| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 323, 5 October 2009
Welcome to this year's 40th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Slackware Linux has been around for longer than any other existing Linux distribution - and for a good reason. Its stability, reliability and dependability are characteristics that have won over many Linux users, especially in the server arena. But is it also a good desktop distribution? Read our comprehensive review of the recently released Slackware Linux 13.0 to find out. In the news section, Andreas Jaeger updates his stable openSUSE system to the latest 11.2 milestone with "zypper", Joe Brockmeier reflects on the recently concluded openSUSE conference, Red Hat asks Supreme Court to abolish software patents, and Slackware delivers the first updates in its development branch. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the September 2009 DistroWatch.com donation is KompoZer, an open-source WYSIWIG web editor. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Caitlyn Martin)
Slackware Linux 13.0 - the oldest Linux distro gets a major overhaul
In late August, Slackware Linux, the oldest surviving Linux distribution, announced a major new release. An in-depth look at Slackware 13.0 seemed like a must-do review for DistroWatch - at least to me.
When I reviewed Slackware 12.1 for O'Reilly News last year the results were somewhat controversial. Chris Smart, at the opening of his review of Arch Linux back in January, wrote: "When writing a review, I always try and view the distribution in the light of what it is expected to do - as claimed by the creators. Each Linux distribution is unique and they all have different goals. Some try to do and be everything, while others are very niche. Some want to include binary drivers and proprietary codecs by default, while others go out of their way to make a stand against such things. It makes sense that you cannot judge them all by the same criteria." I share Chris' philosophy when it comes to writing my own reviews and it is precisely that approach which prompted much of the harsh reaction to my review by a few of Slackware's most ardent supporters.
If you visit the info page of the official Slackware website the first paragraph describes the distro: "The official release of Slackware Linux by Patrick Volkerding is an advanced Linux operating system, designed with the twin goals of ease of use and stability as top priorities. Including the latest popular software while retaining a sense of tradition, providing simplicity and ease of use alongside flexibility and power, Slackware brings the best of all worlds to the table." Note that "ease of use" is listed as a goal and mentioned twice for emphasis. Despite this claim ease of use is something Slackware is just not known for. Even with improvements in Slackware 13.0 I still don't think there is anything easy about this distro for anyone other than advanced, experienced users who are extremely comfortable on the command line and with editing configuration files by hand.
For this review I am focusing on Slackware on the desktop. I started working with Slackware 13.0 four weeks ago with a seven month old Sylvania g Netbook Meso (1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB HDD). That system suffered a hardware failure 17 days ago and is now being replaced. I completed the testing and review using my nearly 7-year old Toshiba Satellite 1805-S204 (1 GHz Intel Celeron CPU, 512 MB RAM, 20 GB HDD). Slackware has long been friendly to older hardware. That has not changed with the latest release which performs very well on the Toshiba laptop. Slackware 13.0 is the first release available with a native 64-bit edition. Unfortunately I did not have any 64-bit hardware available for testing so this review covers just the 32-bit edition.
Slackware also has a well-earned reputation for reliability and stability. Those are the areas where the distribution has always excelled and that tradition continues with Slackware 13.
Installation and configuration
Slackware 13.0 is offered for download on your choice of six CD images (three for installation, three for source code) or a single 3.7 GB DVD image. Those lacking a high speed connection can order either the CDs or the DVD, with or without a printed book called Slackware Essentials, from the Slackware Store. The DVD offering includes both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions on a single disc. CDs or DVDs of Slackware releases are also offered on a subscription basis. I chose to download the DVD image from one of the mirror sites.
In addition to installing from DVD or CD there is support for installing from an ISO image on a local hard drive or across a network. Tools on the DVD also include support for PXE boot and for installation from a USB stick. Smart Boot Manager is included to allow creation of a boot floppy for systems with a BIOS that does not support booting directly from CD or DVD.
I installed to the netbook using an external USB DVD drive and used the internal drive on the Toshiba so the installation process was the same on both machines. I booted from the DVD and a welcome message appeared on my screen. At this point you can choose the kernel the installer will use. The default hugesmp.s kernel is recommended for most systems. The huge.s kernel is a choice for older systems and is what you must select if you're installing on a classic Pentium or AMD K6 (i586 architecture) system. In theory this kernel can even support 486 processors. I hit Enter to take the default and the Linux kernel and initial ramdisk loaded, followed by a login prompt. After logging in as root (no password required) you have the option of partitioning your hard drive with fdisk or cfdisk, if necessary. As expected there is no GUI or guided partitioning tool. The other choice is to run the "setup" command which launches the actual installer.
The installer has not changed significantly from what was offered in the 12.x series of releases. It is ncurses-based and is very much like the "expert mode" installations of some popular distributions. The advantage of a text-based installer is that it can run well on a lower specification machine and often offers greater flexibility. For these reasons I have consistently recommended the alternate (text-based) installation CD over the live CD for Ubuntu and related distributions. The Slackware installer, however, really does assume that you know what you are doing. A newcomer to Linux or even someone who has only done simple GUI Linux installations may well find the installation process confusing and there are a few points where just taking the default really isn't an option. There is excellent, detailed, well-written, but dated documentation in the /slackbook directory of the DVD. The Slackware Book, which was last updated in 2005, is also available online, with a new version promised this year. Despite their age, the documents should be adequate to walk a moderately experienced user through the process.
One change in Slackware 13.0 is that ext4 support is now included and ext4 is the default file system. Support for ext3, ext2, ReiserFS, JFS, and XFS is also available during installation. Due to recent issues I've had with ext4 in other distributions I decided to use ext3 on one system and XFS on the other, both of which are tried and tested.
The Slackware installation process is as flexible as any I've found. For example, you can select groups of packages to install but you can also then choose "Menu" mode to select individual packages within each group. This process is time-consuming but it allows you to have absolute control over what gets installed and ensure that nothing unneeded or unwanted is included. I did a somewhat selective installation with KDE, Xfce, and a couple of lightweight window managers, a good but certainly far from complete selection of applications, development packages, and kernel headers. My installation took up a little under 4 GB of hard disk space. A complete "kitchen sink" install would consume 5 GB or so. I also experimented with doing a fairly minimal installation into a different partition with X, a lightweight window manager, and a relative handful of applications and managed to keep it to 1.2 GB.
I should mention that LILO is the only bootloader offered during Slackware installation (GRUB is available in the extra repository or in the /extra directory of the DVD image and can be installed later). The Slackware installer also doesn't correctly detect other Linux distributions which may be installed. Even the "expert" LILO configuration is quite limited in what it can do. If you are installing Slackware stand-alone then taking a default LILO installation should work.
Once installation is done you will have to login as root at the command line and use the adduser script to setup any additional user accounts you need. For HAL to work as it does in most major distributions - i.e. where users are able to mount or unmount removable media, they must be members of the "plugdev" group. This is one of many configuration issues explained in the CHANGES_AND_HINTS.TXT file included on the root of the DVD image. I was criticized for failing to mention this file in my review of Slackware 12.1 and rightfully so. This file is absolutely required reading and will help avoid common pitfalls.
The installer barely deals with X at all. If you've chosen two or more window managers/desktop environments you will be prompted to choose a default. However, there is no X configuration included in the installation process nor do you have the option to boot into X by default. Slackware does offer "xorgsetup", a standard command-line tool for configuring X. This worked perfectly on the Sylvania netbook. I was less successful with the old Toshiba which has a somewhat quirky Trident CyberBlade XPi graphics chipset. I was left with a small desktop surrounded by lots of black space, the same result I had with Slackware 11. I suppose that's better than the non-functional X configuration that Slackware 12.1 and 12.2 produced. Since I had an X configuration that I knew would work from my VectorLinux Light installation I just copied that to /etc/X11/ and I was up and running. Otherwise I would have had to manually edit the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. If you want to boot directly to the GUI you will need to manually edit the /etc/inittab file and change the default runlevel from 3 to 4.
Some manual configuration of the Slackware kernel is also highly recommended. The hugesmp.s and huge.s kernels enable support for an extremely wide range of hardware by default and are quite large. To have the hardware supported in loadable kernel modules, as is done by most distributions, you need to create an initial RAM disk image (initrd file) at the command line after first boot. Then you must manually edit your LILO or GRUB bootloader configuration to use one of the two generic kernels (with or without SMP support) and the newly created initrd file.
The installer also failed to setup the system to load the kernel modules needed to support my laptop at boot. I had to manually add "modprobe toshiba" and "modprobe toshiba_acpi" to my /etc/rc.d/rc.modules file to correct this. On a plain vanilla desktop system this wouldn't be an issue but I suspect other laptop users, not just those with very old Toshiba machines, will need to do some configuration by hand to get their laptops to be 100% functional under Slackware.
These manual configuration steps are perfect examples of why Slackware isn't easy for someone not used to old-school Linux configuration. Most truly user-friendly distributions automate these processes and offer appropriate choices during installation.
Changes since Slackware 12.x
One area where things have improved greatly since Slackware 12.x is wireless support. WiFi configuration isn't handled by the installer. In addition, the packages offered during installation don't include a graphical network configuration tool for wired or wireless connections, although, interestingly enough, a GUI tool for WPA configuration for use once wireless is up and running is included. But the situation is far better than it might appear at first glance. The wicd package is included in the /extra directory of the DVD image. Once wicd is installed configuration of a wireless chipset, provided it is supported natively by the 184.108.40.206 kernel, is no more difficult than in any of the major Linux distributions. I had no difficulties getting up and running with either the integrated Ralink wireless chip in the netbook or with the AirLink PCMCIA wireless card (Atheros 5212 chipset) I use with the old Toshiba. If you have a Broadcom chipset that is not natively supported by the kernel there is a bit more work involved as documented here.
Slackware Linux 13.0, default KDE 4.2.4 desktop
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The most visible change in Slackware 13.0 is the update to its desktop environments. Slackware 13.0 is the first release to feature KDE 4.x, specifically version 4.2.4. I'm generally not a fan of KDE, largely because it tends to be more resource intensive than other desktops. I've been impressed with the look, feel and also the performance of KDE as implemented in Pardus Linux, so I wanted to see how the Slackware implementation looked and performed. Slackware's philosophy is to include "plain vanilla" packages and to avoid customization. The net result is that things tend not to be as pretty as in other distros until you customize the desktop to your individual taste. KDE 4.2.4 starts out pretty enough and is very easy to customize. As expected, the netbook was still quick and responsive running KDE. On the old Toshiba, KDE 4 takes a very, very long time to load, as in even longer than what I experienced with Pardus 2009. This surprised me since Slackware is usually a superior performer on older hardware. Once KDE was up and running, performance was much better than I expected. So long as you go off and make a cup of coffee or tea while KDE loads you actually can run it in 512MB of RAM under Slackware and the results aren't painful.
Slackware 13.0, default Xfce 4.6.1 desktop
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Slackware also included the Xfce 4.6.1 desktop. Once again, installation is plain vanilla. Perhaps a bigger concern is that most of the applets, lightweight applications and plugins from the Xfce Goodies project are not included and are not in the Slackware repository. They need to be obtained from one of the third-party repositories that support Slackware. As offered by the distributor, the Xfce implementation in Slackware 13.0 seems grossly incomplete.
As you'd expect, pretty much all the applications included with Slackware have been upgraded to what was the latest and greatest when Slackware 13.0 was released. For example, Firefox 3.5.2 and SeaMonkey 1.1.17 are available at install time and upgrades to the latest versions are available in the Slackware repository.
One of the biggest changes under the hood is the way software is packaged in Slackware 13.0. Many Slackware derivatives have used LZMA compressed packages developed by The Tukaani Project for several years now while Slackware stuck with gzipped (.tgz) packages. XZ is the successor to LZMA. Slackware has adopted XZ compressed packages (.txz) for this release. The new format allows for a much higher level of compression without sacrificing performance. However, the new package format still does not include dependency information.
Running Slackware 13.0
The performance of Slackware 13.0, even on my ancient laptop, is excellent. Subjectively, it seems to be significantly faster than Xubuntu or Kubuntu, Mandriva and Fedora and somewhat faster than Pardus. The only current distribution that I've found to be at all faster than Slackware is VectorLinux, a Slackware based-distribution with performance optimizations. If you don't mind the work needed to configure Slackware, it is an outstanding choice for older hardware and systems with limited resources.
Slackware 13.0 gives you a pretty minimal set of applications after installation, particularly if you decide not to install KDE. There is only a rather small repository, called "extra", with a very limited selection of additional applications. You won't find official Slackware packages for many very popular applications, e.g. OpenOffice.org. Absolutely nothing which depends on GNOME libraries is included. K3b, by far the best CD/DVD burning software for Linux, can be installed with QT and KDE libraries as dependencies, even if you don't install a full KDE desktop.
If you have to do system administration tasks, e.g. adding or changing a user account, plan on doing most of it on the command line. Most network administration for a typical workstation can be done in wicd and if you've installed KDE and there is a generic KDE tool to do the job then you can work from the GUI. Slackware has no graphical system administration tools of its own. Package management tools are also restricted to the command line and do not include any form of dependency checking out of the box. It's very easy to add a piece of software only to find it won't run due to some missing library. Once you start adding software from third-party sources, this becomes particularly messy. Some repositories include dependency information and some don't. Even with the popular third-party repositories included, the selection of packages still lags behind distributions like Debian, Ubuntu or Mandriva. Having to figure out dependencies for yourself can be a recipe for
dependency hell that's rarely if ever seen on other major distributions in 2009.
Slackware, developed in the United States, complies with the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) so, as you'd expect, multimedia support out of the virtual box is quite limited. Packages and instructions for adding proprietary codecs, if doing so is legal in your country, are available only from third party sources.
During my first three weeks running Slackware 13.0 I have yet to find significant bugs. I prematurely called Slackware 12.1 bug-free and I won't repeat that mistake. Having said that, Slackware's outstanding reputation for reliability and stability will undoubtedly be maintained and continued with this release. This is particularly impressive for a "dot zero" release with major changes.
Third-party resources for Slackware
As I've already noted there are a number of third party repositories for Slackware that can provide most of the applications and missing pieces that are found in the major distributions' repositories and some really obscure applications as well. The largest and best-known repositories of third-party Slackware packages are Slacky.eu and Linuxpackages.net. I've found that the quality of packages from these community supported sites does vary widely. In my experience, most Slacky.eu packages do work and dependencies are well documented. My recent experience with Linuxpackages.net has been spotty at best but they do offer packages nobody else has. Another smaller but important repository is the one maintained by Slackware developer Robby Workman. His packages are widely trusted and considered to be uniformly excellent by the Slackware community.
Many Slackware users prefer to compile software from source code rather than using packages from third-party repositories which they might not trust. Compilation often can be simplified by sites that provide build scripts which automate the process. The best-known site for Slackware build scripts, a site recommended on the official Slackware website, is Slackbuilds.org. Slackware developer Eric Hameleers, better known as AlienBOB, also maintains his own SlackBuild repository.
Proper dependency checking can be added to Slackware as well. Stefano Stabellini offers a Slackware mirror with dependency checking added. He is also the author of RequiredBuilder, a command-line tool usually used in package building scripts to create a dependency tracking file called slack-required. This file is used by third-party package managers, particularly Slackware APT (slapt-get and the graphical gslapt) and Netpkg to offer the same sort of dependency checking users of APT in Debian, Ubuntu, and related distributions are used to. These are the package management tools used by the user-friendly Slackware derivatives including, Absolute Linux, AUSTRUMI, GoblinX, VectorLinux, Wolvix and Zenwalk Linux, and there is absolutely no reason the same functionality can't be added to Slackware itself.
If you invest a substantial amount of work and effort, it is possible to create a Slackware installation that is as user friendly as any other Linux distribution. Unfortunately, none of this is an adequate substitute for a proper and extensive repository maintained by a Linux distributor with sane package management, including dependency checking. This has been my principle complaint about Slackware for years now.
In the comments following my last Slackware review it was correctly pointed out that if you use a relatively small number of applications and your system is fairly static, this becomes a relatively small issue once initial configuration is done. My point is that initial configuration and getting a system customized to individual taste takes considerably more work in Slackware than it does in other distributions, the ones that are genuinely easy to use. For those who like to try out lots of different applications and have a fairly large selection of software that they regularly use, keeping Slackware up to date and maintaining it becomes painful. The dependence most users will have on using third-party sources of variable quality is a major drawback of using Slackware. The alternative, building everything you need that isn't included from source, is time-consuming even with the third-party tools available and requires a fairly high level of knowledge on the part of the user. I've read comments stating that using SlackBuilds.org, a site that truly is excellent, makes this "trivial". For many people time just isn't a trivial thing.
