Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 28th Aug 2009 09:59 UTC, submitted by Witek Wasilewski
Slackware, Slax Among OSNews readers, Slackware is a surprisingly popular choice when it comes to Linux distributions. A new release came out today, Slackware 13, which comes packed with improvements, and even a whole new port.
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Nice and simple
by massysett on Fri 28th Aug 2009 11:38 UTC
massysett
Member since:
2007-12-04

I started using Slackware -current when I got a new laptop a month ago. The system is quite simple and easy to use, and transparent. It's the first set of init scripts that I can easily understand. I thought the lack of dependency tracking would be a problem, but it hasn't been since I just installed everything (now I have been pruning out some daemons I don't need.) Plus, without huge databases and complex tools, the package system is easy to use. I have needed some things from SlackBuilds.org (like xmonad, because KDE 4.2 is still not quite usable in my opinion) but downloading from SlackBuilds is not hard and all the builds have compiled easily.

If there's something I don't like about a package in Slackware or on SlackBuilds.org, it's easy to change. For instance I needed a newer Mutt than the one that's in Slackware. I edited the SlackBuild that came with Slackware to change the version number and add a compile flag, downloaded the newer tarball, and in a few minutes I was done.

Wicd works great for managing the wireless. It has a great curses interface.

With simplicity comes a system that is easy to configure and understand. About the only thing I didn't like is KDE 4.2, but seeing as 3.5 is now unmaintained I can understand that switch. I'm surprised I like Slackware because I have used Linux for a few years and never considered looking at Slack. Now that 13.0 is stable I'm glad I can stop using -current and instead just use 13.0 for nice, easy maintenance for the few security upgrades that will come along.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Nice and simple
by Zolookas on Fri 28th Aug 2009 12:14 in reply to "Nice and simple"
Zolookas Member since:
2006-03-01

You might want to take a look at ArchLinux:

It has pacman package manager which tracks dependencies and PKGBUILD system with aur community repo (simmilar to SlackBuilds you have mentioned). KDE 4.3 in repos is modularized (that means you don't have to install that you don't need) and you can use another famous KDE repo called kdemod.

Arch's packages are always updated, but if you want to compile beta version, editing PKGBUILD will be as easy as SlackBuild.

In addition to wicd, Arch has netcfg utility. It is designed for quick switching between network configurations in terminal. Create your network profiles using simple config files and type "netcfg home" and you are connected to your home network, type "netcfg work" and you are connected to your work network. There is also ability to choose network profile when booting system.

ArchLinux is also as simple as Slackware and you can get KDE 3.5 from kdemod repo.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Nice and simple
by Morgan on Fri 28th Aug 2009 12:27 in reply to "RE: Nice and simple"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I've played around with Arch a few times and I just can't get into it. Maybe it's because I am so used to Slackware's way of doing things but Arch just seems so obtuse to me. I honestly think I'd rather use LFS than Arch after my last attempt.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Nice and simple
by massysett on Fri 28th Aug 2009 13:28 in reply to "RE: Nice and simple"
massysett Member since:
2007-12-04

You might want to take a look at ArchLinux


Yeah, I looked at Arch and I did like the philosophy, and Pacman looks good too. What I didn't like about Arch though is the rolling release system. Then I'm always upgrading and tinkering with the system. I prefer to have a stable release that just gets security updates. I used rolling releases with Gentoo and it ends up being a lot of work.

For similar reasons I didn't use Debian unstable, though I have Debian stable on other machines and like it. I went with Slackware -current because I needed a newer kernel and xorg than is available in Debian stable, and running Slackware -current seemed like it would be less work than Debian unstable. Now that 13.0 is out I will happily use that.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Nice and simple
by reez on Fri 28th Aug 2009 16:14 in reply to "RE: Nice and simple"
reez Member since:
2006-06-28

Yeah arch was a really good distro. The problem I have is that there are pretty bad package maintainers even in the core team.

No security updates, even if you provide patches. You get hard and stupid answers, if you provide a patch and months later exactly this patch gets committed without any attribution. A lot of people also add wrong licenses to their packages.

I'm talking about core and extra here. A lot of these problems still apply. As I said I provided patches and even wanted to take over a package as maintainer.

I was a real big fan of Arch a few versions ago, but the quality always got worse. It's still good enough for many things, but I'm really sad about it.

If you need quality Frugalware might be a good alternative. IMO it's a mix of Arch + Slackware + many extras.

I'm thinking about switching back to Slackware because it seems that all good new distributions loose quality after a while. Gentoo, Arch, Fedora, ... Even Debian has some problems. But I guess their biggest Problem is that their release cycle got faster.

I know this sounds like a big flame, but the quality of many systems is shrinking. I'm not sure about why. Maby things are done quick and dirty. Only the number of commits/changes matters and not the quality.

I'm not sure how Gentoo and Arch Linux solved the quality problems in the early days. There were fewer commiters, the packages were more up to date and the quality was better.

Maybe there should be more reviews. Maybe it's also a problem of test automation. If things compile and even the automated tests work it's fine, but these tests can't cover everything and also more complex things aren't really testable.

Okay, that's off topic. I'm sorry!

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE: Nice and simple
by google_ninja on Fri 28th Aug 2009 12:24 in reply to "Nice and simple"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

The other really cool thing is that the philosophy pat uses when it comes to package selection. Most distros patch the hell out of packages to integrate with their tools, or just to get something working that has a bug. The problem with this is you can end up with distro specific issues that has to do with their modifications, not with the actual code that the project is putting out.

Pat doesn't patch things to get them working, he just waits until the project is stable enough to include. This has a suprisingly positive effect on stability, and it also makes working with tarballs relatively painless compared to other distros.

Reply Parent Score: 4