Home > Slackware, Slax > Review of Slackware 9.1 Review of Slackware 9.1 Submitted by Robert Burns 2004-01-30 Slackware, Slax 69 Comments Here is a positive review of Slackware 9.1 over at ExtremeTech’s forums by R. Burns (our review). About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 69 Comments 2004-01-30 9:02 pm Maybe he would do a simple adduser instead of useradd 2004-01-30 9:04 pm Well, Debian and other distros use useradd, and in fact, I got a stambling block on one of my application installations on slackware 9.1 the other day, because the app was assuming that useradd was available in the system! Apparently, useradd was removed from Slackware a few versions back due to some problems. 2004-01-30 9:07 pm I just setup Slackware on my laptop last night (I had already downloaded the cds, but finally got around to installing since internet went down and I was bored). After hearing the rave reviews on OSNews I figured I’d give it a shot. So far, I like it a lot. It gives me the power of Gentoo (my prior favorite), the speed of binary packages, and it seems to have more of a “just works” quality than Gentoo while still leaving the user plenty of power. Once internet was up, I setup the 2.6 kernel on it (ugh, lots of boring menus) as got started with swaret. What’s the best source for a “using Slackware” guide? The book on slackware.com seems a tad dated, though it still has plenty of good advice. Oh, though I should probably google this, what’s the benefit of using Dropline over stock Gnome? 2004-01-30 9:15 pm Dropline Gnome includes Evolution and other gnome applications and themes that don’t come with Slackware by default, however IMHO, the biggest advantage it’s got is FAM (node monitoring utility), so if you do a file or menu change, it automatically shows up on nautilus or on the gnome menu. However, Dropline is not all honey & kisses, it’s got a few problems: http://www.gnomedesktop.org/article.php?sid=1616&mode=nested&order=… 2004-01-30 9:18 pm BTW, if you install Evolution on Slackware and you can’t send emails via POP, you need to edit your /etc/hosts file and remove all comments found in the file. Ximian knows of the race condition, but this is actually a glibc bug, and its fix is being in limbo for quite a while now… 2004-01-30 9:23 pm Zachary asked: “…what’s the benefit of using Dropline over stock Gnome?” Dropline is what finally sold me 100% on Slack. It auto-loads and updates 180 of the latest Gnome related desktop packages – all integrated and ‘tweaked’ to work together. It is the sweetest desktop environment I have found yet for Linux. And it is clean and pure… I run my Dropline update about once a month. Last week it updated 40 packages for me – Mozilla 1.6, gaim 0.75, etc. You have complete control over all updates, can pick and choose which ones to do. Nice review: http://linux-universe.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=1555 2004-01-30 9:33 pm I’ve been using Slackware since version 2.3. I’ve tried the others and always go back to Slackware – it just works. I use Solaris at work and Slackware at home. 2004-01-30 9:41 pm Brad, I completely agree. Slack may be slightly more difficult to set up than other Linux distributions, but once it is set up, it is very trouble-free. I cannot understand where the Slackware stereotype of being a “hobby, not an OS” came from, but I can say that from my experience, it has been just the opposite. 2004-01-30 9:43 pm I was getting kernel panics from OpenBSD on my headless server at home (and I didn’t feel like going down that road) so I installed Slackware on it. This is my first exposure to Slackware and so far I’m very impressed. I really like its philosophy of remote management. pkgtool (installpkg, upgradepkg, etc.) are very straightforward and easy to use. But I am going to try out swaret. I do like the BSDs though and therefore Slackware was a good choice considering it has more of a BSD feel to it (e.g. init scripts). Unlike the author though I really like SuSE on my desktop. Cheers 2004-01-30 9:55 pm Jason, the goodness or badness if a distribution depends on the perspective of the user. The problems I encountered with SuSE were chiefly related to the compilation of sofware. From my perspective, which is that of a developer/tinkerer, SuSE was a bad distro. So my comments regarding SuSE should be taken with a grain of salt. 🙂 2004-01-30 9:59 pm OK this is really strange. After I do a full system upgrade in swaret( “swaret upgrade -a” ) my sound stops working. Apparently upgrading ALSA was the cause which I found out recently when I did some googling. Anyone else have this problem or know how to exclude ALSA from upgrading? 2004-01-30 10:02 pm This is because your swaret downloaded the latest ALSA, but you didn’t download the latest kernel that ALSA was compiled with. You need to edit /etc/swaret.conf and allow it to also fetch kernels. This way, it will upgrade your kernels and the alsa modules will work again. 