Linked by Michael Hall on Thu 15th Jul 2004 07:35 UTC
Slackware, Slax My first experience with Slackware Linux came with version 9.1, after 4 years of using various versions of Red Hat and SUSE Linux. I disliked the general direction these distributions were moving in and didn't see their increasing focus on the "big end of town" as auguring well for either myself or clients of my small one-person IT consultancy business. I quickly became a Slackware convert and have since used it exclusively for all my server deployments. Check in for more and 15 screenshots from Slackware 10.
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Scalability
by Anonymous on Thu 15th Jul 2004 07:58 UTC

In my experience Slackware has been great for small installations, however, when it comes to managing anything larger it lacks the enterprise level features of many other distributions.

RE: Scalability
by Eugenia on Thu 15th Jul 2004 08:04 UTC

I don't think that the Slackware developer has the resources to properly develop or test Slackware for the Enterprise. I don't think they see the Enterprise as their market. From what he told me last year, they have a bunch of customers who are basically running Slackware on old 486s or Pentium machines, serving small companies or personal servers. Surely they are a lot of admins who use Slackware for bigger things, but the main market for Slackware are small companies and small ISPs.

I personally use Slackware as my Linux desktop (when I am booted to Linux) and while it doesn't have the GUI tools than Mdk/SuSE/RH sport, if you learn a few tricks with it, Slackware is the most stable/fast and easy to get by distro. You just need to learn 4-5 things key things about it on how it works to get the idea first. ;)

v Screenshots
by Anonymous on Thu 15th Jul 2004 08:17 UTC
v RE: Screenshots
by Eugenia on Thu 15th Jul 2004 08:19 UTC
v Wouldn't be a OSNews story
by screenshots on Thu 15th Jul 2004 08:22 UTC
Slackware
by David on Thu 15th Jul 2004 08:42 UTC

Slackware 10 from my impression is their best release. I'm relatively new to Slackware, but after going through Mandrake, Redhat and Fedora, Slackware has always been the most stable distro. I started out with the previous version (9 and then 9.1) and went through hell to get it working. It wasn't ideal so I went back into Windows for a while. I was excited to hear 10 being released all of sudden after trying Fedora (which was not 'nice', but it reminded me of RedHat so it was alright for all its faults) and downloaded it. Gnome 2.6 and Alsa, looks and sounds right. Don't need a sound server, Alsa handles all that fine. So far not many problems, very stable and easy to use so far. Great job guys! [Running it both as a server and desktop.]

Thank you for the review
by Carlos Vendramini on Thu 15th Jul 2004 08:43 UTC

I'm using Slackware 10.0 as my home desktop and it is a pretty desktop system. I enabled 2.6.7 stock kernel added with Con Colivas patch (CK5) as the unique "non default" component (I like supermount..:-) and others adds).

My machine is a Atlhon t-bird 900Mhz with 256MB RAM and, SB Live Value, Gforce2 MX 400, ASUS A7V133, Seagate Medalist 4.3GB 5400RPM (UDMA33) - /dev/hde as my "/home" (384MB for "/swap) and a Seagate U-Series 20GB 5400RPM (UDMA100) - /dev/hda: "/boot", "/", "/opt" and a CD-ROM drive LG 24x10x40 - /dev/hdc.

The performance with Slackware 10.0 is great... And the overall setup was like a soft breeze.:-)

About desktop environment, I enabled Gnome.

Re: Scalability
by Michael Hall on Thu 15th Jul 2004 08:48 UTC

I think that Eugenia has hit the nail on the head. I may not have made the point clearly enough, but early on I tried to make the point that I was talking about small installations (in small business and small community organisations). These are the type of organisations I work for, so I can't really comment about bigger sites. For me at least, part of Slackware's appeal is that it is not an enterprise distro.

Don't get me wrong, it is great that Linux is now in the enterprise and that the bigger distros are catering for the corporates. But there is also a "small end of town" that can't necessarily afford the costs involved in enterprise Linux, but still needs reliabilty and stability. The type of costs I'm referring to are big-dollar up front software costs, costly support/update plans, etc.

Another put-off is a creeping feeling of becoming locked-in to one enterprise Linux's way of doing things. I'm not sure how real this is, but I get the distinct impression that that is where some of the bigger distros are trying to take their clients. And why wouldn't they, that is a standard enterprise level business practice.

Out of interest, what type of enterprise features are you referring to?

Dropline Gnome?
by Carlos Vendramini on Thu 15th Jul 2004 08:59 UTC

Is Dropline Gnome the desktop environment that is enabled in the system presented on review?

Seems to be cool. I'm using the Gnome standard.

See my desktop: http://img4.photobucket.com/albums/0903/RedPinguim/linux/slackware_...

RE: Dropline Gnome?
by Eugenia on Thu 15th Jul 2004 09:04 UTC

No, I am using Slackware's Gnome. But I do install sometimes some Dropline third party packages that don't exist on the stock Slackware, but only when I am sure they won't interfere with the system packages.

Mysql package on slackware
by BrownJenkin on Thu 15th Jul 2004 09:07 UTC

I had lot o problemas with the mysql package on slack 10. I've chosen it during the installation process, and i've decided to start it during boot time in the post-installation config. During the boot time it always returned the message 'Mysql ended' and standing at the log he couldn't find a 'frm' file.

Anyway, slackware 10 is quite similar to 9.1. The speed is amazing, stability is quite good. It's a great distro, and with the /testing kernel 2.6.7 works really fine.

RE:RE: Dropline Gnome?
by Carlos Vendramini on Thu 15th Jul 2004 09:08 UTC

Thanks Eugenia, I will search throught Dropline DB looking for good and useful apps...:-)

Comparisons?
by Anonymous on Thu 15th Jul 2004 09:09 UTC

Considering Slackware's main target audience (small servers), which distros are its main contenders? Also, are there any advantages in using Slackware when compared to FreeBSD?

Nautilus + cdparanoia
by Carlos Vendramini on Thu 15th Jul 2004 09:13 UTC

Hummm.. I remember now, I had a little problem to start Nautilus at the first Gnome session. The issue was about cdparanoia..:-)

swaret --install cdparanoia resolved the question.

RE: Comparisons?
by Eugenia on Thu 15th Jul 2004 09:16 UTC

As you pointed out, FreeBSD is a contender to Slackware, Debian is another one, while people who are used to RH will also use it for the same purposes. But it seems that Debian and FreeBSD as the main ones.

I used to be more into FreeBSD than into Linux the last 2 years, but since I found Slackware I stack with it for one reason: things compile/work easier so you end up having a bigger percentage of success over *random* software that you may want to install. While FreeBSD has the ports system, ports are not always up to date and sometimes they are not full-featured because the FreeBSD subsystem doesn't support some Linux-specific features. Such examples are web cam support and its apps, Mono (the FreeBSD mono port is not full-featured), some DVD/Video apps etc.

If you only care about servers, I guess Debian, Slackware and FreeBSD are pretty equivelant in ease of use and stability (FreeBSD might get some edge in some other fields, but not without having some knowledge on how to tweak it properly). If you care for a workstation, go with Slackware as it has newer stable packages than Debian and it is easy to get by.

So, between Debian, Slack and FreeBSD, I must say this: use all three, test them, see which one ticks you on and go with it. They are very close to each other over all.

RE: Mysql package on slackware
by David on Thu 15th Jul 2004 09:17 UTC

Say, if you didn't get mysql working, here is some help! Otherwise feel free to ignore this message ;)

# su mysql
# mysql_install_db
# cd /var/lib
# chown -R mysql:root mysql
# /etc/rc.d/rc.mysqld restart

thats how I got it to work!


Cheers,
David

Some months ago, I went from Fedora to Debian because Fedora felt so slow. Debian was a big relieve in terms of speed.

