Linked by Eugenia Loli on Thu 4th Dec 2003 04:42 UTC
Slackware, Slax My husband hooked me up on Slackware almost three months ago (he used to run Slackware in the '90s). While I use a large range of OSes on a daily basis, when I am under Linux I now prefer to use Slackware. This is my mini-article with thoughts on Slackware 9.1 after using it for three months on and off. Ten screenshots are included.
Order by: Score:

I'm a FreeBSD user by day (work) and a Slackware user by night and I have to agree with a number of points raised in this article. Slackware isn't particularly glamorous (unless you get Dropline GNOME of course!) but it doesn't suffer from any real problems either. I don't understand why the whole world doesn't use BSD init scripts. They are SOO easy to use. I have customised the bajeesus out of mine.

On one final note: It's nice to see another proud GNOME user ;)

stable but not simple
by Nate on Thu 4th Dec 2003 05:18 UTC

OK, I understand what is meant by stable and "simple" as in it's default is uncontaminated. Some people really like that. Particularly people who like to customize the heck out of their machines. To a newbie though Slackware will seem like anything but simple.

What does a linux newbie do when they boot their slackware machine for the first time and they get a CLI prompt. I'll tell you what they do, they do a format and install Fedora or Mandrake.

One thing I really like about slackware is hotplug. I installed it for that reason. It didn't stay very long though.

I'm not a big fan of editing conf files and if you don't like doing it, don't bother with this distro. I have very standard hardware and this distro that autodectects or sets up my hardware the worst of all (well all that I've tried, which is not a few). If you don't mind that, Slackware can be a great system for you. I have a friend that swears by it and I've seen it run quite smoothly for him.

RE: stable but not simple
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 05:21 UTC

The article clearly suggests that only "above average users" should be using Slackware. It is written in the conclusion part. Slackware is not for newbies. Lycoris or even Fedora would be a better choice for these users until they become more accustomed to Unix.

How do you update system?
by X on Thu 4th Dec 2003 05:36 UTC

Is there's an option to update the system (security fixes, patches and etc) via network (a la YOU or RHN)? Or do you have to do it manually?

RE: stable but not simple
by Anonymous on Thu 4th Dec 2003 05:36 UTC

What does a linux newbie do when they boot their slackware machine for the first time and they get a CLI prompt. I'll tell you what they do, they do a format and install Fedora or Mandrake.

Slackware was the first distro I ever tried out (it was in '96) and it has been my #1 choice since then, but I agree that it certainly isn't too newbie-friendly a distribution. But then again, it doesn't intend to be one, either.

I for one am glad that Slackware has been kept a KISS compliant, no-complicated-shit-included distro all this time.

Nexted X Session?
by jstn on Thu 4th Dec 2003 05:37 UTC

Hey Eugenia, how did you get that nested X session which is running xfce4 going? I have been hacking with Xnest to no avail! Is it a remote X session? I'm trying to run a nested remote X session on my linux box from the X server on my NetBSD box but am having no luck! :|

btw, great article, I'm a big slack fan!

- j

RE: stable but not simple
by Nick Graves on Thu 4th Dec 2003 05:39 UTC

I strongly agree with your review of Slackware 9. I have used over 20 linux distrobutions and I keep coming back to Slackware. I love the speed and stability. I do believe that Slackware is not suitable for the beginning linux user. It takes a little configuration to get some hardware to work (WiFi, Sound, etc..). I do recommend SuSE linux to the beginners. Slackware RULES!

RE: How do you update system?
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 05:39 UTC

>Is there's an option to update the system

Install Swaret (mentioned and linked on the article) from the /extra folder on the Slackware CD.
Then type as root:

swaret --update
swaret --upgrade -a (for the automatic mode)

There is a KDE front-end for it too:

RE: How do you update system?
by Anonymous on Thu 4th Dec 2003 05:40 UTC

Is there's an option to update the system (security fixes, patches and etc) via network (a la YOU or RHN)? Or do you have to do it manually?

Just set Swaret to fetch the updates from the stable (currently 9.1) tree. That includes the fixes present in list.

RE: Eugenia
by X on Thu 4th Dec 2003 05:42 UTC

>swaret --update
>swaret --upgrade -a (for the automatic mode)


RE: Nexted X Session?
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 05:42 UTC

> Hey Eugenia, how did you get that nested X session which is running xfce4 going?

More info and pointers here:
Make sure you do a "xhost +localhost" before running the script shown there though.

My qualms.
by Anonymous on Thu 4th Dec 2003 05:43 UTC

That's the problem I had with slackware. I just didn't have the time to haunt for dependencies and I didn't like the package management system, at all. If you are a power user who wants a fine tuned system that is easy to update and maintain, and that has the latest stable packages, I'd go with gentoo. If you don't mind search for and downloading deps and you are all about tinkering, then have fun with slackware. Overall good review.

package management woes
by omnivector on Thu 4th Dec 2003 05:46 UTC

i'm sorry, but if your package management isn't ... oh i don't know, modern, and doesn't autoresolve dependencies, i think there's a flaw in the design of your distro.

that brings me to: gentoo, and debian. if your distro is not based off of one of these two, it is either: duct-taped together (apm-rpm), not user friendly (yast), or just plain rpms (redhat)

RE: package management woes
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 05:49 UTC

But that's the point I did on the article: There are not big problems with dependancies on Slackware! Exactly because the system doesn't do dep checking the developers are always careful to provide everything that's needed! Except the GnuCash installation which was a dep nightmare, I never had any other problem with Slackware and I have installed many stuff the past few months.

Besides, Swaret now DOES dependency checking.

KDE screenshot has Plastik theme..
by bsdrocks on Thu 4th Dec 2003 05:49 UTC

Plastik theme looks awsome, anyone know if there has any port for GTK2?

I agree, Slackware was one of best Linux distro that I have tried. FreeBSD has won me, but I always recommend for any users who want Linux to go for Slackware.

RE: KDE screenshot has Plastik theme..
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 05:51 UTC

>Plastik theme looks awsome, anyone know if there has any port for GTK2?

No, there is no port currently. Plastik is the default KDE theme for 3.2, but only a Metacity port has being done so far. It would be great if someone will do Plastik theme port for Gnome as it is good for consistency.

FAM question
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 05:59 UTC

BTW, a question to you Slackware users: I downloaded FAM for Slack9.1 from Linuxpackages and I activated on the services, but it doesn't work. The Nautilus' window doesn't get its content refreshed everytime I do changes on the file system via a terminal or something. Does Nautilus and gnome-panel need to be compiled against FAM? If the answer is yes, I guess we need Patrick to add it by default on 9.2

i havent read the article..but..
by Dekkard on Thu 4th Dec 2003 06:01 UTC

i first tried mdk. easy install.. sluggish performance.. annoying email..constantly. Than Redhat.. a little smoother.. but rpm hell. than debian.. it didnt like my vid setup. than wasted 3 days attempting to install gentoo.. sorry.. i have a life. Than slack 9.0 and 9.1.. Freeking Unbelievable. the ncurses installer was as smooth and fast as any of the glitzy graphic installers. the only things i needed to config manually were my wheelmouse (imps2 ZAxis mapping 4,5) and my initial partitioning.OOPS.. forgot.. i did also need to install the hpijs driver and diddle CUPS.. for about 5 minutes. People dont seem to get the simplicity and beauty of source based distros. They just work better. My slack+dropline desktop is as sweet as anything out there.. quick and responsive as well.. thanks eugenia.. more people should report on this elder statesman of linux distros.

by The Horst on Thu 4th Dec 2003 06:10 UTC

i can agree. slackware is the best linux distribution. it is the only one which really works perfectly with my notebook. fedora und debian had huge problem with my ibm usb2 pcmcia card. with slackware no problem.
and if you are a gnome fan, it's your distro. updating gnome was never as easy as with dropline.

by Nathan O. on Thu 4th Dec 2003 06:12 UTC

Slackware's been an off-and-on distro for me, between it and Debian. Yesterday, though, Slackware won a major battle, as it's the first distro that's got ACPI working out of the box on my laptop.

And having used apt, I must say, swaret is up to the task. It doesn't have as many packages, and isn't *quite* as slick as apt and all of its helper apps, but with a little more polish, swaret could be quite the trend-setter.