2004-01-30 10:08 pm Slackware is simple the best linux distribution ever… Suse/Mandrake/RH are too blooted to me. Slackware is clean and “speedy”. 2004-01-30 10:12 pm Great!,thanx Eugenia 2004-01-30 10:14 pm “I got a stambling block on one of my application installations on slackware 9.1 the other day, because the app was assuming that useradd was available in the system! Apparently, useradd was removed from Slackware a few versions back due to some problems.” You sure? It’s definitely here on my vanilla Slack 9.1 installation… [root@zelenka packages]# which useradd /usr/sbin/useradd [root@zelenka packages]# pwd /var/adm/packages [root@zelenka packages]# grep sbin/useradd * shadow-4.0.3-i486-8:usr/sbin/useradd [root@zelenka packages]# It’s in the ‘shadow’ package, it seems. Not sure if that’s installed by default; might explain things. 2004-01-30 10:23 pm Yep, shadow is installed by default. 2004-01-30 10:25 pm This review sure didn’t cover much. No mention of package management(or lack of) at all even. 2004-01-30 10:26 pm “BTW, if you install Evolution on Slackware and you can’t send emails via POP” LOL yeah, i have a great deal of trouble getting POP to send my mail =) 2004-01-30 10:27 pm >t’s in the ‘shadow’ package, it seems. Not sure if that’s installed by default; might explain things. hmm, weird, my installation doesn’t have that package, I will install it. 2004-01-30 10:29 pm Trevor, thanks for the comments. You are correct. However, SlackPacks are somewhat rare and I installed everything that didn’t come with Slackware via source. I’ll be sure to cover that next time I review a Linux distro; this was my first review. 2004-01-30 10:51 pm > hmm, weird, my installation doesn’t have that package, I > will install it. That is kinda hard to believe : cat /var/log/packages/shadow-4.0.3-i486-8 [..] FILE LIST: ./ bin/ bin/su bin/login [..] 2004-01-30 10:52 pm Forgot to add: “This package provides ‘login’, which is needed to log into the system.” 2004-01-30 10:57 pm Well, I don’t know. I DON’T have useradd here! And yes, I do have “login” and stuff. 2004-01-30 10:58 pm Please note that I am running -Current btw. There might be changes in the -current tree about this. 2004-01-30 11:16 pm I wasn’t feeling like going out very much last weekend, and i spend saturday night figuring out if slack could replace gentoo as my distro of choice, and it got pretty damn close, but i missed having every package i could imagine in the repository and the outlook thing bit mee too, though i couldn’t send over SMTP. I switched back to gentoo after having a 2.6 kernel crap on me, I didn’t feel like figuring out evolution and the kernel thing when i could just reboot and have a working system. But if i tried slack before gentoo i’m pretty sure i would still be running it now. I’ve lost interest in most major distro’s such as redhat or mandrake but I’m sure to keep an eye on slack for a while 2004-01-30 11:16 pm Use slackware 9.0 for a small mail server on a laptop. just works. Easy to manage. I’ve compiled postfix, dovecot and mailman, and some other things like mysql, php and openldap. Slack is great for compiling. It works. Configuration is easy because the text files in /etc are readable and easy to change. Good rc.d structure. I don’t want anything else! 2004-01-30 11:17 pm outlook in previous post should be evolution, and i shouldn’t post in the wee morning hours. 2004-01-30 11:32 pm Darn straight, Evert. I had absolutely no hassles compiling any software for Slackware, unlike SuSE. Compiling from sources is in many cases less of a hassle than using a package, and on top of that, you generally get more optimized software. compile_from_sources = definitely_the_way_to_go 2004-01-30 11:39 pm >I switched back to gentoo after having a 2.6 kernel crap on me, Do you _really_ need 2.6? This kernel is on Slackware’s /testing branch still, because simply, it is not trouble-free yet. Expect the 2.6.3 to be truly ready for usage. I am personally waiting for that moment before I switch to it. 2004-01-30 11:39 pm i use Vector linux as my regular OS on the home machine; how ever i have to use win98, my second preference now, for several apps; VectorLinux is fast, based on Slack, and requires a smaller amount of memmory; i wanted to install Slackware 9.0 but then found that it needs more than 64MB RAM, so instead i went ahead with VL4.0 ; so far im very happy with that; the community awesome; all Slackware9.0 packages work with VL4.0 and now they are doing some funky stuff with VL4SOHO ; noe problem with slackware is that the packages available are not always runnable, and there is no easy way to list all the existing packages. on the system; until swaret came to a decent state, it was difficult; even now, its not easy; But despite this difficulty it is better than deb and rpm based stuff; only *BSD and gentoo have a more intuitive way to install or upgrade packages.. my next OS will be VL4 SOHO, or VL4 with 2.6 Kernel and