But of course I notice the great enthousiasm of Slackware users every time I read a slack article. My question is, is slackware even speedier than Debian? How 'bloated' is Debian in comparison to Slackware?

Another distribution that looks very lean is Arch Linux. Could anyone speculate on how Arch relates to Slackware in terms of leannes and speed?

I would say that Slackware is similar or a bit faster than Debian overall, but not by much.

Regarding Arch, I ran it for a month in April 2004. I got dissapointed by it because of its very poor quality of packages and testing. In fact, testing was pretty much non-existant. At least you know that whatever goes into Slackware-current (yes even on -current), is pretty stable! Arch, is just not.

The guys who run Arch are good guys and they have enthusiasm, but what they don't have is experience how to run the project with some strictness over of what goes in and what must be left out.

some server apps not easy to install
by tech_user on Thu 15th Jul 2004 09:42 UTC

with some of the more popular distros, some complex-to-install packages are alsready packaged and scripted... however.. this is not always the case for slackware.

for example, if you wanted to install the opengroupware.org collaboration server, you would find it not on the CDs, not in the swaret (current) online repository. so you look to the opengroupware.org website and you are lucky that it links to someone who has apparently done some work to get it working on slackweare. but its for 9.1 and you lose a little confidence. but since slackware has no frilly extras to break it should work all fine? (indeed, it was for me one of the ealrliers distros that worked with an early upgrade to kernel 2.6 - it shows that the slackware philosophy pays iff - all the popular distros broke).

but, alas, the .tgz package syou download are lacking automated scripts... you have to unpack... install and dependency you have to have postgresql ... not in swaret ... and so you install the supplied (untrusted?) postgresql and try to configure it ... which takes time as you're used to mysql. then you compile the apache module (thankfully apache is in swaret) but find that sys/types.h is missing. luckily you've seen this before and search swaret for -dev packages.. nothing tehre... so you try "glibc" and a few entries pop up.. which one? ah, its the main glibc package tat is not installed (why?). but that's fixable.. and we then proceed to get apache up and postgres up ... finally we can get the opengroupware.org service up... (which also had dependencies on gnustep and objective-c which required ugly softlinking directories, adding things to /etc/ldconfig.so.conf, and addign strange things to the $PATH just to make the scripts retuirn with no erros- but that would scare many readers off) ...

in the end - did it work? no... a complete serach of the the filesystem (find / -name ...) to find the binaries which the rc.opengroupware scripts actually start are no-where to be found!

... or you can apt-get opengroupware, or uprmi opengroupware?

the choice is yours.

(ps - i still love slackware and use it for its no-frills strengths - i'm just highlighting one aspect which other popular distros have an advantage with)

for those who use checkinstall
by Eugenia on Thu 15th Jul 2004 09:44 UTC

The only problem I have lately with the new glibc on Slack 10 is that the stable version of checkinstall doesn't produce valid .tgz packages anymore. I am waiting for a stable update...

RE: How does it compare to Debian or Arch linux?
by XYZ on Thu 15th Jul 2004 09:54 UTC

I would say that Slackware is similar or a bit faster than Debian overall, but not by much.

I had that same feeling till 10.0 came out. E.g. Ephiphany and Mozilla load relatively slow compared to Debian. I can't find out what it is. (Yep, DMA et al are on).

If you care for a workstation, go with Slackware as it has newer stable packages than Debian and it is easy to get by.

Most people who use Debian on a workstation use testing, it is quite stable (in my experience as stable as Slack) and up-to-date. Besides, Libranet is a good "Debian on the desktop" distro...

Debians on the desktop and Slack
by javaman on Thu 15th Jul 2004 10:26 UTC

Besides, Libranet is a good "Debian on the desktop" distro...

As is Mepis, which is what I am running currently.

I have tried slack in the past, and liked a lot of things about it, but every time I have tried there has been just one or two little things that no matter what I did I couldn't get to work right.

RE: Mysql package on slackware
by jesus_mjjg on Thu 15th Jul 2004 10:33 UTC

Here's an excerpt from my slackware install journal ( I had the same problem you do ) :
cp /etc/my-large.cnf /etc/my.cnf;
chmod +x /etc/rc.d/rc.mysqld;
su - mysql;
mysql_install_db;
exit;
chown -R mysql.mysql /var/lib/mysql;
/etc/rc.d/rc.mysqld start;

RE: Mysql package on slackware
by Terje on Thu 15th Jul 2004 10:39 UTC

There are a few comments inside the /etc/rc.d/rc.mysql script that explain how to get mysql correctly set up.
The steps are similar to what has already been mentioned but it's nice to know it's explained in the mysql script.

Slackware speed and desktop use
by joef on Thu 15th Jul 2004 11:23 UTC

I've found Slackware to be the fastest binary distro on my machine. Crux Linux 2.0, which comes as a binary distro for i686, but is source-based once you have the basic system installed, did seem to be snappier, but that might have a lot to do with the applications I was able to get working. Couldn't get the GIMP to intall, for instance, but Fluxbox was very fast.

And that pretty much defines why I stick with Slackware despite constantly trying out new distros: it hits the sweet spot of combining speed and simplicity with just enough hand-holding. Red Hat and Suse (etc.) felt like an old English butler who always handled the little details for me, but did everything at a somewhat deliberate pace. Gentoo and Crux (etc.) zipped right along, but you have to do way too much work to get it going and keep it going (I like having my OS be a hobby, but not a lifestyle).

I've pretty much settled on Fluxbox and the most popular apps (Mozilla, OpenOffice...) and find I'm very productive, while still having an infinitely tweakable Linux system. Probably the best compliment I can pay Slackware is that I run OS X on a dualie G5 at work, and I much prefer Slackware on my AMD 2800-based home-built box. It's faster and more fun. Of course, I stay in MS Office all day at work, and that might explain a lot...

as a Desktop os
by Triad on Thu 15th Jul 2004 11:52 UTC

I have only been using slack since about june this year started out with 9.1.
Before I used rpm based dist mainly and som debian.
I was waiting for the fedora core 2 with high expectations and then It finally came out and I was so disapointed, it was slow and didnīt satisfy my needs at all.
So I dicited to try a compleatly new dist, and since I had been reading that slack is so good I tried it.
and wow....
Slack is the best dist that I have tried so far, like all the others I can say that it is fast and so stable.
To everybody please try slack if you havenīt before. you wont be disapointed.
Currently I have slack 9.1 on my destop and wine xp/slack 10 on my laptop using dropline-gnome on both.
And it works perfect.
Thanks to the slack team.

My first impressions
by Jef Pober on Thu 15th Jul 2004 12:01 UTC

After I nuked my system (Reiser4 + overpatched kernel + too much coffee at a late hour = bad!) I decided to give Slackware a go. Overall I liked it very much but I kinda felt like a kid in a porcelain store. I was so scared to break something and didn't really know where to start to customize my Slack system to my needs. One thing I don't really understand is why Slackware chooses LILO instead of (IMHO much better) Grub. I also don't get all those people bitching about the installer. I found it to be as (if not more) friendly than Debian's. Maybe once I find more time I'll try to get a bit more used to Slackware (back in Gentoo now).

But of course I notice the great enthousiasm of Slackware users every time I read a slack article.

Heh, indeed, which is why i take most of what they say take with a grain of salt, it is just a piece of software after all :-)

My question is, is slackware even speedier than Debian?

I see you already got some answers, i wouldn't really put much into them, as everyone seems to think their favorite distro is the fastest there is. It also varies widely what people consider speedy. I think many judges it mainly by how fast applications starts up, which i personally don't care about as i spend very little time starting applications, and i have yet to see any reliable benchmark proving that any distro is faster than another. And the startup times people get seems to be highly random, even within the same distro and on the same hardware.

How 'bloated' is Debian in comparison to Slackware?