I imagine the installer being upgraded so that it uses swaret as a sort of backend, just for dependancy checking, using the CD's as the packages' source, and happening all in the background. I happen to have a messed up gcc which I started trying to fix about 20 seconds before starting this post. The uh-oh seems to have happened due to an unmet dependancy from when I first installed Slack (yesterday). I don't think I've run in to such a problem before, but I know I've been asked if I wanna install things like grep or gtk before, and always said yes because I'd previously said yes to packages I KNOW depend on it. I've always wondered what would happen if I said no. If swaret was backending the installer, I'd know that nothing "interesting" would happen. And all the while, the installer would behave the same as ever.

Became a linux demi-god on Slack
by Mike on Thu 4th Dec 2003 06:12 UTC

The first distro i ever tried was Slack7. It didn't work. I gave up on linux for about a year, and then started using RH8 and Mandrak9 which I like about equally, but when Slack9.1 had the balls to put Gnome2.4 in practically the same week it was released, I had to try it. Not only have I stuck with it, I have given it 90% of my HD to it (winXP gets 10GB for wine). In slack, everything works the way the software developers intended. It's easy to drop in standard kernels, and there isn't a barrage of softlinks giving a hundred ways to do the same thing. If you want to really learn linux I highly suggest Slack. It can be challenging, but rarely frustrating, and ALWAYS rewarding. I feel bad for RH guys who won't install something that doesn't come on RPM.

The one major change I made to the fresh install was Grub. I just like being able to have a splash image on the bootloader ;-). I'd like to see future slacks use Grub, it's way more advanced than Lilo.

Re: FAM question
by bsdrocks on Thu 4th Dec 2003 06:12 UTC

Does Nautilus and gnome-panel need to be compiled against FAM?

Actually, you need to recompile gnomevfs2 with FAM support, that's it. In FreeBSD, have to use inetd and have the portmap (for FreeBSD 4.x) or rpcbind (for FreeBSD 5.x) enable to make the FAM works. I can't really comment on Linux to get FAM running, but I do know that you will need to recompile gnomevfs2 with FAM support.

Slack and MythTv
by snorkel on Thu 4th Dec 2003 06:14 UTC

Anyone know if Swaret has packages for MythTV?
I am currently running it on
gentoo, but It takes 12 hours to install, but once installed Mytht is easy, just emerge mythtv.
I would really like to see something for slack that would take care of all the depencies and have init scripts for starting the mythbackend.

I Installed Slack for the first time a couple of months ago and loved how fast you can get a system up and running.

Swaret vs Slapt-get
by Mike on Thu 4th Dec 2003 06:14 UTC

I haven't tried Swaret, but I find that Slapt-get is almost identical to apt. Maybe you'd like it.

lilo on slack is ugle
by snorkel on Thu 4th Dec 2003 06:17 UTC

Is grub a option with a nice slack spash image? or is there a way (easy)to make lilo look nicer.
I know it's stupid to bitch about the bootloader, but when you boot other distros, like redhat or gentoo, it just looks so much nicer.

very nice review!
by xander on Thu 4th Dec 2003 06:41 UTC

A nice and simple review about a nice and simple Linux distro. ;)

That's why I like Slackware, it just works! I don't really need all the extra junk Red Hat and Mandrake have. Compared to Slackware they're just bloated and slow.

I've been running Slackware 9.0 here along with Dropline Gnome and I love it!

I know I'm sold on Slackware...

And no, it's not really for new and inexperienced Linux users, but then it never claimed to be that. ;) Not all Linux distros have to cater to newbies. There's already plently out there that do...

Slack Reviews
by dave on Thu 4th Dec 2003 06:42 UTC

Yes. It is hard to gush about Slackware. It's just so spartan. It just
does it. No nonesense, no flare. A zen kind of rigour.

my thought
by Anonymous on Thu 4th Dec 2003 06:48 UTC

was that if i was going to bother to go from redhat to something like slackware (a huge leap)....why not just go to freebsd?

by Antiphon on Thu 4th Dec 2003 06:49 UTC

Slackware is nice but it's a PITA to upgrade from distro to distro. With Debian, all I have to do is apt-get upgrade it. Slackware and others just encourage reformat and install. Not exactly enterprise ready.

Slackware is good for a power user desktop but not good on the server end.

RE: Upgrades
by Anonymous on Thu 4th Dec 2003 07:00 UTC

Slackware is nice but it's a PITA to upgrade from distro to distro. With Debian, all I have to do is apt-get upgrade it. Slackware and others just encourage reformat and install.

Actually, I have succesfully used Swaret to upgrade Slackware to a new version by editing a single line in Swaret config file and two commands. Not quite my idea of a "PITA".

If you're looking for a real PITA with Slackware, try and configure it to properly support Japanese input.

RE: FAM question
by Slacker on Thu 4th Dec 2003 07:06 UTC

You need to have portmap running.

Simply chmod 0755 /etc/rc.d/rc.portmap to have it running upon boot and FAM should be working if you have it enabled in /etc/inetd.

BTW, any comments on the OpenOffice.Org 1.1.0 Ximian edition build? Is this the one from Dropline forums? ;)

Same great distribution.
by Gabriel on Thu 4th Dec 2003 07:13 UTC

I always come back to Slackware. It was my first Linux distribution, back when I had to download what seemed like an infinite number of 1.44 floppies over a slip account on a VAX one by one. While it hasn't changed much in a lot of basic ways, the underlying software has always reflected the state of the art in Linux. Hotplug, 2.6 readiness, clear and simple configuration files, and an architecture that doesn't punish the type of person that likes to go outside the distribution and compile packages.

I love the text-based installer. It has barely changed over the years; it was never broken. Newbies may be initially afraid of it, but as someone who was new to Linux when I tried a much earlier, and less polished version, I can heartily recommend it as your first foray into Linux if you don't mind a little adventure.

The downside is that there could be more packages, and the packages from are some times a bit funky, but paired with something like GNU Stow, or just making your own .tgz packages, it isn't such a drawback.

Installation Method
by Nathan O. on Thu 4th Dec 2003 07:27 UTC

Out of curiosity of all the Slack users who regularly use the installer; what method do you use? I do newbie. I used it the first time, and for some reason have never seen the insentive to use any of the other menu items on that list. What are the other options even like?

RE: Installation Method
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 07:29 UTC

It is a good idea to install all files of Slackware when installing for the first time. This way you won't end up in dependancy hell later.

Slackware, part of the linux family
by Ricky on Thu 4th Dec 2003 07:31 UTC

This review is a nice reminder of the benefit of having "too many" distros: There really is something for just about everybody. You don't get this option with Windows.

Now, I'm not sure how to take the fact that Slackware 9.1 did not get compared with Windows XP like all the other distros do. I could take it as a "finally Eugenia has been fair to a distro" or I could take it as a "Eugenia is being unfair to Fedora/Redhat by not comparint it to XP!!!" Or I could just go watch Family guy right now.

RE: my thought
by thrift on Thu 4th Dec 2003 07:43 UTC

>>was that if i was going to bother to go from redhat to something like slackware (a huge leap)....why not just go to freebsd?

The same question could be reversed, and I see no compelling reason to try FBSD. I used Slackware before switching over to Gentoo and had tried FBSD, but out of the 3 machines I put BSD on I always had a piece of hardware that just wouldn't work and saw no real advantages of using it.

I haven't tried out any of the new package managers for Slackware, but that was the reason I left Slackware and someone really needs to compare these new package managers to Gentoos portage. I assume common software is easy to get with the pacakge managers, but what about uncommon/very beta/non-GPL packages. Portage is great for stuff like winex, or getting the nvidia drivers to install on the 2.6 kernel, or getting wolfenstein enemy territory real quick, but....

I really really hate 90% of the way Gentoo works...Gentoo's init system makes me want to vomit, half the time I try to install it it fails somewhere trying to compile kde or doesn't even make it past the boot strap, the install is too complex to easily memorize....grrrrr If slackware had a portage equivalant I could finally have an alternative to Gentoo

RE: Slackware, part of the linux family
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 07:47 UTC

> Now, I'm not sure how to take the fact that Slackware 9.1 did not get compared with Windows XP like all the other distros do.

