only Linux distribution to automatically set up my card (FreeBSD was able to also), short of asking me for an SSID. It's surprising how many distributions ignore wireless cards. I have since changed to the HostAP driver, but the hotplug system is a nice addition to Slackware.

By the way, xstow and Slackware make an excellent team. And don't forget to hit SourceForge for a copy of SlackPkg (

Slackware is still the same great distribution it has always been, so if you have been away awhile, come back and see how much nicer it is now that you don't need to make 35 floppies.

Re: monty (Sound)
by Darius on Mon 31st Mar 2003 20:33 UTC

I'm surprised about the audigy 2 support - afaik there's no driver for that chip out yet. Could you please tell me the name of the memory module (via modprobe or a look into 'modules.conf')?

What is this 'modules.conf' file? I am trying to get my SBLive card to work. The Slackware FAQ says to enable the appropriate modprobe line in rc.modules, which I have done, but still no sound. I haven't looked into this too deeply yet though (just started playing with it last night).

Also, if anyone knows of any useful documentation to get TrueType fonts enabled on Slack 9, that would be spiffy ;)

Re: monty(sound)
by j on Mon 31st Mar 2003 21:06 UTC

Stick the command to load the module in your rc.local file.

by Roberto J Dohnert on Mon 31st Mar 2003 21:12 UTC

I have slackware but I havent installed it, SuSE has a special place in my heart and I just cant bear to lose it.

by Stephen Smith on Mon 31st Mar 2003 22:08 UTC

Marc: are you Romanian (Mironescu)?

Sound Blasters, et al.
by Pararox on Mon 31st Mar 2003 22:52 UTC

In regards to Darius' SBLive card, you can quickly compile support into the kernel, or just load the module. The module name is emu10k1. Audigy2 support is *indeed* supported in the kernel. I believe (though you'll have to take this with a grain of salt) that if it isn't based off the old emu10k1 chipset, a patch has been released. Slackware has patched the vanilla kernel with this to enable support for this popular sound package.

Slackware is undoubtedly the reigning champion. I have used it for years; you can learn on Red Hat and use it to good success, but you aren't truly learning about unix. Working with Slackware, you can have a great personal/professional box(es), and additionally gain transportable skills, that can be moved to Solaris, BSD, etc...

About the /usr filesystem..
by mario on Mon 31st Mar 2003 23:07 UTC

My advice: don't! make it a separate filesystem. There's really no reason, and doing so might in fact only cause problems. The stuff in /usr can be crucial to revive a system that can only be booted into single user mode, so you want it there, together with /

Otherwise, nice review. And, oh, of course: Slackware rulez!

I'm curious about one thing...
by Lee Nooks on Mon 31st Mar 2003 23:20 UTC

What will be next Slack, Red Hat and Mandrake?

E.g., Slackware OS X?

pretty much to the point
by tired_of_BS on Tue 1st Apr 2003 00:36 UTC

Well, pretty nice review. I agree with somebody (sorry, do not remember who it was) who suggested to stick to certain protocol when writing a review. I do not want (and most people either) to hear grandma's stories about how I had an old dusty drive lying on the shelf of my shed and decided to use it (whoa, look, I am smart and funny at the same time), lengthy digressions (I have this nice case, I love it, I mean, do you have the same, whoa, I am good), and stupid reasonings. Stick to the point, people, save your time and our time (your readers). Save all colourful stuff for your girl/boyfriend, do not **** our brain.

by skaeight on Tue 1st Apr 2003 01:56 UTC

I've been trying to find the slackware iso, but I can't seem to find it. Is there an actual iso, is do I have to make one my self by following the instructions in iso-linux? If someone could help me out with this I'd appreciate it. Thanks

How does wine and Codeweavers products work with Slackware 9?
by Godwyn Lasund on Tue 1st Apr 2003 03:00 UTC

Or are the users SOL with this distrubtion also? I am very disappointed with Redhat and Mandrake for using the glibc 2.3.x, as it breaks more then just wine. The gentoo website has a grow list of software that is broken by glibc 2.3.x

If someone who was installed Slackware 9 and Codeweavers' Xoffice and Xplugin and knows that it works. Then I will move delete Mandrake 9.1 and install Slackware, instead of Mandrake 9.0.


