Linked by Matthew Trow on Thu 17th Feb 2005 22:22 UTC
Slackware, Slax I was quite excited about the release of Slackware 10.1, the same way I was excited about 10.0 and versions before that. As a self confessed 'Linux Desktop Dabbler', to date, I've found Slackware my favourite Linux flavour to Dabble with.
Order by: Score:
Slackware 10.1 is really great!
by anonymous on Thu 17th Feb 2005 22:49 UTC

My NVIDIA 6600GT works out of the box with NVIDIA drivers on 2.6.10 and the whole system runs again very smooth.

I tried Fedora 2&3 but be very happy to be back again to Slackware! (1st I use Suse 5.x,6.x, then Slackware 7.x, 8.x, 9.x, then Fedora 2&3)

Now, I run a great Desktop with Slw10.1, XFCE4.2, Rox-Filer 2.2 and KDE installed (for KDM and K3b) with Fuse2.2/SSHFS1.0

All works as it should work and this behaviour is not comparable with this buggy Fedora thingy. I spend _a_lot_hours_ to findout workarounds for some nasty bugs in Fedora (ac-Kernels are really bad for ISDN cards with CAPI interface, or some DVB-TV related things)

I only compiled bytecode into freetype on Slw10.1, and now installed today the great Staroffice8beta, released today (rpm -i --force --nodeps is your friend on Slackware)

2.8 kernel
by peacemaker885 on Thu 17th Feb 2005 22:53 UTC

"This review was written in gedit using the KDE 3.3.2 window manager on Slackware 10.1 running a custom compiled 2.8.6.1 kernel. (I'm proud of my custom kernel)."

This may be a typo: 2.6 and not a 2.8.

v Really?
by Will on Thu 17th Feb 2005 23:11 UTC
newbies
by P on Thu 17th Feb 2005 23:11 UTC

I really don't get this "slackware isn't for newbies" thing. What newbies? What kind of newbies? I was a newbie in 1996 and started out with Slackware because it was the easiest to get and install using dialup + floppies. It was GREAT for a newbie back then.

A few weeks ago I walked my friend through an install + configuration of slack 10.0 on his computer - yes, he's a complete "newbie" when it comes to Linux, but not a moron. In fact he fixed a problem or two that I had no idea how to fix cuz I don't have a DVD writer and he does. He was intelligent enough to learn how to fix it. Did I mention he's a newbie and he used Slackware? lol

"Why Netscape and Mozilla both included?"
by krell on Thu 17th Feb 2005 23:18 UTC

Well much as I dislike Netscapes default setup
it does one thing Mozilla does not do at startup -
display text in Japanase or Korean correctly and not
give those little boxes.
I know it is possible to configure Mozilla to do the same
but there is almost NO documentation as to how to do it
or an easily way from the preferences menu.

I know their is a very American unilingual slant
to most reviews of linux but if we want Linux to be
popular in the rest of the world we need to have better
default for unicode like windows XP does.

Slackware 10.1 with Gnome
by Lordello on Thu 17th Feb 2005 23:19 UTC

You can try the new GSB project to use Gnome on Slackware.
http://gsb.sourceforge.net/

RE:newbies
by daijo on Thu 17th Feb 2005 23:26 UTC

I think Slackware is an excellent newbie distro if the newbie want to learn a lot about Linux. It installs in 15 minutes and the you´re dropped into a very clean and simple Linux system perfect for you to explore. If he/she just want a Windows replacement distro that won´t need any extra work it´s not the best alternative.

no gnome - no slack
by puppy on Thu 17th Feb 2005 23:26 UTC

slack was always a stable distro. but with the dropping of gnome, it has lost its attraction to me. and i don't want to use dropline. ;)

sad... sad...sad

RE: newbies
by Nicholas Nickleby on Thu 17th Feb 2005 23:39 UTC

I was a newbie in 1996 and started out with Slackware because it was the easiest to get and install using dialup + floppies. It was GREAT for a newbie back then.

GNU/Linux distros have changed since 1996 and there are currently lots of distros that are more newbie friendly than Slackware. Slackware is relatively easy to install but setting things up for the desktop use need tinkering with config files and some general knowledge of how Linux systems work (which newbies don't usually have). That said, Slackware is still one of the best options for advanced users, especially for server use. But don't try to argue it's a newbie friendly distro because it just isn't.

The review says Slackware is a 2 CD release. Will it become once again 1 CD distro now that gnome has been dropped (for dropline)? IMO, that's a good move. You can get gnome from the dropline team and extra packages from linuxpackages.net and the rest you can build yourself with checkinstall. There's really no need Pat should be required to build more packages than can fit to 1 CD.