KDE3.2/DroplineGnome. DroplineGnome again needs more RAM ; as for me, though i like to play around with stuff, i prefer to use VL, because i get help easier than with using Slack Directly, and now i am also able to help others ; i guess there are a few other small foot print OSes like Peanut, colelge linux etc.. which are also Slack Based.. with the next version of VL, it is likely to have a gentoo type of “emerge” system ; cheers ram 2004-01-30 11:53 pm > i wanted to install Slackware 9.0 but then found that it > needs more than 64MB RAM, so instead i went I’m running Slack 9.1 on my (inherited) PPro with 64 MB RAM and it runs well. Without Kerberos or X/DE/WM running it’s only using ~30 MB RAM. Go for it man! Cheers 2004-01-30 11:58 pm I realise there is swaret and dropline to handle dependencies. But has anyone compiled a list of dependencies for each slackware package? Don’t slackware packages also come with a text file describing the package, why can’t there be a dependency list there. Is it too much to ask. What I would like to do is install the bare minimum and slowly build my system from there, but I am not familiar with the packages and there dependencies. I once installed Mozilla but without any GNOME related packages. It was Slack 8.1 and I was a virgin. I didn’t know what extra packages I had to install so Mozilla could start up until someone told me. So is there a way for me to find out, is there a dependency list? 2004-01-31 12:06 am Anyone tried emerde yet? (funny name) http://emerde.freaknet.org/ It looks promising. 2004-01-31 12:15 am John, I assume you mean dependencies for an initial installation, correct? If so, then don’t worry about it. Just choose the software sets that you need, and dependencies shouldn’t be a problem. When you install, you’ll be given a selection of various software sets to install. An explanation of each software set can be found here: http://slackware.com/install/softwaresets.php Make sure you install the base software. It shouldn’t be too terribly hard to figure out which ones you need, and which ones you don’t. The most important thing is to make sure you install ALL the library packages… 2004-01-31 12:24 am okay 2004-01-31 2:42 am and I want to get my hands dirty in the process;<P> Shouldn’t that be “get my hands clean?” 2004-01-31 2:57 am LOL, Charles. 🙂 I would definitely agree that it is clean architecturally. 2004-01-31 3:29 am All I can say is that I installed Slack 9.1 on my HP Pavillion ze115 (laptop) and it works perfectly. Immediately I downloaded kernel 2.6.1 and compiled acpi and left out everything that I don’t neet. Other than the fact that there is no suspend for acpi (still in testing) it controlls the fans and everything pretty well. I have installed OO.org, mozilla from dropline but not dropline ( I learned from Eugenia to do this. FTP to sourceforge and download the packages yourself), DIA, KIVIO, MRPROJECT. etc… Yes I’m doing a project for my CIS degree. I completely forgot that I have XP on the other partition. Oh yeah I enabled the NTFS support in the Kernel and is very nice. I am compeltely satisfy with Slackware. I did tried Fedora on the laptop, thinking that it would fit it better, but (don’t like to trash othe linux distros) it was just to slow. Like many here, went back to Slackware. Althought I never stopped using it, my other pc runs slackware fulltime. Cheers – Figa 2004-01-31 4:30 am Whenever possible, use Slackware scripts to compile from source just to keep your system consistent (compiler options, linker, etc). If not available, I suggest that you download checkinstall. It’s not perfect but does a nice job for you. I’m using Slackware for 2 years now and I’m pretty satisfied with it, simple, fast and solid. Just for fun, I wrote yet another bash script to make compiling from sources even more easy, by now it’s almost enough for my needs, maybe, I’ll release it when it gets decent quality. For those who want a DE, I suggest KDE 3.2 with qt 3.3.0b2. Running them by know and the quality is impressive (as also the responsiveness). 2004-01-31 5:22 am What I would like to do is install the bare minimum and slowly build my system from there, but I am not familiar with the packages and there dependencies. I have a page devoted to a bootable and a usable minimal Slackware system. See: http://seanm.ca/eden/minslack.html 2004-01-31 5:37 am Thanks Sean 2004-01-31 9:09 am I am running -current too, so maybe something is screwed up in your installation. But that’s not really a problem as long as you can log in . 2004-01-31 9:18 am I am running Slackware -current with kernel 2.6.1. Switching to 2.6.1 seems to have solved a threading problem. But I have to try more to really confirm this. The problem arised with CrossOver Office 2.1.0, sometimes it took more than 10 seconds to give control back to a CX app after making another window active. As far as I can see the problem is solved since I am running 2.6.1. I am not 100% sure, because I haven’t used CXOffice intensively the last few days. Of course, it is better to wait a while before switching to 2.6.x, but I like playing with filesystem ACLs et al . 