RE: skaeight
by OpenMind on Tue 1st Apr 2003 03:23 UTC
RE: glibc 2.3
by GetOutofHere on Tue 1st Apr 2003 03:46 UTC

You bring up a good point.
The number of rule of all library is to NEVER BREAK THE CLIENT CODE.

Anyone understand why glibc is breaking so many client code?
Maybe its time that linux libraries start using versioning.

ln -s should always work it might require more work for them to maintain ,but its hell of alot better than static libraries.

Re: Godwyn Lasund
by Darius on Tue 1st Apr 2003 04:01 UTC

How does wine and Codeweavers products work with Slackware 9?

See for yourself ;)

I haven't tested Crossover Plugin (I don't have it yet), but I'm sure it works too.

And for whoever suggested putting the modprobe line in rc.local to make my soundcard work, it worked great - thinks!
Now I am starting to see the value of Slackware. Like in the case of the soundcard, it took a little work to get it going, but at least it didn't 'auto-detect' the wrong sound card like I've heard some other distros do ;) hehe

BTW: For anybody else who's new to Slack (or Linux in general) here are a couple of tips:

To switch window managers:
Type 'xwmconfig'

To mount the CD ROM:
Type 'mount /mnt/cdrom'
Don't ask me how to mount it permanently or eject the fucking thing once you've mounted it .... baby steps here ;)

Maybe I should write up a 'Stupid Slackware Tricks' kind of thing when I'm done ;)

re: automount
by GetOutofHere on Tue 1st Apr 2003 05:00 UTC

[i]To mount the CD ROM:
Type 'mount /mnt/cdrom' [i]

lol, how did you mount the cdrom previously?

to umount type
'umount /mnt/cdrom'

to eject type
'eject /mnt/cdrom'

I think slackware has automount somewhere.

Or just right ur own script so that when you click on the cdrom you can mount and open via konqueror or the other thing gnome has Nautilus or something.

linux documentation project for the brave

Re: GetOutofHer
by Darius on Tue 1st Apr 2003 05:45 UTC

to eject type
'eject /mnt/cdrom'

Cool, thanks. I got tired of having to reboot the computer just to eject the damn CD ;) heh

inux documentation project for the brave

I'm not trolling here, but some of these documents seem to be out of date, so how do you know which ones still 'work' and which ones don't? For example, the Font HowTo is dated back to July of 2002. Will this work for XFree4.3 ???

RE: GetOutofThem
by GetOutofHere on Tue 1st Apr 2003 06:32 UTC

first umount /mnt/cdrom
then eject /mnt/cdrom

Most of the documents are up to date so you don't have to worry.
I took a systems admin class for my elective and we used slackware and sun solaris. linux documentation project was very helpful.

You can't remember everything so man, info, and these documents are very helpful for quick reference.

Maybe someday you can post your stupid linux(slackware) tricks for others to reference.

Fresh install
by ragedcx on Tue 1st Apr 2003 07:56 UTC

I just installed Slackware 9.0 moving from Red Hat 8.0. The installer only took a few minutes to figure out. My main issue was with cfdisk and only because I had never used it. Once I got the partitioning set up the rest of the install was a breeze. I did redo the install once, and that was to remove MySQL and PHP from the install routine. I have played with Linux for years off and on, but am by no means up to OSNews readers standards. I wanted to install MySQL and PHP from scratch so they would be where the documentation from the vendors said they would be. Why do distros insist on putting these programs in different places than the vendor docs suggest? Just my two cents, but I think Linux would be a lot more new user friendly if the distros would agree to install the packages in a more consistant way.

The best part of Slackware for me, though, has to be that it doesn't start any of the installed servers by default. I had a HUGE slow down issue with Red Hat 8.0 and Gnome until I shutdown all those extra services. With Slackware I just set what I wanted.

It works with my Slack9.

by Otto on Tue 1st Apr 2003 10:07 UTC

Yes! He's Romanian all right! and I'm very proud to say that he is my friend!.....

php and mysql removal with slack
by rootrider on Tue 1st Apr 2003 11:52 UTC

ragedcx: You could have just removed the mysql and php packages using removepkg, or pkgtool. Do a man removepkg for more information.

