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Hardcore Unix administrators will pass on Slackware just because of that unexplainable glitch, despite the popular misconceptions.
Slackware ships with vanilla upstream packages as much as possible. No security patches will be included until they are in in the stock kernel on www.kernel.org. Hardcore Unix administrators have to judge for themselves what kind of security patches they deem worthwile and apply them. Remember, not every security related change is actually an improvement. There's an interesting thread on Slashdot about Slackware not using PAM.
A quote from OpenSSH developer Damien Miller:
I'm surprised that the major distributions haven't moved on to something more sane. It's good that that Slackware, at least, has demonstrated some critical thinking and has not just mindlessly followed the flock.
About your Gnome dependency problems, I never encounter them, maybe because I always have the l/ directory installed. When I wanted to test Gnome or KDE, I just did a installpkg gnome/*z and installpkg kde/*z and they worked fine. I didn't really like either, so I did a removepkg gnome/*z and kde/*z and they were gone. I