How is debian bloated? You get absolutely nothing but the basics installed per default, well, except exim, they could have used maildrop instead. So if you feel debian is bloated then i think it was you who made it so :-)

As for the review itself, i think it was pretty poor. What i learnt from it was that it comes with a fairly recent package selection (big surprise) but absolutely nothing about how you get to configure all those packages mentioned (or do you have to do everything by hand?) or how you keep the machine up to date, or in general, how it did anything better/worse than other distros, except that it have a more limited package selection. Maybe all main distros really are so good that it is nearly impossible to find any convincing points as to why one should choose one over the other.

I also think it was funny that it talked mostly about server installs, yet featued a lot of normal desktop screenshots :-)

Some Installation Criticism Merited
by enloop on Thu 15th Jul 2004 12:23 UTC

The jabs at Slackware's installation routine do have some credibility.

The setup routine assumes the user has already partitioned the disk. If a prospective Slackware user doesn't know how to do that, or does not want to run fdisk manually, then he will never install Slackware. No Linux distribution that I've seen has managed to completely eliminate the partitioning bump, but Slackware isn't even close.

If hardware is not detected, the user will be required to identify it. E.g., a network card. Anyone interested in seeing more Linux usage should cater to the needs of people who don't know what's inside their PC.

Finally, there is the lack of a handholding way to set up X. The tools provided by X are there, of course, but the install routine doesn't tell the user about them. (And they don't work all that well.) Like partioning, Slackware assumes the user brings with her the skills needed to get it running.

That said, Slackware is a great distribution. I've used it for years. It is the only distribution I know that does not hamper the user with an overlay of well-meaning distribution-specific scaffolding that, sooner or later, gets in the way of an experienced Linux user.

Frankly, I'm surprised someone hasn't already wrapped one of the slick graphical installer/configuration routines around Slackware. It's that good.

Eugenia: Tell Us Your Handy Hints for Slackware
by enloop on Thu 15th Jul 2004 12:28 UTC

Eugenia, I suspect a lot of Slackware users would welcome a piece from you outlining your approach to setting it up as a desktop. Your screenshots are impressive.

slack
by greg on Thu 15th Jul 2004 12:29 UTC

i too really like the 'slack' way of things, but for desktop usage it just did not have enough of the key packages that i have gotten used to having (current gaim w/ yahoo fixes ect.). I switched back to debian unstable which is slackish but has a more 'automagical' package configuration/depend system.

-best
-greg

RE: Arch Linux
by benn on Thu 15th Jul 2004 12:42 UTC

Eugenia: I just wanted to say that you tried Arch during a month or so of intense growth that (for a moment) made the devs lose control of pkg quality and testing. Before then and since package quality has been great.

I don't expect you to just believe me, but I'd encourage you to try Arch again when 0.7 comes out later this month. ;)

fdisk
by Anonymous on Thu 15th Jul 2004 12:49 UTC

if you can't partition your own disk, you need not apply, move along. buy a mac, steal xp, load FCx.

whatever.

>>The setup routine assumes the user has already partitioned the disk.

no it doesn't. if it assumed that, it would simply launch and proceed. it DOESN'T assume that you've already fdisked your drive so it gives you ample opportunity and even encourages you to run cfdisk/fdisk.

there are enough hand holding distros that suck.

slack must stay true to "keep it simple" and "don't modify the source".

this in the end allows an accomplished user to perform very complex configs that would be a nightmare on a handholding distro.

@fdisk
by enloop on Thu 15th Jul 2004 13:11 UTC

Slackware's setup program says nothing about partioning. When you boot the install CD, it does not run setup. It asks you to login as root and displays a screenful of information, including the suggestion about partioning. The actual setup routine doesn't run until the user launches it from the command line.

It is a fact that anyone who cannot manually partition a disk or manually configure X is unlikely to successfully install Slackware.

As I said, I like Slackware because it delivers a minimum of handholding scaffolding. But, that doesn't mean my perspective, or your's, are representative of typical prospective Linux users. It is pointless, and arrogant, to use a product simply because it give you an ego boost.

Re: slack
by johnleemk on Thu 15th Jul 2004 13:34 UTC

I don't know what you're talking about, greg. gAIM 0.79 is in Slackware 10 and works perfectly fine with Yahoo.

Oh, and re partitioning, I was only able to install Slackware without too much fuss because I had partitioned beforehand. cfdisk confused me a lot. I probably would have gotten the hang of it, but not without a lot of hassle.

v Does anyone actually believe this nonsense?
by Rick James on Thu 15th Jul 2004 13:47 UTC
LILO
by Francisco on Thu 15th Jul 2004 13:51 UTC

I for one still welcome our LILO overlords. I like to use windows's own bootloader to boot linux (because if i reinstall windows or linux, someone messes with the other) but with ntloader i can reinstall windows without killing linux and viceversa.

On my system grub has never worked, and i know lilo pretty much, so why mess with it?

Slackware 10 Stuff
by Kingnubian on Thu 15th Jul 2004 13:59 UTC

In the last few months I've tried about a dozen different distros and have come back to slackware 10. Presently I'm using dropline gnome as my desktop and couldn't be happier. I was productive right away. I did try Arch .6 for a few months and loved it's direction but the package quality was just so so even though by now things seem to have been cleaned up. I'll give it another shot when Arch .7 comes out. PClinuxOS .7 is another distro I kinda like. Even though it's based on a now bloated Mandrake it is a slim and trim i686 compiled race car compared to it. As 1 cd bootable distro it gives the user a "Try it first from cd" experience before comitting to an install. Xandros was real easy but I kept getting the feeling of being trapped in a box with it's out of the box limited upgradability. This is perfectly fine for cooperate installs but not so IMHO for the progressive linux user. I keep coming back to Slackware and version 10 has been a great experience, except for some initial sound issues. Slackware 10 + swaret + dropline gnome = my perfect desktop.

Re: fdisk
by Michael Hall on Thu 15th Jul 2004 14:06 UTC

I was never my intention to argue that Slackware was or was not a good distro for newbies. I don't think it is as hard to install and use as some make it out to be, but yes, if you have never used Linux at all before it possibly isn't the best place to start. If you don't know and don't want to know how it works, again, probably best you look elsewhere. I see no problem with this, it is a big wide world with room for everyone and the Linux distro that suits them.

No distro can be all things to all people. Some might be better for newbies, others not, but that doesn't make one or the other objectively better. Pick the horse for the course. Not all Linux users are newbies, and the simple fact that they don't need the hand-holding of other distros (or find it annoying) does not mean they're into some kind of "I'm a Linux guru" ego-trip.

I can probably partition a hard disk quicker with fdisk than a RedHat GUI tool, for example, but objectively there is not much difference in terms of intellectual demand or physical work between the two methods. The most important difference is that I can use an identical fdisk on any Linux machine, whereas the GUI tools change from distro to distro.

Just installed Slack
by CharAznable on Thu 15th Jul 2004 14:20 UTC

I just installed Slackware after a couple of years on Red Hat/Fedora. I am very impressed by the zippiness, and by how straightforward and uncluttered it it.

The installer, while not as simple as Anaconda, is quite friendly, compared to the monstrosity that is the Debian installer. If a newbie is willing to read a few docs before installing Slack, there is no reason why he/she shouldn't succeed. You will have learned something, and you'll be better off because of it.For someone who is afraid of fdisk (there's no reason to, really) but wants to run Slack, it's possible to boot using the first Fedora CD and do the automated partitioning and edit it to your needs. Then you can reboot to the Slack CD and go straight into Setup.

However, since pretty much all system administration in Slack will be done on the command line, it's probably a good idea to learn fdisk anyway.

speed on 10
by D'Arcy on Thu 15th Jul 2004 14:43 UTC

Hi all, just wondering if anyone else has noticed what I have with 10. First off, I've found 9.1 to be about the best distro release I've yet seen, for me at least. It has just that right balance that makes it click for me. So, with that in mind, I rather looked forward to 10 coming out.