I will tell you how. The key for this is this sentence on the review: "It is a distro which doesn't have to "pretend" about anything."
The distros you are mentioning, like Red Hat Linux or Mandrake or SuSE are going against Microsoft users. They have specific usage pattern targets. Slackware does not have these targets. Slackware is not for newbies and normal users. Slackware is the Unix in Linux. I do not *expect* Slackware's copy/paste to work better than XP. I do not expect Slackware to offer me better UI usability than XP or OSX. I expect less from Slackware because Slackware itself hasn't set unrealistic goals like the other distros have. And this is why it's being reviewed as such. If you read reviews of mine for QNX or Syllable I don't expect them to replace XP any time soon. I am not saying that slackware is as bad as quality-wise as hobby OS Syllable, but I do say that it has different goals and goes after a very specific userbase.

Slackware 9.1 and OpenOffice 1.1
by Jago on Thu 4th Dec 2003 07:50 UTC

Eugenia, where did you get a Slack 9.1 package of OpenOffice 1.1 with those "nice fonts" ?

RE: my thought
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 07:52 UTC

>>>was that if i was going to bother to go from redhat to something like slackware (a huge leap)....why not just go to freebsd?

FreeBSD is great, but it doesn't have "automatic" support for modern hardware. For example, it requires tweaking to get your USB camera up and running, or to enable USB2, or to enable SMP, or to do this or that. The support IS there, it is just that you need to find it and enable it if you want support for the latest and the greatest. With Linux this part is easier as the kernels shipping with all these distros have most stuff turned on. Slackware uses the stock kernel, but it is also configured to supprot stuff, e.g. Firewire or USB by default.

RE: Slackware 9.1 and OpenOffice 1.1
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 07:53 UTC

Ah, where was that link now? It was a guy who ported the Ximian OpenOffice version 1.1 to Slackware and made one big .tgz file. Hmm... let me see if I can find it back.

by hirisov on Thu 4th Dec 2003 07:53 UTC


I've tried slack after eugenia's review in sept. I liked the simplicity too, but not the package managament. So i tried arch linux, which is very much like slack (a fork of that afaik) and adds a bsd like package management system to it (not only full dependency handling, but very easy custom package making), and it's i686. I use it for a month or so, and quite satisfied w/ it. Give it a try if u like the idea of slackware but not the package management. I'm not sure how it was under slack, but eg here the init system is so simle, nothing rcX.d, but i there's a file /etc/rc.conf with the line:

DAEMONS=(!pcmcia network crond inetd httpd mysqld sshd proftpd)

And that's it, it's used at both boot and shutdown to handle daemons. Pretty simple and clear i think, i never liked the SystemV style init.

bye, hirisov

RE: Slackware 9.1 and OpenOffice 1.1
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 07:57 UTC

I got it!!
This guy has made some very good packages. Download Firebird and OOo from there, but not the Galeon package (upgrade to -Current to get the official Galeon)

Games, anyone?
by Anonymous on Thu 4th Dec 2003 07:59 UTC

Slackware is a quality distro in many respects but the selection of games that comes with a standard installation really isn't too big. How many of you Slackware users are gamers? Is there a website from where one could download 'slackpakaged' games, including dependencies?

RE: Games, anyone?
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 08:02 UTC

There are games on The rest of the games you might need to compile yourself but instead of doing a "make install" do a "checkinstall -S" instead.
This command, creates the Slackware package AND installs it for you. And then you are left with the .tgz package itself and you can share it with other Slackware users. That's another thing I like on Slackware, ease of creating your own packages to share!

RE: Games, anyone?
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 08:04 UTC

Just make sure you always do a "./configure --prefix=/usr" instead of a simple "./configure" because some apps like python-gtk bindings don't like getting installed on teh default /usr/local/. That path is on the $PATH but these bindinds require to be on /usr so always-always do your configures with --prefix=/usr

RE: Slackware 9.1 and OpenOffice 1.1
by Slacker on Thu 4th Dec 2003 08:04 UTC

Thanks (from the guy that made these tgzs) ;)

Oh and please use this ultra fast mirror for the packages: provided by spacey.

A switch from RH to Slackware
by Slackers on Thu 4th Dec 2003 08:08 UTC

Staring to use RH from ver 6.0(never use a dual boot w/ window) until I have an disagreement with RH business change. I ve given slackware a try, and known that it is a very good move.

I ve moved to Slackware 9.1 last month and see all the article's short review on slackeware 9.1 is a quite good one, it describes fair good points which have occured in a slackBox. Though as a new starter w/ slackware, I think i learn slackware not very hard w/ BSD init style. It is simple to edit and pretty responsive

If a Linux newbie of 5 years ago, he/she would not postpone to try Slackware as a console/CLI philosophy. However, it may be a fear w/ them now and dueto many Linux Distros provide GUI installation way which is a better option for newbies. I myself still think using Slackware will gain your Linux knowledge as fast as you can. You can learn a heap of Linux in nature w/ slackware, from a setup ppp dialing using analog modem to how to take control the system, run httpd to mysql on CLI)...
The folowwing is some notes of mine on Slackware-9.1(for Gnome use only)
+ speed and applications responsiveness: much faster than RH-Gnome. Openoffice1.1 (downloaded from ) gets more responsive than OOo-1.1*.rpm RH.
+boot time: faster than RH bootime
+stability: no app(s) has been crashed so far in my slackBox-9.1 except for one time w/ totem as I tried to take a snaoshot from a movie
+simplicity: i think this one plus w/ BSD init scriprs style speed slackware up compared with other distros
+uptodate: swaret, dropline is a good up2date and the same idea w/ the article's author, the --CURRENT gives you a very quite stable version of apps.
+security: although slackware does not make a seperate group like RH (same name w/ username), but in details, it is a good secure system, and you can create a group and use it by yourself(if you are an admin and have priviledge to do that kind of job)
+pkg management: I think it is not bad as I compare with rpm or apt package management. However, i dun know why Slack ware does not use DEP. as installing pkg, there is no conflict in place of sripts. For example: as I install cabextract-0.6.1 from *.tar.gz, it doea not conflict w/ a cabextract-0.6 existed in slack before
And of line I ve just said:
Linux for Desktop/smalls+mid business = Slackwware + Swaret +Gnome +YOU(of course :-)
Slackware, drives me to SLACK, where?

arch linux
by Flo on Thu 4th Dec 2003 08:30 UTC

Have you ever tried Arch Linux ?
It's light, simple, stable and fast.
The last few years I've been using several different distribs (slack, redhat, debian, gentoo) and I finally found Arch linux to be the one that suits me the best.
I'd be interested to know what you think about it.

RE: arch linux
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 08:36 UTC

Not as mainstream as I would like it to. I prefer to use some more "popular" distros because theire support, faq googling and packages are more than these small distros.

TGZ, RPM, APT, Blah, Blah, Blah
by Mike on Thu 4th Dec 2003 08:49 UTC

./configure [--prefix if needed]
make install

Until Linux has some standard similar to Install Shield, that's the only way I want to install software, unless people want to package software in self-installing .run or .bin. Enemy Territory (game), Army Ops, and many other commercial programs use this method, and it's pretty easy.

slack is sweet
by xmp on Thu 4th Dec 2003 09:54 UTC

I like slack. I'm posting this from a derivative, Vector. Swaret is decent management. It occasionally breaks packages, xmms and gaim to name a couple, and it's not quite as polished as some managers. Usually doing a swaret reinstall will fix the package. It was pretty easy to upgrade KDE, etc, with swaret. I also tried slapt-get but didn't seem to work well on my system.

Arch, mentioned above, is nice too. The packages are i686 optimized and pacman is powerful manager. Arch will require more tweaking than say Vector or Slack. I had to load several modules, and ended up adding hotplug to fix a couple of things.

As far as autodetection of hardware I was impressed with slack. SuSE sometimes screws up resolution of monitor, Slack always gets it right. I did have to add an append to lilo for the cdrw, and symlink for dvd.

Debian is also fine distro, but I hate the outdated packages. I may try unstable or testing in the future, but stable kind of sucks for daily desktop. For someone looking to venture beyond fedora/suse, slackware or debian is a good choice. And vector is nice intermediate choice, as it adds several config tools and has an easy installer.