RE: php and mysql removal with slack
by ragedcx on Tue 1st Apr 2003 16:18 UTC

Thanks rootrider. I will try that next time. It was not too painful because I hadn't started configuring anything yet, but removepkg sounds much easier and less time consuming.

Fonts and Mozilla.
by Bern on Wed 2nd Apr 2003 04:49 UTC

For nice fonts, xft enabled mozilla and gnome2 goodness install the latest version of dropline, the installer now has a ncurses interface.

Vector Linux
by tazzola on Wed 2nd Apr 2003 06:20 UTC

I use Vector Linux 3.2 on my old AMD K6/2 machine. Fast, Slack based, and with the pkg -n command, programs compiled from source can be easily removed from mc (Midnight Commander). It's also 100% LSB compliant, if that's of any significance.

Slackware 9 allez allez
by Leo Rutten on Wed 2nd Apr 2003 10:09 UTC

I am using Slackware since 1996 and after all these years
it is still the best choice. I installed it last week
on my computer and it runs perfectly. The only problem I had were some errors in the keyboard mapping for the belgian keyboard. I solved this by changing the keyboard settings in KDE.
The main advantage of Slackware is the use of text files for
configurations. The layout of /etc is clear and it is easy to find what you need. It's quite normal that you must edit rc.inet1 while adding a second network card.
Since I am using in a lab for teaching engineering students,
the absence of a graphical configuration is better.
This allows my students to handle all these text files.

ATI radeon driver
by ArTourter on Thu 3rd Apr 2003 22:08 UTC

you might want to try the GATOS drivers for your ATI card. They have the DRI drivers and everything else to make full use of the card (XV extension of X, TV out, TV in...)

Check it out:

Are we talking about the same distro?
by George on Fri 4th Apr 2003 07:05 UTC

Are we talking about the same distro here?
I downloaded the iso, burned and installed it, twice.
Don't need "accessability", didn't load any, X didn'work. Second install I added 'atk' and X works, poorly. Same
exact setup as 8.1, ( hardware and settings ),
and my wife said ...
"What the **** is that? You monitor dying?" ( this from
a Windows user. )
I use Gnome ( when not using the CLI ). What happened
to it? No applettes? Icons for loaded programs that
don't run the associated programs? Changed my desktop
background color from the 'stock' color to black. When does the change take effect? Next Tuesday?
Don't get me wrong here. Slackware is the only distro
that I have installed on all of my personal computers.
Wife uses Windows, but the shrink says that she will get better. All of them have 8.1 installed. From my 1Ghz P3
to my slow 150Mhz Pentium laptop. Well except the firewall/router, which is Smoothwall.
You want my Slackware Linux? You can have it AFTER
you pry the gun out of my cold dead hand. But I will be
staying with 8.1 for now. Maybe when we get to 9.2 or
9.3 I'll take a look again.

slackware 9.0 is nice.
by devil on Fri 4th Apr 2003 10:15 UTC

First of all, I have to mention that I am not very familar with Slackware yet, though I am using it for quite a long time (since 1997).

I just burned a Slackware ISO CD to install Slackware 9.0 on my Compaq 1600 notebook. The feeling is nice. It works faster than 8.0 version. The Openoffice 10.0.2 work nicely with it.
However, there are some small problems I haven't solved yet.

1. I set the mouse to USB, so my touch pad doesn't work yet. I read somewhere that I need to modify my X11F86Config in order to enable both the USB mouse and my touch pad. But I have no much idea at this moment.

2. I want to install Chinese fonts, and input methods. the system, certainly already supported mulitlanguage, since I can see the chinse in Kword. Can anybody tell me where I can find a place to download the font and input pakages for other languages?

3. I don't know quite well why the CD-rom can boot my notebook, but not my Dell Dimmension 4100 desktop.

The above are small quesitons I confront at this moment. Hope that I can solve them soon. I think Slackware is a great distribution forever.

by Anonymous on Fri 4th Apr 2003 21:08 UTC

I agree with this article.