I'm sad to say, but my initial impression was a bit disappointing. Is it just me, or was anybody else noticed a decrease in speed (for desktop use) with this release?

It might not all be Slackware's fault though, to be honest, I really am not liking the direction that Linux development is heading these days. Personally I've been looking more at the BSDs of late, and really enjoying it. (particularly openbsd, and (surprise) netbsd. freebsd I've had issues with).

Slackware and Dropline-GNOME 2.6.1 for my pleasure
by Dewd on Thu 15th Jul 2004 14:54 UTC

If I rated all the other distros that I have used 9, Slackware plus Dropline-GNOME 2.6.1 would be 10.

It's good to not use KDE for a while. It's good to have a lightweight "just right" distro. It's good to develop Ruby-GNOME2 applications using this combination (good to the eyes, fast round trip). Of course that some of the improvements are GNOME's, not Slackware's. The new file selection is much better for me, cause the directories that I use the most are always visible on the left, very easy to keep focus and select it fast.

These mini-reviews on the comments should be cool. hehe. ;-)

Re: @Rick James
by rockwell on Thu 15th Jul 2004 14:59 UTC

//Are they actually stupid enough to think anyone is going to take them seriously after seeing this kind of garabage?

Haven't they learned *ANYTHING* from the failures of the Amiga and BE adovactes?!?

Namely that being a pompus jackass doesn't win you any friends? //

Yipe! Geez, you're touchy. What was so bad about that opening? I must be missing something, because I thought the article was well-enough written and informative.

a newbie's say on slackware
by garapheane on Thu 15th Jul 2004 15:02 UTC

i was a complete linux noob when i installed slackware ...





... in 1997 ;)

Slack vs Deb
by em500 on Thu 15th Jul 2004 15:14 UTC

For the Linux newbies, here's my comparison of two of the oldest and most respected distributions. To many users, the distros seem somewhat similar, but both projects are actually quite different.

The Debian project is huge, Slackware is pretty compact. Almost any remotely popular open source software is packaged somewhere in the Debian repository. Slackware just has the best-of-breed, picked by the maintainer Patrick Volkerding. If you don't agree with his choices, it's up to you to look for third party packages (www.linuxpackages.net) or compile the source from upstream.

Slackware is pretty much a one man show. Debian has hundreds, if not thousands of developers. Debian has a Social Contract, QA teams, security teams, lots of other teams and committees (and probably subcommittees). Slackware has one sensible and pragmatic main developer (who does gets help from numerous people). Slackware is simple enough that many experienced Linux users are probably able to understand and maintain the complete Slackware system (should PV quit, Lord forbid). Debian feels like a huge bureaucracy that needs a lot of infrastructure to maintain. Debian supports ten architectures, Slackware one. Slackware has two branches, current and release (10.0 at the moment). Current usually has the most recent packages that are declared stable upstream, release is just a snapshot of current when PV feels the time is ripe, usally once or twice a year. Both get security updates as fast as one can expect from a distro with one dedicated developer. Debian has three branches, stable, testing, unstable. Stable releases are far between and tend to be very late. A lot of newer hardware is not properly supported. Testing or unstable are often recommended for the desktop by Debian users (but rarely by developers) who get sick of complaints about stable. This is a bit unfortunate because they officially do not get timely security updates, and stable can break some major components if you apt-get mindlessly.

As a user, if your software choice is (largely) met by the Slackware selection, I'd say go for Slack. Still, the Debian project is of inmense value to get bug reports upstream for all kind of packages, and benefits every other distribution.

@em500
by enloop on Thu 15th Jul 2004 15:49 UTC

>>"...or compile the source from upstream. "

Doesn't that mean everything is available to Slackware, and that you can install without worrying about offending Debian's packaging and dependency schemes? I have no issue with such things, except when I they effectively keep me from doing something I want to do.

>>"Debian has a Social Contract, QA teams, security teams, lots of other teams and committees..."

The Social Contract isn't important to me. And, is anything going on in all those teams and committees that actually benefits me? I still can't understand why Debian tells people to use something as old as stable when a number of popular distributions based on testing are widely used without stirring up a storm of complaints about unreliability.

As you point out, Debian comes with a lot of baggage. I don't think that baggage delivers anything I want.


Just a thought
by Solkaris on Thu 15th Jul 2004 16:20 UTC

How hard would it be to port a Distro like Slackware to being a apt based distro? Just wondering.

Good Luck
by bitterman on Thu 15th Jul 2004 17:06 UTC

"I disliked the general direction these distributions were moving in and didn't see their increasing focus on the "big end of town" as auguring well for either myself or clients of my small one-person IT consultancy business."

Let hope his business doesn't grow or he's going to run into some pretty big time consuming problems with his clients. There is a reason RHAT/SUSE are interested in the "big end of town" Since this person has a business he should too.

Slack may be old...
by dustymugs on Thu 15th Jul 2004 17:35 UTC

But its still good. Slackware was the entire reason I started to use linux. Before Slackware, I used freebsd for about 2-3 years almost exclusively. Slack and FreeBSD are both excellent server OSes, though I still prefer to use freebsd for any servers I'm building.

Slackware may be simplistic compared to the other distros, but without all that fluff means that there are far less points of failure or exploitation.

Personally, even the slackware install cds have too much stuff on them. I'm usually a bare bones type of guy who likes just having the absolute minimum and building my way up. Yep, LFS is next on the list...

apt for slack
by slacker on Thu 15th Jul 2004 17:56 UTC

How hard would it be to port a Distro like Slackware to being a apt based distro? Just wondering.


http://freshmeat.net/projects/slaptget/

RE: Good Luck
by Mephisto on Thu 15th Jul 2004 17:59 UTC

"Let hope his business doesn't grow or he's going to run into some pretty big time consuming problems with his clients. There is a reason RHAT/SUSE are interested in the "big end of town" Since this person has a business he should too."

What kind of "time consuming problems" does Redhat/Suse solve that Slackware does not? The graphical tools do not speed up administration, they merely lower the learning curve.

There are enterprise applications that are only supported on RHEL/Suse such as DB2, WebSphere, etc... But not counting enterprise apps that you can not (easily) install on Slack, what makes Redhat or Suse so much better in the SMB market?

RE: Just a thought
by Anonymous on Thu 15th Jul 2004 18:02 UTC

How hard would it be to port a Distro like Slackware to being a apt based distro? Just wondering.

http://collegelinux.org/about.php

@mephisto
by enloop on Thu 15th Jul 2004 18:09 UTC

The "graphical tools" you or I might use to install Linux on a single desktop don't count for much when you need to roll out hundreds of Linux desktops and the servers that support them. When those kind of customers talk about support, they mean paying the vendor to provide people and tools to make those things happen. Slackware is as capable a distribution as any, but Patrick V. has chosen another path.

Offtopic, but I got to know...
by neutron on Thu 15th Jul 2004 18:52 UTC

I'm really curious about which filemanager you use (see the 2nd screenie).

Nice review btw ;)

re: Gnome screenshots
by Dewd on Thu 15th Jul 2004 19:03 UTC

I have taken a screenshot of my environment (I am not an artist, though).
http://geocities.com/canalruby/rss_reader.html

You can see on the background SciTE, and on the top, the screens of a little RSS Reader that I'm slowly developing. It's not just yet another RSS Reader, I just want to use it to test and develop another library on which it is based.

If you like KDE style with lots of little and meaningless icons, fine. I prefer the GNOME style, though.