What do you use Linux for Eugenia
by John Blink on Thu 4th Dec 2003 10:42 UTC

The reason I ask this is, personally I only use it for mplayer (because it is cool and works extremely well on my old hardware) and for using gcc for Uni assignments that require *NIX.

So Eugenia what do you use it for, since it is not your everyday OS?

re: Antiphon
by samb on Thu 4th Dec 2003 11:14 UTC

Slackware is good for a power user desktop

*chuckle* Slackware is 'good' for pretenders and poseurs. As somebody else recently observed on Usenet, when somebody pipes up with 'slackware rules!' in distro-discussions, they are almost invariably posting with the Microsoft Outlook client.

Responsive ?
by Richard Spindler on Thu 4th Dec 2003 11:14 UTC

I'm using Slack 9.1 too, but If you really want a responsive Desktop, I recommend to use the ck-Patchset for more Desktop-Responsiveness:
and ROX-Filer as Gnome-Filemanager.

Slackware and Dependencies
by enloop on Thu 4th Dec 2003 11:41 UTC

I'll have to agree with Eugenia that Slackware is a fine distribution and that resolving dependencies is not an issue.

Most Slack packages I've installed were self-contained. If they weren't, the hosting site clearly defined the dependencies and provided the appropriate download links.

Automatic dependency resolution can easily go belly up when faced with situations that a human being could easily resolve with a little common sense. (E.g., dependencies broken by bumped version numbrs that represent no change in executable code.)

I've concluded that automatic dependency resolution schemes typically generate the seeds of their own destruction by generating unecessarily complicated and bogus dependency chains. Sooner or later, I've always run into a "You Can't Get There From Here" situation with the automagic stuff leaving me a broken system.

Dependency resolvers can't read and they can't think.

Great review!!
by Monkey on Thu 4th Dec 2003 12:26 UTC

Eugina, thanks for this review. Slackware is a true Linux distro, not a wanna-be-wanna-change-linux-to-Mac-or-Windows distro. I often felt than osnews concentrated to much on the commercial distros and neglected the distros that make Linux, Linux, or the community distros. I also see a little bias for binary distros. But that is understandable. This is certainly a welcome change. :-)

It would be wonderful if you could do a review of Gentoo. If you like Slackware, you'd fall in love with Gentoo. I wouldn't use anything but Slack until I met Gentoo. Or even a comparison of source based ***community**** distros will be a real treat.

I feel source based distros are ahead of their time. As CPUs become more powerful and moore' Law continues to be validated, I see a shift from binary distros to source based distros even withing corporations.

But all in all, this is a welcome change. I was really getting sick of the SUSE, Red Hat, JDS, Mandrake, etc, reviews. In my opinion, all of those commercial distros are a **BIG** dissappointment. It's so bad, I see no reason to use them over the community distros.

To all of you, Slackware is on of the distros that make Linux, Linux. They exist not for your money. They exist because they think you deserve to use your computer the way you wish, and to make free software better.

by omnivector on Thu 4th Dec 2003 13:26 UTC

I'm not sure if you realize just how easy to use gentoo is.

i want apache, php, mysql, phpmyadmin for example
emerge apache php mysql phpmyadmin and all cross dependencies are solved, so that nothing is installed twice. i don't have to go download anything, it gets downloaded for me. etc etc.

i can't see the advantage to having to hunt for packages on webpages, and "make sure" i get all the dependencies.

slackware has a mean newsgroup
by ex-slackware user on Thu 4th Dec 2003 13:33 UTC

If you ask a question in alt.os.linux.slackware you will get attacked by the 'regulars' there - they hang around and wait to attack beginners. If somebody else once asked your same question (anywhere), you will be attacked for being lazy, dumb, and a timewaster. They will also try to get your ISP account cancelled if you say anything back.

Don't believe me - TRY IT. Don't say you weren't warned. They particularly like to try to get people's account cancelled who have cable modems.

For newbs.
by anonymous on Thu 4th Dec 2003 13:51 UTC

The first Linux distro i tried was some redhat 6 or 7, i don't really know, it came with a pc-zine i bought. Then, i used some more RHs, some mandrakes, some freebsds, debian... i guess that's it. Then i found slackware. Slackware is really the distro that's making me leave windows once and for all. I was still a complete newb when i first tried it (i couldn't even install gentoo) and still am, but i'm learning more everyday, solving problems and tweaking things on slackware, and i love it, even those problems, i love them! don't ask me why, but i do, it just makes me learn and move and read, it rules.

btw, i liked fbsd and debian too, i'd even consider using freebsd on a daily basis, but it is still not that newb-friendly for me.

the point is, i was a newb and i stuck with it. now i love it, even though my mouse wheel doesn't work under gnome :-)

@ omnivector
by Anonymous on Thu 4th Dec 2003 13:56 UTC

I'm not sure if you realize just how easy to use gentoo is.

Oh, please. Why is it that everytime someone posts an article about !Gentoo distro, some Gentoo user has to come and shout something along the lines of "...but Gentoo does it better"

Eugenia hasn't even mentioned Gentoo in the whole damn article.

I don't have anything against Gentoo, I've onced tried to install it (well, the only problem was that I became seriously bored after 2 days of compiling and aborted the install, and GRP kind of beats the purpose of a completely source based distro for me). Gentoo may be a perfect distro for a lot of people, but that doesn't mean that Gentoo users have to actually advertise it in every chance possible.

Also your example "i want apache, php, mysql, phpmyadmin for example" doesn't really show anything special compared to many other distros. You have the same functionality in Debian (apt-get), various rpm based distros (yum / urpmi / a strange hack called 'apt-rpm' ;) , Slackware (swaret & co.) and some other distros (Arch, etc.).

RE: alt.os.linux.slackware
by Haldir on Thu 4th Dec 2003 14:00 UTC

I think this attitude about the newsgroup is wrong. If you spend time reading that group you will find that they are very helpful when an intelligent question is asked. The do not suffer fools gladly however. If you ask a question that you can easily find the answer to by reading the email that Pat puts in roots mailbox, if you ask a question that is answered in the group's FAQ, if you ask a question that is on the man page, you will normally be informed of that. The answer may be a bit rude and you may be told that next time you should at least put out a little effort to find the answer yourself. But part of the learning process is developing the ability to read the friendly manuals that are provided.

For beginners that are unable to figure very simple problems out for themselves by googling, or RTFMing there are other places to ask questions. You can go to, #slackware. Or you can ask on Both of these are more forgiving of newbies. But when you have a tough problem that you have researched and can not find an answer at these 2 places, then the newsgroup is the place to go. They are very knowledgeable and very helpful when asked a question that has not been asked and answered a dozen times. These regulars are always reading this group. They don't come and go. How much patience would anyone have when they are asked for the hundredth time, "why does my screen just have text on it and not a pretty desktop.

The only people I have ever seen that they reported to their ISP were complete arses that were spamming the newsgroup or making threatening remarks. Perhaps you fell into one of those categories. Most readers of the newsgroup are very good at killfiling posters and would not need to report someone to their ISP for just asking a stupid question.

slackware on vaio
by kass on Thu 4th Dec 2003 14:05 UTC


i have used slack 9.1 on desktop , but having probs trying to get it to install on a sony vaio z600(z505 us model) which has a pcmcia cdrom.

any suggestions/ideas


Prefix in ./configure
by Accipiter on Thu 4th Dec 2003 14:07 UTC

<em>tip: on Slackware is best to always configure stuff as ./configure --prefix=/usr because some specific libs don't like the default /usr/local location, even if it's on the $PATH</em>

That's crap. As a full-on Slackware user since 1996, I can honestly say that I have never, EVER used --prefix (except in the case of Apache, since I prefer having it install to /var/www/), and I've never had the problems you state. As long as ldconfig is happy, installations that look for libraries go perfectly smooth.

re: slackware has a mean newsgroup
by blah on Thu 4th Dec 2003 14:10 UTC

how do they try to get your account canceled?

