Posted by: patdavila | October 6, 2009

My Slackware 13 review

Well Slackware 13 was released a few weeks back and I had a chance to install it on my laptop. I ran Slackware as my main Linux distro for about 2 years. It’s reputation as being stable and solid are well earned. If you run Slackware for any significant amount of time you will learn the intricacies of how Linux works. The packages that come by default in the latest version of Slackware are pretty up to date and an official 64 bit distribution is now available. I opted for the 64 bit version and was off to the races. The Slackware installer is ncurses based and is pretty straightforward. The only part a noobie might have trouble with is using fdisk to manually partition their hard drive before installing the OS on it. Once you have partitions setup just go with the default package set for a desktop install and you should be golden. The install is pretty quick (as most Linux installers are these days). I’m not going to get too detailed so I’ll list what I liked and didn’t like.

I liked the following:
This thing screams. KDE on 64 bit Slackware is sooo fast
A very nice selection of default applications
Everything seems very stable. This is Slack, what do you expect?

I didn’t like the following:
Slackware STILL uses lilo as the default boot manager. Come on guys get with the times and use grub/grub2!
By default Slackware does not have a package manager that does dependency checking
Slackware should have Gnome as an option during the install process

Now I have been very critical of Slackware in the past for not having a package manager that does dependency checking by default. This is huge weakness when comparing it to other modern Linux distributions. Chess Griffin along with other developers have created a great utility call Sbopkg that will build packages for Slackware from the Slackbuilds repository. This is a huge boon as it addresses one of the most glaring weaknesses of Slackware. I was able to install a bunch of applications for my system without much fussing. Now there are nowhere near as many builds available as the huge amount of packages in the Debian/Ubuntu worlds but this is extremely helpful to anyone who wants to use Slackware as a desktop/workstation. If you you’ve never run Slackware I highly recommend trying it out.


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