Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 3rd May 2008 05:47 UTC, submitted by ZacharyM
Slackware, Slax One of the oldest Linux distributions, Slackware, has pushed out another release. "Well folks, it's that time to announce a new stable Slackware release again. So, without further ado, announcing Slackware version 12.1! Since we've moved to supporting the 2.6 kernel series exclusively (and fine-tuned the system to get the most out of it), we feel that Slackware 12.1 has many improvements over our last release (Slackware 12.0) and is a must-have upgrade for any Slackware user."
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RE[5]: Packages, packages...
by psychicist on Mon 5th May 2008 12:51 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Packages, packages..."
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I'm really bothered with the "convenient == modern" view of a distribution. For instance Ubuntu, Fedora and OpenSUSE are pretty convenient for installation, but they're also slow and more bleeding-edge and buggy than Slackware.

I installed Ubuntu 8.04 on one of the Powermacs G4 I bought a few days ago just to see what it's like before I erased it to install Slackintosh. The speed difference for both the installation and running the system is enormous, making the difference between useable and unuseable.

Ubuntu was even slower than the instance of Mac OS X 10.3 running on it a few hours earlier. I don't want to detract from the ease of use that Ubuntu claims to have but I found it anything but easy to get OpenJDK and Gnash running on there, something which is arguably easier on x86 and x86_64 by using Sun's JDK and Adobe's Flash.

I've also used and lived with OpenSUSE in the recent past and in a distant past Fedora Core 1 and you can't portray them as being ultimately convenient and Slackware as something ancient which isn't worth bothering with, because that's just not true.

I'd say it's the other way around. Slackware has considerably fewer problems after you've done initial configuration, to the point of not having to muck around with it at all either because of bugs or dependency resolution issues.

The point about package managers doesn't sit very well with me either. Slackware does have a package manager, it's called pkgtool. One may be right that it doesn't bother with dependencies but it does a good job of installation, removal and upgrading of packages.

If you want a convenient dependency resolving update manager such as apt or yum, there are tools such as slapt-get, which work well if you've created the necessary package metadata. It's like the difference between dpkg and apt or rpm and yum, but pkgtool and slapt-get have a much cleaner separation of responsibilities.

Rpm (yum) and dpkg (apt) may be more modern and convenient, but who is to say that these are the last word on package management? Both have bugs (see the ugly story on rpm leading to the rpm5 fork and the occasional failure to install or update packages on apt-get managed systems).

Maybe it's time for another more modern and up-to-date package manager like Conary that learns from these mistakes and offers a compelling advantage over both. In the meantime I'm glad that Slackware hasn't wandered into these territories yet. Also Solaris is also only now adopting a new package management facility.

It could be that eventually Slackware adopts something superior to both dpkg and apt, its ways aren't cast in stone. Moreover, if someone comes up with something better than the current tgz scheme, who knows if Slackware's maintainer might adopt it if it turns out to be good enough of a replacement, even though I admit that is not very likely.

If one is talking about Slackware in the enterprise I agree that it lacks some tools for remote management, graphical configuration utilities and overall integration (such as LDAP/AD), but these could be added over time. No distribution was ready for this kind of deployment from day one, enterprise features were created and refined over time. Also 24x7 and multi-year support seems to be more important than technical superiority, otherwise we'd all be using Slackware, Solaris or FreeBSD for our desktops and servers.

To show that I'm not biased I'll say that I've created and maintain MIPS and SPARC ports of my distribution that is derived from Slackware so I'll take suggestions to improve upon standard Slackware behaviour at heart to create a better user experience, since no distribution is perfect, not even Debian and Ubuntu.

What I don't appreciate is detracting from Slackware without saying what aspects could be be improved and offering suggestions in which ways this could be done.

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