Sound juicer
by Mario on Thu 15th Jul 2004 19:04 UTC

Hello I want to rip-encode my cd's to mp3 with Sound Juicer on Slack 10, so I installed lame from my old dropline,
Everthing apparently is ok, but is not working anyone know what to do?

pkgsrc and slack
by D'Arcy on Thu 15th Jul 2004 19:16 UTC

A little OT, but I just tried something here. Using netbsd's pkgsrc with slackware. the thing works beautifully and now gives one access to the 4000 or so ports available in NetBSD, but in Linux instead. very sweet, now I can run slack, and have access to one of (if not the) best "package" manager out there. Give it a try!

re:re: Gnome screenshots
by Carlos Vendramini on Thu 15th Jul 2004 19:19 UTC

Nice look has your desktop..:-) What the GTK theme that are you using Dewd ??

@ enloop
by Mephisto on Thu 15th Jul 2004 19:25 UTC

The "graphical tools" you or I might use to install Linux on a single desktop don't count for much when you need to roll out hundreds of Linux desktops and the servers that support them. When those kind of customers talk about support, they mean paying the vendor to provide people and tools to make those things happen. Slackware is as capable a distribution as any, but Patrick V. has chosen another path.

What you are discussing is Teir1 support, and that is what people pay Redhat thousands of dollars a year for. What we are discussing though is SMB: small, medium businesses with under 500 employees. This is a different range. The author is a single consultant shop, his target market is not Kraft with 150,000 employees (sheer guess), but a shop with 10-100 employees. A small shop does not need (nor can they really afford) Teir1 support. Take that away and the advantages to Redhat are much less significant. Not to digress too much but Redhat lacks a product that can serve for large scale roll out and automated administration of Desktop systems as well. They have the support infrastructure but nothing to help with such a rollout. Sun JDS is probably the most likely candidate for such an action at this stage.

Enterprise at that level is very lucrative in revenue, but also very small in volume.

re: Gnome screenshots
by Dewd on Thu 15th Jul 2004 19:34 UTC

Carlos, it's Northside - Dropline GNOME default Theme. :-)

RE: pkgsrc and slack
by Anonymous on Thu 15th Jul 2004 19:37 UTC

Interesting. Do you use Slack's X.org or XFree86 4.4.0 from pkgsrc?

@enloop
by Menno Duursma on Thu 15th Jul 2004 19:46 UTC

> Slackware is as capable a distribution as any,

Indeed. Thing is: you want your boxen/nodes to be as reliable as possible, but still be usable/manageable ...

> but Patrick V. has chosen another path.

Well, i'm currently a consultant for where i used to admin.
Slackware installations there ~700 running along fine, of which most have some years under the belt already (apporpriate patching here and there, ofcource.)

FWIW thing _i_ tent to install first: net-snmp

re: Gnome screenshots
by Eugenia on Thu 15th Jul 2004 19:51 UTC

Dewd, a suggestion for your GUI of RSS Reader:
Please follow the Gnome HIG, the button order on the "Admin Channel" is not correct, neither the button sizes. Also, I don't know if the admin channel window resizes, but if not, please make sure it fits on 700pix width (which is the minimum for 800x600 users, still at 25% of userbase).

RE: pkgsrc and slack
by D'Arcy on Thu 15th Jul 2004 19:53 UTC

Actually, what I did was grab the xfree 4.4 binaries from xfree86.org and used those. this on a very minimal slack 9 install I just did to test this out. the directions can be found here at:

http://users.piuha.net/martti/comp/slackware/slackware.html

re: Gnome screenshots
by Dewd on Thu 15th Jul 2004 20:00 UTC

Good, I am taking notes. Thanks ;-)

RE: pkgsrc and slack
by D'Arcy on Thu 15th Jul 2004 20:17 UTC

Hrm, running into some snags here. overall runs nice, but not as cleanly as you'd get in netbsd itself. oh well, it's still worth checking out. what would be probably more sane is to try it in a more full install of slackware, rather than this rather bare boned one I tried it on.

Debian v. Slackware
by norsemann on Thu 15th Jul 2004 20:45 UTC

Lets be realistic here people. I think it would be safe to say that Debian and Slackware are equal in terms of speed. Slackware, commonly known as 'hackware' is great if you like recompiling from source every single time you want a new version of something. Granted we don't always want to do that, but /ports/ rpm's, or dpkg's make it really convenient to quickly, and (more often now a days) seamlessly implement a new widget.

So, when one is talking about one Linux distro being faster than another distro lets consider TCO, or TIoT (my new term Total Investment of Time). Wow, there is my $1.25, so that and an actual $1.25 will get you a ride on the MBTA in Boston!

RE: Debian v. Slackware
by Eugenia on Thu 15th Jul 2004 20:53 UTC

> is great if you like recompiling from source every single time you want a new version of something

I do compile about 50% of the times on Slackware, about 30% of the times I just use Linuxpackages.net binaries, the rest 20% I get the newer versions from Slackware-current or Dropline. While this record is not as good as Debian (probably you won't have to compile new versions more than 35-40% of all your installation efforts due to dpkg), it is still a good enough rate for a Linux.

Re: DEB v. Slack
by norsemann on Thu 15th Jul 2004 21:57 UTC

I hear you Eugenia, and while I'm not trying to start any ranting and raving here. I do see your points about the currents and dropline, I kind of forgot about those enhancements. I would like to say though that if we keep accepting "good enough" for "Linux" it would seem that is almost like sealing the fate of Linux. We can't accept good enough if we want the movement to keep going where its going ;-).

Long live *BSD for the small business ;-) *Disclaimer: unless you want to easily and effectively serve Java based web applications*

Onebase...
by hornsmoker on Thu 15th Jul 2004 22:35 UTC

is my distro of choice for now. I've used many over the years and although it has a few teething pains, it's very fast and has script install options for newbs and vets. I have never liked Debian or Redhat based distros...too bloated and too slow. Slack is good and does make you learn a thing or two. If you want to try to get an idea of Slack speed, download and burn the SLAX livecd, install to hd and be amazed how zippy it is.

hornsmoker!
by Anonymous on Thu 15th Jul 2004 22:39 UTC

How do you install Slax to the hdd? I love that distro but I can't figure out how...

slackware installation
by Anonymous on Thu 15th Jul 2004 22:55 UTC

"I honestly believe that Slackware's reputation for being difficult to install is not just undeserved but quite wrong"

I agree. Back in the day I tried desperately to get Red Hat 6.x and Mandrake (v?) installed on an old k6-2, but due to errors in their "user-friendly" installers (both the graphical AND the text-based), it was impossible. The graphical setting (which WOULD have allowed me to select my card if I could have gotten into ti) would just crash, and the text-based left did not allow me to select my vga card (it was detecting my card incorrectly and crashing).

Long story short, slackware beat out the two linux giants (not counting SUSE -- didnt have a copy) with a smooth install.

*yeah I know there was probably some slick uber-technical way to get around the video card issue but the point is I shouldnt have had to.

Arch vs Slackware
by ex-Slacker on Fri 16th Jul 2004 00:38 UTC

It's hard to beat Arch Linux's friendly atmosphere. AL is only at version 0.6, so granted Slackware has had time to mature. As have the users.

an alternative that I have no seen mentioned...
by Anonymous on Fri 16th Jul 2004 00:41 UTC

One alternative for server applications or home users would be Gentoo.. it is as only bloated as you tell it to be... check it out at http://www.gentoo.org although Slackware is my 2nd choice, behind Gentoo.. hope they keep up the good work...

Limited usage ?
by Elminster on Fri 16th Jul 2004 01:25 UTC

Some people stated here Slackware is not sufficient for Enterprise / large networks. I'd like to know main reasons why not, what prevents such deployment.

Thanks in advance.

RE: Limited usage ?
by Eugenia on Fri 16th Jul 2004 02:15 UTC

No high-end solutions or utils/helpings with server apps like apache or mysql, no oracle-supported, no solutions for deploying to multiple machines from a single configuration, no remote administration for multiple machines solutions, no system monitors, no clustering utilities etc etc. Besides, Slackware was never tested for such conditions. We are talking about a distro maintained by a single person in his home. This simply is not good enough for the Enterprise.

