Apr 102011
 

Today we have a guest article By: Guillermo Garron from Go2linux, i really like his site so if you don’t know it i really suggest you to go and ckeck it.

Introduction

First of all, I would like to thank Riccardo to let me post this article in his wonderful blog.

I’ll write this time about Slackware and the imminent release of the 13.37 version, why 13.37? strange release number for Slackware, but for the first time Slackware has a codename, it is “leet” so 13.37 = leet :).

Like someone in the LinuxQuestions forum wrote:

Sl4ckw4r3 l1nux r0ck5.

Y may say

“Sl4ckw4r3 13.37 l1nux r0ck5”…



Slackware Linux

Slackware is one of the earliest Linux distributions and actually it is the oldest still being maintained. It is also the only one that keeps all packages vanilla flavor, which means, none of them are tweaked in any way.

From the Kernel to the last piece of software it is packaged just like the developers made it, with no distribution customization.

Slackware has been told to be difficult to maintain, and to work with, it has also been said that it has no package manager tool.

To say the truth I was afraid of the same things the first time I installed Slackware on my old Lenovo T60, but I’ve got a big surprise. First, there was a package manager tool, it is called slackpkg it lets you keep your system up to date, install new packages from the repositories, and un-install them too.

What it does not do, is take care of the dependencies, so, you will have to take care of them, and check what the dependencies are, and install them before to install the software you are looking for.

I must say that, looks scary first, but then, you realize is not that difficult. Some slackers sustain that, in that way you may keep a cleaner and more stable system, as you know exactly which packages are installed, and which not. I’m not too sure about that, as an example, if you install a package that depends on another, and you end up installing the two of them, and later, your target package does not longer depend on that X package, you need to remember to un-install it, as with for example Debian, apt-get may do it for you, Like Raphael Hertzog shows here, but anyway I love Slackware and to be honest I’m using it more frequently than Debian.

Packages that comes with Slackware

You should also consider before using Slackware, that it comes with way less packages than Ubuntu, Fedora or Debian, you can install all those package not originally packaged with Slackware from Slackbuilds, here is a small how to use slackbuids.

There you can find almost any other software you may need, and you can easily revert your system to the original state with:

slackpkg clean-system

What this command will do is:

Remove all the packages that don’t belong to a standard Slackware installation (packages that are not in the official package set). With this option, you can clean up your system, removing third-party packages as well as those packages that were removed from the official Slackware package set.
If you have some third party packages that you would like to keep, you can temporarily add them to the list of blacklisted packages before you run the “clean-system” command.

This is something not to easily done in other distributions.

Stability

Slackware together with Debian and FreeBSD are maybe the more stable options to run your server on, all packages are tested, there are only security upgrades, and those are released almost as soon as they are released by the packages developers.

So you can rely on Slackware for your mission critical applications.

Release cycle

Just like Debian, Slackware is released as soon as it ready, so there are no specific release dates, or schedules, it will be released when Pat and the other developers are comfortable with the stability of the set of packages that make Slackware.

Conclusion

As you can see, Slackware is maybe not for the beginners, but it is certainly a great Linux distribution to test and use, as soon as you feel you are ready to run a nice, stable and state of the art piece of software.

I highly recommend it to anyone with a year or more working on Linux, that does not mean that you can not start with Slackware your Linux journey, it may take more time to learn, but as someone said.

If you want to learn Fedora, install Fedora. If you want to learn Linux, install Slackware.

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  11 Responses to “Slackware 13.37”

  1. Bearing in mind that what you have written is correct it has to be said that Slackware in ‘mainly’ good. Hasnt worked that well for me since the 12.2 release. Both 13 and 13.1 it has not coped so well with my radeon hd 2400 card. Artefacts and varying fps have meant more than the occasional reboot is needed before graphics become acceptable. Apart from that I am writing this from within pclinuxos – as I am thinking of changing distro after a long time with slackware.

    • @crass
      Now that you have mentioned it, I also had few problems with my IBM-T60 video card, and sometimes (really few) with some webpages on Firefox, I’ve got a blank screen, and had to reboot the system (Alt+F2, log as root, issue reboot) all of that while blind with the blank screen.
      I also have Arch Linux on the same laptop, and never faced that problem with it.
      But, as I said that was really few times, and I use that laptop on a daily basis, using one day Slackware and the other Arch Linxu (more or less).

  2. That is not slackware fault, is xorg fault, together with mesa which could handle some new intel chipsets, and old radeon. If you try the version 13.2 or 13.37 you will see that was fixed with the packages xf86-video-ati-6.14.0-x86_64-1.txz and mesa-7.9_ccc11aa-x86_64-1.txz.
    Both uploaded day Feb 10.

  3. True–if you want to learn Debian or Fedora, install Debian or Fedora. But if you want to learn GNU/Linux and UNIX systems generally, install Slackware. Basically, I look at Slackware as a precompiled Gentoo without the hassles. It’s clean, it just works, and it’s easy to tweak.

    Slackware is basically GNU/Linux for BSD lovers, and that’s no surprise, because Patrick based Slackware’s init system on that of BSD. So, we get the best of both worlds.

    I’ve been using Slackware since v7.1, and I’m looking forward to version 13.37. If history is any indicator, it surely will be most “l33t”! :-)

    • Doesn’t matter what linux OS you have installed on your machine, as long you want to have stability you must know what are you doing.

      At some point, when you want to install a specific application with specific parameters you end up spending as much time as installing normally that application on Slackware or maybe even more. Sometime can be a pain somewhere to adjust that application to your specific needs. And nobody stops you to learn linux with another linux distro then Slackware.

      Overall, Slackware is a good strong linux version to start with if you want to really learn linux.

  4. Excellent article, Guillermo!

    Regards,

    ~Eric

  5. To those with the video problems. If you run linux long enough, you will run into problems with certain hardware. It happens. Switching to a different distribution until it works again is one response.

    But if I ever expect my skills to get good, then I stick with a tried and true linux, especially one that makes you think and use the command line. If a piece of hardware becomes an issue, then THAT PIECE OF HARDWARE IS GONE.

    Do you think in businesses, that rely on a specific environment, such as Red Hat linux that run across a drive controller compatibility problem just up and say “oh …I guess we’ll move to FreeBSD. Or we’ll go to Knoppix”.

    really? you think so? seriously?

    do yourself a favor, and buy a used nvidia card for $20. put the other one on the shelf. you might be able to use it, trade it, sell it later.

  6. I have been running Slackware since before Slackware 3.0. I have my original Slackware 3.0 CD right here… Before that, you had to do the floppy dance with at least 9 floppies after downloading over your 28.8k analog modem, and then calculate and tweak your own X modeline for your cga/ega monitor. I have Debian running on over 1000 machines at work, but my desktop box is running Slackware because I need the stability.

  7. Changing a piece of hardware to make your rig compatible with linux is one option. However, it does smack of windows vista where a complete hardware upgrade was required.

    I thought linux was supposed to be ready for the desktop?

    It also smacks of openoffice mentality where a bug is not fixed for release after release after release.

    Maybe this is an opensource mentality where it does not matter if there are bugs – could explain why after so many years of opensource there are still problems with the desktop.

    Dont get me wrong. I am not trolling. I have been using linux for years myself. But I cant help feeling that after all this time it could be better.

    If you are going to put a distro out make sure it works aka debian

  8. Good read, I’ve been using Slackware since 7.1 and I still use it today. I took a break for a while to use Gentoo but I like the stability of Slackware and have come back to it for the 13.37 release and so far, I’m impressed. It feels the same as it did when I first started using it and I love that.

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