I am sure they are mean, but what power do they have over yout ISP?

re: RE: alt.os.linux.slackware
by blah on Thu 4th Dec 2003 14:13 UTC

god I hope that none of those people are teachers.

re: slackware on vaio
by blah on Thu 4th Dec 2003 14:14 UTC

get a new laptop :-)

v An idea for Eugenia
by slack boogie on Thu 4th Dec 2003 14:20 UTC
by cheezwog on Thu 4th Dec 2003 14:40 UTC

With all this talk of installing software, I'm surprised to see no mention of this...
It's kinda like apt-get for Slackware. I find it works very well.

re: haldir on alt.os.linux.slackware
by enloop on Thu 4th Dec 2003 14:42 UTC

The tone of the slackware newsgroup is, in many cases, unfriendly and reminiscent of the OS/2 advocacy groups. It isn't doing Slackware any good.

Several frequent posters seem to have adopted an ownership attitude and are quick to jump on other posters for not adhering to the so-called rules of the group. Of course, no one can own a Usenet group and no one can impose their own rules. These guys are just posturing.

I have very limited patience with anyone who is, first, annoyed by newbie questions and, second, goes out of his way to post an abusive non-answer. Since they claim to be so annoyed, you'd think the last thing they'd want to do is spend even more time castigating someone. If they honestly believe they're trying to police "their" group, I'd remind them that isn't their job. If they want a newsgroup that doesn't attract newbies, they should start one.

Pat's mail to root is, I suspect, left unread by many newbies who either don't see the "you have mail" message, and/or don't know how to read it. In any case, that's about the last place you'd look for help with a problem that pops up several weeks after installation.

The newsgroup's FAQ is neither very useful or very visible, so there's little wonder people ask questions that are answered in it. Certainly, there is no reason to expect that anyone who doesn't frequent the newsgroup would have any reason to know that the FAQ exists. Why not post a link to that rather than launch into a tirade about how to ask questions?

One cute trick is post a link to ESR's rant on asking questions. These guys want people to prove themselves via a rite of passage -- demonstrating that they've looked everywhere for an answer --before they'll deign to treat them with respect.

But, in all cases, people will ask question that are answered elsewhere. That's no excuse for rude replies. Posters who post rude replies are just that: rude.

tried it, tis nice, but some issues
by D'Arcy on Thu 4th Dec 2003 14:42 UTC

I've been using slack for a month or two now, and have been pretty impressed overall. I like the inherent simplicity of it. However that said, there are some issues there, particularly kernel ones. I've installed slack at home with little problems, an Athlon 1.2 with 'real' hardware components, not crappy integrated stuff. I've also installed it at work on a P4 with highly integrated intel chip components (eeproo100 eth card, i810 audio, i845 video) and there has been some issues. When you look at dmesgs you'll see a slew of errors with the i810 module show up. Also, the framebuffer seems a bit funky, but that could just be me. A friend here also installed it, and noticed an NFS install using the ISOs would not work. He had to make a directory of the tgz files and install it that way. (note he didn't have a hard copy of the ISOs at the time). He also had the issue with incorrect modules, and had to fix it by installing a vanilla kernel which worked fine. So, anyhow, slack is nice, but far from perfect.

On another note, I wanted to know if anybody could tell me how 9.1 gets the fonts so freaking crisp, I love it. I've been using Bitstream fonts on other distros now, and while they do looks good, they don't kind have the crispness I saw in gnome 2.4 under slack 9.1. Anyone know why?

Lastly, on a totally different note, I've been trying SuSE pro 9.0 lately, and must say, for a person who said a couple of weeks ago that SuSE sucks, I'm really, really impressed. They have one fine distro there now, one that I will be recommending to others.

RE: enloop
by Haldir on Thu 4th Dec 2003 14:48 UTC

"The newsgroup's FAQ is neither very useful or very visible, so there's little wonder people ask questions that are answered in it. Certainly, there is no reason to expect that anyone who doesn't frequent the newsgroup would have any reason to know that the FAQ exists. Why not post a link to that rather than launch into a tirade about how to ask questions? "

Not visible? The link to the FAQ is posted on the newsgroup several times a day.

System/Server Tools
by Anonymous on Thu 4th Dec 2003 15:07 UTC

From article > Some effort to include integrated server/system tools for various tasks and some differentiation on the desktop side would be most welcome

Are the GUI apps that redhat/fedora ship with their distro not properitary? I just assumed everyone else had those tools too.

re: Eugenia
by skaeight on Thu 4th Dec 2003 15:07 UTC

Just make sure you always do a "./configure --prefix=/usr" instead of a simple "./configure" because some apps like python-gtk bindings don't like getting installed on teh default /usr/local/. That path is on the $PATH but these bindinds require to be on /usr so always-always do your configures with --prefix=/usr

I dont think thats the best idea in the world. You might end up overwriting some important libraries. /usr/local is there for a reason, that's where all of your additional software is supposed to go.

PATH doesnt have a whole lot do w/ software finding libraries it needs, that is /etc/'s job. Just make sure /usr/local/lib is in /etc/ and you're set. It's much safer to just install anything outside the distro in the default, /usr/local. /usr is for distro stuff.

RE: Nested X Session?
by Ian Christie on Thu 4th Dec 2003 15:26 UTC

The easiest way I found to do the nested X session was to install Dropline. They add an icon in the System area of the Applications menu that handles starting up the nested X and you can select any of the available window managers or desktop environments.

Yes I know, 70+ posts, but just read through all coments tp see if it had been mentioned. ;)

Slack & fonts
by Matthew Smith on Thu 4th Dec 2003 15:34 UTC

What is font handling like in Slackware? I gave up on Mandrake (partly) because the fonts sucked, especially the scaling. What is the situation like in Slack? Yahoo groups was the main problem.

Also, is installation really that difficult? I installed Slackware on a 486 back in 1996 I think, and it worked fine. Has it changed much since then? Or has everyone else's installers just gone forward?

Some help for new Slack users
by Jesper Juhl on Thu 4th Dec 2003 15:52 UTC

Some of you considering using Slackware might bennefit from this FAQ I wrote a while back. Although it focuses on Slack 9.0 99% of it applies just as well to 9.1 (or older versions for that matter).
You can find the document at

re: slack and fonts
by enloop on Thu 4th Dec 2003 16:00 UTC

If the last time you installed Slack was in 1996, you'll find it has improved a lot since then, as has Lnux in general.

Slack 9.1 uses XFree86 4.3.0, and includes Bitstream's Vera truetype fonts. On my system -- Matrox G500 and aging ViewSonic PS790 -- Slack's X display quality is excellent. (I do find it better in Dropline Gnome than in KDE, though.)

The install remains non-graphical. By itself, that's a non-issue. But, although Slack does a good job of detecting hardware, new installs require manual partioning and manual XFree86 setup. That said, once you know what you're doing, Slack installs very quickly.

by Mikhail Capone on Thu 4th Dec 2003 16:00 UTC

I am what I'd call a power-newbie. I'm new to using Linux, but not new to computers and I've read TONS about Linux before making the jump.

Some months ago I installed Mandrake 9.1 but it was slow on my hardware and I felt that I wasn't learning anything about Linux. It felt bloated and I stopped using it figuring that I needed better hardware to run modern Linux + X.

Well, ~5 days ago I installed Slackware 9.1 and it runs like a charm! Just by reading the "Slackware Book" on the website and a few Slack forums I could install and configure the thing perfectly.

I even, for the first time, recompiled a kernel (upgraded from 2.4.22 to 2.4.23, and optimized it for my CPU) and everything worked like a charm.

Slackware feels really snappy in XFce 4.0.1 (which I upgraded from 3.99 with Swaret), my favourite WM, but it *also* feels fast in KDE , to the contrary of Mandrake.

Sure I had to learn a little bit of CLI, but that's the beauty of it. On Mandrake you don't *have* to learn it to configure thing, so when things go wrong or you want to change something that isn't GUI, you have no idea at all what to do.

Long live Slackware!

by Marco on Thu 4th Dec 2003 16:04 UTC

I try Slack, Debian, and Gentoo, and the other's distro. So Slack is nice with the swaret & co.
Debian its a very nice distro but i sugest the unstable for desktop, the apt-get it's just amazing.
Gentoo, is a very good distro the pros is the optimization. In a post I read that: "emerge php, mysql, etc" and I say: it's true but you do: "emerge php, mysql, etc". and you wait and wait and wait and wait, this i good for the people who have time to spend, the other people can't wait so much time to do emerge.