Slackware is a fast, stable, easy and no-shit distro. It is perfect for home or small business/communities server, but it can't compete to the enterprise where the needs are much higher.

v theme
by Philip on Fri 16th Jul 2004 03:31 UTC
RE: Slack and Debian
by JoeLinux on Fri 16th Jul 2004 03:36 UTC

First off, I must say I'm very impressed with Slackware 10 on the whole. Speed, stability and security wise, it is pretty much the same as it has been in 9.1 and before - superb! But I do forsee newbies having a problem configuring their X with xorgconfig. They really have to pay attention to the options and be careful with their trigger happy ways on their keyboard ;) . But of course, one can always edit the config via an editor like nano or call up xorgconfig (assuming one has not fiddled with one's runlevel settings and switched to a graphical login as yet as many nowadays tend to do).

I would say I'm equally comfortable with both Debian (running Debian Unstable/Experimental aka SID/SCUD) and Slackware 10. They are both powerful distros with good track records. The ease of post-install maintenance and admin is comparable between the 2 distros e.g. package management tools like Swaret for Slackware and APT for Debian; default window manager configuration utilities like update-alternatives --config x-window-manager for Debian and xwmconfig for Slack. Like some have already suggested, one pull attraction of Slack and Debian for me is the non-enterprise nature vis-a-vis Suse, Linspire, JDS, etc. While it is true that comparatively speaking the packages available in Debian Stable aka Woody are outdated (that is actually an understatement ;) ), those in Unstable/Experimental are definitely bleeding edge e.g. those offered by Joey Hess, rarewares and mentors.debian.

Anyway, it is hard to find anyone who has access to broadband and/or is running Debian as a standalone desktop machine to not want to run Unstable/Experimental. Unless that you are running a server and require the stability. ;) Contrary to what some may think, the 'Unstable' Debian packages are quite stable. At least as stable as those found in Slackware Current. ;) Of course, those in 'Experimental' may result in some hair loss for those not equipped with the guts and skills to handle situations like a broken system. But even if the worst happens i.e. a broken system results from the installation or upgrade of 'Experimental' branch packages, you get to keep the broken pieces. =8))

To be absolutely honest, I cannot really decide which ofthese 2 excellent distros is better. They are both rock solid for me thus far (been running Debian SID/SCUD for 3 years now and Slackware since the 9.0 release).

We use FreeBSD and Slackware
by Jibber on Fri 16th Jul 2004 04:31 UTC

Well we run FreeBSD and Slackware (along with a few legacy BSDi machines) at a mid-sized ISP with about 20K users. I can say that the Slackware machines always surprise me with their performance.

Example

BSDi sendmail server - 4 gig Hz Intel serving as the main mail machine for 20K+ users. Always has a load avg above 3.x.

FreeBSD machine as the primary MX for said BSDi server running qmail and clamav, 2.4 Ghz machine, always running 0.8 - 1.5 load avg. No local deliveries, forwarding only.

Slackware Machine as the primary MX and delivery machine (qmail and vpopmail) with clamav scanning for 15k+ users on an AMD Duron 1.2 always around 0.15 - 0.55 load avg.

Dunno what that says about FreeBSD and BSDi, but Slackware sure does scale. Both the FreeBSD and Slackware machines handle about 300,00 incoming messages per day. The Slackware machine also deals with outbound user emails and mailing lists, as well as POP and IMAP clients.

Jib

but really ....
by ryan on Fri 16th Jul 2004 04:33 UTC

i have used slackware's core installation as the base for different servers for some time, as it is a no-nonsense basic installation that is *very* easy to build upon and customize to your particular needs. like most any *nix, it can support about anything if you set it up right.

v Slackmalware
by anybody on Fri 16th Jul 2004 04:46 UTC
RE: Slackmalware
by roman on Fri 16th Jul 2004 05:16 UTC

I know, don't feed the troll, but hey...

>Tere is no editorial balance.Slackware is Eufelia's
>current pet project so it receives tons of undeserved
>attention and praise, when in reality what this coverage
>will do is turn tons of people away from Linux by making
>them think that linux is stuck with a 1980s installer and
>configuration tools. I suspect that's the hidden agenda
>at work here.

Have you ever even used slack? It's not the perfect newbie distro, but if you know a thing or two about linux it feels elegant, fast and simple.
I have my current setup running since 9.1. In between i messed around with different unstable X / KDE versions and was still able to upgrade painlessly to 10.0 and had my stable desktop back.

Try installing a new version of kde or even a vanilla kernel on redhat/suse systems.. Even better: try to recover your system after you nuked your dependencies / rpmdb with some obscure packages - then you will see how elegant slackware is in comparison.

Packages: go to linuxpackages.net or simply use the source

>All Slackware has going for it is a bunch of wannabe's
>that think they are more elite because their chosen
>installer is still text based.

Dont like it? Dont use it.

@roman
by anybody on Fri 16th Jul 2004 05:24 UTC

I won't use it, although I have tried both 9.1 and 10 on my test system. It's good if you just need a simple server.

But it makes a poor desktop and a worse enterprise server. If people like you were honest, then the needs of different users would be better served. Why didn't you address the specific points I raised? How easy is it to create a multi-disk Raid 5 Array on top of LVM so that you can resize partitions at will? And I know how to do it by hand, that is not the point. The point is that an error-prone operation of that nature should be automated by a good tool.

If your rpmdb was to be corrupted, you rebuild it. That has never happened to me, by the way.

By the way, why is it a poor desktop? If you install Gnome and KDE, there is no single unified menu, the menus are a sprawling mess of applications and the whole thing just feel like a disjointed thing that somebody threw together, not like an OS.

Slackware 10 would have been an incredible OS in 1996, not in 2004. Is it stable? Sure, it's Linux. But we demand more than stability these days from Linux.

docs and updating slack
by johnMG on Fri 16th Jul 2004 05:40 UTC

When I first tried Slack, I was disappointed that the docs on the official Slackware site seemed incomplete and a bit out of date.

Although I'm not currently now a Slacker, I think a point to remember about Slackware is that -- thanks to its simplicity -- it exposes the deficiencies (or strengths) in the underlying components of the system. That is to say, if software package X has lousy docs and a complex config file, then that's just what the maintainers of program X have provided. If you don't like it, consider contributing to the efforts of the good folks who work on developing program X.

That's important because it puts the responsibility of a quality user interface on the actual folks who are developing the software. This is good for the community, as it makes software better for all of us.

Debian worked *great* for me in the past (as a desktop), until something went wrong -- then I was up the creek with a very difficult-to-figure-out paddle. I'm sorry, it was a long time ago, and I can't recall exactly what problems I had with it, but I recall that fixing it involved using some of the more esoteric features of the dpkg or apt tools. At that point, you begin to wonder, "maybe it would be easier if I just learned how to install and config the software by-hand myself?"

I suppose this is different in a large enterprise setting.

A question about Slackware: when you've got version n.3 of some piece of software installed, and version n.3.1 is released (say it's a security fix), what's the standard and smooth way of upgrading while still keeping your old configuration? (Assuming the fix *just* came out, so there's no binary package available yet, and you don't want to wait. ;)

trillian
by vafada on Fri 16th Jul 2004 05:42 UTC

How were you able to run trillian on linux? WINE?

desktop and trillian
by Triad on Fri 16th Jul 2004 06:20 UTC

I think slack works great on my desktop. I have tried alot of dists. but I donīt think iīm gonna leave slack ever.

for me Itīs great and has all of the pakages that I need.

So Iīm gonna say what roman already said: "Dont like it? Dont use it."

>>How were you able to run trillian on linux? WINE?

Why run Trillian? there are many other good im clients, like gaim, amsn, kopete and so on.

RE: Slackware sucks.
by Menno Duursma on Fri 16th Jul 2004 06:55 UTC

Slackmalware wrote:
> It has no tools to manage LVM or Raid Volumes.