Minislack
by David Copperfield on Thu 17th Feb 2005 23:55 UTC

Darn, Distrowatch has just announced that Minislack, a Slackware based distro with the two of my favourite GUIs (xfce 4.2 and Window Maker 0.91) has just been released. This one I MUST download and test. :-D

http://shweps.free.fr/minislack/

the unfriendly distro
by ex-slacker on Fri 18th Feb 2005 00:04 UTC


Slackware use to come on 1 CD. PatV use to say he wanted to keep the distro minimalist, and that he tried hard not to put things in to the distro that did not need to be there. Many of his more vocal users took this to mean that Slackware users should only be minimally useful to eachother. This eventually evolved in to full-blown hostility to new users who made the mistake of asking a question that had previously been answered somewhere on the internet - or heaven-forbid, was not Slackware specific. Read the Slackware newsgroup if you want examples of abuse.

Slackware has now been marginalized by the arrival of leaner (Arch), better supported (gentoo), truer to BSD (FreeBSD), and more common (RH, SUSE,Debian) distros. Pat's health problems only add to the growing view that Slackware is a dying distro. You may have seen the many Slackware users jumpship when his health problems were at their worst. I'm glad he is healthy, but for a while the fate of Slackware was up in the air.

Sorry if this post offends many people, but my experiences with the slackware users is worth warning others about. I went through a lot more at their hands than you have by reading this.

typo?
by greg on Fri 18th Feb 2005 00:17 UTC

Ships with Gnome 2.6? I think he meant 2.8.

RE:typo?
by Anonymous on Fri 18th Feb 2005 00:29 UTC

No, It does ship with Gnome 2.6 Pat no longer maintains Gnome for Slackware

RE: the unfriendly distro
by Kevin on Fri 18th Feb 2005 00:45 UTC

My main complaint about Slackware (which applies to Debian too) is that there aren't many books about it. On the other hand, a new Red Hat, Mandrake or Suse bible is published almost each year. It's like NetBSD versus FreeBSD.

In fact, the last Slackware book was published way way back by Cantrell et al. It's hard to suggest that distro to your boss without some sort of official, printed documentation.

Gnome
by Anton on Fri 18th Feb 2005 00:46 UTC

Just in case someones wondering, slack is great at one particular thing, compiling stuff from source...so that being said, it is hardly any work at all to get Gnome 2.8.2 or even current 2.10 beta 2 installed with garnome.
On a lowly p3 850 Im up and running cutting edge gnome in less than 5 hours of unattended compiling from source!

fluff?
by Robocoastie on Fri 18th Feb 2005 00:49 UTC

OK first of all I love Slackware. But its not fair to other distros to say that it doesn't have bloat or fluff. That's just not true it has just as much as other distros. The difference is you can choose exactly which packages to install or not thereby eliminating "fluff" and "bloat" right off the bat.

@ex-slacker
by Evert on Fri 18th Feb 2005 00:50 UTC

those "unfriendly" guys actually helped me by forcing me to ask smart questions and to use my own brains. they would give me clues, but they would not make me dumb. slackware is targeted to experienced linux users, who can solve problems and can RTFM.

RE:newbies
by P on Fri 18th Feb 2005 01:32 UTC

"GNU/Linux distros have changed since 1996 and there are currently lots of distros that are more newbie friendly than Slackware. Slackware is relatively easy to install but setting things up for the desktop use need tinkering with config files and some general knowledge of how Linux systems work (which newbies don't usually have). That said, Slackware is still one of the best options for advanced users, especially for server use. But don't try to argue it's a newbie friendly distro because it just isn't."

That's just it though.. A newbie CAN learn all this stuff. Slackware isn't that complicated. to say that it's 100% inaccessible to newbies is just as wrong as saying it's perfect for newbies.

All I'm saying is that classifying all newbies as "dumb" and assuming they can't learn slackware is wrong. Newbies doesn't mean DUMB.

Simplicity and no-bloat approach.
by Anonymous on Fri 18th Feb 2005 02:04 UTC

This is slackware ;)

RE: Minislack
by Cheapskate on Fri 18th Feb 2005 02:09 UTC

i like the idea of Minislack, but does it use the same installer as slackware? or, does it install more like Vector using a more automated install with less features without the ability of choosing mountpoints like mounting /boot and /usr in seperate disk partitions???

v Huh???
by Cheapskate on Fri 18th Feb 2005 02:22 UTC
Minimalists/Gnome/Slack Books
by unixfool on Fri 18th Feb 2005 02:35 UTC

Slackware is as minimal as the user wants it. Only the first CD is actually required, and even then, you don't have to install all the packages...its totally up to the person installing. The other CDs contain non-essential software that the person choses to or not to install.

