A Look at Slackware Linux 10.2
Posted Oct 1, 2005 22:47 UTC (Sat) by wartstew
Parent article: A Look at Slackware Linux 10.2
I am a reluctant Slackware advocate.
I began using Slackware (as a desktop OS no less), many years ago after growing tired dealing with fixing up configuration errors left behind by some of those "user friendly" utilities used by those other distributions. By Using Slackware I was able to configure my system do exactly what I wanted.
Over the last two years, I've been converting over to Debian-Unstable. I chose Debian for it's very functional and flexible package manager as well as its huge repository.
So now my main desktop machine double boots into Slackware and Debian (also a largely abandoned Windows 98). Guess which one I boot into the most!
The Slackware system not only boots up and runs super fast (partially thanks to my custom kernel), but it got Xorg and KDE 3.4 months before Debian Unstable did. Granted Debian was entirely too slow at adopting these software versions, but My Slackware system keeps surprising me further. Maybe I'm just lucky, but here are some of my experiences:
1) Despite its generally reckless package management system, software upgrades to Slackware have been generally trouble free. My Slackware 9.0 system has evolved into a Slackware 10.2 system and everything seems to still work.
2) Because Slackware has a small native software repository, I often have to "steal" packages from other distributions. With just a little care and common sense, I've had very good luck getting these non-native packages installed and running with excellent stability.
3) Because Slackware isn't set up to use any fancy kernel patches, I have no problem compiling custom kernels for it from "pristine" kernels from kernel.org. They just work.
4) Since Slackware doesn't have many "user friendly" configuration utilities, it assumes you are going to configure things manually by directly editing files in /etc. Because of this, these file contain extra instructions and tips to help you along. This philosophy is not unlike what you find with *BSD, and once you get used to it, you can usually get things configured quickly and correctly.
5) Granted Slackware isn't bleeding edge like Fedora, Gentoo, and others, but on many things it isn't far behind. When Slackware introduces a new version of something, I have confidence that it will work correctly.
Perhaps these are some reasons why Slackware has such a loyal following. After you get used to all what others consider to be non "user friendly" it is hard to leave a distribution that works this well.
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