In that moment my distro is Debian/unstable but I search a distro like vector, or arch, i686 optimized, and easy to update and config.

re: Prefix in ./configure
by Richard Tough on Thu 4th Dec 2003 16:30 UTC

Ever tried compiling a new build of Freetype? I was scratching my head for quite some time before I realised it was going into the wrong place.
But alas, now I have some good quality fonts ;)

RE: Gentoo
by Anonymous on Thu 4th Dec 2003 16:36 UTC

""emerge php, mysql, etc". and you wait and wait and wait and wait, this i good for the people who have time to spend, the other people can't wait so much time to do emerge."

I hate to turn a Slackware review into a Gentoo ad, but sometimes there's a need to clear some misconceptions. Most, I'd be bold and suggest 95%, of software packages do not take more than 5 mins to compile on a 1GHz and above machine. In fact, a lot more take less.

Only a few packages take a ridiculous amount of time to compile. And when you compile them, you hardly need to compile them for weeks or if not months to come. It's not as if you compile them every hour. It's also not as if compiling a package prevents you from using your box.

Just to get some Myths out of the way.

by Gossamer Axe on Thu 4th Dec 2003 17:00 UTC

I started with Slack in 98, I found it easier (v 3.5) than RedHat (5.2) and Debian to use. IMHO, for a beginner to start with, it makes any other distro a piece of cake to use after you get the hang of it. BSD init scripts rock! you have about a dozen, compared to the RedHat setup which has a lot more in various directories. As far as updates, there's a script (find it on called update-slackware that automates the updates for's a simple BASH script, I run it from my file server and all my other machines can update from that one. It's a breeze!


by sid on Thu 4th Dec 2003 17:33 UTC

I recently made the switch back to Slackware and haven't looked back. I'm an "above average user" who prefers to compile much of my own software anyways. It seems to fit a perfect balance for me. The binary distribution with a nearly flawless, core set of libraries that about anything reasonably coded and distributed compiles on. Its nice to know exactly what options, patches are compiled into your applications/kernel.

Why Slackware rocks
by df on Thu 4th Dec 2003 17:36 UTC

The reason people like Slackware is that it doesn't pretend it's a desktop Linux. It's just there, and you do what you need to do. People get disappointed with Red Hat and Mandrake because it tries to be something Linux is just not ready for yet, but with Slackware, you can roll your own

Gentoo vs Slackware
by Flecko on Thu 4th Dec 2003 17:47 UTC

I know this isn't a distro war, but I've used both Gentoo and Slackware(slackware was my first distro from the 3.x series back in 1996-ish) and I like Slackware a whole lot more.

I've seen published benchmarks(can't find the damn link) that actually show an architecture specific compile of Gentoo performing slower than the "generic" installs of other distributions. And almost every distro thats worth its weight has an "apt-get" or "emerge" substitute. So lets all quit the squawking about which distro is better, and just help people that like slackware get into it.

Slackware misc ISO
by LKS on Thu 4th Dec 2003 17:55 UTC

The Norwegian Slackware mirror is a fast reliable mirror, that provides all these packages (OpenOffice w/gnome, Mozilla Thunderbird/Firebird, Mplayer, frozen bubbles, java, gkrellm, ++) in a "misc" ISO. Quite nice!

by Juan on Thu 4th Dec 2003 18:03 UTC

Good article on linux.

RE: package management woes
by Rob on Thu 4th Dec 2003 18:12 UTC

I never had dependency problems with Slackware 9. Now .rpm based distros like Lycoris yes they drove me crazy. But I can't think of a single dependency issue I had with Slack 9 building from source.

RE: Prefix in ./configure
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 18:13 UTC

>That's crap.

No it is not. Try compiling gtk-python and if it gets installed on /usr/local pkgconfig goes berzerk for gtk-python apps.

by Rayiner Hashem on Thu 4th Dec 2003 18:35 UTC

FYI, Plastik is not the default for KDE 3.2. The developers don't want to make a change like that when the default was just changed in 3.1. Plastik may be up for consideration in 4.0, however. Its one of the few professional-looking themes out there. Just glitzy enough to be easy on the eyes, but still kinda generic and easy to deal with.

RE: @Eugenia
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 18:45 UTC

And that's why it should be the default then. Plastic is a world better than Keramic IMO.

RE: Re: Prefix in ./configure
by Accipiter on Thu 4th Dec 2003 18:48 UTC

Try compiling gtk-python and if it gets installed on /usr/local pkgconfig goes berzerk for gtk-python apps.

I downloaded the newest PYGTK from">here = 1.99.0... Package gtkgl-2.0 was not found in the pkg-config search path." Not a surprise, considering gtkgl isn't installed.

After it was installed, I downloaded and installed a PyGTK application called "<a href="">heartbeat" and attempted to run it. Python couldn't find the gtk module, however that was also not a surprise considering I didn't have PYTHONPATH defined (since I never use python). A quick "export PYTHONPATH=/usr/local/lib/python2.2/site-packages/gtk-2.0/" and heartbeat immediately started working.

So where's the problem?

RE: Re: Prefix in ./configure
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 18:52 UTC

Well, gDesklets wouldn't work for me. /usr/local is on the $PATH, but pkgconfig would not find the python/gtk libs if they wouldn't get installed on /usr/.

all you other distros ain't got sh*t
by steve on Thu 4th Dec 2003 18:56 UTC

slackware is hands down my favorite distribution to work with, so it doesn't have a nice gui setup--I don't care. It's stable, secure, and I find that the installation, upgrade, and maintenance to be rather intuitive. Actually, I'm rather fond of the installation process for slackware!

If you don't know how to modify config files or are too busy to bother, maybe you shouldn't even be extracting the power of linux. Go get Xandros or some whack distro like Lindows, or why not stay on Windows and/or Mac. I don't use linux because I'm tired of Windows or can't afford mac, I use linux for the power. Nothing else rapes your x86 better.

Besides, it's really not that hard to look up usenet or google groups or to read up linux documentation for all the answers. I'd definitely say that slackware was hard in the beginning, but as I came to better understand linux in general, now it's a piece of cake. Learning about the system through slackware has been invaluable. I can't see how you can use those other distros without understanding or never having to tweak a config file. That's just the way it is now. And who knows, maybe someone will create a gui for you someday, but it's always nice to know the nuts and bolts. And scripting sometimes is a whole lot better than clicking through a gui.

I don't think slackware is being hurt by not attracting newbies. It's the businesses and pro users that revel in it. So hate slackware all you want, it's not going away anytime soon.

RE: Re: Re: Prefix in ./configure
by Accipiter on Thu 4th Dec 2003 19:21 UTC

Well, gDesklets wouldn't work for me. /usr/local is on the $PATH, but pkgconfig would not find the python/gtk libs if they wouldn't get installed on /usr/.

That's your problem. Why are you editing $PATH? You should be defining $PKG_CONFIG_PATH. Even the error messages generated by ./configure are telling you this.

For what it's worth, I just compiled gDesklets perfectly. This is a total case of pilot error being blamed on the distribution.

by Laurentbon on Thu 4th Dec 2003 19:22 UTC

Hey Eugenia, it looks like your wish for FAM have been granted! Todd (THE man behind Dropline) has just released a dropline update including FAM latest version!
With nested login a default in Dropline and gdesklets working perfectly thanks to a contributed package (see Dropline forum), have you considered trying Dropline fully - rather than just nicking some dropline packages occasionally ;-)?

RE: Re: Re: Prefix in ./configure
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 19:23 UTC

>Why are you editing $PATH?