Internationalization and localization
Slackware includes a full set of KDE i18n (internationalization) packages. The Slackware extra repository provides a full set of international Aspell dictionaries. All the international fonts provided by X.Org are also included. SCIM, Anthy, and the basic tools needed for Asian language support are part of Slackware. FriBiDi is also included for supporting languages written from right to left such as Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi. Slackware provides all the building blocks you need for supporting pretty much all the popular languages around the world.
For those in a multilingual household or office, Slackware provides no easy way to switch languages. The two display managers (the application that provides a graphical login), which are included in Slackware, are KDM and XDM. Neither supports changing language and/or locale on a session-by-session basis the way GDM does. There is no simple tool, either graphical or at the command line, to do the same. I wrote a tutorial explaining how to make Slackware work in your language of choice earlier this year.
Slackware also lacks translated documentation unless it's included by upstream application developers. (Some translations of Slackware documentation are available online.) The installer is in English only. In addition, no packages for localized versions of any applications are provided. There are also no language packs for Firefox, SeaMonkey, or Thunderbird. All have to be obtained from upstream sources.
As with most everything else in Slackware, the most essential tools for proper multilingual support are in place but absolutely nothing is provided to make it easy or intuitive to implement those tools. The package selection for someone who wants their system in a language other than English is quite limited.
Slackware 13.0 remains very much old school Linux. Despite some clear improvements in the new version, particularly in the area of wireless support, Slackware is still best suited to advanced Linux users who know what they are doing and are comfortable at the command line - despite claims to the contrary on the official website. The only newcomers to Linux who should consider Slackware are those who wish to really learn how Linux works under the hood and are ready to roll up their sleeves. If that's your goal, to learn how things work, then you'd be hard pressed to do better than Slackware.
Even advanced users will find Slackware time-consuming to install and configure properly. The dependence on third-party or upstream sources for packages for many popular applications is troubling. The lack of a package management system with proper dependency checking is pretty much inexcusable in 2009.
I have been told that I don't understand Slackware philosophy or "the Slackware way". On the contrary, I understand it. Understanding and embracing are two different things. I feel most users will understand the benefits of Slackware as well as the drawbacks. Comparisons to other distributions which do things differently are a valid part of reviews as is evaluating claims made by Linux distributors. Slackware fails in its claim of "simplicity and ease of use," at least in terms of any conventional definition or understanding of usability.
On the other hand, in some of the most important areas I consider when evaluating a Linux distribution: stability, reliability and performance, Slackware is among the best distributions out there. I'd be hard pressed, in those areas, to argue with Slackware fans who say is the best. Slackware also gives the users absolute control over what goes onto their system and how things are configured. It is up to each individual to decide what is important to them and weigh Slackware's strengths and weaknesses.
Slackware's strengths have created a cottage industry of derivative distributors promising a Linux system with the reliability and performance of Slackware and a user-friendly experience. Distributions like GoblinX, VectorLinux, Zenwalk and Wolvix have delivered on that promise. To me, Slackware is a fantastic base on which to build a first-rate distribution.
Slackware remains Slackware. It has been around for a very long time and it has a very loyal following. It is very much a specialist or hobbyist distribution, not one that will appeal to most users, and is particularly unappealing to those who want things to "just work". Do I recommend Slackware? To Linux newcomers, generally no, I don't. To experienced Linux users, it entirely depends on what you are looking for in a distribution. Reliability and stability keep me coming back. Unfortunately, the work involved in maintaining Slackware generally means I end up turning to a different distro.
|Miscellaneous News (by Chris Smart)
Upgrading openSUSE to 11.2, Red Hat challenges software patents, Slackware "current" updates
The package manager for openSUSE has fast become one of the best of any distribution. It now sports the ability to upgrade between releases, so that users no longer need to download install media and reboot using the installer. Andreas Jaeger recently posted his experiences upgrading from the stable 11.1 version to 11.2 Milestone 8. He wrote: "After running my laptop for some time already on openSUSE Factory, I decided to update my workstation now as well to openSUSE Factory -- thus upgrading it to openSUSE 11.2 Milestone 8. Instead of the 'old' but still working way of burning a media, booting from it and upgrading my system, I did the 'new' way of upgrading to openSUSE 11.2: updating in place with 'zypper dup'." This method has been the default upgrade path for other distros for over a decade, so it is good to see this arrive on openSUSE. Will it become the default method for updating a system in the future? Will the package manager automatically prompt users to upgrade, or will users only be able to perform this function manually?
openSUSE 11.2 Milestone 8 comes with new artwork for KDE
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The openSUSE conference finished up at the end of last month and Linux Weekly News has published an interview with Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier, the distribution's Community Manager. They discuss various aspects of the conference, which overall appears to have been very successful. Brockmeier writes: "The actual participation was fabulous. People were great at being self-starting and setting up their own sessions and generally making things happen once they were there. We had a great conference, and I think most people were very happy having attended." Brockmeier says that the format of the conference worked very well, saying that it was "very successful, I think -- people had enough structure to have some idea what to expect when they showed up, and then also enough freedom to plan their own activities. I hate going to conferences where you have no slack time and no way to talk to other people with similar interests without just skipping out entirely or staying extra days. So this gave people room to be part of a 'general' conference while still addressing their specific areas of interest. The GNOME team, for instance, headed back to the SUSE office to do a bunch of bug triage, which was awesome."
* * * * *
From its very foundation, Red Hat has been a strong advocate of free software and today is the number one contributor to the Linux kernel. While users require a subscription to receive updates for their commercial products, the complete source code for Red Hat Enterprise Linux is available for anyone to use. As a result, several Red Hat clones, e.g. CentOS have emerged, building a free binary distro from the code. Red Hat also promotes the use of open data formats and provides a patent promise to help protect free software users from software patents. Recently they have submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the United States to abolish software patents, which are a threat to free software. The news announcement reads: "Our brief sets out the background facts related to software patents and asks that the Court address them. As most everyone in the open source software community knows by now, this is a serious issue." Hopefully actions like this will help to push the problems with software patents to the forefront and help to force the courts to deal with the issues.
* * * * *
Finally, something for the fans of Slackware Linux. After a brief break following the release of Slackware Linux 13.0 at the end of August, the distribution's "current" (or development) branch, has seen its first changes over the weekend. These early updates were limited to a handful of packages, such as MySQL 5.1.39, Perl 5.10.1, Amarok 2.2.0 and OpenSSH 5.3p1, as well as a couple of security updates to PHP and Samba. GCC 4.4.1 is now in the "testing" directory. See the new Slackware Current ChangeLog for further information. There is no word on when KDE 4.3 will be uploaded, but for those impatient enough, you can download KDE 4.3.1 for i486 and x86_64 systems from this unofficial repository (we haven't tested these packages so use them at your own risk).
|Released Last Week
Calculate Linux 9.9
Alexander Tratsevskiy has announced the release of Calculate Linux 9.9, a Gentoo-based desktop and server distribution. Changes in this version include: built on top of Calculate Linux Scratch; switch to Aufs as the live file system; replaced XChat with Konversation and GStarDict with GoldenDict, added KDE Partition Manager; Mozilla Firefox is now the default web browser; Compiz has been integrated with the Xfce desktop; added proprietary NVIDIA driver to the CLDX edition; updated to Linux kernel 2.6.30 and KDE 4.3; initrd and kernel are now packed using LZMA compressions; various other speed optimisations. Here is the full press release (in Russian).
Manuel Kasper has released m0n0wall 1.236, an updated version of the FreeBSD-based firewall distribution which corrects a security issue in the DHCP client and includes some captive portal fixes from the 1.3 beta branch. From the changelog: "Fixed a security issue in the DHCP client; captive portal fixes - changed RADIUS timeout and maxtries from 5/3 to 3/2 reducing failover time from 30 to 15 seconds, added RADIUS attribute support for 'ChilliSpot Bandwidth Max-Up' and 'ChilliSpot Bandwidth Max-Down', fixed concurrent login detection, now case-insensitive, fixed Pass-Through MAC addresses in combination with RADIUS MAC authentication; SVG fixes for Internet Explorer 7 and 8; properly escape DHCP client hostnames in webGUI."
Astaro Security Gateway 7.5
Astaro has announced the release of Astaro Security Gateway 7.5, a specialist distribution for firewalls and gateways with a web-based system administration tool: "We are proud to announce that the general availability (GA) of Astaro Security Gateway 7.5 has been released. 7.5 includes great new features and functions, many of which were requested by our customers. To name just a few, there is a new intrusion protection engine, real-time bandwidth monitoring, a transparent HTTP proxy mode with captive authentication portal, and the ability to import and export various lists. Astaro 7.5 adds over 50 new features and conveniences and 700+ individual changes. This release is for all Astaro Gateway products." Read the detailed release announcement for additional information.
Untangle Gateway 7.0
Untangle, Inc. has announced the release of Untangle Gateway 7.0, a Debian-based network gateway with pluggable modules for network applications: "Today we announced our latest version, Untangle 7.0, which includes new reporting features that provide unmatched visibility at the Internet gateway to help small businesses identify web misuse and troubleshoot network issues for increased productivity. Untangle 7.0 enhanced reporting features allow small businesses to: monitor behavior at the user, client and incident level to detect productivity issues; understand traffic flows and network usage patterns to optimize performance; provide web content analysis to prevent bandwidth issues and policy violations; log access to sensitive data to respond to any security incidents; manage and reduce vulnerabilities associated with social networking and rich media sites." See the blog announcement and press release for more information.
Plamo Linux 4.7
Mitsuhoro Kojima has announced the release of Plamo Linux 4.7, a Slackware-inspired Japanese Linux distribution designed for intermediate and advanced users. This release comes with some major software updates, including Linux kernel 220.127.116.11, GCC 4.3.4, glibc 2.10.1, KDE 4.3.1, GNOME 2.26, Xfce 4.6.1, ptetex3 20090610 and OpenOffice.org 3.1.1. KDE especially has been through some substantial tweaking which should make it a much improved implementation of the popular desktop. The distribution comes on a full 3GB DVD image, but for those who prefer to download just what they need, there are also five CD images, with CD1 containing the based system and X.Org, CD2 includes Xfce, CD3 has KDE, TeTeX and kernel sources, CD4 includes GNOME and OpenOffice.org, while CD5 has all the contributed packages. Read the release announcement (in Japanese) for further information.
GoblinX 3.0 "G:Standard"
Flavio Pereira de Oliveira has announced the release of GoblinX 3.0 "G:Standard", a Slackware-based live CD featuring the KDE 4 desktop: "The GoblinX Project is proud to announce the released of the new stable G:Standard. In the past, GoblinX Standard included five windows managers and also supported five languages, but G:Standard is now the KDE distribution of our project and it includes only the default English language. Changelog: upgraded several packages and libraries including X.Org; fixed some errors and bugs; added a few more applications; made a few changes to the KDE desktop in order to improve usability; some GTK+ applications added to fill missing Qt applications; added Opera 10 with full Slik/Webmount support." Here is the full release announcement.
GoblinX 3.0 "G:Standard" includes KDE 4.2.4 as the only desktop environment
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Sabayon Linux 5.0
Fabio Erculiani has announced the release of Sabayon Linux 5.0, a desktop distribution and live DVD based on Gentoo Linux: "After tremendous, tough work, Sabayon 5 is eventually here with a joint release of GNOME and KDE editions. Dedicated to those who like cutting edge stability, out-of-the-box experience, outstanding desktop performance and beauty. Features: less than 2 GB size; based on new GCC 4.4.1 and glibc 2.10; shipped with desktop-optimized Linux kernel 2.6.31; installer now available in multiple languages; complete ext4 file system support; features X.Org 7.5 and up-to-date FLOSS, NVIDIA and AMD video drivers; GNOME 2.26 and KDE 4.3.1...." Here is the full release announcement.
Sabayon Linux 5.0 - the default desktop of the "KDE" edition
(full image size: 410kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
François Dupoux has announced the release of SystemRescueCd 1.3.1, an updated version of the specialist, Gentoo-based live CD designed for data rescue and disk partitioning tasks. New in this release: "Updated the standard kernels to Linux 18.104.22.168; updated the alternative kernels to Linux 22.214.171.124; updated NTFS-3G to version 2009.4.4 AR19 (NTFS-3G advanced release); updated the Memtest86+ floppy disk image to 4.00 ('memtestp' boot entry); updated Partimage to 0.6.8 (SSL can now be disabled at runtime); updated GDisk to 0.5.0 (GDisk is a GPT partition table manipulator); FSArchiver to 0.6.1 (crypto is now based on libgcrypt); replaced TightVNC with TigerVNC 1.0.0 and fixed the VNC server configuration; fixed DNS in the initramfs (required to boot from a URL using a hostname); added IOzone 3.242 (file system benchmarking program)." Here is the complete changelog.
Gentoo Linux 10.0
Matthew Summers has announced the release of Gentoo Linux 10.0, a special anniversary live DVD to celebrate the project's 10th birthday: "Gentoo Linux is proud to announce the immediate availability of a new, special edition live DVD to celebrate this monumental occasion. The live DVD features a superb list of packages, some of which are listed here: system packages - Linux kernel 2.6.30 (with Gentoo patches), accessibility support with Speakup 3.1.3, Bash 4.0, glibc 2.9, GCC 4.3.2; desktop environments and window managers - KDE 4.3.1, GNOME 2.26.3, Xfce 4.6.1, Enlightenment 0.16.8.15, Openbox 126.96.36.199, Fluxbox 1.1.1, TWM 1.0.4; office, graphics, and productivity applications - OpenOffice.org 3.1.1, AbiWord 2.6.4, GnuCash 2.2.9, Scribus 188.8.131.52, GIMP 2.6.4, Inkscape 0.46, Blender 2.49a.... The Gentoo 10.0 live DVD is available in two flavors - a hybrid x86/x86_64 edition, and an x86_64-only edition." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
Gentoo Linux 10.0 - the 10-year anniversary release
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* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
September 2009 DistroWatch.com donation: KompoZer receives €250.00|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the September 2009 DistroWatch.com donation is KompoZer, a web authoring tool.
This monthly donations programme is a joint initiative between DistroWatch and LinuxCD.org, an online vendor of popular Linux and BSD CDs, which contributed US$50.00 towards the donations to KompoZer.
Here is the list of projects that received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$22,143 to various open source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NdisWrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360).
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- DigAnTel. DigAnTel is a Digital / Analog VoIP telephone system using CentOS, Asterisk, FreePBX, Postfix mail server and optionally the OpenVPN server. DigAnTel is the glue to bind these technologies, thus creating a unified telephony system. The installation is completely automated and requires no working knowledge of Linux or Asterisk.
- EsiTux. EsiTux is an Ubuntu-based Algerian distribution created by the students of the IT department at a university in Algiers. It includes non-free browser plugins and media codecs, as well as many of the graphical system administration tools created by Linux Mint. The project's web site is in French.
- MyXbmc Passion. MyXbmc Passion is a Mythbuntu-based distribution for Home Theatre Personal Computers (HTPC). The project's web site is in French.
- Pandorga GNU/Linux. Pandorga GNU/Linux is a Brazilian KNOPPIX-based distribution designed for young children, containing a variety of games and educational programs. The project's web site is in Portuguese.
- Portable Linux. Portable Linux is a Gentoo-based live USB designed for advanced users. It is optimised for modern hardware and includes automatic hardware configuration as well as selectable hardware configuration profiles.
- VIPER VAST Live. VIPER VAST Live is a security-oriented live distribution that contains VIPER-developed tools, essential VoIP security utilities, and penetration testing software. Based on Ubuntu.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 12 October 2009.
Caitlyn Martin, Chris Smart and Ladislav Bodnar
1 • Slackware GNU/Linux 13.0 (by Mahmoud Slamah on 2009-10-05 09:38:28 GMT from Egypt) |
Nice review :-)
Comment on " One change in Slackware 13.0 is that ext4 support is now included and ext4 is the default file system. Support for ext3, ext2, ReiserFS, JFS, and XFS is also available during installation."
We can select ext4 for / (root partition)
But do not select ext4 for /boot instead select ext3
2 • Typo (by Ano on 2009-10-05 09:57:42 GMT from Finland)
Typo, "Small Boot Manager" should be "Smart Boot Manager"
3 • Gentoo (by LiQuidKermit on 2009-10-05 10:08:27 GMT from Indonesia)
Would like to try the gentoo live dvd, seems interesting
4 • DSL dead? (by Sertse on 2009-10-05 10:30:15 GMT from Australia)
Apologies are dragging so offtopic already ;)
However, is DSL dead? I know it hasn't received any update/activitiy for a while, but now the site http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/ doesn't work either.
This might be the final nail for the pioneer "mini distro"...
