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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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 ( 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.