Gnome is indeed going the way of the dodo where Slackware is concerned. If you don't like that, build your own packages...this won't hurt Slackware in the least, IMO. Slackware isn't popular because of its software selection.

Lastly, its not the fault of Pat that there aren't many books that cover Slackware. Blame the authors and publishers for that, no the software developers. It's a given that many corporations won't use a distro like Slackware, but they also most likely won't use ANY distro or OS without enterprise-level support. I've known a few admins that installed Slackware regardless of what management thought and kept it hush-hush until they've been given a pat on the back for keeping the network and systems going.

Slackware isn't going anywhere...heh

(Slackware - Gnome) + fd.o etc
by Ryan Mikulovsky on Fri 18th Feb 2005 02:35 UTC

I think it'd be rather nice to have at least some manner of impartiality when reviewing a distribution. Saying right off the bat "I love Slackware".... you get the jest :-)

Anyhow, it's nice to see that Pat will take a path not often followed and I think in the end it will be validated as the right choice. Gnome is a dependency mess. Folks need to concentrate more on fd.o for applications instead of locking them to a certain desktop environment. Abiword without gnome is a fantastic change in this version of Slackware. And when Gnome enabled applications are castrated of Gnome support -- I can expect a reasonable increase in reliability and speed plus resultant universal desktop functions. Lastly, of course, more space on disc 1 to provide more topnotch omni-desktop and server environment applications.

That said, Slackware IMO isn't aimed expressly for desktop use and therefore the desktop should not be concentrated on so much. Therefore, the ability to provide a distribution balanced in all facets of use with a high level of quality can be a reality.

Fastest Distro I have used...in a long time
by Luckett on Fri 18th Feb 2005 02:49 UTC

I do not know what it is, but this 10.1 release is the fastest linux has ever run on my system. Simply FLIES.
Maybe my gentoo was horribly crippled from me trying too many optimizations or something, but slack smokes it.
I'm even on the 2.4.29 kernel.

God this the best Linux distro i have ever run.

On the subject of Gnome.
by Best on Fri 18th Feb 2005 02:55 UTC

Dropline isn't going anywhere, 2.10 is going to be our first release for 10.1, the 2.8.x release works now albeit with a few issues that we know about, and a few packages that get downgraded. Which is a result simply of continuing support for 10.0. We're currently prepping our 2.8.3 release.

Gnome itself is reducing its number of requirements, many of the libraries are getting depercated, with gtk holding more and more of the functionality. Hopefully the whole process should become more simple in the future.

Still I don't blame Pat for cutting Gnome. Gnome needs a lot of system tuning to provide the best desktop experience, and doing it right, is more than a one man job. Especially when you have a lot more to work on.

RE Gnome
by krell on Fri 18th Feb 2005 04:29 UTC

Yes Gnome simply failed to properly start on my P2
All sorts of "cannot start serve blah blah" appeared.
Is the Gnome on the 10.1 2nd disk the same as
dropline Gnome or is it the standard version?
KDE worked great.

Such a buggy User environment as Gnome has no business
on Slakware..
Perhaps Dropline is better

@Krell
by Best on Fri 18th Feb 2005 04:46 UTC

The version on the second slackware disk, is a practically ignored version of Gnome. Pat has never put much time or effort into Gnome.

Dropline was orignally created when Pat announced that he wouldn't be including gnome 2.0. It was continued when Pat's version of Gnome didn't compare to it.

Reviewing Linux Distro's
by Anonymous on Fri 18th Feb 2005 05:04 UTC

I really don't understand why we even have reviews of Linux distro's anymore. What are you going to learn from them? The only thing that one distro provides that another doesn't is some special configuration application or some nice installer or background/wallpaper that another doesn't.

But overall, they are all the same because they all come from the same place.

Am I missing something here or what?

@reviewing Linux Distros
by krell on Fri 18th Feb 2005 09:37 UTC

You are missing something...
Linux is just a kernel..in fact there are many kernels
to choose from and around that choice many ways to tweak
the kernel and system libraries to achieve a special ends..

Take Vector linux whuch is based on Slackware..
It is designed to run fast on old hardware..
like my P2 while being easy to install..

Gentoo is designed to be as customisable as possible

Knoppix to work on any hardware..

But I agree that it would be nice if all these options
would be possible from a single superlinux distro ;)
In general I think the large variety has fragmented the user base which is already a minority..