5 • Slacware review (by Didier Spaier on 2009-10-05 10:33:37 GMT from France)
In its SlackBuilds repository, Eric Hameleers aka Alien BOB offer pre-compiled packages as well as SlackBuilds. This can save a lot of time for big packages, e.g. vlc. And he offers "restricted" packages as well, hosted in another server.
Granted, configure Slackware takes time for people not used to it. and require a minimum knowledge.
On the other hand, once it's done it's done till next release.
And a properly configured Slackware can be used easily by absolute newbies. For instance my father -- 87 years old and not a geek at all -- uses Slackware for email, web surfing, watch TV, listen music etc. and barely needs help.
About usefulness of automatic dependencies checking, I disagree. I gave up using other distributions *because of* falling into dependencies hell. You won't get there with Slackware provided you use it "the Slackware way", i.e.:
- Only install third parties packages from people you trust and who provide their SlackBuilds. For me this amount to a very short list, including mainly Robby Workman and Alien BOB, excludes linuxpackages.net. I wiould use slacky.eu with caution (SlackBuilds only) when/if I can't find an application I need elsewhere -- this is not the case as of today.
- If a SlackBuild is available at slackbuilds.org, use it
- Would I need to compile something yourself, preferably make a package of it so it ca be easily uninstalled (I must admit I didn't really have to yet).
6 • Sidux/SMXI split (by Gene Venable on 2009-10-05 10:59:44 GMT from United States)
I was dismayed to find that Sidux and the marvellous SMXI script have split, apparently a choice made by the Sidux folk, who can be temperamental. Sidux has been one of my favorite distros for several years, but without this wonderful script I can no longer recommend it for any but the most devoted users. I have found support on the Sidux forum to be demanding and unfriendly at times, and only the smxi script transforms the Sidux environment into a truly user-friendly one. I myself am continuing to use Sidux and smxi for now, but to do so in the face of such hostility from the Sidux folk would be unnatural for a new user who might be forced to seek support from the Sidux forums.
7 • Sidux (by smidge on 2009-10-05 11:15:14 GMT from United Kingdom)
Thanks for the tip, Gene. No wonder I couldn't get a response from an smxi command! Are they just misguided or have they been got at? I note, above, that RH have been busy thinking about the idiotic US software patent laws. Imperative to get all netbooks back to base with 99% Linux installed by default. One does so hate the leverage of you-know-who and his big$ wallet approach. It doesn't help that they are being sold with roaming connections by mobile phone companies, dongles and NO LINUX drivers.
8 • KompoZer (by gumb on 2009-10-05 11:35:08 GMT from United Kingdom)
Good choice for this month's donation. Perhaps worth mentioning that KompoZer is a fork/continuation of the Nvu project that many will be familiar with some years ago, and one developer has been working hard to keep it up to date, with a new beta release due imminently. Even better to read on a mozilla blog today that the SeaMonkey team are looking to integrate all the improvements into the original Composer element of the suite. I notice that you state $250 donated to the project in one place and $360 further down. There have been discrepancies with some of the other donations you have listed before.
One other interesting thing to note this week: your assorted screenshots rather subliminally speak of the mainstream acceptance of KDE4 now, and the configurability of it. Good to see.
9 • RE: 8 KompoZer (by ladislav on 2009-10-05 11:44:05 GMT from Taiwan)
I notice that you state $250 donated to the project in one place and $360 further down.
$250? Are you sure you are reading the currency signs correctly?
10 • Slackware (by Xtyn on 2009-10-05 12:00:26 GMT from Romania)
Slackware was my first experience with Linux. It was a long time ago, 6 years ago, if I'm not mistaking. I got the CD's from a friend. I didn't have internet back then.
I remember asking him if it's "the latest Linux" (I didn't know anything about Linux). He looked at me strangely and said...yeah... (he didn't bother to tell me about kernels and distributions).
So, as he was installing it, I was looking at the installation process, it was really primitive and complicated. Seems that things haven't changed much in Slackware land. Well, after a few days of dual booting, I gave it up and erased it.
Actually, my first PC came preinstalled with Linux (RedHat I believe) but I erased it immediately and installed XP (illegally of course), in fact a friend of mine installed it, I didn't know how to do that. So, I'm not counting this as "Linux experience".
After a few years, when I got an internet connection, I thought I'd give Linux another try. PCLinuxOS was the distro that brought me to the Linux land.
Back then Mandriva was a mess: bloated, slow, buggy. I tried it again a year ago, seemed better but still didn't like it.
I never tried Slackware since that first experience and I'm not planing on ever trying it again. After Ubuntu, PCLOS and even Fedora, how can I go back to Slackware? :)
As for Slackware derivatives, I have used Zenwalk for a while, it's nice, although I would not call it "lightweight". I tried Vector lite, seemed very nice, lightweight and fast. I didn't like Wolvix.
Ok, that's it. Sorry for the long story. I usually keep it short.
11 • to #10 (slackware) (by wingevil on 2009-10-05 12:26:02 GMT from Germany)
Tell me, what should be the conclusion of your story???
that you're a Win-user who haven't tried seriously any Linux-distro? Or what?
I've tried out quit a lot of distros, starting 2 years ago with all *buntus, going to Mint, stepping forward to debian, then sidux, then gnewsense, then antiX, then Vector, then Zenwalk, then Wolvix and at least slackware...just because I want more control.
Have taken also sidesteps to other distros like Mandriva, PCLinuxOS, Puppy, Tiny Core, Gentoo, Sabayon, Kongoni etc. even tried out PC-BSD...but nothing is for me more convincing than slackware because of its simply and clearly structure.
I agree with quite a lot of statements in the review. slackware needs more effort to customize it in the way you'll have to be. But on the other hand...slackware ALLOWED it, to customize is, while a lot of distros prevent those activities as much as they can. That's a really great advantage of slackware.
And the slacker-community is --> WOW.
12 • Slackware is simple like KISS (by jaakkima on 2009-10-05 12:33:05 GMT from Germany)
'I have been told that I don't understand Slackware philosophy
or "the Slackware way". On the contrary, I understand
it. Understanding and embracing are two different things. I feel
most users will understand the benefits of Slackware as well as
the drawbacks. Comparisons to other distributions which do things
differently are a valid part of reviews as is evaluating claims
made by Linux distributors. Slackware fails in its claim
of "simplicity and ease of use," at least in terms of any
conventional definition or understanding of usability.'
The Slackware developer's claim of the simplicity and ease of use
of his distro is most likely a reference to the well-known
KISS-principle of the UNIX culture.
I think Slackware is an ideal distro for newcomers. Using
Slackware, they are likely to learn a lot more about their new
operating system than using a distro that has many complicated,
slow and difficult-to-use (and also often bug-ridden) GUI
frontends for doing stuff that could be much more easily done by
simply editing some config files with a text editor of your
choice. In a couple of months the newcomers who use Slackware
will learn the ins and outs of the CLI and the basic principles of
how their Unix-like operating system works.
And within six months the Slackware newcomers have become
advanced users. With some other distros it seems that the distro
developers want to use all means possible to keep their users in
the baby-like state of helpless newcomers forever. You often see
Linux users writing something like "I've used Ubutopia only two
years now, so I'm a complete newbie". I can guarantee that after
using Slackware for two years you won't be a newbie anymore. ;-)
13 • Slackware Review (by Random Slacker on 2009-10-05 12:37:03 GMT from Russian Federation)
IMHO, Caitlyn has done a big work when preparing the review. Still, I'd like to make a few comments.
1) Another useful reading for everybody going to install Slackware is Slackware-HOWTO, available on the installation CD/DVD ;-)
2) One does not _need_ to edit xorg.conf manually. Actually, in many cases startx takes one to a good screen w/o any configuration. In other cases, xorgsetup provides a good starting point. And xorgsetup is not a command-line tool in common sense :-)
3) Quotation: "The new format allows for a much higher level of compression without sacrificing performance. However, the new package format still does not include dependency information."
How is a compression format is expected to relate to dependency checking???
4) As many slackers, I am strongly opposed to dependency checking because of bad, bad, bad experience with RH, Mandriva, etc., and the freedom to install progrms that depend on different libraries. In this sense, I find the review to be strongly biased.
5) The origin of LZMA is called Tukaani, not Tuukani :-)
14 • slackware 13.0 - user friendly (by Anonymous on 2009-10-05 12:37:14 GMT from France)
Please, don't confuse user friendliness with newbie friendliness.
Slackware is what it advertises: simple and user friendly. You've got to learn it and it takes time, but it's very simple. Dependency tracking is there but it is not imposed. You choose your tracker and there are several ones.
15 • More on SMXI (by Gene Venable on 2009-10-05 12:44:07 GMT from United States)
Check out smxi.org for instructions on how to install it. I think I used the command
# to install just smxi, as root, do:
cd /usr/local/bin && wget -Nc smxi.org/smxi && chmod +x smxi && smxi
That's just a copy of instructions from the smxi site. I've never tried it anywhere but in Sidux, but apparently distros such as Antix have some extra support for it. With this script, Sidux becomes approximately as easy to use as the very popular Linux Mint.
16 • Patents (by Anonymous on 2009-10-05 12:57:38 GMT from United States)
Hopefully the move by Red Hat doesn't backfire and force worse patent decisions on the rest of us. The US Supreme Court hasn't exactly been to friendly to non-corporate entities lately when corporate profits are on the line.
17 • #11 #12 (by Xtyn on 2009-10-05 13:28:05 GMT from Romania)
#11 The conclusion of my story is that Slackware was not attractive to a beginner (me) and is not attractive to a relatively experienced user (me again). :)
Why? Because the world moves forward but Slackware remains in it's bubble of time, stuck in the '90's. You can customize any distro as much as you like.
#12 A lot of people don't need to know that much about their computers. Not everybody is a geek, you know... I could install Slackware but I don't want to. I have the knowledge. I could even compile a LFS but, again, I don't want to.
I didn't gain this knowledge by being tortured by Slackware, Arch or Gentoo but by using PCLOS, Ubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora and, my personal favourite, Debian.
Let's face it, it's not quantum physics. You don't have to be Einstein to install any Linux distro.
18 • No subject (by Rahul Sundaram on 2009-10-05 13:54:22 GMT from India)
"Hopefully the move by Red Hat doesn't backfire and force worse patent decisions on the rest of us."
How can the situation go worse than it already is? Red Hat is not a party to this case. It was already in the supreme court. Red Hat filed a friend of court briefing explaining other considerations that the court might not be aware of.
19 • Comment by #17 (by Buramiah on 2009-10-05 14:04:23 GMT from Bangladesh)
Though one little oversight - Einstein never liked quantum mechanics!
Slack is fun but there are lot of people would just install their OS and move on to get their work done. No wonder *buntu/fedora enjoy such popularity.
20 • Surprise (by Nobody Important on 2009-10-05 14:25:02 GMT from United States)
The Slackware fanboys pop out of the woodwork to defend their territory. Keep fighting the good fight, lads!
A fine review, Caitlyn.
21 • Dependency hell in Slackware? (by Barnabyh on 2009-10-05 14:26:09 GMT from United Kingdom)
As already pointed out by others, the main point about putting the responsibility for dependency resolution between monitor and chair is to avoid running into silly messages like "cannot install xxx because it depends on xyz which is not installable", or another one of my favourites, uninstalling one package (desktop or network related as two recent live examples) resulting in a slew of other packages, seemingly unrelated, being removed (like totem when trying to uninstall evolution). Ridiculous.
I know there are other ways of getting around above problem, like pinning or force, but seems like a lot of trouble to get around something that Slackware is solving more elegantly.
22 • No subject (by forest on 2009-10-05 14:30:46 GMT from United Kingdom)
More about Gentoo...still here:
Remember what Mark Twain said..."The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."
23 • Learning Linux (by Barnabyh on 2009-10-05 14:36:27 GMT from United Kingdom)
That said, I've also learnt a lot from running PCLOS2007 for two years, updating software that was increasingly outdated in the repos, and handcrafting wm environments. If you're interested you can go under the hood in almost any distro and have a great and rewarding experience.
24 • Some responses (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-10-05 15:21:42 GMT from United States)
You know, I've been using Linux for 14 years and I tried Slackware very early on. Those who say it, in some ways, is still stuck in the '90s have pretty much hit the nail on the head.
Every other major distro and most smaller ones do dependency checking and do it well. It is *NOT* present in any way, shape, or form in vanilla Slackware without doing third party add-ons. Other "advanced" distros like Gentoo and Arch do it well. Most Slackware derivatives do it well. The "bad experiences" with Red Hat and Mandriva and dependency checking: 10 years ago, yes. Recently? Sorry, no. On most distros it just works. Making users hunt down dependencies on their own is "simple". That's a definition of simple I'm not acquainted with.
You most certainly do have to configure X.org manually if the tools provided in Slackware can't handle the hardware in question. This is precisely the case with my Trident chipset in the Toshiba. Other distros have overcome this sort of issue by having their own video hardware detection tools that go beyond what is offered upstream from X.org. This includes Slackware derivatives like Zenwalk (vconf) or VectorLinux (vxconf) that correctly handle video chipsets that Slackware can't handle. It also includes all of the more popular distributions.
I'm not anti-Slackware by any means but I do need my systems to "just work" so I can get on with my work. That isn't what Slackware offers. Once configured it does stay configured until the next release as far as hardware is concerned. Adding/changing software is still more work than in other distros. I guess I just don't like constantly having to hunt things down and tinker.
Oh, and yes, it's Smart Boot Manager. Brain freeze there. Hopefully Ladislav can fix that one.
25 • Slackware and Red Hat (by Jesse on 2009-10-05 15:24:53 GMT from Canada)
"The US Supreme Court hasn't exactly been to friendly to non-corporate entities lately when corporate profits are on the line."
You do realize that Red Hat is a corporation which makes a profit? This isn't a case of the unwashed masses vs giant industry, it's more of a case of corporate vs corporate.
@CM: The Slackware review was very good. I was curious to see what 13.0 would bring to the table and this feature answered most of my questions. Thank you. My only criticism is that there are some paragraphs at the beginning and end of the review which sound defensive. Sort of a, "My opinion is valid, damn it." Personally, I think defending something like this is inviting attack.
26 • #13: New package format; #29: History (by Anonymous on 2009-10-05 15:37:30 GMT from United States)
#13: 3) Quotation: "The new format allows for a much higher level of compression without sacrificing performance. However, the new package format still does not include dependency information."
How is a compression format is expected to relate to dependency checking???
@Random Slacker: If you're going to redesign the packaging system then taking care of the biggest weakness in that system would be a logical thing to do, at least as I see it.
#29: @Jesse: The responses both I and other reviewers have received to less than slavish fan reviews of Slackware prompted me to make it very clear exactly where I am coming from with this review. I expect to be attacked because there are some in the Slackware community (a small but vocal minority in an otherwise oustanding community, BTW) who don't tolerate criticism. By laying out the basis of my review it is really hard to claim that looking at whether or not Slackware is user friendly is invalid. I can see how you would read that as defensive. I don't think it is. Given the history involved I think it's justified.
27 • Sabayon Linux 5.0 (by Carl Smuck on 2009-10-05 15:58:34 GMT from United States)
I installed the 64 bit gnome version on my AMD Athlon 64 desktop computer that is 5 years old and I built the thing myself. I put the 32 bit gnome version on my laptop. My laptop is an AMD Athlon 64x2 compaq CQ60. I have to use the 32 bit version in order to have full support for my lightscribe drive. From my experience with the new version of Sabayon 5.0 so far the only thing really lacking is printer support when compared to Ubuntu 9.04, Fedora 11 and OpenSuse 11.1. It is very easy to install the alien arena 2009 in Sabayon 5.0. I have tried running the KDE version but only from the DVD and it is pretty fast considering that it is running from the live DVD. The KDE version of Sabayon seems like it has a lot of potential. I have never been a very big fan of the KDE gui and in my experience it has always been a very slow interface but it seems as though Sabayon is going to be one of the best distros for KDE users. It would be interesting to see what would happen if Sabayon makes a version of it's OS with the LXDE desktop.
28 • NEW Multiuser Puppy Linux!!! (by JAG on 2009-10-05 16:06:30 GMT from United States)
Comment deleted (Jaguar1's Puppy spam).
29 • slackware review (by woodsmoke on 2009-10-05 16:21:16 GMT from United States)
The Slackware review was very nice and the comment, later on, about "user friendly and newbie friendly" was also nice.
Having been in Linux for quite a few years and installed stacks and stacks of distros; I've noticed three things that should give a "pause" to anyone who is really "new" to Linux(newbie, a term which I detest), and they are:
a) If one or more reviews spend, say for the sake of argument, more than three fourths of screen describing several steps to get something, anything, done on the install, then the distro is probably not "newbie" friendly.
b) If I see the term 'trivial" anywhere in a review... then I assume that it is REALLY not "newbie" friendly.(That comes from my math background: if the prof said the proof was trivial, we knew that it really was not. :) )
c) Any comment about BEING ABLE to "learn" about Linux. Most of the "newer" users to Linux, and the pool of folks that the "really user friendly" distros are targeting, do not have the word "learn" in their manuals or reviews. I think we might all agree that "most" of the really new people to Linux would rather see what it will do as opposed to spending an hour installing and then see it crash.