Nonsense. Or is it you seek GUI buttons? (They tent to stop working "when shit hits the fan" you know. Thus, you had better learn the CLI tools anyways.)

> It doesn't have the 3rd party support

http://www.slackware.com/support/ some companies i know aren't listed there though.

> of Red Hat

Well, thier target seems to be vendor lock-in. Should the distro they provide be less complex, there wouldn't be much need for external support.

> or a huge repository such as Mandrake's.

Nice for desktops, where the "admin" is used to MS-Windows and has utterly fast hardware to play with (hence it's bundled with HP e-PC boxen).

> Where are the Slackware based clustering

You mean like: heardbeat, or more like mosix / ssi ?
Tarballs on the website of given projects. Just read docs, build, checkinstall, configure and test.

> solutons?

If the people on-site lack skills to implement, hire a consultant.

> Where are the thousands of ready to install apps?

freshmest.net - Slackware just provides a (rather solid) basis for whatever you might want a given box to act as.

ot: path finder
by papabear on Fri 16th Jul 2004 08:05 UTC

Where can i find the application "path finder" shown on the screenshot (http://www.osnews.com/img/7694/Screenshot-2.png) in the article?

docs and updating slack
by Michael Hall on Fri 16th Jul 2004 08:14 UTC

> what's the standard and smooth way of upgrading while
> still keeping your old configuration? (Assuming the
> fix *just* came out, so there's no binary package
> available yet, and you don't want to wait. ;)

I've never had to do this because the security fixes have always been there when I've needed them, Slackware might be a small project but there is no slackness when it comes to providing security fixes.

Otherwise, I have built many packages from source and installed them via the standard package installer. Provided you know what you're doing (I don't accept that argument that every distro must be a complete "no-brainer", or that believing this is "elitism"), building a package is a breeze. If the byzantine complexity of making an RPM has ever baffled you, check out makepkg, the standard Slackware utility.

Documentation? Yes, well, I have to agree that it could be better ... a lot better, actually. There *is* documentation around, but no coherent, central source or repository that I know of. There's a project waiting there for someone ...

Re: Slackmalware
by Michael Hall on Fri 16th Jul 2004 08:29 UTC

In the context of small business/community group servers:

> It has no tools to manage LVM or Raid Volumes.

Don't need them.

> It doesn't have the 3rd party support of Red Hat

Don't need it. Often too expensive.

> or a huge repository such as Mandrake's.

Don't need them. But there are Slack pkg repositories out there with more than I'll ever make use of.

> Where are the Slackware based clustering solutons?

Don't need it. Could easily build a pkg if I did need it though.

> Where are the thousands of ready to install apps?

Don't need them. Who want's thousands of apps sitting around unused on a remotely managed server with no GUI?

> what this coverage will do is turn tons of people away
> from Linux by making them think that linux is stuck
> with a 1980s installer and configuration tools.

I don't think so. The first thing anyone reading this article is going to realise is that there are plenty of Linux options with different strengths and weaknesses in different environments. For god's sake, why does one distro always have to do all things for all people, always?

Where is nano ?!?
by platypus on Fri 16th Jul 2004 09:23 UTC

I ran slackware 10.0 for about 2 weeks with slapt-get and swaret and I got one gripe. It's like really hard to find even pretty popular editors like nano. Had to dig using google to find it. Couldn't this have been included in the install cds ?

@ platypus
by dpi on Fri 16th Jul 2004 09:46 UTC

Check out the first URLs. are packages for Slackware 9, Slackware 10, and a how-to-compile-nano howto: http://www.google.nl/search?q=slackware+nano

@ em500

You make a fine post here in this thread, but sometimes you confuse your own opinion/feelings with facts.

This one in particular is one i did not find accurate:

"This is a bit unfortunate because they officially do not get timely security updates"

True, however security issues in Unstable are normally fixed in < 24 hours. On Testing, you're right, except when Testing nears a release because then security.debian.org is getting updated for Testing. As you might be aware, we're nearing a release, so pretty much soon the above is the case which means you can run Testing with security updates.

"and stable can break some major components if you apt-get mindlessly."

Yeah, and how would that happen? Only by real stupid actions. If you rm mindlessly (or other stupid things) you can FUBAR any system.

I always have a good feeling about slackware cause I always get orientied in it although I have some problems with it.

In slack 10 I can't get sound play for 1 minute at xmms using alsa. K3b and mozilla doesn't work. But I know where are the files at least.

Now I replaced slack 10 with fedora 2. I have managed to install every package that I wanted but I can't get oriented at it. I still haven't found where is KDE in Fedora 2?(It is the first time for me using Fedora)

What I am missing about slackware is a detailed tutorial using slack as a server for small company for mail, web, sharing and firewall etc. I know these things are not very slack specifik but a tutorial configuring these programs in slackware is a must.

Regarding using slack as a desktop, I have never read a tutorial about it. I have made my notes so I can fix most of the things after a post install.

@anybody: Apples and Oranges
by Anonymous on Fri 16th Jul 2004 11:25 UTC

>>"...How easy is it to create a multi-disk Raid 5 Array on top of LVM..."

Probably not very, but I don't care. I don't need to do that. If I did, I'd use something else.

I don't need to haul 10 tons of stuff to a warehouse every day, either. That's why I don't drive a truck.


>>"... why is it a poor desktop? If you install Gnome and KDE, there is no single unified menu..."

It isn't. That's what Gnome and KDE look like when you install them just as they left the developers' machine. If you'd rather let someone else customize your desktop, fine.

>>"...we demand more than stability..."

You do. I don't. Slackware fills needs other distributions don't, and vice versa. I like not being confined to a specific distribution's repositories. I like being able to use any software I choose without waiting for someone else to "package" it and without worrying that I might break something if I install it. I like having no overlay of configuration files spawned by graphical tools to understand and track. I don't like putting my trust in someone else's tools that do undocumented things in undocumented ways.


@anybody: Apples and Oranges
by enloop on Fri 16th Jul 2004 11:27 UTC

>>"...How easy is it to create a multi-disk Raid 5 Array on top of LVM..."

Probably not very, but I don't care. I don't need to do that. If I did, I'd use something else.

I don't need to haul 10 tons of stuff to a warehouse every day, either. That's why I don't drive a truck.

Your criticism is off the mark.


>>"... why is it a poor desktop? If you install Gnome and KDE, there is no single unified menu..."

It isn't. That's what Gnome and KDE look like when you install them just as they left the developers' machine. If you'd rather let someone else customize your desktop, fine.

>>"...we demand more than stability..."

You do. I don't. Slackware fills needs other distributions don't, and vice versa. I like not being confined to a specific distribution's repositories. I like being able to use any software I choose without waiting for someone else to "package" it and without worrying that I might break something if I install it. I like having no overlay of configuration files spawned by graphical tools to understand and track. I don't like putting my trust in someone else's tools that do undocumented things in undocumented ways.


v RE: Slackmalware
by jsagazio on Fri 16th Jul 2004 11:32 UTC
Great Article.
by Slacker on Fri 16th Jul 2004 12:27 UTC

This is a great article. It really brings out the reasons why us Slackers really like the distribution so much. Slackware is built for stability and speed. Patrick Volkerding is such a common-sense sort of guy.

I've been using Slackware since version 7 was released. Currently, I am using 9.1, with Dropline Gnome, and a custom 2.6.6 kernel. It remains my deskyop of choice at home (in fact, it's the only OS I run at home). I can't wait to use Slackware 10.

X Windows???
by spiderman on Fri 16th Jul 2004 12:28 UTC

Please correct your mistake. It's "X Window System". Not "X Windows".

RE. Where is nano ?!?
by Anonymous on Fri 16th Jul 2004 12:35 UTC

I thought that at first too. I missed nano. That is all I ever used before Slackware. But I discovered pico with Slackware. And I have to say for what I did with nano(just simple editing of config files) I like pico better.