I did NOT edit any paths! I just did a normal installation of gtk-python and gDesklets wouldn't compile because its pkgconfig check was not able to find gtk-python! And yes, /usr/local IS on the $PATH! So, drop it.

v Python, prefix, paths, and presumptions.
by Accipiter on Thu 4th Dec 2003 19:38 UTC
@Eugenia: pkgconfig
by Guido Schimmels on Thu 4th Dec 2003 19:40 UTC

export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig
or better
export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig:/usr/X11R6/lib/pkgconfig
to /etc/profile

pkgconfig doesn't care for your PATH variable.
It only looks for *.pc files under the prefix it has been installed, that is /usr/lib/pkgconfig

RE: @Eugenia: pkgconfig
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Dec 2003 19:44 UTC

If I was needed to do that manually, then it is a problem of the distribution. I should not have to edit these files to setup the already installed pkgconfig to work with libs that are installed on /usr/local it should have being transparent to the user.

Shout at Havoc.

RE: @Eugenia: pkgconfig
by Guido Schimmels on Thu 4th Dec 2003 19:52 UTC

There was a discussion about it on
Keith Packard suggested to enhance the pkgconfig default search path. But Havoc didn't like it, I can't remember why.

v RE: Re: @Eugenia: pkgconfig
by Accipiter on Thu 4th Dec 2003 20:16 UTC
Another convert ;)
by Matt Lacey on Thu 4th Dec 2003 21:08 UTC

Once you run slackware you never look back! I reviewed Vector 4 when it was released and despite the fact it's based on Slackware and the fact that I *really* liked it - it's still been removed from my system.

For me Slackware and FreeBSD are the two greatest alternate OSes. I used to be all for BeOS but it's too unusable these days (looking forward to zeta though).

Slack becomes something of a way of life. It's addictive. SlackwareBSD would be awesome - but ONLY if Patrick made it.

one more thing...
by Matt Lacey on Thu 4th Dec 2003 21:11 UTC

For those who say it's not for newbies - you're right. However, if you don't mind getting your paws dirty you can do what I did - jump in at the deepend. Apart from about 2 weeks worth of trying to run SuSE (following which I spent about 2 years not using Linux) I tried Slackware, and through chatting to a mate on the net who used it I quickly got sorted.

by borysgodunow on Thu 4th Dec 2003 21:21 UTC

I've read this article in libranet 2.7 installed this morning upgraded to debian unstable to get gnome 2.4 - it was really UNSTABLE - I wasn,t able to get running.
Then I realized that I was going to take a closer look at Dropline Gnome anyway = quick format. Dropline rules !

Eugenia, You mentioned knowing 5 slackware tricks - can You give us some more info on that ?

5 tricks...
by Matt Lacey on Thu 4th Dec 2003 21:34 UTC

One of em's gotta be turning up and un-muting the volume channels in alsa ;)

Spent ages wondering why I didn't have sound on a fresh install =OP

Matt Lacey
by Bill on Thu 4th Dec 2003 22:01 UTC

Spent ages wondering why I didn't have sound on a fresh install =OP

Haha! Ditto, here!

I personally love slack, ever since I first tried it in 7.x... I dual boot windows and slack, and wouldn't dream of switching to another Distro.

Perhaps someone should put together a set of scripts to make a fresh Slackware install more desktop oriented.... here's a couple ideas ;oP

hmmm... maybe this wouldn't be a bad idea....

he he he
by Matt Lacey on Thu 4th Dec 2003 22:11 UTC

I think you're on to something there. Of course booting to gui requires X to be set up - something I always miss out when installing as I like to get the nvidia drivers.

Guess that's probably another of the tips and tricks..

set the default runlevel in inittab

by Charlie on Thu 4th Dec 2003 22:46 UTC

Hey all:

A while back, I figured out that I should probably set PKG_CONFIG_PATH in etc/profile, and I can add my 2-cents that this is definitely that way to go. It makes compiling and installing software (like gphoto, gdekslets, etc.) a snap.

In fact, I emailed Pat and asked him if Slackware should be doing this by default.


RE: Bill
by anonymous on Thu 4th Dec 2003 23:24 UTC

Haha, i had the exact same problem. I went nuts for 5 minutes before i found out about alsamixer.

Funny how this little things make us laugh when they happen in slackware. Maybe Eugenia is right, we all know what i stepped into, we shouldn't be (and weren't) expecting some huge text file with "PRESS THE M KEY AND THE UP ARROW UNDER ALSAMIXER, THAT IS IF YOU FIND ABOUT ALSAMIXER... OK OK, TYPE "alsamixer", there."

Xconfig, etc
by david on Fri 5th Dec 2003 00:24 UTC

I clearly fall into that greater than 20 distros, I would argue greater than 50 distros. Most of the time I am back running slackware after a few days. RedHat has almost lured me away more than once, so has Lycoris. I have been looking for a way to get Windows free and Slackware + Dropline GNOME was the answer.

If you read osnews regularly you might have cought a very good XFree86 trick. Copy the XF86Config file generated by KNOPPIX, it is that simple. Well, back up, the non-gui installer of slackware is actually very simple and easy to use. As simple and easy to use as any of them (the favorites debian and gentoo are clearly exceptions to this rule). Then once slackware is installed either boot knoppix from cd and copy the xf86config file or if you have it saved somewhere else.

Sure dropline gnome is an extra step, and non-gui but is even simpler than slackware to install.

Because the intaller has changed very little you only ever have to learn it once, go for a full install with newbie and never ask the question (what are all of those other options about)...

and what is the deal with grub, many of the distros I have tried are total failures simply because of grub, I quite often have to go and fix other distros with slackware and lilo, I just dont get it.

by hmmm on Fri 5th Dec 2003 00:30 UTC

"when I am under Linux I now prefer to use Slackware"

I admire your work. I think we've learned a lot together discussion these topics over the last year and I hope the learning never stops.

You have my respect. ;)

Re configure prefix
by Tobby on Fri 5th Dec 2003 01:32 UTC

Actually some seem to be missing one of the major points of this. Yes /usr/local is ok for programs you install but if you go to update a program that is already on the system and you don't at least attempt to intall it in the same way and location you end up with stray junk all over the machine in a rather short time. Now if it is a library or somehing you now have two copies one old and one new wana guess which one is going to be linked in to other programs you compile? It is just good practice to not blindly compile programs without first looking at what it is and where it should go. This is very true for ones already on the system. Telling folks it ok is just not good sound advice. And be carefull with some of the packages sites you might see posted around I just downloaded one today and good thing I checked it first my / would have had some wacked permission and a local user as the owner. Stick to sites that you know provide good packages such as or a handfull of the others.

I am sold!
by X on Fri 5th Dec 2003 02:11 UTC

Slackware is a great distro (I usually use SuSE). It's much resposive and boots/shuts much faster. Just finished installing K3b-0.10.3; downloaded from the K3b site (just the source), compiled and installed without a hitch. The fonts are great. Mozilla has already java & flash plugins installed. Gnome 2.4 rocks; it has a feature that changes screen resolution on the fly. Only problem is no scrolling with my USB mouse though I selected USB option during install, but it's easily fixed with ZAxisMapping option in XF86Config. I don't know if this an XFree86 thing; but did anyone succeed an automatic configure of mouse scroll option without editing XF86Config? Nevertheless, I am sold on Slackware.

fonts in slackware merged in openoffice-1.1
by Slackers on Fri 5th Dec 2003 02:42 UTC

after reading thru' 111 all messages, I remembered there was a quiz about fonts in Openoffice-1.1.
Slackware-9.1 provides a fonts set quite good w/ Bitstream Vera Sans/Mono/Serif. However,you can absolutely try to install and configure out the others such as Microsoft True Type Core Fonts (msttcorefonts) (downloadable at ) and utf-8 fontsets on your slackBox. After all done, Slackware will be The Miss Linux 2004 right now :-). And then, Openoffice-1.1 can heritage all fonts from slackwareBox (located in /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts) by installing fonts for it:
at root:
#cd /path/to/your/install/openoffice (eg, /opt/openoffice)
then openoffice will pop up a windows to configure printer and fonts, follow steps there to install all fonts for openoffice.
Back to your ~/home and try ./soffice. Well now you got a heaps of nice fonts for openoffice//
//Slackware drives me to slack--where? :-)

slow scrollkeeper
by Anonymous on Fri 5th Dec 2003 04:55 UTC

If scrollkeeper updates are slow you need to install the sgml-tools package.

good review
by TC on Fri 5th Dec 2003 06:08 UTC

The best part of this review was that it talked about what it's like 10 months after the installation - which, I think, is the true test of a system. I have a pet peeve for sluggish systems, and whenever I install an OS (quite often since I also do it for friends), I spend at least an hour turning off all of the bells and whistles and still don't seem to get the response that I'm looking for. Slackware has always just felt more responsive for me, and is why I like it. Plus, I was able to get a light system installed that hard booted into X in under 6 seconds. Not bad, huh?:).

v Anti Slackware Community
by Richard James on Fri 5th Dec 2003 08:24 UTC
Anti Slackware Community
by Richard James on Fri 5th Dec 2003 08:36 UTC

@ex-slackware user or Randy Myers

If you lost your cable account I would say it was for breaking the TOC of your ISP. If you want to SPAM constantly in the newsgroup about pointless things that no-one cares about then maybe you might be breaking yout TOC and your ISP should kick you out.