Possibly, there should be a new breakdown of Linuxii in Distrowatch, in order from top to bottom:
"New person to Linux Friendly",
"Experienced in Linux Friendly" and
"Better Know Your Stuff Friendly".
And maybe a fourth: "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Download This"! :)
Just kidding....but... again....
Great Review, and I think I'll give Slack another try!
30 • Dependency checking (by Jesse on 2009-10-05 16:30:41 GMT from Anonymous Proxy)
I have to agree that dependency checking still has a long way to go in distros like Fedora, Mandriva and Ubuntu. I install each of these distros several times a year on various machines and they all *always* run into dependency problems. These usually come from a package being updated in a repository without its dependencies also being updated. But it gets really bad when doing un-installs where removing one small, unrelated package, results in hundreds of packages being queued for removal.
Tools like apt-get and yum have made installing packages and updating software much easier than it was ten years ago and I'm very grateful to have them, but there are still problems with these systems. This is a current issue which could be made a lot better for the end user by requiring better QA.
31 • Slackware carries on (by Hypertension on 2009-10-05 16:49:08 GMT from United Kingdom)
On the whole I'd say it was a fair review of Slackware.
Slackware was my first ever Linux distro I tried back in 2003. After a few weeks I figured out how to get it installed on my hard drive. Then when I'd boot up and entered root login and password it would just sit there in text mode blinking. Now what?
A few weeks later after pouring up and down the Slackware manual I came across an obscure reference to a 'startx' command. Tried yet another boot up, startx, and presto, my first ever open source desktop gui!!!
Of course I could never get the damn thing connected to the internet.
I've come along way since that first year of experimenting with Linux and now it is virtually the only OS I use.
Slackware, it would seem, hasn't changed nearly as much.
Thank god there's choice with Linux.
32 • @12 (by juarez on 2009-10-05 17:26:27 GMT from United States)
Comment deleted (off-topic).
33 • #14: newbie friendly vs. user friendly, #30: dependencies and distros (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-10-05 17:58:19 GMT from United States)
First, thanks to everyone who had kind words for this weeks review. Thanks also to Ladislav for the spelling and SBM name correction :)
#14: I'm not confusing newbie friendly with user friendly. Please see: http://news.oreilly.com/2008/07/linux-torvalds-on-linux-distri.html and the quote from Linus Torvalds at the start of the article in particular. Nobody would confuse Linus with a newbie :)
#30: @Jesse: The issues you cite can happen but none of them are due to flaws in the package management systems. rpm and apt are mature and both just work. What you are describing is poor repository management and quality control. One thing Patrick Volkerding and the other Slackware developers have excelled at is QA. If they ever decide to do automated dependency resolution I'm quite confident that they would do an outstdanding job and avoid those issues.
Oh, and in case anyone is interested, the new netbook is going to be an HP Mini 110, very similar to the one Ladislav bought.You can order factory direct and get it preloaded with Linux and customize the hardware configuration for a competitive price, at least here in the U.S.
34 • Slackware 13.0 review (by Stuart Fogg on 2009-10-05 18:09:16 GMT from United States)
Please distinguish between "easy to learn" and "easy to use". I've been using Slackware since version 3.something, and I've always found it easy to install, easy to configure, and easy to use. That was after learning UNIX from the AIX 3 man pages, which was in no way easy.
Other "easier" distributions I've looked at through the years (e.g. Mac OS X) tend to make easy tasks very easy but anything else difficult or impossible by restricting options and hiding details.
A former colleague offered this pithy assessment: "hacker friendly".
35 • Dependency (by Jesse on 2009-10-05 18:21:01 GMT from Anonymous Proxy)
Whether the fault of the package management lies with the software package manager (such as yum or apt-get) or lies with the quality control folks doesn't really matter to the end user. Either way, they end up with some garbled error message about how one package conflicts with another, or a dependency can't be found.
Personally, I've run into problems with both. Yes, usually it's the fault of QA on the repo side, but not always. Yum stating, for example, that it can't update a library from 3.1.0 to 3.1.1 because 3.1.1 would over-write files from 3.1.0.... which is exactly what I want it to do. Or having "apt-get update" fail, saying it ran into an unknown error, try running apt-get update.
I realize package management is complex stuff, and I don't expect perfection. But saying it always just works is somewhat inaccurate.
36 • slack, puppy (by desktopuser on 2009-10-05 18:40:37 GMT from United States)
The reviews here at DistroWatch are the best. Ms Martin's are among the most complete and well-written, and this one is no exception.
I don't use Slack myself, but a Slack-derivative has spent many months on an older PC (running from an SD card in an IDE to SD adapter). Slack and other communities created derivative distros to satisfy the needs of various user groups even when the core-group did not especially sympathize with those needs.
Apparently Puppy has done the same now with multi-user Puppy, which addresses critics' most important issue. Congrats to the Puppy community.
37 • Slackware 13.0 (by JD on 2009-10-05 19:03:07 GMT from United States)
I really don't think Slackware. Is for advanced users per-say. arch, and gentoo fit that bill much better, but I see where you could precive that. Because text mode=hard to alot of people. But if you really drill down to it you find slackware is more of an intermidate distro. It has alot of nice helpfull little scripts to help you do almost everything rather then mucking around with the commands themselfs. Or config files. Or maybe it seems easy to me because I'm used to setting up "do it yourself all by yourself" distros.
38 • RE# 33 Slack (by Anonymous on 2009-10-05 19:28:38 GMT from United States)
I agree with Ms. Martin on her response to #30.
My XFCE edition of Zenwalk is currently broken just as bad as if I used Slack doing the dependencies myself. The package manager just did it for me. It put me in a corner on a upgrade that required a newer version of XFCE that was not avalable but worked with the default windows manager.
39 • RE: 33 About that HP Mini 110 (by IMQ on 2009-10-05 19:53:30 GMT from United States)
I am interested on how well this netbook performs with Linux.
Although there are more Linux-compatible hardware than it used to be, and more are coming it seems, it is still good to know which hardware works well under Linux. Just in case a good deal pops up!
Thanks for the review of Slackware 13.0.
40 • slackware 13.0 (by jorge vivas on 2009-10-05 20:22:14 GMT from Venezuela)
allow me to say that linux doesnt need a package management with dep resolution, to be fully working OS, this allows it to be as flexible as the developer intended, there is no dependency hell, almost all software is on the slackbuilds, and compiling doesnt take that long, its so easy just type as root (chmod +x *.SlackBuild && ./*.SlackBuild ), but you can also use sbopkg (a ncurses based slackbuilds browser that automates the process given you selected the deps and its order (doesnt solve deps but it aint that hard, most of them are listed on the page of the package page) , and regarding upgrading there is slackpkg (doesnt solve deps, it can upgrade new versions of a pakage , install extra and other stuff not installed, and remove non slackware software installed), if you cant find the slackbuilds use src2pkg, seems outdated but works rather well, the problem is that while slackware gives you a base you can work on, other distros force you to use the implementation chosen by the devs and anything you do to your system wont integrate well. those are among the things i love about slackware
41 • Package management is the best part of Linux (by Randall on 2009-10-05 20:39:51 GMT from United States)
I honestly cannot wrap my head around people who argue "occasionally package management does weird things, so I'd rather avoid it altogether." I'm not going to argue that the existing systems are perfect. I use Gentoo, and it's not infrequent for Portage to try to downgrade something until I go through and figure out which extra package I need to unkeyword-mask to make things work. But I'll take that minor frustration over not knowing what's going to break next because of a dependency I've never heard of any day.
I'm not arguing that Gentoo is for everybody; I have a great deal of respect for Arch, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, hell, even the BSDs. But as Ian Murdock of Debian said, package management is "the single biggest advancement Linux has brought to the industry." To throw it out because it isn't perfect and then claim the resulting distro is "easy to use" because the user gets to decide everything that's going on with their system...I can do all that and still have package management to allow me to upgrade things without fear that dependencies will break. Why wouldn't I want that?
42 • Slackware packages (by Pearson on 2009-10-05 20:46:45 GMT from United States)
I'm a big fan of Slackware, although I don't use it.
When I'm in "geek mode", I find Slackware fun. Tracking down the dependencies is rewarding.
When I'm installing a new package because I need to get something done by the next day, I find manually verifying all of the stated dependencies - and *their* dependencies - time consuming. I'm thinking that I wen through that with scribus in Slackware, but it might have been another package.
In the end, I chose to go with a distro that installs possibly more than I need, for the peace of mind that comes with knowing that I have what I need. If I get into "dependency hell" with Debian or Ubuntu, then I can always go back and get sources and install them just like I would using Slackware sources.
I'm not saying that Slackware packages *should* have dependencies - that's Patrick's call. I'm just saying that the lack of package dependency information makes Slackware a poor fit for me.
43 • Sidux In, smxi OUT (by Richard Nixon on 2009-10-05 20:48:42 GMT from United States)
Great news! Now I can go back to Sidux. I hated smxi. What a piece of junk that shell scripting was/is. h2 or whoever the h** wrote it. Time and again he was asked to gui it or make it simpler . He refused or didn't know how. It TOOK HOURS for that smxi script to complete.
Now we can have what Debian distro all have - apt-get and hopefully Aptitude!
44 • Slackware review and dependency hell (by Michael Raugh on 2009-10-05 21:20:17 GMT from United States)
First, congrats Caitlyn on an outstanding review. Sorry to read about your netbook dying, but that Mini 110 does sound like a sweet little machine. If I had even the ghost of a justification I'd buy one.
My experience goes just far enough back to have known a little bit of RPM dependency hell from the Fedora Core 3 days -- self-inflicted, mostly, because I kept trying to install things that weren't in the repos. But it did give me an appreciation for the power of yum/apt-get/zypper/etc. to preserve my sanity.
Sometimes, though, I do think it's gotten a little out of hand. For instance, any time I install a new distro with Gnome it always includes Evolution. I don't use Evolution; I prefer Thunderbird. But on every distro I've ever played with using Gnome, any attempt to remove Evolution and its "evolution-data-server" through a package manager results in the system wanting to remove gnome-panel and half of Gnome along with it. Why should major components of the DE depend on a mail application's back end? Makes no sense to me. So normally I either install some other DE (KDE, XFCE, E17) and kill Gnome entirely or just leave Evolution installed without using it.
45 • #43 Don't mention ... (by anticapitalista on 2009-10-05 21:43:24 GMT from Greece)
Don't mention aptitude on the sidux forums. Not welcome there.
Still, as you know, you didn't have to use smxi on sidux. It was an extra tool not a compulsory one.
Oh, sidux is spelt sidux not Sidux. Time for you to RTFsM :)
46 • package managment (by Reuben on 2009-10-05 22:36:43 GMT from United States)
The lack of a cohesive package management system is always what drove me away from slackware. It's good for a system where you don't need to be installing new packages all the time, like a server.
And yes, just because you know how to edit configuration files in /etc, doesn't mean that you want to. It's very nice to boot up a ubuntu system and have almost everything there on the first boot.
47 • Slackware (by Anonymous on 2009-10-05 23:26:42 GMT from United States)
RE 12,34 Yes!
I have used Slackware since before 3.0 to about 6 or 7.
I liked the "hackability" of it's setup in /etc.
When I moved to RedHat / Debian /SUSE
the changes I would make would disappear.
This is when I found out that those distributions
had automatic house-keeping scripts.
These scripts erased or changed my changes.
This initially made my life much Harder, and took the "fun" out of Linux.
Now I have sucumbed to the Debian way of just let the Distro do it.
Due to this, I have to read more to find out how to alter
some package to my desires to keep the Distro from over-writing my changes.
RE 44 Yes!
I too have seen the dependency hell you speak of .
Many applications should be individually installable.
Too many distros seem to require too many other support packages
when installing something like Gnome or KDE etc.
I only wanted "this" but I have to take all "that as well".
48 • Slackware (by Andrew on 2009-10-06 01:39:45 GMT from Australia)
After reading all of the comments about Slackware, I'm glad I haven't given it a try. Thank goodness there's multiple distros out there - I'll stick with the ones that install quickly, have huge repos, auto-dependancy checking and GUI configuration for the main stuff.
The Linux 1337 might point and call me a Linux noob but seriously, I just don't have the time or energy to deal with things at such a low level during my limited free time.
49 • Slackware review (by Donnie on 2009-10-06 01:53:50 GMT from United States)
I enjoyed your review, and overall, I think it was fair. But, there are a couple of areas where you're a bit off-point.
You mentioned that with Slackware, a person will have to perform a lot of functions from the command-line. That's true, but, your example of creating user accounts doesn't fit, since KDE includes a graphical utility for that. (I never use it, though, since I've always found it faster to use "useradd".)
Also, as Chris pointed out in last week's news section, there are package management systems for Slackware. "slackpkg" can be used to easily keep the official Slackware packages up-to-date, and "sbopkg" can be used to easily keep "Slackbuild.org" packages up-to-date. Of course, there's still no dependency resolution. But, if you choose the "install everything" option when installing Slackware, and read the package descriptions at Slackbuild.org before installing any of their packages, you'll not run into any real problems.
50 • gentoo (by SHADY on 2009-10-06 02:08:59 GMT from United States)
What was the point of the live dvd if there was no installer included? Does Gentoo hate being usable by regular people?
51 • Slackware 13.0 review (by RollMeAway on 2009-10-06 02:36:25 GMT from United States)
I couldn't agree more. The review is dead on.
I've had a slackware installation for years, but never considered it a favorite.
I'll never understand how ignoring package dependencies is a "Feature", B.S.
Slackware has always been useful on old computers. Now that kde4 has been adopted,
that no longer is true. How many old computers have 1GB or more of ram?
Kde4 is useless with 512K, won't run with less.
52 • @50 gentoo (by RollMeAway on 2009-10-06 02:43:10 GMT from United States)
Damn good question!
I ask in the forum, and was told to read the handbook to install gentoo.
That was "the only way" to install gentoo!
I have a couple of gentoo installations, one since 2002.
Installation from scratch will take over a week of compiling.
Personally, it appears the devs have given up on developing a working installer.
Guess they are too busy compiling to develop one.
One good alternative is:
The installer works well.
53 • slackware (by wynn on 2009-10-06 02:54:25 GMT from Malaysia)
My first Linux distro was Slackware. Yes, I had to roll up my sleeves and learn what's under the hood back then. Now I've "upgraded" to Linux From Scratch. I still have to roll up my sleeves and learn what's under the hood, but that's half (if not all) the fun in running a Linux box.
54 • @50 (by Nobody Important on 2009-10-06 03:31:12 GMT from United States)
I believe the LiveCD for Gentoo was more of a demonstration than an actual installed system. Gentoo is a DIY distro, where you choose everything that goes into your new installation. Giving an installable LiveCD seems a bit backwards in that respect!
I enjoyed Sabayon a bit when I had it installed, which is a nice Gentoo-based LiveCD.
55 • RE: 54 (by ladislav on 2009-10-06 03:36:20 GMT from Taiwan)
Gentoo is a DIY distro, where you choose everything that goes into your new installation.
That's true, but the Gentoo 2008 and 2007 releases were all installable live CDs with a graphical installer. In that respect you can't blame readers for expecting to also find an installer on the 10.0 live DVD.
56 • stress testing with gentoo (by RollMeAway on 2009-10-06 03:44:11 GMT from United States)
Gentoo is a major stress test for your computer.
I have "burned up" two separate motherboards while upgrading gentoo installations.
Both were in the days of amd k6-2 processors, different manufacturers.
Salvaged the processors and ram, never got either mb to function again.
Both failed on about the 5th or 6th day of continuous compiling.
Leason learned. Give your computer a break. Let it cool down occasionally.
57 • OpenSUSE 11.2 M8 vs Kermic Koala (by Vukota on 2009-10-06 04:48:22 GMT from United States)
Did anyone tried both? How good they are getting in stability?
OpenSUSE 11.2 M8 with KDE 4.3 looks pretty (not to say Mac-y), whereas Ubuntu looks pretty much the same.
What are the best (new) things people like about them? Did *buntu clan made any significant progress on configurability side?
58 • Most recent comments on ease of use, package management (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-10-06 04:58:50 GMT from United States)
#35: Fair comment, Jesse. Let me clarify mine: With only one exception I have had no significant or serious problems with dependency resolution in the distributions I use since Fedora Core 5, the last one where I ran into major breakage. YMMV. Better?