Since version 4...
by Joe on Fri 16th Jul 2004 12:36 UTC

I administer a network for the Navy, and I talked my command into introducing Linus into the fray some years ago. We had big problems with a Windows-based firewall application, and I had taken about enough with its instability.

I've personally used Slack since about version 4, when I first discovered it years ago. I still use it for my personal desktop at home. I convinced my bosses to let me install Linus on an old computer to use as a firewall. I used Slack version 8 (this was three years ago) and iptables (which had just supplanted ipchains) and that FW ran without a reboot for about 18 months. Eventually, the network grew and we replaced the PC with a firewall device (Netscreen).

Since then, we've added a number of web servers, DNS systems and general purpose file servers, all running Slack. We're still primarily a Windows shop, but my server room is filled with Linux.

I tried installing Fedora Core 2 on my desktop the other day as a dual-boot system. I've been frustrated to the point that I may just dump it for Slackware 10. I have in on the box at home, so why not?

For it's stability and allowing me to make the decisions on what I want on my systems, Slackware is the best.

Uh, that's install Linux...
by Joe on Fri 16th Jul 2004 12:38 UTC

I don't think Linus would appreciate me trying to install him on my systems at the job...

;-)

proofread, joe...

RE: Some Installation Criticism Merited
by Slacker on Fri 16th Jul 2004 12:39 UTC

The jabs at Slackware's installation routine do have some credibility.

The setup routine assumes the user has already partitioned the disk. If a prospective Slackware user doesn't know how to do that, or does not want to run fdisk manually, then he will never install Slackware. No Linux distribution that I've seen has managed to completely eliminate the partitioning bump, but Slackware isn't even close.


This is true. The most difficult part of installing Slackware is that a user *must* have an understanding of how Linux partitions and filsystems work. In most respects, however, it's not too difficult to use FDISK or CFDISK to create a swap partition and linux native partition. It's part of the learning process. If a user is ready to take that step, then Slackware is a great choice.


If hardware is not detected, the user will be required to identify it. E.g., a network card. Anyone interested in seeing more Linux usage should cater to the needs of people who don't know what's inside their PC.


These days, practically all hardware is automatically detected by the kernel hotplug system. In fact, Slackware is more "plug and play" than even Windows is these days - and it actually works. Just power it up and it works, without having to modify the /etc/rc.d/rc.modules file (as was done in the past). The exception is, perhaps, ading the line to load the APM module if applicable. The only thing that a user might have to do in the way of hardware is installing the binary nVidia drivers, if they want 3D support. Even that's relatively simple on Slackware.


Finally, there is the lack of a handholding way to set up X. The tools provided by X are there, of course, but the install routine doesn't tell the user about them. (And they don't work all that well.) Like partioning, Slackware assumes the user brings with her the skills needed to get it running.


Most distributions have their own tool for setting up the X Windowing System. Slackware is no exception. While it is true that there is little information on this process, X will work out-of-the-box, on Slackware, utilizing a Vesa driver.

If you wish to have hardware accelleration, the best option is to use Slackware's "xorgsetup" (formerly "xfree86setup"), as root, and Slackware will detect your videocard and select the proper driver for the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file.

Metacity Theme
by Anonymous on Fri 16th Jul 2004 12:45 UTC

Hey Eugenia I really like your Metacity theme. I've noticed it for several reviews now. What is it, I've been looking for it everywhere.

Rubbish
by dpi on Fri 16th Jul 2004 13:15 UTC

"You do. I don't. Slackware fills needs other distributions don't, and vice versa. I like not being confined to a specific distribution's repositories. I like being able to use any software I choose without waiting for someone else to "package" it and without worrying that I might break something if I install it. I like having no overlay of configuration files spawned by graphical tools to understand and track. I don't like putting my trust in someone else's tools that do undocumented things in undocumented ways."

(And i don't like to compile stuff instead of using it)

Anyway, if you're so paranoid, what kind of compiler do you use? ;) and why do you trust Slackware with binaru packages, but not one other distribution. You state NO reasonable argument why Slackware would not put backdoors in the sourcecode while some other distribution would.

@slacker
by enloop on Fri 16th Jul 2004 14:22 UTC

My comments weren't intended to criticize Slackware. It's my impression that Patrick V. isn't especially interested in bringing Linux to the masses, so he sees little to alter his install and setup procedures.

No OS that I've used really handles the partitioning bumb well, including Windows. Windows does, however, make life simpler for the average desktop user who uses only one OS on a machine: the install procedure is biased toward devoting an entire drive to Windows. The Windows paging file and the necessay filesystems are created, of course, but without user intervention. (Experts can still play at will.) This would be a good model for desktop distributions to adopt. Offer as the default option to take over the entire drive, and build the appropriate partitions behind the scenes. Provide an expert option, of course, but don't even mention partitioning unless the user goes there.

On hardware detection: It would be nice if setup offered to show you what was detected.

I also noticed that in Slack 10 all the lines pertaining to the parallel port were commented out in rc.modules. Is that a change? I went nuts trying to get CUPS to work until i noticed that.

@dpi...on a troll
by enloop on Fri 16th Jul 2004 14:29 UTC

Who's talking about backdoors and paranoia? I'm not.

I'm talking about every distribution I've used with an automatic dependency resolver -- RedHat, Fedora, Gentoo, Debian -- sooner or later breaking my system, i.e., itself, by screwing something up.

If something or someone is going to install the wrong libraries on my machine, it's going to be me, not someone else's script. There's nothing magic about dependency resolvers. If the people who built the package made mistakes, the results will play out on your machine.

Path Finder
by Anonymous on Fri 16th Jul 2004 19:51 UTC

Where can I get more info about it?

Metacity Theme & Path Finder
by Eugenia on Fri 16th Jul 2004 20:19 UTC

Metacity theme:
http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=3496

Path Finder:
Download and install the FOX Toolkit with AA support (read the ./configure script how to enable AA). It will install PathFinder as well as 2 more fox apps.
http://www.fox-toolkit.org

Is there a linux distro out right now that supports major wireless cards right out of the bag, without having to hack the windows drivers myself?

Lindows does apparently.

@ enloop
by dpi on Sun 18th Jul 2004 11:49 UTC

"I'm talking about every distribution I've used with an automatic dependency resolver -- RedHat, Fedora, Gentoo, Debian -- sooner or later breaking my system, i.e., itself, by screwing something up."

Also rubbish. Any solid package management utility with solid packages should work well with precompiled binaries. I know this is very true for Debian GNU/Linux Stable and Testing. The point is that instead of doing the stuff yourself, you outsource it to people who know what they're doing. In the case they do / did not know / knew what they're doing, you can download the source package and compile that yourself. Much more convenient than doing it yourself by default which costs time. Loads of time. Heck, even the BSD's agree with me on that given they want to improve their Ports collection and provide binaries for it by default.

Because of this, the only reason i see why one would prefer to compile his/her own binaries is because of optimalisations (not very better performance if not less) or paranoia (which boils down to the fact you'l need to use binaries to compile from source) or when its broken (see above)

PS: there's another Slackware article on ofb.biz

Re: enloop
by Michael Hall on Mon 19th Jul 2004 05:19 UTC

I think you missed the point here. Using Slackware does not in any way preclude the possibility of downloading and installing convenient precompiled binaries, it comes with its own excellent package management system for just that purpose. Suggesting that all software must be compiled from source on Slackware just isn't correct ... though if you DO choose to do so, making a package while you're at it is a breeze.

I have found almost all software I ever needed (stuff not in the original Slackware distro) packaged up and ready to go in good quality Slackware TGZ packages at www.linuxpackages.net.

The issue is the dependency hell that other packet managers frequently get users into, and which Slackware totally avoids.