Linked by Steve Husted on Mon 12th Apr 2004 09:30 UTC
Slackware, Slax This is an article about my experiences with Slackware 9.1, a distribution of Linux that I find enjoyable, along with programs that I find useful and enjoyable.
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Slackware's flaws
by root on Mon 12th Apr 2004 11:39 UTC

Slackware was on of the first distros I used before I got frustrated into LFS and finally Gentoo. The reasons, I have no regrets abandoning slackware are plentiful. I shall proceed to list them.

Documentation
Slackware's documentation is appauling to say the least. Documentation should exist for nearly every potential user function. Take a look at Gentoo's documentation page, and you'll be impressed.

How to setup your desktop
How to setup your printer
How to setup samba
How to setup your firewall
How to setup Java
How to setup to setup ALSA (sound configuration)
How to setup a secure gentoo box
How to setup a mail server
How to setup an OpenMosix cluster
How to setup your nvidia drivers
...to mention a few!

Compared to Gentoo, Slackwares documentation is scanty. As a result setting up and managing a slackware box for extended periods of time is painful.

Package Management
It's either non-existent in slackware, or the available ones hold no water. I tried installing GNOME on slackware and it only brought me close to tears. It was diabolically frustrating for no sound reason. Why should I bother haunting dependencies down all over the internet, when an intelligent package manage will not only do that for me, but will install the package in a consistent manner over my file system.

Today, I have over 11 Desktop Environments that I can switch to on the fly and a multitude of packages that were correctly installed effortlessly, thanks to intelligent package managing. On Slackware, I could hardly get GNOME going, and every time I had to install a package, it was as if I was preparing for war. No, swaret isn't robust!

Security
Not many people take security seriously, but it is one of the only reasons I use a source based distro. Where is the hardened-Slackware? Does one exist? Where are the Slackware Security guides? Do they exist? How do I go about PaX enabling Slackware? How about SELinux and Grsecurity patches for Slackware? Do they exist? The last time I checked, the answer was no. Hence slackware is automatically eliminated as a secure operating system for servers or workstations in any serious environment. If you are running a server without SELinux/Grsecurity/PaX/Propolice to mention a few, you are calling for it! Don't make me imagine what I would have to do to get a secure slackware box up and running.

Unfortunately, most of the problems the author encountered are slackware specific and rightly so. Updating and maintaining slackware is a pain, because it lacks a robust package manager. And setting up Slackware is a herculian task because its documentation is lackluster.

That about sums up the reason, Slackware remains a no go area for me. I've used and I cherish its simplicity, but I can't help express my frustrations at how Slackware makes easy things seem hard.

I'll probably get modded down for this, but this is a sincere observation and experience I've had with Slackware. I mean, installing packages is a "one liner" is almost every mordern distro I know but Slackware, is on the verge of perfecting. Yet, Slackware is supposedly one of the oldest Linux distros. Unfortunately, it seems Slackware is resistant to change, and positive ones at that.