FWIW, the one exception was gOS Escape Pod which shipped with my original Sylvania g Netbook. My review called that distro release as preloaded on the netbook a "nightmare" and "a disaster" as some will remember. It was, without question, the most negative review I have ever written. See: http://broadcast.oreilly.com/2009/02/netbook-nightmare-my-experienc.html I blame the problem on gOS, a distro which has consistently failed to impress me.
To me those who argue that because dependecy resolution can be broken it shouldn't exist at all are throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Less than perfect dependency resolution is a problem. None at all is simply inexcusable in this day and age.
#41: I largely agree with your post but to be fair Slackware does have a command line package management system that works well but is limited in functionality. What it doesn't have is dependency resolution. To me a distro with a large, well supported repository that automates dependency resolution properly is a great timesaver. It makes finding and installing apps easy. That is something I just don't want to waste time on.
#44: Michael, I don't blame the developers as that seems to be common across all distros with GNOME. I blame the GNOME developers for creating so many interlinking dependencies.
#51: Slackware doesn't require KDE4. It has Xfce and lightweight window managers as well. I also have had KDE4 running, not crawling, in 512MB RAM. It can be done. I still prefer something less resource intensive like Xfce or LXDE. I still believe Slackware can be a good choice for older hardware.
59 • gentoo live-dvd without installer (by wingevil on 2009-10-06 05:26:34 GMT from Germany)
If you're looking for a perfect pre-installed business-oriented gentoo-system which is fully 100% standard-compatible, take a look to Calculate Linux.
60 • #35 #44 #41 Package management is the best part of Linux (by Xtyn on 2009-10-06 06:09:14 GMT from Romania)
#41 Yes, I have to agree, package management is the best part of Linux.
#44 Michael, you can remove evolution and evolution-data-server without any problems. I did it myself many times. Look here: http://pastebin.com/m426ad0be
It's from the default Ubuntu (gnome).
#35 I encountered "dependency hell" only once, when I tried to install things manually, and that was a long time ago. In more than 3 years I have not (yet) had dependency problems.
One odd dependency I encountered was when I installed a minimal Debian. When I installed rox-filer it installed Iceweasel too. That was no problem for me, as I use Iceweasel but it seemed an odd dependency. :)
61 • Gentoo Linux 10.0-special live DVD: no installer. (by linuxuser2000 on 2009-10-06 06:24:26 GMT from Portugal)
Copied from Gentoo Forum
I downloaded the combo, preview DVD about a week ago
(which worked flawlessly, thank you)
expecting it to have an installer. It didn't!
Does this live DVD include an installer?
There would have been announcements if there was going to be an installer. There isn't one.
62 • No subject (by Reuben on 2009-10-06 06:27:38 GMT from United States)
I was all excited when I saw that Gentoo had released an anniversary CD. I've used gentoo for many years on my desktop, and it still powers my mythtv box. But my excitement quickly ended when I saw that most of the kernel modules wouldn't load and I had no network or sound.
63 • slackware 13.0 - user friendliness (by Anonymous on 2009-10-06 08:05:23 GMT from France)
I respect your opinion on slackware, but I believe it IS user friendly.
Just let someone install it for you and don't administer it. It does not require daily administration. At the end of the day, using slackware does not involve repairing things broken by the last update. Using slackware is mainly about using the software to do very productive things like surfing the web or chatting on IRC!
Anyway it's not competing with Ubuntu or Mandriva. It's complementing it. If you are new to linux and are alone, download and install Mandriva or Ubuntu. If you have a friend you know linux, ask him to install slackware and configure it for you. And if you are an advanced linux user yourself and want to do advanced things like doing your own live USB, using alternative boot sequence, make your own packages, etc... Slackware makes it easier for you, because it is simple and stupid. For instance, you can have a script to install packages in any order, you can uncompress packages and modify them by hand easily, etc...
Slackware uses the KISS principle, which is very convenient for some people who want to do advanced stuff their own way. You may not need it, maybe Ubuntu is better for you, but Slackware should not be Ubuntu or Ubuntu would loose its point. The point of having 2 different distros is that they are different and are used for different purposes. Some people need the flexibility of simple slackware packages.
64 • Re 6 &15 / 43 - smxi (by Brooko on 2009-10-06 08:27:03 GMT from New Zealand)
@ Gene (6 & 15)
We (the community) use smxi - or more often sgfxi - a lot on Mepis. In fact we encourage new users to try it - esp with graphics driver issues. It really is a wonderfully easy script to use (even for newcomers) - and H2 often drops in on the forums to assist if anyone runs into issues.
@ Richard (43)
Almost laughed aloud when I read your comment. A gui for smxi / sgfxi ?? Considering for major upgrades, it's often recommended to run the script outside X - and for graphics upgrades it's essential - what would be the good of running it as a gui. Mark Twain quote at the bottom of the forum comes to mind actually .....
And this is how easy / invaluable it is (at least IMHO for Mepis). Kernel upgrade (community - not Warren's), or upgrade in X - which breaks X (rare) but lands you at a command prompt. Log as root - type sgfxi - answer the prompts - couple of minutes later you have X running again with latest driver. The script resolves the driver download, headers, linking, everything. What could be simpler? And very easy to teach a new user :)
65 • More package management (by Michael Raugh on 2009-10-06 10:48:13 GMT from United States)
@60: pastebin.com is down for maintenance all day; guess I'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out how you do that. Disable dependency checking for that transaction only, is it? Still, it was just an illustration
@58: Hi, Caitlyn. Yes, I get that it's probably coming from the GNOME project itself. It would be nice to see them eliminate a lot of that. KDE4 seems to be improving in that regard, in that I was able to comb out all of the PIM apps, Kmail, games, and whatnot that I don't use from Jaunty without Synaptic wanting to remove any important KDE elements. Doing that helps to lighten the load on a system, too.
@57: I haven't done anything seriously with OpenSUSE since version 10.0. When the 11.2 release is final it's going right to the top of my Distro Odyssey To Do list.
66 • #58 (by Notorik on 2009-10-06 10:48:48 GMT from United States)
"My review called that distro release as preloaded on the netbook a "nightmare" and "a disaster" as some will remember. It was, without question, the most negative review I have ever written. See: http://broadcast.oreilly.com/2009/02/netbook-nightmare-my-experienc.html I blame the problem on gOS, a distro which has consistently failed to impress me."
No, the most negative, biased, irrational, review you have ever written was the one you did on Puppy which provoked the ire of some in the Puppy community. Your review of Slackware is fair and balanced. I enjoyed it. I agree with you on the Slackware philosophy. I too understand it, I just don't have time for it.
67 • @ Slackware 13 review (by Random Slacker on 2009-10-06 10:56:49 GMT from Russian Federation)
Notice any comment that begins with `A great review!' ends up with `Actually, I don't use Slackware and have never (or, just once) tried it.' Isn't this remarkable? ;-)
68 • @50: Gentoo (by yngwin on 2009-10-06 11:23:41 GMT from Netherlands)
There is an installer included: the terminal. Just follow the handbook, and get support on IRC and the forums.
You should realize that Gentoo is targeted to a very specific niche: power users. If you don't like using the commandline, and tweaking configuration files, then you should seriously reconsider if Gentoo is for you. Gentoo doesn't aim to be noob-friendly, there are other distros that do that.
The graphical installer Gentoo had in 2007/8 is a failed project and was discontinued. Once the original coder left the project, nobody was interested in picking it up and fixing the many bugs it had. Either way, it was giving a false impression of Gentoo, because all the tools to maintain it are commandline based.
If you want a Gentoo with GUI tools, then take a look at Sabayon, which just made an excellent new release.
@52: "Installation from scratch will take over a week of compiling."
On a Pentium I yes, not on modern hardware. You can be up and running within a few hours. A full desktop like KDE or Gnome would take longer, something in the region of 24 hours.
69 • user friendly (by BSD User on 2009-10-06 11:29:28 GMT from United States)
IMO Unix/Linux is for the people who read first manual of the system and than download and install it. Unix/Linux is NOT a Windows which "do" everything for you.
And I have one question too: many "users" complain about package managers. Do you dear users instal software everyday? If the answer is "yes" please tell me why?
@67: I agree 100%
70 • @52 (by BSD User on 2009-10-06 11:40:16 GMT from United States)
Are you installing OS everyday, please?
71 • slackware, gentoo and distrowatch (by Anonymous on 2009-10-06 12:05:00 GMT from France)
slackware and gentoo are not applealing to distrowatch readers/reviewers, because distrowatch readers/reviewers are distro hoopers. They like to try new distros every day or week so they want their distro to install fast and expose all its features right here on the desktop so you can use it straight without learning. Ubuntu is better than slackware or gentoo in that regard.
@58:"I blame the GNOME developers for creating so many interlinking dependencies."
Actually, the GNOME project uses autotools' configure scripts. You can disable dependancies at configure time before compiling. If you use gentoo, you can disable them, but if you use Ubuntu, you can't.
Ubuntu is great because it makes installation quick by choosing a lot of things for you.
Slackware is great because you can tweak it the way you like fast.
Gentoo is great because you can tweak everything.
There is no need to compare them, it's pointless. Just accept the fact that they are the way they are for a reason. The installation process is just one part of the equation.
72 • Gentoo 10 (by Joy on 2009-10-06 12:21:09 GMT from India)
I think Gentoo is an amazing distro and comes with latest KDE 4.3.1. A nice review of gentoo 10 can be found here.
73 • package management (by Jesse on 2009-10-06 13:21:09 GMT from Canada)
Yes, I think your comment about modern dependency resolution is fair. Sorry if I seemed to be nit-picking over the issue.
Modern package managers are actually one of my favourite things about Linux... when it works. I remember trying to update Gnome (years ago) by finding and installing rpm files. Going deeper and deeper into dependencies... The odd time when it doesn't work feels like such a snap back into that past of broken connections.
74 • @70 (by RollMeAway on 2009-10-06 15:50:12 GMT from United States)
"Are you installing OS everyday, please?"
Just about. I would say I average 3 or 4 a week.
It is a hobby, no, an obsession. Keeps me out of the bars, ha!
I keep one computer running a stable distro, whichever feels good at the moment, and use it to "get things done".
I run 2 or 3 others in various stages of install, upgrade, checkout, tweak, etc.
It is so very boring to sit at one computer, no matter what operating system.
Besides, I might miss the next great development!
75 • Sidux sidum - tomato, 2mato and smxi (by Anonymous on 2009-10-06 16:19:14 GMT from United States)
If smxi is so wonderful why did it split off of SiDuX then?
Not smxi as a gui, but rather some other forum like python.
76 • Regarding the Gentoo installer (@68 & @50) (by Nathan Zachary on 2009-10-06 16:36:24 GMT from United States)
I agree wholeheartedly with Ben. There are terminal emulators included in the Gentoo LiveDVD 10.0. That is really the only way to install Gentoo in an effective and efficient manner. Is a terminal-based installation the "right" way to do things? I don't think there's an answer to that question. However, it is the "preferred" method for Gentoo users. Isn't the variety of distributions part of what makes Linux wonderful? If you don't like to customise things, there are distros for you; if you like to tweak every possible setting, there are distros for you. :)
77 • No subject (by forest on 2009-10-06 18:01:02 GMT from United Kingdom)
Ref #69 & 70
Same reply as RMA in #74. Of course we do! Sometimes 4, rpt 4, distros in an afternoon. Any more would, of course, BE verging on the obsessional...
I have noticed in these hallowed pages a tendency for folk to apply their own, possibly narrow, viewpoint to the world at large. Perhaps, for a lot of folk, the GNULinux platform IS a more than satisfactory replacement for MS Windows. Certainly there seems to be an enormous amount of interest across the planet.
Ref earlier posts in earlier days...nobody knows exactly what a person uses their machine for....or why some folk imagine a home user would not need a very secure platform...to the point of arguing about it...you know who you are...
78 • #75 facts are important (by anticapitalista on 2009-10-06 18:13:41 GMT from Greece)
smxi did not split off from sidux. sidux devs made the decision not to support smxi. (their right to do so of course)
79 • #66: I *NEVER* reviewed Puppy Linux (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-10-06 18:27:01 GMT from United States)
Since Notorik doesn't believe in letting sleeping dogs lie...
I have NEVER, ever reviewed Puppy Linux, not ever, not once. I was hounded constantly by Puppy fans for a review and I wrote a brief piece that essentially said I can't review it because it doesn't work on my hardware. I had a lot of hardware at the time, mostly laptops, and it wouldn't run on any of them. The only system where it would even boot correctly was a very old (now defunct) desktop. See: http://www.oreillynet.com/linux/blog/2007/09/why_i_havent_reviewed_puppy_li.html
The response from the fanatics which seem to make up the most vocal part of the Puppy community was a combination of personal attacks, attempts at intimidation, and what many saw as a death threat. Some in the Puppy community went so far as to write my editor at O'Reilly trying to get my articles pulled. O'Reilly stood by me.
I have no clue if Puppy Linux is a decent distro since then or not. I haven't touched it. The hatred directed at me can still be found on O'Reilly or in the Puppy Linux forum. The Puppy Linux community is toxic. Others have written to me since to tell me that I'm far from the only one who sees it that way. That is one distro I will never touch again.
Anyone else remember the treatment Mark South got when he wrote something negative about Puppy for DistroWatch?
If the Puppy Linux community was smart they would not keep raising this issue over and over again. Unfortunately for them they have some members who do just that. If you'd just let it die it would go away.
I also find it amusing that the person accusing me of irrationality is the same person who insists that all security measures are "poppycock".
80 • Gentoo & Puppy (by Landor on 2009-10-06 19:23:08 GMT from Canada)
Here's a clear sign of the community for Puppy. The latest "Multi-User" announcement was ignorant towards specific members of the community that even the person who posted the announcement said they had good reason for not wanting to run as root, then went on to slur them as complainers regardless. Further reason I'd avoid that community at all costs.
"The idea here is that this could be used as a standard Puppy, without impacting the vast majority who like to be root, while still allowing the few who really have good reasons to not be root to do as they choose with minimum effort. Which also means they stop complaining about how they don't like being root. So it's a win for everybody. "
Oh, and maybe I'm wrong but I see nothing "official" about that release (so who has the time to review every single puplet/community build and what would be the benefit of reviewing something that isn't officially from Puppy?) and if I was one of the "complainers" I'd sure as hell be expecting something official instead.
On to Gentoo...
I found it funny about the information here about Gentoo taking so long. Even the person who posted that it wouldn't take very long on modern hardware was way, wayyyy off. The main reason it was funny is due to the fact that yesterday I decided to take some time out and install Gentoo under VirtualBox from start to finish using KDE 3.5 for the desktop (the kdebase-meta install), adding alsa, dbus, hald, samba, cups, etc, etc. Numbers are always way off when people talk about Gentoo. I actually wonder if they installed it in all truth. To get the base system installed it took me 1.5 hours. I figure that length was due to using the Genkernel which in my opinion takes longer than doing it manually. Regardless, I hit the desktop in a total of 5.5 hours running under VirtualBox. A lot less than the 24 hours stated. I'm quite sure that if I added all the software I wanted I'd still be well under 10 hours, probably between 7-8 hours total. That's a lot less than weeks, or even the claim of 24 hours to just get to the desktop.
You can't really blame Gentoo at all for bricking those two, if you're forcing a machine to run non-stop like that under heavy load when it's old then it's not the OS' fault at all. But also, 5-6 days of compiling updates? I'm sorry, I can't believe it. I can't see it taking that long to even install the complete system on even hardware that old. So in my opinio there's just no way updates would take that long.
Keep your stick on the ice...
81 • Puppy (by Notorik on 2009-10-06 19:23:10 GMT from United States)
Good advice from the Puppy forum:
In his blog, Barry makes a big *sigh* then wrote this:
..when someone bad-mouths Puppy, don't get drawn in and heated up.
If you are reading this and wondering if Puppy is for you, don't believe what others have written, try it yourself. Not just for 5 minutes either - if you're a distro-hopper, hop on.
If you find a bug or even just a niggle, let us know -- one thing about the main forum, although it has critics it is one of the most responsive and helpful of all Linux forums.
82 • RE: 81 (by Landor on 2009-10-06 19:54:27 GMT from Canada)
What Barry should be telling them is to stop being Zealots, stop being Fanatics. Tell them that "they" are putting the distribution in a bad light. That post of his makes it sound like anything that makes Puppy sound anything but perfect is bad-mouthing it. The problem is no matter how minor the criticism to the distribution they flock to it in droves with (cough) "overly zealous" enthusiastic posts.
The community is the problem. Not people posting criticisms.
I think they need to be "leashed" a bit.
Keep your stick on the ice...