You can contrast BSD unix like NetBSD - only one distro
but well designed for its job.
But the BSDs were tweaked too! Hence FreeBSD, OpenBSD
DragonFly..etc..
So some variety is probably good by I agree that
many linux distros are fairly pointless...

GNOME packages in Linux Slackware 10.x
by LiNue on Fri 18th Feb 2005 10:52 UTC

If you want more recent GNOME packages for Linux Slackware 10.0, you can try these ones :

http://antesis.freecontrib.org/mirrors/slack-fr.org/packages/slackw...

But as Linux Slackware 10.0 is unmaintained, these packages for Linux Slackware 10.0 are unmaintained yet. I would recommand you to upgrade to Linux Slackware 10.1 and to try these latest GNOME packages for Linux Slackware 10.1 :

http://linuce.free.fr/slackware/10.1/gnome-2.8.2+/

Note that both packages sets are built for a 2.4.x Linux kernel and ALSA sound system as provided with Linux Slackware 10.x. If you are running a 2.6.x Linux kernel, you would better try Dropline GNOME (at least for Linux Slackware 10.0 as Linux Slackware 10.1 is not supported by Dropline GNOME yet).

There is also GSB (Gnome SlackBuild) and G-Ware, but they seem to provide GNOME packages only for a 2.6.x Linux kernel:

- GSB : http://gsb.sourceforge.net/
- G-Ware : http://www.gware.org/



@Kevin
by ddk on Fri 18th Feb 2005 11:25 UTC

My main complaint about Slackware (which applies to Debian too) is that there aren't many books about it.

http://www.taickim.net/daniel/slackware-basics/

@Evert
by ex-slacker on Fri 18th Feb 2005 12:33 UTC


To say that Slackware users make you smart by telling you to "RTFM" is like my old college roommate making his girlfriend thin by telling her she was "fat". He said he did it "to help her".

One thing the users in the slackware newsgroup could not stand - was someone who would point out their abuse. "It's what Pat would do!", they would cry. Then they will try to censor you by complaining to your ISP that your posts are troublesome. Just like you did about my earlier post.

There are some nice newsgroup members, but they are drowned out by all the personal attacks of the "experts". They expect you to take the abuse that they did, beause they did. They relish it. It's "the Slackware way". I've heard it all directly from them. PatV should have addressed these people's behavior a long time ago, but he has not - so I tend not to have any sympathy for the long term prospects of his project. Ironically, he seems like a really good guy.

You sound like you will fit right in, and I expect you will complain about this post, too.

Arch vs Slackware
by ex-slacker on Fri 18th Feb 2005 12:45 UTC


When Slackware started shipping on 2 CDS, it was a signal that they had lost their original vision of being the "lean" distro. Arch Linux seems to be carrying that torch now. The Arch Linux community is also very vibrant and very friendly.

RE: Arch vs Slackware
by ddk on Fri 18th Feb 2005 13:22 UTC

When Slackware started shipping on 2 CDS, it was a signal that they had lost their original vision of being the "lean" distro. Arch Linux seems to be carrying that torch now. The Arch Linux community is also very vibrant and very friendly.

You can perfectly install Slackware from one CD. Fact is that you can't fit KDE, GNOME and a usable GNU/Linux distribution on one CD. That's why KDE and GNOME are on CD2, but CD2 is by no means mandatory.

BTW. FYI: Slackware has shipped on 4CDs for ages (IIRC most Walnut Creek Slack releases were on 4CDs). But it contained some other software archives, like subsets of sunsite.unc.edu and prep.ai.mit.edu/pub/gnu.

RE: Arch vs Slackware
by Adi Wibowo on Fri 18th Feb 2005 14:41 UTC

You can perfectly install Slackware from one CD. Fact is that you can't fit KDE, GNOME and a usable GNU/Linux distribution on one CD. That's why KDE and GNOME are on CD2, but CD2 is by no means mandatory.

Yes, that is true.
CD2 only contain KDE and GNOME. CD1 already have XFCE, Window Maker, etc. so it perfectly suit someone who want to build a server (that needs X server, like oracle) and also someone who wants their desktop, but not KDE nor GNOME.

Fact is, Pat made an explanation on how to make 1 CD that contains KDE or GNOME only, or other combinations. So we can make our own CD set that suits our need. Very useful doen't it?

v whatsit all about??
by slack_boogie on Fri 18th Feb 2005 14:53 UTC
@ex-slacker
by janedoe on Fri 18th Feb 2005 16:11 UTC

Looks like you ran into some fanboys and not the majority of slackware users. Please don't tar us all with the same brush and please don't take it out on the distro by slating it. Did you ever try places like the linuxpackages.org forums? The people over there are fairly helpful. I've seen a few "RTFM" answers, but usually it's because the answer is sitting directly in front of them waving and yelling loudly....and if they still can't see it somebody normally gives in and tells them.

