Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 24th Sep 2003 01:45 UTC
Slackware, Slax For almost a week now, I've been using Slackware 9.1 (RC-1 released today), and I am having a blast. Slackware doesn't have more than 6-8% of the Linux market these days, but it used to be one of the most-used distros back in the day. Today, many think of Slackware as a true classic, a thought that is often accompanied by a feeling that Slackware is not a user-friendly or an uber-modern Linux distribution. There is some truth in that statement, but there is always the big "But". Read on for our very positive experience with Slackware 9.1-pre. Update: In less than 24 hours since the RC-1, Slackware 9.1 RC-2 is out.
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Slack reviewed by biased, cont.
by Algol on Wed 24th Sep 2003 15:47 UTC

About dependancies:
skaeight, you know that ./configure is a way of handling dependancies, right? Even though it is at a development level, looking for header files and the like, it still checks if you have the packages needed to build the software.

When you build software, you link the binary to libraries to use functions within them. You don't distribute all libraries that you've linked your software against because it would be reduntant, it would mean that every gnome software would have to be bundeled with the gnome libraries, glibc, etc. Instead you have packages that contain these libraries, so that you only have to install them once.

These dependancies doesn't have much to do with RPM or deb but they are inherent in the way one makes software on the linux platform. The differance is that mandrake and debian lets a piece of software work out what other packages needed to install, while slack lets the user fetch whatever is necessary.

About locked within the rpm database.
One is not locked with the pre-packaged system with an rpm or deb based distro anymore than a slack user is. I can download and compile gnucash on my mandrake system if I wanted, now urpmi gnucash is all i need to do.

There are also simple commands that let you rebuild you database incase you have destroyed it.

As for configuration, you cannot deny the fact that sometimes software is needed to configure software, like the XFree config that slack uses. If you were against that, then you would always write every configuration file from scratch in vi. Many distros have improved upon these configuration software and put in autodetection etc. This is not a BAD (tm) thing. This is mainly because after this software has terminated, you can edit the configuration file it has made anyway you like. Hence, you don't lose control with good configuration software, you just make a better config file to start working upon (if you even need to work on it).

As for knowing what you're building:
I agree with you. If you can substitute for the dependancy-resolving software, good for you. My question is merely that how can the lack of such features make it the best distro on the face of the earth? Reviews like this makes friends of mine, who have very little linux experience, call me when they have problems installing gaim. If you know exactly what you want to do, and you want to do it by hand, then slack is maybe the best distro, but for most other things, mandrake and debian are legues ahead of slack.

As for the need of administrators:
Yes, they are needed, but to what extent they should be needed is another issue. Should one need a certified admin just to install a piece of software? Sure it is fun to say that you have done it the hard way, and that you've mastered linux, but is it really necessary? By the same logic it would be a good thing to write the whole system by yourself.