83 • @80 gentoo-Landor (by Ro on 2009-10-06 19:57:20 GMT from United States)
It is not a matter of opinion. I simply related my experience.
In those days (k6-2 @ 500Mhz) the portage system was capable of running
continuously, without crashing. I doubt that could happen today.
My last compile of firefox on a 2.0 Ghz pentium took about 2 hours.
Running from a terminal without X, and 1 GB ram.
Fact not opinion.
84 • On usability/ease of use (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-10-06 20:24:45 GMT from United States)
For those who keep insisting that Slackware is easy to use I ask you to consider the following:
Anything we are used to is going to be easier for us than what we aren't used to. So.. if you've used Slackware for years of course it's going to seem easy to you. *For me* Slackware isn't in any way difficult, just fiddly and time consuming. However, I have to put myself in the place of someone who hasn't used Slackware. Most people don't find hand-editing configuration files or tracking down dependencies to be "easy". Anything but.
I deliberately linked to a definition of Usability in my review. Here is the most relevant bit:
* More efficient to use—it takes less time to accomplish a particular task
* Easier to learn—operation can be learned by observing the object
* More satisfying to use
If I accept that definition "easy to learn" is part of easy to use. I can't separate them.
I can accept that some Slackware users may not accept a standard definition of usability. That doesn't mean the definition doesn't exist or that it isn't a valid standard to write about.
Similarly, the complaint that comparisons to Ubuntu or Mandriva or Fedora aren't fair in a distribution that touts itself as easy to use is pretty well ridiculous. Part of the purpose of any review is to compare the distro in question with ones the readers might be familiar with. I quoted Chris Smart for a reason. None of these comparisons and this whole issue would be moot if Slackware didn't stress "ease of use" on their website. If they, like Arch or CRUX or even Gentoo, called themselves an advanced distro and stressed things like flexibility and stability then my review would have been entirely different. As Chris so clearly stated, part of any review is to test and validate the claims made by the distributor. You can't just redefine usability to make it fit your favorite distro. For all of Slackwares many and very real strengths the distro falls down when evaluated against the claim they make and stress on their website.
85 • #79 (by Notorik on 2009-10-06 20:28:24 GMT from United States)
I will repeat, nice review of Slackware. I am not going to get drawn into the Puppy security debate again this week, there is really nothing more to say unless someone can prove Puppy is unsafe. I will throw down the gauntlet again and challenge someone to provide a link to a website that will hack me or whatever. I am just repeating someone else's challenge (sorry I can't remember who right now) which no one was ever able to meet. It's only Tuesday and everything was going so nicely, now look at what you've done! I just hate to needle you but Puppy is at #8 today which puts it 11 places ahead of Vector. It is consistently in the top ten and that says enough. I'm sorry that you have chosen to bury your head in the sand and ignore one of the most popular distros of all time. Time to evolve.
86 • @ 18 (by Anonymous on 2009-10-06 20:36:06 GMT from United States)
How can the situation go worse than it already is?
It can always get worse. You wouldn't have thought that a decision forcing the Patent Office to make a statement about the patentability of lab mice would have led to software patents, yet it did. Remember: they can always take side of the patent trolls and increase patent duration or extend harsh fines on developers.
87 • Linux (by Anonymous on 2009-10-06 21:46:42 GMT from United States)
RE:63 I have been using Debian since before Potato, now currently Lenny.
I install it, adjust a few "/etc" things my way and never touch it again.
RE:64 I recall that Debian's APT package thingy can and will
upgrade the system even if used with "X" running.
RE:80 I remember compiling the Kernel (around v1.2)
using a 33Mcps 386 P.C. taking well over an hour, possibly several hours.
Since Debian Woody I have simply used Debian's kernel.
With Debian Stable I turn the P.C. on and use it.
So far no anti-virus,no firewall,nothing besides Iceweasel(Firefox) & NoScript.
And no problems either. So Far.....
There's always a first time.....
88 • Slackware 13.0 (by Luiz on 2009-10-06 23:53:56 GMT from Brazil)
Two things you may consider also:
- the ability of upgrading version X to version X+1. I could do it in Slackware, with some drawbacks. Debian/Ubuntu seem to be best in this quesite. With Mandriva, I found serious problems and found ultimately more viable to reinstall from scratch
- Slackware is not used to split packages in a lot of small pieces, the way Debian, for instance, do. I mean, Slackware's tcpdump, for instance, carry libpcap in the same package, when other distros opt for splitting them in two or more smaller packages. Doing so, dependency hell is limited to a, let's say, purgatory.
89 • No subject (by forest on 2009-10-07 01:52:54 GMT from United Kingdom)
Puppy is, as of 02.36 UK time, on the 7 day timescale, at No 11 and Vector is at 30...so what?
Notorik, we both know that list is meaningless in terms of a distro's usage...it simply indicates the number of folk taking an interest, and nothing else.
Ref your challenge about finding proof positive Puppy is unsafe; why don't you find unequivocal proof that Puppy has never been hacked and by extension...completely safe.
90 • #89 (by Notorik on 2009-10-07 02:55:16 GMT from United States)
Ah Forest. You, RollMeAway, and Landor, just can't stand me can you? It's funny you look at the 7 day view not the default 6 month view lol! I don't want to be rude or disrespectful but you are all paranoid. I never said "all security measures are poppycock" (ref. Caitllyn). You are all just so sad. Try Puppy and free your minds. Stop being such a bunch of sillies. It's embarrassing! I'm not even a Puppy fanboy, I'm just sick of this nonsense. Well not exactly sick...it's just so endlessly entertaining that I fear I may have "milked" it for my own amusement :) Carry on lads.
91 • #85 (by Randall on 2009-10-07 03:11:49 GMT from United States)
I'm not going to argue that there's a current exploit of Puppy that I know about. I'll just observe that most Linux distros have two layers of protection keeping rootkits from getting installed on your system: you'd need a security hole in your browser to cause local code execution and a security hole in your OS to allow for privilege escalation. Puppy removes one of these layers of security. Maybe you feel safe with less security, because it's been "good enough" so far. I prefer my "security in redundancy."
92 • Those friendly DistroWatch posters... (by NippoNoob on 2009-10-07 03:38:07 GMT from Brazil)
JohnnyCab, RollMeAway, Landor, megadriver, LLO and Paulo Cesar, THANKS A LOT for providing so much positive feedback to my first post ("So many questions, so little answers...") in the 30th September 2009 ! ! !
Forgive me not sending back any comment. I didn't read your answers last week; I just posted and immediately shut down my old PC because it was the hour 0:40 in my hometown. Then I went bed to sleep...
Now I'd like to write some brief words to you, distro-guys:
@JohnnyCab ("__ If BSD is so bad, then why was that the OS of choice for iMacs."):
To be exact, iMacs use Mac OS, which is based on a heavily modified version of Darwin, a fork from 4.4BSD. Mac OS userland is a mix of FreeBSD (most part), NetBSD and GNU. Apple put several software "layers" onto a proprietary Mach microkernel in such a way that Mac OS X became susceptible to viruses... No BSD is that insecure, unless it runs as root with no login password and with firewall disabled.
@RollMeAway ("__ GoboLinux has a nice file structure. Underneath is a nightmare of symlinks to make it compatible."):
Of course it uses symlinks. There's no other way to "make up" a messy file system to make it appear a well structured file system. If a complete re-design (without symlinks) had been done, then all software compatibility had been lost. But it would have been a breakthru in Linux development. Microsoft itself should contract GoboLinux developers, then manage to create WinboGLY ("Windows is now based on GoboLinux. Yay!" :^)).
@Landor ("__ If FreeBSD had a ton of desktop variants we might see a lot happening there in the ease of use factor."):
FreeBSD comes in a DVD with KDE and GNOME packages. I can't understand why there is such a BLOAT in the most powerful of all operating systems meant for use in a server environment. Just like many other things in the UNIX world, it simply doesn't make sense. In my viewpoint, the lack of a ton of desktop variants is a minor problem (or not a problem at all, since nothing is difficult to those competent FreeBSD users). The real trouble with "the unknown giant" is that their developers did some very bad choices.
@megadriver ("__ Don't worry, being compiled for i386 doesn't affect how much memory can you use."):
In my book, 32bit addressing can handle 4GB of RAM. But some distros stablish a lower limit. For instance, the homepage of KDuXP clearly says (translated into English):
"System in 32bits: Memory limit 3GB of RAM."
It seems to be a rule of thumb: "The newer the CPU architecture, the higher the RAM addressing limit." My belief is that a distro compiled for i686, as your Gentoo/Funtoo implementation, can be better for a PC with plenty of memory (2GB or up).
@LLO ("__ It was disturbing to realize that there was neither sysinstall nor Xterm in DesktopBSD, and the situation was not much better with Linux Mint."):
All Linux distros I've ever tested performed like champions, but not trouble-free. For instance, I found a nasty bug in the vesa videodriver used by Linux Mint 6 XFCE, which "corrupted" every Terminal window. And TEENpup refused to boot up until I found the "right" combination of kernel parameters...
It was annoying. But what I consider really disturbing is something like this:
@Paulo Cesar ("__ Caitlyn Martin, HELP !!!"):
I also need help because I wanna test either Vector Standard 6.0 or Wolvix 2.0 in a modern machine with a Pentium Dual-Core. It's the PC of a schoolmate of my son, and I'm afraid to DAMAGE his 22" LCD (1680x1050 @60Hz). My PC is a Pentium 4 with a 19" CRT.
Yes, we must be extremely careful when installing an alternative system in anybody's computer. If something goes wrong, we may not get a second chance. That's the reason why no Linux user should be fanatical for just one distro, no matter how much good it is. Forget about your beloved Ubuntu if you find Fedora is better for a particular hardware configuration, or vice-versa. I'm a happy Dreamlinux XFCE user, but I often recommend PCLinuxOS GNOME because I think it's ideal for newcomers.
Well, I'm going to stop by here before this post grows up excessively. Next week I wanna tell you a little bit about my personal experience in the Linux world. It can teach newbies some useful stuff. I hope...
93 • #92 (by Randall on 2009-10-07 03:43:54 GMT from United States)
Just so you're aware, you replied in the wrong thread; I'm pretty sure you meant to attach your comment to last week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, not this week's. If you want the posters you're responding to to read your message, you might want to repost it there.
94 • Re 87 "Debian's apt thing" / sgfxi (by Brooko on 2009-10-07 04:06:17 GMT from New Zealand)
Sorry - you missed my point with your reply. Of course apt will run inside or outside of X. What I was pointing out was how user friendly sgfxi was for compiling and installing graphics drivers (esp nvidia) - which has to be done outside X. It (sgfxi) does all the hard work for you - grabs the nvidia script, kernel headers, links everything, runs the install, and cleans up after itself.
Unless you're installing precompiled binaries (and I mean video drivers) - you'll need to operate outside of X. For Debian based systems - sgfxi makes this wonderfully easy.
95 • 403 Forbidden (by Matt on 2009-10-07 04:42:08 GMT from Australia)
All images on this website for almost a week or more are "Forbidden" ARGHHHHHHH!
96 • No subject (by Akuna on 2009-10-07 07:23:34 GMT from France)
Slackware is a pure paradise for hobbyist hackers. Its internal mechanics are very simple to use... but they are internal.
'Ease of use' yes, but for who? Slackware official description does not specify.
Quoting again wikipedia:
* More efficient to use—it takes less time to accomplish a particular task
* Easier to learn—operation can be learned by observing the object
* More satisfying to use
This certainly won't apply to someone who just want 'things to work' unless of course, as it has already been pointed out, someone else does the installation & installation for them.
But it definitely applies to the hobbyist hacker who, for instance, the first time he discovers the simplicity of the /etc/* system of configuration files, marvel at how easy it all is & can easily figure things out by 'observing' the different directories, files & their naming schemes. We could of course argue at how fast it is to fire your favorite text editor versus clicking on a series of gui Q&A... If what you want to accomplish is basic, the second option will be faster, but if what you want to do requires a bit of specificity, chance be that you will only be able to accomplish it with the first option.
In fact, Slackware is so easy for the hobbyist hackers that it prompted someone above to state in a comment that it wasn't really a distro for advanced users but for more for intermediate users...
as it seems, semantic is always subject to a certain degree of personal interpretation.
In any case, as Caitlyn said, Slackware is a wonderful base for creating first class offspring distros. It does it regularly & will probably continue to do so for a long time, not only for this incredible 'ease of use' but also for its legendary safety, stability & quality control.
97 • @80 Landor on Gentoo (by yngwin on 2009-10-07 08:38:06 GMT from Netherlands)
So I was right, saying you can be up and running within a few hours. Indeed, if you know what you're doing you can do the base install within an hour. But up and running for me means at least a simple desktop (I usually install openbox first).
The 24 hours estimate I gave was for a _full_ desktop, including time for choosing your useflags and other configuration options, and installing a complete desktop (not just kdebase) with all the multimedia, office and other applications you need.
98 • No subject (by forest on 2009-10-07 08:41:07 GMT from United Kingdom)
Ref comments by Notorik.
LOL, Notorik, it's not a case of liking or not liking what you say. We both know, in fact, most regular readers of this forum know the hit list is just a list of folk looking at distros...nobody has any idea whether those folk try them. So it is a bit naive of you to quote a position on that list as an indication of Puppy usage, and expect us to believe your assertion, LOLOLOLOL.
Apropos your challenge for proof Puppy got hacked...all you were asked to do, in return, was to provide proof Puppy did not get hacked and therefore completely safe. Your response ignored those issues.
Of course I have tried Puppy(s) and it is a perfectly splendid distro...as far as it goes...but if it is not as secure as some other distros...then it may get the thumbs down from folk who do want a secure distro, for reasons best known to themselves.
This seems to have been acknowledged by a "securER" version of 4.2, recently released, which addresses those concerns. In other words, the dev "listened" to the comments and reacted accordingly.
Perhaps you could try that as well? And if you set out to annoy folk deliberately, you don't even do that very well, LOL.
If you want real aggravation try living with gobby teenage angst...
99 • @84 (by Anonymous on 2009-10-07 09:00:08 GMT from France)
That depends what you want to do and who you are.
Slackware is easy to learn because it is simple and stupid. You can learn how it works and how to modify it easily. It's easier to learn how to make or modify a tgz package file than how to make a deb file with dependencies and all the complexity involved.
In Ubuntu, it is easier to learn how to install it and how to install Firefox. In Slackware, it is easier to learn how to make a live USB, how to modify a package and how to modify boot sequence to boot faster on specific cases.
So yes, I maintain that Slackware is easy to use, even by Wikipedia's definition. It's just not appealing to distro hoppers. It's long to install and it requires reading to learn.
I still don't think it is comparable to Ubuntu or Mandriva. Well, yes you can compare them in order to show the differences. I just don't agree to say that one way is better than the other. The simplicity of tgz files is a feature of Slackware. Implementing a layer of dependency checking on top of it is possible and there are several tools for that but they should not be in the default setup or else Slackware would be Ubuntu.
100 • Security in Slackware (by Abo Taha on 2009-10-07 10:50:14 GMT from Egypt)
General Question about security in Slackware GNU/Linux :-)
Slackware not use PAM , SELinux & xinetd
What the equivalent methods in Slackware to implement security ?
^_^ a ^_^ PAM Pluggable Authentication Modules provide dynamic authorization for applications and services in a Linux system
^_^ b ^_^ SELinux used to add more security for system for example restrict root user privileges ( root can do anything )
^_^ c ^_^ xinetd new internet super server most distro use it instead of old inetd to achieve more security
I need know how can slackware achieve ==> robust , very stable ....etc
Just by select stable versions of software packages & KISS
What is the way ? i need more knowledge :-)
101 • Bootloaders in new releases (by trotter1985 on 2009-10-07 11:29:51 GMT from United States)
I've recently installed Ubuntu 9.10 beta and openSUSE 11.2
milestone 8 and observe that neither seems to respect the
presence of another operating system. This seemed to be
an "automatic" feature of previous versions. Does anybody
know whether this is just a temporary glitch and will be
fixed by the time of official release, or are we headed to
a MS type situation where each installation attempts to
make the current os king of the system.
102 • @92 (by megadriver on 2009-10-07 12:03:02 GMT from Spain)
Well, you are correct. Memory limitation is indeed a hardware thing. However, if you compile your kernel with the CONFIG_HIGHMEM4G option set, you can have a system compiled for i386 with up to 4 GiB of RAM. There's also a pair of options (CONFIG_X86_PAE and CONFIG_HIGHMEM64G), that allow up to 64 GiB using a Pentium Pro or better, but you CAN still optimize for just i386 and yet use the whole 64 GiB (someone please hit me in the head if I'm wrong), which was what I trying to say last week. With such a machine, of course, you are better off compiling for i686, of course!
