I chose Minislack because of the low requirements (running fine on my Pentium II – 400 MHz with 256 Mb RAM, 32 Mb swap, on a 1.5 Gb harddrive partition – I recommend 2 Gb, though).Minislack is Slackware based. It doesn’t come with fancy configuration tools – instead you get to learn Linux fundamentals. Learning curve is a bit steeper, but perhaps it is “healthier” to learn Linux instead of learning a special distros configuration tool (that’s my opinion).
The “cut” made with Minislack (in comparison to Slackware) is focus on the Desktop user, and with only one application for each purpose (several text editors are available, though). It includes a fairly large and complete portion of programming tools. Any user can add to the installation with personal needs – preferably based on Slackware tarballs (but any other common way can be used, of course).
The desktop is Xfce, a nice choice – not too requiring, but still with eye-candy.
The choice of applications are mainstream – like Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird, GIMP and so on. A very nice selection (and as a MS-Windows user who has been using OpenSource based applications for a while I am already familiar with these applications). The KDE and OpenOffice packages are available as an option (not included on the CD-ROM ISO).
Maintenance tools are not GUI, but Slackware pkgtool etc. – and then there is this new and special feature for Minislack named “netpkg” which can be used to keep Minislack up-to-date in a very easy way. It checks your installation with a package repository. You can then download upgrades and choose to install them (either on-the-fly, or use Slackware installpkg).
The limited distro means that packages are well maintained (up to date). The distro is focusing on:
1) Desktop usage
2) The programming tools
3) Newbies have an easy time with not too many options, and a great help page for the installation (on main page, click documentation, then clik
on “Minislack Linux installation tutorial“.
I have found the Minislack forum helpful and friendly.
A very light and clean distro that comes with all that a desktop and small office user wants, removing a lot of unuseful packages for this purpose. I’m really impressed with the distro’s quality.
It is simple, fast, secure and reliable
It provides one application for one task (except editors)
It is a complete development/desktop environment
It is compact