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[ale] slackware, the most...LINUX-like?
- Subject: [ale] slackware, the most...LINUX-like?
- From: ale at pcartwright.com (Paul Cartwright)
- Date: Wed, 2 Jun 2010 16:40:08 -0400
I must admit I have my very first slackware CD's still..
Spotlight on Linux: Slackware Linux 13.1
Jun 01, 2010 By Susan Linton
People sometimes ask which distribution to try if they want to learn how Linux
works. Common answers are Gentoo, Arch, or Debian. However, I disagree. Each
of these distros teach users their particular brand of Linux. There's only
one truly pure Linux, and that is Slackware.
Slackware is the oldest surviving Linux distribution. In its early years,
Patrick Volkerdin rolled up a kernel, init, libraries, desktop, and
applications to make Linux easier for users. And that's still what he is
doing today. He doesn't change anything, he doesn't customize anything. Every
component is exactly how the original developers intended. For example, users
get a vanilla kernel and default desktop configuration.
Version 13.1 was released May 25 with Linux 126.96.36.199 and KDE 4.4.3. Slackware
ships with other desktop options, such as Xfce 4.6.1, and lots of handy
software. As expected, it comes with Web browsers, office applications,
multimedia software, personal communication tools, image management, and
more. Slack usually includes Java, but most other browser plugins and
multimedia codecs are left to the user to install. 13.1 still uses HAL and
udev in order to grant users access to removable media without root
privileges or sudo. Along those same lines, this release also brings
ConsoleKit and PolicyKit to allow even more convenience in running the system
without elevated permissions. This release should be easy to use for users of
Slackware's original package management system - or software installer and
uninstaller - neither resolves dependencies nor downloads from online
repositories. However, some third-party attempts came along to address this
and one, slackpkg, has recently been added to Slackware to bring the same
capabilities as APT on Debian and Debian-based distributions. However, if you
install the full range of packages on the Slackware install DVD, there isn't
much extra on official mirrors. That's why some recommend the community
repository hosted by slackbuilds.org. Between slackpkg and slackbuilds,
Slackware has moved into the 21st century of software management.
Once upon a time Slackware was a favorite because of its hardware
configuration method. In the tradition of keeping it simple, it had one file
that users needed to edit (for most purposes). Most drivers were listed and
users just uncommented whichever was used by their hardware. But even that
isn't necessary anymore. Just like any other distro today, most hardware is
automagically detected and configured.
Finally, the installer is another area of Slackware that gets some negative
comments from time to time. It isn't very pretty by today's standards and it
is keyboard driven, but it isn't difficult to use. It asks a few questions
during the process in a similar manner as other Linux installers. Perhaps the
most difficult aspect is the need to partition your disk prior to beginning
the install setup. The installer disk comes with fdisk and cfdisk for this
So, all in all, besides the partitioning requirement and the lack of
multimedia support, Slackware is just as up-to-date and easy-to-use as any
Linux distribution. Like a split personality, today's Slackware is steeped in
tradition yet surprisingly modern.
1. True Linux experience
2. High Performance
3. Extremely stable
1. Off-putting partitioning and installer
2. No live CD/DVD
3. Still uses Lilo for boot management
4. Lacks multimedia codecs
Registered Linux user # 367800
Registered Ubuntu User #12459