2004-01-31 11:18 am http://www.linuxpackages.net This is the ultimate site for getting all the packages you may never truly need for slackware which aren’t provided in the main distro. Granted they don’t have everything, but if you’re too lazy, dumb, or whatever about compiling stuff, this site can help. I tend to use a couple packages off her for each slack install I do. For example mplayer, which tends to just be a pain to compile (or so it was in the past). I also recently got frozen bubble and all the required SDL support packages from that site, just cause I wanted to play a game fast and didn’t want to take the time to compile all the SDL stuff. Thanks to Rob for all the work he’s done in making linuxpackages.net one of the best slackware support sites ever. 2004-01-31 12:34 pm “i wanted to install Slackware 9.0 but then found that it needs more than 64MB RAM” Nope, Slackware’s installer only needs 16 megs of RAM. It’s one of the fastest, cleanest and most efficient installers available today. Yeah, to use Slack on the desktop you’ll need more memory (at least 32M), as with any distro, but it will run happily as a server in 16M. As Gent pointed out, http://www.linuxpackages.net is a brilliant place to find packages which aren’t included in the main distro. I’ve installed all manner of things from there, and without any hassle at all. Top stuff. 2004-01-31 12:36 pm “I want to learn how Linux works, and I want to get my hands dirty in the process; and I really don’t have any other choice. The latter answer deserves a little explanation:” I think he should try LFS because by using Slackware you don’t really learn how Linux works. I use Slack on the desktop as well on my laptop and I think I’ll never use anything else . Another good package system is pkgsrc from BSD. It is ported to various GNU/Linux distro’s. ( http://www.pkgsrc.org ) 2004-01-31 1:30 pm “I think he should try LFS because by using Slackware you don’t really learn how Linux works.” Many people just copy the instructions from the LFS book and learn nothing. Slackware is a good way to learn how Linux works (because there are no wizards). 2004-01-31 1:48 pm How Linux works can be learnt with any distribution. Requirements: will to learn, time to learn, some intelligence. What distro doesn’t matter. I suppose that people who claim that one needs LFS, Gentoo or whatever to “really” learn Linux haven’t learned much. 2004-01-31 2:20 pm Some distro’s force people to learn UNIX basics, some don’t. That’s a big difference. 2004-01-31 2:54 pm Also, the config files in Slackware contain some excellent and most helpful commentary. I can fully agree that editing config files in Slackware is one of the fastest and easiest way to learn how GNU/Linux system works. 2004-01-31 3:00 pm I actually meant the installation/building process of a system. The Slackware installer is pretty much automatic and when you boot into a fresh Slackware system after installation you don’t really know what you have ‘under the bonnet’. You can find out afterwards ofcourse. I guess Daniel described it very well: “Some distro’s force people to learn UNIX basics, some don’t.” 2004-01-31 3:05 pm I completely disagree with the statement that any distro can be used to really *learn* Linux. Try using SuSE sometime. You get all sorts of pretty GUI tools that don’t give you the opportunity to *learn* Linux. I’m not knocking GUI tools, but if you’re wanting to learn the underlying way that a Linux system is configured, it’s not going to happen with a distro like SuSE. Slack, on the other hand, allows you to learn Linux without too difficult to master. Just for one example, it’s not necessary to create your own rc scripts from scratch. 2004-01-31 3:44 pm The old quote is like this: “Use Red Hat and you’re learn Red Hat. Use SUSE and you’ll learn SUSE. Use Slackware and you’ll learn Linux.” Very true it is too! As others have pointed out, you can learn a lot from other distros, but Slack keeps everything as pure and straightforward as possible. It doesn’t apply zillions of patches to packages, it compiles with sane flags, it has sensible startup scripts, and it leaves software up to the developer’s intentions, not the distro’s whim-du-jour. 2004-01-31 4:08 pm What sets these distros appart? From the sounds of it, the installer seems quite similar and package management seems kinda the same with swaret. Just curious, being a big debian fan, ’cause it’s the only distro that seems to work as far as ease of maintaining, being fast, and being so stable. 