You can't keep a good distribution, or maintainer, down. Despite Patrick Volkerding's "
" Slackware 10.1 has been released
Slackware 10.1 continues the tradition of shipping well-tested and solid software rather than focusing on the cutting edge. Though the 2.6 kernel has been out for more than a year, Volkerding decided that the 2.4 kernel was more appropriate for this release of Slackware. The default is the 2.4.29 kernel, though a 2.6.10 kernel is available for those who want to use the 2.6 tree.
We installed Slackware 10.1 on a Pentium III 500 MHz system with 384 MB of RAM. We chose a full install, which took about 30 minutes. Slackware can still be installed from a single CD, but to install GNOME and other packages requires the second CD. The "full" install consumes about 3 GB of disk space.
There are few surprises with Slackware 10.1. The installer is essentially the same as 10 - a plain-text menu-based installer that offers few frills, but works well on lower-end machines. Despite the fact that Slackware doesn't offer a mouse-driven GUI installer, it's still user-friendly and easy to use.
There is plenty of desktop and server software included with 10.1. The
latest release comes with several desktop options including GNOME 2.6.1 and
KDE 3.3.2. This writer's favorite desktop, Xfce (version 4.2.0) is included
as well. (It's interesting to note that Xfce is billed "above" GNOME in the
What's not included might be worth noting as well. Oddly, Slackware doesn't
include Mozilla Firefox, which most users might expect to find in a current
distribution. Instead, Slackware comes with Mozilla 1.7.5, Netscape 7.2 and
Konqueror 3.3.2 for the user's choice of browsers.
Koffice, Abiword and Gnumeric are included, but OpenOffice.org and Evolution are not. The exclusion of OpenOffice.org makes some sense, since OO.org takes up quite a bit of space, and would cut into space available on the install discs. It's easily found on the OpenOffice.org website, and shouldn't be that difficult to install for the average Slack user. Evolution, on the other hand, is a bit less fun to install from scratch.
On the server side, Slackware 10.1 comes with Apache 1.3.33, MySQL 4.0.23, PHP 4.3.10, Bind 9.3.0 and Sendmail 8.13.3. Slackware is one of the few Linux distributions to still ship with Apache 1.3.x as the default, rather than the Apache 2.0 series.
Slackware's package management has been much maligned by users of RPM and Debian-based systems, but Slack's package management has a few add-on tools that make it competitive with Yum or APT. Slackware still uses pkgtool but Slackware 10.1 includes slackpkg, a tool similar to APT or Yum, that allows Slackware users to easily update and install Slackware packages from remote repositories. This tool actually made its debut some time ago, but it's still not part of the core distribution. Users who want to try Debian-style package management will need to hunt it down in the Slackware extras. For users who want or need RPM, it is included as well.
Slackware continues to live up to its reputation as a solid, "Unix-like" Linux distribution. The only real disappointment, at least for this writer, is that Slackware doesn't have a native X86-64 port available. However, for x86 users, Slackware makes a great distribution.
We wish Pat the best of health in 2005, and are looking forward to Slackware 11.
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