You should really try and stop being so defensive when it comes to critisism.
"You sound like you will fit right in, and I expect you will complain about this post, too."
This kind of response is unlikely to gain you any friends or inspire people to help you out. Before you start accusing me of the same things, please stop and think. I'm not being abusive or offensive, I'm just making an observation. Disregard it if you like. I don't know you and I may well be wrong.

From my experience, your average slackware user is ready and willing to help, provided you show at least a little motivation to do some legwork yourself. I havn't ever read the slackware user group but I have read and used many of the main forums. Fanboys are never a good example of the userbase for anything. They know relativly little (hence the abuse, they probably don't know the answer) and like to feel superior.

Meh, I still prefer debian.
by bob on Fri 18th Feb 2005 18:03 UTC

I really tried to like slackware, I really did, but something was just off. I dont know what it was but i just still prefer debian.

Slackware Documentation
by Slackware user on Fri 18th Feb 2005 18:53 UTC

http://www.slackersbible.org/

Unless I missed it no one seems to have mentioned this documentation.

arch vs. slack
by Punk on Fri 18th Feb 2005 20:07 UTC

arch user .. ex-slacker
for everyone like me who used to love slack -> try arch !

RE: Meh, I still prefer debian.
by Metic on Sat 19th Feb 2005 00:30 UTC

I really tried to like slackware, I really did, but something was just off. I dont know what it was but i just still prefer debian.

Don't worry..., I've had the same symptoms for ages and I've come to the conclusion that it probably ain't too serious after all... Slack & slackers are ok too, I guess, but I just prefer Debian and I'm very happy with it. Maybe it has something to do with this thing called taste and preferences too? ;-P

why not upgrade?
by kernow on Sat 19th Feb 2005 22:27 UTC

I don't get why people always format when a new distro of their choice comes out

I've upgraded from 9.1->10.0->10.1 with no problems, the UPGRADE.TXT is very concise and simple to follow, the only thing you need to watch out for is the

'upgradepkg --install-new slackware/*/*.tgz'

which will, in fact, install a package regardless, if it can't find it to upgrade in the first place, meaning you'll end up with a 3GB install, no problem though, you can remove them after.. or not specify the --install-new parameter in the first place.

happy slacking people.

Interesting review but...
by jiem on Fri 25th Feb 2005 16:30 UTC

It is funny to see how all the things in Slackware that the reviewer see as advantages for Slackware, the "fluff" and "bloat" removal is clearly for me a disadvantage. It must be because I got a powerful Athlon XP32000(not exactly a P4, but I am quite happy of it) and the so-called "Bloatware" expression is much more true in a Windows world. For me, I would call them more often nice features for a nice "desktop" experience.

Understand me. The stability of Linux and particularly of Slackware is not in cause. I still think Slackware is one of the most stable out there and is great for small to mid-size servers and for light desktop. But for someone like me, using Linux more than 80 % if the time. I need most of this "fluff and bloat" that "enhance" my desktop use of Linux. I like to be able to tweak a few things to my liking but I look for a distribution that already has some "improvements" over a plain Linux graphical desktop. My personal preference would go to Mandrake for both ease of use and powerful possibilities to upgrade (urpmi) with a second place to SuSE since they reopened their version.

For an older machine, I would use/recommend Slackware to any computer litterate but this is not the toy for newbies (even if it is still doable for everyone willing to overcome a steep learning curve). I used it in the past but I am quite happy with my existing desktop. I also used and loved Slax, the light Live-CD edition of Slackware (I hope to see an upgrade for it soon).

> I'm never truly comfortable with trying to upgrade and while I know it's very possible with Slackware, I wasn't feeling brave enough to attempt the Slackware 10.0 to 10.1 Upgrade HOWTO.

I do not understand this fear to upgrade in the Linux world (I guess it is a reminescence of the bad experiences they had in the Windows world). It is so common now. It used to be true for some Mandrake upgrades but mostly for major upgrades. I know someone who upgraded Mandrake 7 to 8 and then 9 with no problems or just minor corrections needed. And I upgraded also with no problem most of the time. Anyway, since I always keep my /home in a separate partition, I can always wipe out my oher Linux partitions and do a complete reinstall if the upgrade brings some other problems.

I do a complete reinstall about once a year or once every two or three years. It used to be a lot more when I was mostly using Windows (OK... it was in the old time of Windows 98 first edition(YURK!).