By the way, I "only" have 1 GiB of RAM in my 2-year old "Pentium Dual Core" (aka "poor man's Core2") machine, and find it plenty for my purposes. Everything compiles pretty fast (or it seems to me, who was stuck with a 128 MiB Pentium III for seven years!). The heaviest package I have to emerge more often is xulrunner, and it takes less than an hour, I think (I'll have to time it some day, as this never has been a bother to me) . The machine, meanwhile, remains perfectly responsive, and I can do many other things (including watching DVD-resolution video with very few, if any, "hiccups"!) while waiting for it to end compiling. Of course, it probably helps that my system is somewhat minimal (at least compared to your tipical GNOME/KDE/XFCE-based "monstruosity").
I understand a source-based distro is not for everyone (and never will be), but if you have a reasonably recent computer and are willing to learn (and read a bit, too), once you have your system up and running, it doesn't take much time or effort to keep it functioning and up-to-date. You can keep doing other things while your new/updated stuff emerges in the background. And a properly maintained Gentoo/Funtoo, by virtue of being a "rolling release" distro, will never need to be reinstalled (except for hard disk failure, a new machine or a really, really, REALLY weird and catastrophic bug/conflict).
Hope I doesn't sound like a "zealot" here (I'm not, and hate'em), but my experience with Funtoo has been really positive and "fun" (pun intended), and now I can't imagine myself using another distro (ceirtainly not a "precompiled" one).
103 • #98 (by Notorik on 2009-10-07 12:11:16 GMT from United States)
Your first paragraph makes no sense. How can I be "naive" if "we both know"? Here is my proof that Puppy has not been hacked, I have nothing to show you. None of the millions of other Puppy users have anything to show you. Compare that statistically with Windows and apply a little common sense and reason. Now I know we are going to get into the whole thing about "just because you don't see it doesn't mean it didn't happen" thing. Ok, whatever. Like I said last week, "...you better not go outside today there might be a lion in the street waiting to eat you all up (from the school of better safe than sorry) !"
The multi-user Puppy was not put out by the "dev" so he was not listening to the security sillies. There may be an official version in the future some time that is multi-user but no one knows.
I don't "deliberately set out to annoy" anyone. I simply have an opinion that you and a few others don't agree with. I have a 14 year old so I know about teenagers and frankly they don't annoy me nearly as much as this incessant (and paranoid) banter about security. Could you explain the term "gobby" as I am not familiar with it?
104 • Addendum (by megadriver on 2009-10-07 12:46:39 GMT from Spain)
About Gentoo/Funtoo, just to add that ccache is great for reducing recompile time (which is sometimes needed when you change the USE flags or emerge a new version of a library), and getdelta (like Fedora's presto or Debian/Ubuntu's debdelta) can DRAMATICALLY reduce the size of the source code downloads, very nice for those with a slow or limited connection. So there.
105 • No subject (by forest on 2009-10-07 12:49:20 GMT from United Kingdom)
Groan, you are naive because you do know, but pretend you don't, and expect folk to believe such listings in the first place.
You can't provide proof because you can't be arsed...same as folk can't be arsed to find instances of hacking.
I'll change "the" to "a".
Annoyance...I qualified it with "if".
Gobby refers to a person who has far too much to say, on any subject, especially if they are a teenager. From what you say you have experience of up to fourteen yr olds...your fourteen yr old has a while to go before the hormones really start kicking in...I should enjoy the peace and quiet while you can. LOL
106 • bootloaders or just a grub2 thing? (by capricornus on 2009-10-07 14:05:38 GMT from Belgium)
I use grub1 and drive a Hyundai. Simple software/hardware resp. It handles basic needs, also for the multibooter amongst us.
I hate skidding in a Merc and don like grub2. A Merc will always skid. grub2 can and should improve much, but it is not ready for the great job in the hands of great numbers of newbees.
The *buntu's and Mints should avoid using grub2 by default. At least they should offer a choice for the time being, and work on a GUI that could facilitate the fine-tuning a multibooter needs to do.
107 • Notorik (by Nobody Important on 2009-10-07 14:44:19 GMT from United States)
If you would like, Notorik, I'll write a review of Puppy Linux 4.1 and 4.2 right now. Hopefully your friends over on the forum don't threaten to kill me like they did with Caitlyn's short blog post on the subject.
Puppy's out of the box appearance is exceedingly unattractive. Much too cluttered. It took me a very long time to get rid of most of the clutter. Hunting down a theme on the internet for IceWM that doesn't look stupid wasn't very easy. Not the most important issue, but it annoyed me nonetheless.
Puppy has little to no extra packages in it repository. Deal breaker. Programs I require in everyday usage (such as Eclipse) fail to run. I also was unable to run OpenArena or Nexuiz after a few minutes of tweaking (nVidia drivers issue, plus dependency hell).
The hard drive installer failed me twice in a row. It worked the third time. I doubt I'd every try the "save changes off of the LiveCD" method because the regular installer failed so many times. I don't think I can trust it.
I don't like the programs included by default. I vastly prefer Absolute Linux' default applications (Firefox, Abiword (with spell check included), Deluge, etc.), which I find to be a similar project but far superior end result.
I just don't like it. Sure, I could name issues I have with every OS, but Puppy's problems keep me from actively using it. As a rescue LiveCD it works, but I could never use it as my main OS.
It's all my opinion, nothing more. But there are perfectly valid reasons to not be using Puppy, and as it stands, the community and the distros fairly annoying flaws have kept me far, far away.
108 • Zealots and forest running (by Xtyn on 2009-10-07 15:39:10 GMT from Romania)
I think the biggest zealots around are Arch zealots but others who come to mind are Puppy zealots, PCLOS zealots and even Slackware zealots.
#89 forest "why don't you find unequivocal proof that Puppy has never been hacked and by extension...completely safe."
You managed to hit 2 logical fallacies with one sentence. The first logical fallacy is the "burden of proof". It's not his burden to prove that Puppy "has never been hacked" (nor is this possible), you should prove that it can be easily hacked. The second logical fallacy is the "argument from ignorance". Even if he could prove that no Puppy user has ever been hacked, that does not mean it is "completely safe".
And forest...when you said you tried Puppy but didn't get online (for fear of hackers), that made me laugh.
109 • @108 Arch zealots? (by Misfit138 on 2009-10-07 17:18:11 GMT from United States)
'I think the biggest zealots around are Arch zealots but others who come to mind are Puppy zealots, PCLOS zealots and even Slackware zealots.'
Heh, I lol'd.
We obviously live on different planets. The most outspoken (and prevalent) zealots use none of the distros you cite.
110 • @109 (by Nobody Important on 2009-10-07 17:28:48 GMT from United States)
I could care less what distro or operating system they run. Zealots of any shade are foolish, annoying, and sometimes dangerous. Pure poison for any community.
111 • RE: 106 Bootloaders VECTOR style. (by Paul on 2009-10-07 17:39:59 GMT from United States)
I agree that bootloaders, LILO, grub et al should be set up like Vector. It lists all the operating systems on the computer and lets you select which you want as default for booting. That, and a few other features of Vector are leading me away from the Ubuntu family. Other distros may offer that option. Don't know. Just started to try distros not Debian/Ubuntu based. The biggest challenge will be getting my wife onboard. She just made the choice of Ubuntu over Windows. As long as she get to use Firefox, she don't care.
Family joke: Whenever our cable box/DVR goes into REBOOT mode, I tell my wife it must be a Windows product. It locks up and reboots about three times a week.
112 • #100: Slackware and security, #110: Vector and bootloaders (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-10-07 18:19:07 GMT from United States)
#100: @Abo Taha: Slackware has no equivalent of either SELinux or PAM. I didn't mention that in the review because I was focusing on home desktop or small office / home office usage. Slackware really isn't suitable for an enterprise server environment precisely because it is lacking those tools. I've read an article which I could track down about implementing PAM in Slackware so with some work you could add that. I am not aware of anyone who has tried to implement SELinux under Slack.
xinetd, the Internet super server, has fallen out of favor due to its history of security issues. It mainly supports what are now legacy services in any case. VectorLinux has a package for it so I'm sure there are Slackware 13 packages as well, probably on one of the third party repositories. In any case that would not be difficult to implement if you truly have a need for it.
#111: @Paul: In fairness, Vector is not 100% in terms of detecting other operating systems. It will find DOS or Windows and *some* but by no means all other Linux distributions. It also falsely detects the presence of an OS on some partitions that don't actually have one. Vector also only has lilo during installation. They had problems with their automated grub configuration so it was removed during beta testing. What VectorLinux does is certainly better than nothing at all (which is what Slackware has) but it still needs work.
113 • @107 (by Notorik on 2009-10-07 19:01:31 GMT from United States)
LOL, nobody has EVER threatened to kill anyone (other than in Caitlyn's overactive imagination). I am not a Puppy "zealot" and I don't hang out on the Puppy forums so I don't have any friends there. You don't like the way it looks, huh? Change the wallpaper and delete the icons like I do on almost every distro I use. There is a plethora of applications available as "pets" in the repository. As for your other problems, I can only believe that either you burned a bad cd or you just don't know what you're doing. Either way nobody was talking to you because you are nobody important.
"I could care less what distro or operating system they run. Zealots of any shade are foolish, annoying, and sometimes dangerous. Pure poison for any community."
Get real, we are talking about an operating system not a religion. Is everyone really this scared all the time except me?
I like the Arch "zealots"(I call them people who like Arch), and all the rest. It seems that if you are passionate about something you suddenly become a "zealot". I think what is happening here is that some people have created filters through which they view the world and they see EVERYTHING with the same view. There is no discretionary application of the filter. Therefore if religious zealots are bad then all enthusiasm is suspect no matter if it is directed in a positive way toward an operating system or the selection of a good wine.
114 • Slackware package management (by Barnabyh on 2009-10-07 19:17:22 GMT from United Kingdom)
A hardly ever mentioned tool for getting additional packages is rpm2tgz >packagename< which has so far worked extremely well for me on the odd occasion and massively expands the software available. It comes with any standard slack install and is usually overlooked.
Then there's cruxports4slack. Not saying it's easy, but the option is there. Thinking about it, there are probably a dozen methods of getting software onto your slack box.
Hope that doesn't make me a zealot just for mentioning these possibilities :) . Slackware, particularly since v13 now, is not nearly as hard as perceived *if you have the time to spare*, to the point that I commented the other day that Slackware is the new Ubuntu, half tongue in cheek / half serious. Overall I found Caitlyn's review quite fair.
115 • @113, "Zealots" (by Barnabyh on 2009-10-07 19:25:50 GMT from United Kingdom)
I like the last paragraph, well put!
116 • #113: False statement (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-10-07 19:35:03 GMT from United States)
You don't know when to leave well enough alone, do you?
LOTS of people saw the death threat against me as precisely that, both in the comments to the original article about it and in private e-mails I received. Would you like me to quote and link some relevant comments from different Linux forums? Do you really want to rehash this again?
In addition, I was e-mailed when it was suggested that bashing in the head of someone with a dissenting opinion in the Puppy Linux forum would be an appropriate action. I looked at the thread in question and it seems that head bashing had a fair amount of support. So... there have been at least two death threats from Puppy Linux supporters. You are defending the absolutely indefensible.
The Puppy Linux community is unique among distro-centric communities, and not in a good way.
117 • #116 (by Notorik on 2009-10-07 19:49:16 GMT from United States)
Oh my achin' head. I wish someone would bash it in. I can't take too much more of this nonsense. When I was a truck driver there was always some idiot on the radio (CB) talking "smack". I had several occasions where I was supposed to meet someone who was going to "kick my ass". When I showed up, surprise nobody was there. We had a term for these goofs, we called them "Radio Rambo's". Maybe you had a "dangerous" run in with a "Puppy Rambo". Well anyway I'm glad you survived to write the Slackware review.
118 • zealots and communities (by Anonymous on 2009-10-07 19:55:25 GMT from France)
Comment deleted (off-topic).
119 • Gobolinux and dependencies (by woodsmoke on 2009-10-07 20:23:14 GMT from United States)
To return to what "most" of the discussion has been about, and that is "dependency resolution".
I gave a turn to Gobolinux half a year or so because they are trying to put all the "stuff" into a single folder, thereby minimizing the dependency problem.
However above there was a comment that the situation devlolved to symlinks etc. and was not followed up on because of a mispost(apparently).
GoboLinux has a nice file structure. Underneath is a nightmare of symlinks to make it compatible."):
Of course it uses symlinks. There's no other way to "make up" a messy file system to make it appear a well structured file system. If a complete re-design (without symlinks) had been done, then all software compatibility had been lost. But it would have been a breakthru in Linux development. Microsoft itself should contract GoboLinux developers, then manage to create WinboGLY ("Windows is now based on GoboLinux. Yay!" :^)).
So, in the spirit of learning stuff about Linux in general, I would ask a question.
Gobolinux has a "packager" that one can run to put all the stuff into one folder, but, of course you have to be able to get "to" the folder so there is one link in and of itself.
Would someone care to comment on the strengths/weaknesss of Gobolinux and it's goal?
120 • @112 (by pfb on 2009-10-07 21:02:59 GMT from United States)
Caitlyn: "What VectorLinux does is certainly better than nothing at all (which is what Slackware has) but it still needs work."
pfb: Whoa! I just loaded up Slackware64 not that long ago. And, it prompted me for every partition, so I could have it already entered into fstab. Actually I thought Slack64 was a super distro. I only replaced it because it was so new, that many of the add-ons I would have liked were not available (not even in slackbuilds). I will admit to not using LILO, which is user unfriendly and other-system hostile (except for windows). But other than having to make do with grub, I found the latest Slackware very easy to install, and set up. And, it more easily mounted other systems than some more popular distros.
121 • #120: Misunderstanding, comment out of context (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-10-07 21:36:17 GMT from United States)
@pfb: I think you have misunderstood me or taken something I said way out of context. First, the Slackware installer, which is what I was talking about, only supports lilo, not grub. grub can be added after the fact. Second, lilo is not "other-system hostile" at all and, as Paul points out, VectorLinux does a reasonable job of detecting other Linux distros and adding them to lilo automatically. The Slackware installer has no such functionality. That, and only that, functionality in the installer is what my comment which you quoted refers to.
The mount command is exactly the same in every Linux distro I have ever tried. I don't see how Slackware would more easily or less easily mount volumes from other distros. I'd love for you to explain how a "more popular distro" makes that difficult in some way.
122 • Notorik again (by Nobody Important on 2009-10-07 22:30:01 GMT from United States)
"You don't like the way it looks, huh? Change the wallpaper and delete the icons like I do on almost every distro I use."
Did you not read my post? I said that it could be changed, but took a lot of effort. Certainly not worth it. I also mentioned that it was the least of my criticisms.
"There is a plethora of applications available as "pets" in the repository."
Yeah, a grand total of maybe a hundred. Wow. Hold me back. Eclipse still did not work without dependencies, as well as my nVidia drivers.
"As for your other problems, I can only believe that either you burned a bad cd or you just don't know what you're doing."
Did I not make it abundantly clear I used both 4.1 and 4.2? And that the installer actually did work eventually? Are you such a fan of Puppy that you can't admit that it may have flaws?
I can see you running around a lane at a department store yelling "USER ERROR" anytime someone says something they bought didn't work.
"Either way nobody was talking to you because you are nobody important."
You managed to tell me how my completely subjective opinion is flat out wrong (there's some chuckleworthy material) as well as insert an ad hominem attack in there as well. Very tasteful.
"I like the Arch "zealots"(I call them people who like Arch), and all the rest. It seems that if you are passionate about something you suddenly become a "zealot". I think what is happening here is that some people have created filters through which they view the world and they see EVERYTHING with the same view."
What I see is a user named Notorik continuously running around a forum attacking people who have an opinion opposite his (and then yelling when people start attacking back!). There's no filter involved to see this for what it really is.
123 • heh (by Nobody Important on 2009-10-07 22:30:50 GMT from United States)
"Oh my achin' head. I wish someone would bash it in. I can't take too much more of this nonsense."
Shh, nobody tell him about the X button that's in the corner of his browser window!
124 • No subject (by forest on 2009-10-07 23:15:31 GMT from United Kingdom)
More groans...so, Notorik, you fell out with someone, "Radio Rambo", on CB radio when truck driving...you don't think there's a pattern emerging here?
And Xtyn, had you read an earlier response to the self same comment ref my using Puppy you would have read and understood ellipsis...and consequently the implication. Ladislav makes mention of putting the fun back into computing, therefore I feel obliged to take him at his word...
And, you might as well learn the whole grisly truth, some of us have more than on machine. The main one, say, has a solid reliable distro in residence, protected upto the eyeballs...we keep this for Sunday Best.