2004-01-31 4:58 pm Actually, even while using a distro like SUSE you can still “learn linux”. It just doesn’t force you to look under the hood…you have to want to look. Ditto Mandrake, Fedora, and all of the other “easy to use” distros. Personally, I’m a Debian user these days, but I cut my teeth on RedHat (the only linux I could get my former employers to allow me to implement) and Mandrake. It makes it a bit easier to learn when you can look at the config file, change something with a gui-based admin tool, then look at what changed in the config file. I’m all for getting people to learn more about *nix and *bsd, but I’m not at all against making the process easier for them. Slackware and, to a somewhat lesser degree, Debian assume that you already basically know how the system works. If you don’t, they can be pretty intimidating. 2004-01-31 6:13 pm I use slackware 8.1, and have been setting upa few users recently. I saw both useradd and adduser. So, useradd is removed from 9.1? BTW, do I want to upgrade to 9.1, from 8.1? I use it for embedded development. 2004-01-31 7:40 pm No, both are still in 9.1 and -current. 2004-01-31 8:12 pm What the hell? No man page entry for adduser… Crap, I screwed up. Thanks for the correction. I’ll use whereis to check for tool availability next time… The article has been corrected. Thanks! 2004-01-31 8:33 pm I’ve got a Slack 9.1 2.6.2-rc2-mm1/KDE 3.2 RC1 desktop and recently upgraded my router/firewall box to Slack 9.1 w/ 2.6.1, Apache2, MySQL4, PHP4 and Samba 3. Stable, fast, and a snap to configure. Slack is simply the best. 2004-02-01 12:55 am mario wrote: > BTW, do I want to upgrade to 9.1, from 8.1? I use it for embedded development. If it has any features you need, then yes. Otherwise i wouldn’t bother – provided you don’t run any publicly accessible services from that box as well. And even then, you can keep them currend useing the SlackBuild scrips and source, available – for the patched versions – via FTP. 2004-02-01 2:38 am Finally a nice discussion following a Slack review which hasn’t degenerated into a mass discussion about Gentoo. Good to see Slackware appears to be gaining followers as time progresses and Linux apparently moves closer to the desktop. 2004-02-01 3:00 am This is truly funny… I’m installing Gentoo as we speak from withing Slackware. ROTFLOL 2004-02-01 5:02 am Can someone please post a direct link to this article, or perhaps to the Google cached version. I can’t seem to reach either with the link from OS News. Thanks. 2004-02-01 7:22 am What sets these distros appart? From the sounds of it, the installer seems quite similar and package management seems kinda the same with swaret. Just curious, being a big debian fan, ’cause it’s the only distro that seems to work as far as ease of maintaining, being fast, and being so stable. The installers are quite different. I’d go as far as saying very different ;o) Slackware’s is much, much nicer. Not to knock Debian, its great, I used it for about a year, but its a pain to install. There is work being done to this, though. They both assume a bit of knowledge/experience, but Slackware is definitely extremely easy if you’ve used linux for at least a year or so, or have a desire to tinker. On the other hand, once you install Debian, upgrading/installing packages is quite easy. Slackware only less so, especially with (relatively) new projects like Swaret. Personally, I enjoy Slack much more, and use it currently (and for the past ~1.5 years). People will tell you that Debian Unstable is the way to go on the Desktop, claiming it really is stable. I’ve found though that Unstable does mean Unstable…. just not for everyone. With Slack I get pretty damn current packages, which I know have been well tested. 2004-02-01 4:03 pm Try using SuSE sometime. You get all sorts of pretty GUI tools that don’t give you the opportunity to *learn* Linux. People who write junk like this have know nothing about linux. I have two Mandrake servers. No X, KDE, Gnome were installed, and everything was setup and configured through the command-line. Shows how much you know. 2004-02-01 4:29 pm Mind explaining what the purpose of Mandrake without the GUI tools is? 2004-02-01 4:55 pm … Slackware lacks of OpenLDAP, Postfix, Cyrus-SASL/IMAPD, IPSEC (Freeswan or native 2.6), Kerberos, Spamassassin, OpenAFS and PAM. (ok, Linux-PAM is a little bit unsecure, but maybe OpenPAM?) Slackware ignores the “new technology”. Ok, I can compile all stuff myself, but eg. KAB (KDE Addressbook) doesn’t use LDAP because it isn’t compiled against LDAP. So it’s not an integrated system, because I don’t know all the stuff to recompile on Slackware to make use of LDAP, Sasl, Krb… 2004-02-02 1:17 pm i was getting bored with redhat and suse after having some trouble with them. Now slackware and fluxbox + kernel 2.6.1 helps me to stick with linux in the hottest atmostphere! 2004-02-02 3:42 pm Mind explaining what the purpose of Mandrake without the GUI tools is? What do you mean? Mandrake offers tends to offer a GUI for it’s tools by default, yes, but it’s just as effective from the console as any other distro quite frankly. Every configuration app can be run from console. If I’m updating an app, all I need to do is type ‘urpmi foo’ and bob’s yer uncle.