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.
Yes, the biggest addition to Slackware 13.0 is probably the official 64bit port of Slackware. “While the 32-bit (x86) version continues to be developed, this release brings to you a complete port to 64-bit (x86_64),” Patrick Volkerding writes, “We know that many of you have been waiting eagerly for this, and once you try it you’ll see it was well worth the wait.”
Furthermore, it comes with Xfce 4.6.1, KDE 4.2.4, Linux kernel 220.127.116.11, and continues to use HAL. On the developers’ side, it comes with gcc-4.3.3, Perl 5.10.0, Python 2.6.2, Ruby 1.8.7-p174, Subversion 1.6.4, git-1.6.4, mercurial-1.2.1, graphical tools like Qt designer and KDevelop, and more.
Download information can be found in the release announcement.
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.