Image if someone spammed this message board with Eugenia sucks every message.

The newsgroup's FAQ is neither very useful or very visible, so there's little wonder people ask questions that are answered in it. Certainly, there is no reason to expect that anyone who doesn't frequent the newsgroup would have any reason to know that the FAQ exists. Why not post a link to that rather than launch into a tirade about how to ask questions?

Since I wrote most of that FAQ would you like to explain what is so wrong with it?

And by the way I am one of the people on the AOLS newsgroup that has fought for years to get people to act nice. Both regulars and newbies. The FAQ's where written exactly to solve most common problems so that we could have more time dealing with the difficult problems.

And what I really don't under stand is why it is that if I go to all the trouble to make these things easy for some people that certain people feel it is their [explecitive deleted] right to tell me I am a [explecitive deleted].

I will now quote something from the AOLS quote.

"Be polite."

Now why the [explecitive deleted]'s can't any get that straight. It really makes me wonder if I should try and help these people if some [explecitive deleted] just want to be [explecitive deleted] about it.

by xmp on Fri 5th Dec 2003 09:09 UTC

As far as the Vaio, u may need a boot disk or something with specific drivers. With my Compaq laptop, slack wouldn't install until I changed a couple of settings in the bios.

If all else fails, most distros support installing from an iso image on the hard drive.

Some users will have boot issues with 9.1. My older desktop won't boot it, and the floppy images were too big for my floppy. In this case you can burn the floppy image to cd, and create ur own bootable install iso. There are some instructions floating about on how to do this.

by Anonymous on Fri 5th Dec 2003 09:54 UTC

The review is great, and so are the comments. A few things about checkinstall:

It's a third-party add-on package, on the Slackware Extras CD (or in the /extras directory on ftp).

Like you, I use checkinstall every time I compile from source (./configure && make && checkinstall). Checkinstall can also create RPMs or DEBs as well, and integrates your compiled software into your distro's package scheme.

I compiled MPlayer with checkinstall. When I did a swaret --upgrade with as a repository, swaret thoughtfully upgraded MPlayer with the newer version on

by mythought on Fri 5th Dec 2003 10:41 UTC

What is the difference between Dropline Gnome and Gnome?

RE: Dropline?
by cringer on Fri 5th Dec 2003 10:58 UTC

What is the difference between Dropline Gnome and Gnome?

Dropline Gnome is a customized Gnome distribution made specifically for Slackware. I features a niceish installer-updater and a few cool customizations. See for more information.

by mythought on Fri 5th Dec 2003 11:55 UTC


BTW, I am going to purchase slackware after reading Eugenia's review I feel sort of persuaded.... Currently i am using Xp and would like to set up a dual boot machine. Is this as easy to do as w/- major distros? (partitioning etc, ..)
What about Real player? and Acrobat reader? Are they easily installable on slack?

Thanks for your awnsers

v SlackWare 9.1
by Scott Allen on Fri 5th Dec 2003 12:01 UTC
v To Scott Allen
by Laurentbon on Fri 5th Dec 2003 14:45 UTC
@Richard James
by enloop on Fri 5th Dec 2003 15:29 UTC

Nothing wrong with the FAQ, and good for you for doing it, but I don't see it as aimed at newbies. It seems more appropriate for folks with at least some experience with Linux.E.g., real newbies don't yet have the context needed for man pages and such to make any sense.

Beats me why some people are rude and obnoxious on newsgroups. Perhaps they're just rude and obnoxious, period.

by hkb on Fri 5th Dec 2003 17:21 UTC

You mention having tried many distros and liking Slackware the best. What was your experience with Gentoo?

I concur
by NeoSadist on Fri 5th Dec 2003 17:29 UTC

I concur. I've used slackware for a long time, and I love it. However, I kept having problems with alsa (slack 9.1) and kernel recompiles, so I stick with slackware 9.0. Dropline has also come a long way (BTW, doesn't dropline update everything to i686? it used to... this would explain the speed of slackware 9.1 with dropline).
The only other thing I can think to add to slackware is a more extensive iptables documentation. I found mine on the web, true, but I've come to appreciate that they include lots of documentation in /usr/doc/Linux-HOWTOs and /usr/doc/Linux-Mini-HOWTOs.

slackware and the newbie
by NeoSadist on Fri 5th Dec 2003 17:31 UTC

One thing I forgot to mention in my last post. Slackware may be "not newbie friendly", but I was new to linux when I first tried it. I found that if one follows the easy-to-understand instructions (or most the time just hits the enter key, since slackware installer picks the best answer as the default answer), it's easy to install and use. Therefore I highly disagree with the "slackware isn't for newbies" comments. In fact, it's probably the best for newbies in the end, due to its great stability and very balanced set of included software.

Buy the CD set
by Daniel de Kok on Fri 5th Dec 2003 18:15 UTC

Remeber: buy the CD set if you want to support Patrick Volkerding and Slackware development. Or even better: become a Slackware subscriber (subscribers only pay $25 per set and have a higher priority when a new release ships).

Slack- SuSE
by Overman on Sun 7th Dec 2003 04:01 UTC

Just my thoughts after being a long time Linux user. Slack, simply put is the best distro. Is it for newbies? Dont know, define newbie. Slack was the first distro i used and I was surely worse than any newbie. But I devoted time and I learned. There is documentation and there is; u dont need anythin else period. If u r of the kind of newbies that just dont care how everythin works or dont wanna learn and just have an alternative to windows, or if u just want to impress your friends of being a l33t linux user ----> SuSE !! Easier than windows to install, everythin autodetected and the most user-friendly the money can buy. By far superior than any other commercial distro, inlcuding red-hat which sucks so much ass. And no, mandrake isnt more user-friendly and by the time u will be realisin that it will be too much time wasted on a crappy system. Slack is a true rock-solid linux system for hardcore users(or adventurers). SuSE is the only commercial distro that is worth buyin, plus they r true pro these guys. And by the way, Gnome good but KDE just plain better. Flame on! ;)

Never regretted my switch to linux. If u go that way and dont quit from the very beginin then u just wont go back to Windows, no matter what. windows is good but for kids... c ya

newbie Slacks on
by friendly_guy on Tue 9th Dec 2003 23:02 UTC

Am I a newbie? I've only been using Linux since about July so I guess I am. I tried all the so called 'easy' distro's but in the end found Slack easier because it *works*.
So I have to type startx at a terminal: That is better than RPM freezes, supermount bugs and other wonderful problems I encountered before Slack put all the other distro's (IMHO) in the shade.

Re: cringer
by Morgan Landry on Wed 10th Dec 2003 01:07 UTC

Currently i am using Xp and would like to set up a dual boot machine. Is this as easy to do as w/- major distros? (partitioning etc, ..)

Yes, it is very simple. Just stick the Slackware CD in and follow the instructions. Slackware comes with cfdisk, and that helps you do partitioning.

What about Real player? and Acrobat reader? Are they easily installable on slack?

Real Player and Acrobat Reader are as easy to install as any other Linux distro. Just untar the program, which is similar to unzipping it with WinZip, and read the README file and the INSTALL file.

With Slackware, I hope you like to read documentation. If you don't like to read or learn, then don't try Slackware. But if you do, then try it. You'll have a lot of fun. And be sure to join us at alt.os.linux.slackware if you have any (intelligent) questions. There are some really helpful people there. And ignore what you read about the "evil" newsgroup. We're nice to you if you're nice to us.