Our other machines, and I include usb sticks, can run wotever...alphas, betas, RCs, password protected or not, so in the unlikely event it gets trashed it hardly matters cos it is only a case of installing something else.
So listen, the pair of you, if you don't like, can't agree with, don't get the semantics, can't take a joke...at your expense, you are at complete liberty to do the X thing as mentioned in #123.
125 • Don't knock slack 13 if you don't understand the software. (by steve-o on 2009-10-07 23:18:35 GMT from United States)
The fact that you even *had* an xorg.conf means you don't know what you're doing. No configuration of X11 is required. This isn't Slackware's doing; it's upstream -- X.org uses HAL to autoconfigure everything. If you need to change something, you use /etc/hal/policies/*.fdi.
Learn about the software before you knock a distributor for correctly implementing it.
126 • #24: "ten years ago" (by harold on 2009-10-07 23:23:16 GMT from United States)
Horse crap. Try installing Debian-stable and doing 'apt-get install flash-plugin-nonfree'
You get a wonderful response about how 'flash-plugin-nonfree is not installable but is referred to by another package.' Great, thanks.
127 • #122, #124 (by Notorik on 2009-10-07 23:54:02 GMT from United States)
Ok, you all "got" me with some real zingers. Let's agree to disagree and allow the forum to move on without monopolizing the entire week with rehashed arguments and personal attacks on me. The main point is that we are not ever going to agree and that's that. This will be my last post for the week unless someone is just dying to hear my opinion about something lol. Caitlyn, forest, Nobody Imp, Barnabyh, and Xtyn, all of you have a great week!
128 • #125: Show me... (by Caitlyn Martin on 2009-10-08 00:11:14 GMT from United States)
@steve-o: Explain to me how any Linux distro can work properly with a Trident CyberBlade XPi chipset without an xorg.conf file. I'm waiting... (Clue: It can't be done at present.)
Slackware, after a fresh install, includes an xorg.conf file. Does that mean that Patrick Volkerding doesn't understand the software?
Every fix for Intel driver issues I've seen, for Ubuntu, for Mandriva, for Fedora, for Pardus, etc... involves creating or modifying an xorg.conf file. Tell me: are all these developers of all the distros mentioned clueless?
Did it ever occur to you that I might understand the software well but used the most convenient and known-to-work fix?
129 • Caitlyn (by david long on 2009-10-08 00:35:09 GMT from United States)
Do not take these jerks seriously. Most of us have read your reviews and know your credentials.
Most of the people on here google some obscure fact and pass it off as if they really know what they are talking about. I am willing to bet most of you (there are a few excluded) have never configured a production server and then had to secure properly or your job was on the line. On the job training is far more educational than the occasional distro install most of you talk about. I'm not talking about reading some manual and then claiming you know the in's and out's of corporate needs.For some reason the install never goes like the book/manual claims it will. This is where real world practice, trial and error prove themselves.
So please if you are going to correct someone, please be correct yourself.
130 • Slackware (by Mike Dinon on 2009-10-08 03:08:00 GMT from United States)
First off fantastic review again Caitlyn. I think your review is very fair and balanced. I am pretty new to Linux and tried Slackware 12.2 for a brief moment of time and was thrown a bit by the post-install configuration and the general concept of how to maintain and update a Slackware install. I was surprised to learn that no firewall was configured when I went out to Shields Up, and there seemed to be varying ways of addressing that though the forums. I could go on with all the little "gotchas" that I ran into but the point is Slackware is not for the new Linux user unless that user wants to learn what is under the hood so to speak. None of this means it is a bad distro, but just that it is not "easy" on new users. Obviously the power users or tech savvy folks find that the tools that Slackware provides are easy but I think if they were being honest with themselves they would acknowledge that a "normal" windows or mac power user would find it all a bit foreign. With all this being said my curiosity was peaked with my last Slackware install and I want to force myself to learn it, I guess just for the sake of a challenge. Keep up the good work Caitlyn and all of you Slackware users keep doing a fine job of supporting new users at the LQ forums.
131 • The Slackware Review (by Anon on 2009-10-08 05:17:36 GMT from Norway)
First, many thanks to Caitlyn Martin for what I consider the best, i.e. most user relevant and *truthful*, piece about Slackware that I have read to date!
Of course, I have never tried Slackware... BUT, I have used Bluewhite64, which is as close as you can get, except for offering 64-bit long before Slackware got moving - and before many other 'major' distros, at that. My experience tells me to attest to every word in the review.
I think Slackware actually epitomizes the general state of Linux: it is good for many things, but is developing too slowly and is adapting too slowly to new developments elsewhere. An example: Even with AMD disclosing the specs, we don't have good drivers for the the newer ATI video cards. The (Linux) developers claim they are understaffed. A Linux user who buys an ATI card with 1GB VRAM memory gets to use about 260GB of it, because the driver developers 'haven't had time to fix the driver yet'...
I sometimes think that some distro developers should ditch their distros and do something that would actually benefit Linux users.
132 • Re: The Slackware Review (by Anon on 2009-10-08 05:24:25 GMT from Norway)
Ooops... That would be 260MB. I think... ;)
133 • Re: 123 Shush :P (by Sertse on 2009-10-08 06:20:07 GMT from Australia)
Shush NI, I recall a month or two back, you're the one lament how disagreeable everyone is. ;)
On slackware: I don't understand it, and though it sounds cliche and arrogant, I don't have the time etc to understand it. The fact it can't fit in a CD easily is not excatly tempting me either. just not my things.
Also, wth this week is about Slackware and no Tom and his Wolvix advocacy? =P
134 • @108 Arch zealots (by ankd on 2009-10-08 07:18:50 GMT from Denmark)
i completly agree with arch zealots are the worst... i have 3 laptops all with arch linux installed but i would never go near the arch forums and my opinion is proven over and over again every week here at distrowatch with comments from arch users
135 • Slackware review (by Crni on 2009-10-08 10:08:08 GMT from Serbia and Montenegro)
The author did his best to write the fair review, but the bottom line is that it is hard to write meaningful review when you write about something you actually don't understand well. There exist loads of Linux distributions today, for every possible profile of user to choose from; Slackware is simply a distribution for specific niche, admittedly mostly for long-time Unix/Linux users. For this kind of community profile, stuff that is usually covered by this kind of distribution reviews is mostly irrelevant. For example: I see no point in talking in detail about the installation: this is something that is accomplished once per year (or even not - Slackware actually have very good upgrade system, and if you're tracking -current then you could do without reinstall for years); new Slackware users usually come by "initiation" (someone experienced help to the new user for his first install), and I really think Slackware community couldn't care less about these types that are trying every Linux distribution on Earth just because they come to think Linux is cool for some reason, and they will be even more cool if they find some obscure distribution to run. Then, I see no point in talking much about the packages: I guess none of Slackware users will stick with Slackware if he didn't like the package selection (which I can at least confirm is very, very good match for a programmer), and then again for most of other needed stuff (again from my own experience: throughout all of these years using Slackware, I came to a list of maybe 20-25 additional packages that I need, and note that even those are rather obscure, mostly various kind of scientific programming libraries, that are usually hard to find in any distribution) SlackBuilds.org is great resource (most of the community is really not into downloading binaries that someone else built, so you should really have talk about SlackBuilds.org for the most of this part of your article, and maybe just list package repositories later), and all the dependencies needed are clearly stated in plain text there (and if a Slackware user really encounter a problem with the dependencies then, you see, Slackware user usually knows how to use tools like ldd or strace, so it's equally easy to him to solve this problem as for the user of any other distribution). So, again I'd say Slackware community couldn't care less about these in desperately need for OpenOffice (don't you think that if the community felt it is really needed that badly, that it would find the way to convince Patrick to put it in?), or those types installing loads of audio/video players, or any kind of alike crap, just because they've hear about it so they just have to try it....
136 • Slackware review (by Sean on 2009-10-08 11:19:06 GMT from United States)
I'm having trouble with some of the reviewer's remarks about Slackware's "ease of use."
Slackware is installed on our new Acer notebook and is very easy to use, despite the reviewer's stated concerns. Looking at what was said, it had to do with installing and using command line to configure. Are configuration and installation "use" of the distribution?
Well, it's a stretch, but maybe. Use of the distro for us is work, not the configuration leading up to deploying the machine.
It looks comprehensive, we looked forward to the review prior to install of Slackware, but it has what one prof here characterized as "personality holes" as a review.
I see this issue was mentioned before, so we are not the only ones to notice this. The chief difference for us is that we planned to install the distro and waited for a review here of it, among other research into Slackware.
137 • 131- Ati drivers (by Barnabyh on 2009-10-08 11:20:57 GMT from United Kingdom)
Well, you can always install the proprietary AMD/ATI drivers if it's not against your philosophy.
I wouldn't really blame the development stage of free graphics drivers on any distribution or even linux, as it is just the kernel. They are part of the X windowing system which is not even specifically developed for or part of linux but 'nix platforms in general.
It should come as no surprise that reverse engineering will take longer.
138 • Re: OpenOffice.org (by Anon on 2009-10-08 11:34:31 GMT from Norway)
#135, Crni, wrote: "So, again I'd say Slackware community couldn't care less about these in desperately need for OpenOffice (don't you think that if the community felt it is really needed that badly, that it would find the way to convince Patrick to put it in?), or those types installing loads of audio/video players, or any kind of alike crap, just because they've hear about it so they just have to try it...."
Tell you what - I work mostly with spreadsheets, and there is simply no good Linux substitute for OOe Calc. That is just a fact - as it is a fact that Caitlyn Martin is a woman, not a "he".
There is of course nothing wrong with Slackware. It's just seriously, and probably hopelessly, outdated. That's all.
139 • Re: Ati-drivers (by Anon on 2009-10-08 11:56:49 GMT from Norway)
I have nothing against proprietary drivers in general, but AMD's Catalyst efforts, i.e. fglrx, aren't exactly up to par either. Mildly put.
Yes, it is to be expected that drivers developed by Linux developers are lagging a bit behind, but how many years do you deem reasonable? A lot of people could have done more useful work as driver-developers than they are doing now, dabbling in second-rate distro-carpentry.
140 • Puppy and community (by Anonymous on 2009-10-08 12:20:26 GMT from United States)
Puppy's community seems to be a pack of rabid dogs protecting their sweet little puppy, attacking violently at the slightest hint of disagreement and/or criticism.
It's a shame too, because Puppy, the distro, really is quite nice and has some unique and innovative features. Not to mention, it tends to run quite nicely on older computers and has an interesting way of storing user data between sessions (pupsave file on a hard drive partition). It's ridiculous that people wanting to run as a standard non-root user (NO! THE HORROR!) are getting blasted right in the "announcement" of this new unofficial "multiuser" Puppy... right off the bat, without even any posts yet. These guys clearly think their distro is a god and that security is a joke.
So moral of the story, Puppy (the Distro) may be good and usable in certain cases... but consider yourself alone if you ever need forum support, or leave Puppy out of the equation completely if you think you might need help at some forums, and go for one of the gazillions of distros instead. And as for Puppy (the Community)... stay the hell away from them at all costs; they're really not worth the time. All they are is a bunch of Puppy worshipers, who think anything about Puppy is good, and any problem is in the user's head.
141 • @121 LILO (by pfb on 2009-10-08 13:20:39 GMT from United States)
OK, I stand humbly corrected. I haven't installed LILO in some time, so maybe improvements have been made in some distros. I normally skip LILO and work with grub (because of a long ago bad experience). Maybe I will work up the courage to install Vector including LILO.
Slackware64 and earlier versions, as I recall, provide a prompt for the naming of each and every hard drive partition. This provides for a fully functional fstab when the system is first booted. Other distros do this through grub, or not at all, or mount only ntfs/vfat partitions as "windows".
What I found pleasant about the install was the ability (on first boot) to look at other systems immediately without having to: open fstab, figure out the proper entry, edit, save, and reboot.
142 • 141 (by Barnabyh on 2009-10-08 13:56:32 GMT from United Kingdom)
Yes, you are able to assign mount points to every single partition during the install phase. You can take advantage of this or not, only the drives will not beknown to slack then. If you change your mind later you have to add them to fstab and create a /mnt or /media directory.
I like the flexibility when compared to some gui installers which will just add anything they can find, but you may not want to, for preserving timestamps, to exclude the possibility of errors, unintentional formatting and other various reasons depending on your use.
143 • Openoffice in Slackware (by Barnabyh on 2009-10-08 14:11:40 GMT from United Kingdom)
Hi Anon, Openoffice is very easy to get, it's on OpenOffice.org. There's even a build script on Slackbuilds to convert to .tgz, or packages on linuxpackages.net. Not everything has to be included in a distro, particularly not when it's so easy to obtain. Then there will be others complaining it doesn't all fit on one CD.
As an added benefit you don't have to rely on the distro to provide the latest version. Just download from OOo, adjust the build script and there you go.
If you see it like this Slackware is actually very up to date, not hopelessly outdated. But to each its own.
144 • Slackware review (by Crni on 2009-10-08 15:01:07 GMT from Serbia and Montenegro)
@138: As mentioned in my previous message: if you really, really need OpenOffice, just go here: http://slackbuilds.org/repository/13.0/office/openoffice.org/, grab the tarball as well as corresponding SlackBuild script, build and install, and you'll have OpenOffice available like native Slackware package. But do understand that Slackware is simply not targeting kind of users that have OpenOffice as their primary work tool; please note that I'm not saying there is anything wrong with being that kind of user, it's only that the Slackware focus is on different type of users. Alike, there exist probably distributions today that are not delivering TeX, and I write documents in this one - if I encounter alike distribution, then I would probably just move further, or if I find that the selection of other packages fits me really well then I'll try maybe to learn how to install TeX on this distribution; but certainly I won't claim that there is anything wrong with the distribution solely for the reason of having TeX omitted.
You are, on the other side, claiming that the Slackware is "outdated", without providing any further insight into why would you think that. I doubt Slackware could be outdated regarding packages - the included package versions are on par with other distributions, and if one is tracking -current, then he is probably ahead of users of other distributions. The 2.6.29 kernel is relatively fresh, and 2.6.3x could be expected any day now, so hardware supported by other LInux distributions is supported by Slackware too. So I see no reason to claim that Slackware is outdated, except that you may think on the lack of GUI config tools and alike stuff. But - the profile of Slackware community is just such that this is not needed; I mean: how hard is to learn once in a while to configure some new piece of hardware (again: typical Slackware user is mostly into doing his work, and not changing hardware/software on his machine each day; typical IT journalist is exactly the opposite, because experimenting with his hardware/software is his work actually, and this is why almost each Slackware review, including this one, is missing the point), and stick with this procedure later?
Apologies to author for not realizing she is a woman: frankly, I haven't looked into the name at all, and I'm sorry for that.
145 • Outdated (by Michael Raugh on 2009-10-08 17:12:20 GMT from United States)
@144: There is more to being current than applications, though. Slackware, according to the review (and this has not been contested anywhere), has yet to adopt PAM. PAM is an important component for anyone who wishes to use alternate login technologies (smart card or fingerprint reader, for example) and provides simple things like password complexity enforcement and account lock after X number of bad password attempts. These may not be key items to the typical Slackware user (or to the typical non-corporate user, as far as that goes) but modern operating systems support these things.
Slackware also remains largely committed to the LILO boot loader -- you can use GRUB but only if you know how to install and configure it yourself. Most modern distributions have deprecated LILO in favor of GRUB for various reasons that are easily Googled.
As has been noted at length in these comments, Slackware does not provide a dependency-resolving package manager. Whether you see this as a virtue or a vice is not really the point; modern distributions include that feature.
There you go, three examples of features developed in recent years that Slackware chooses not to include but which have become standard on most other distros. You can argue as to whether those features are useful or desirable and that's absolutely valid, but regardless it is fair and reasonable to opine that Slackware is outdated because it doesn't offer these things.
"Outdated" doesn't necessarily mean "bad" either. That Slackware is still around, the oldest survivor, would seem to prove that it's a strong distro as is.
146 • Re:#145 @Michael Raugh - semantics on "outdated" (by Pearson on 2009-10-08 18:49:42 GMT from United States)
I know that I'm arguing semantics hear, but I think "outdated" tends to imply "superseded by something better." As you said, those new features that Slackware chooses to exclude may or may not be "better". So, in my opinion "outdated" is debatable.
Personally, I prefer to think of Slackware as "old-fashioned" or "classic." It may not be a good fit for some of today's environments, but it still does what it does well.
How do we decide which features are necessary to be "modern"? Several other distros choose to exclude some features or applications and yet they're not considered "outdated". Is it because they're newer?
FYI - the first time I used Slackware, it was on a set of 3.5" floppies when the kernel was still at 0.99 with some patch level. I've used it off and on since but, as I said above, manually resolving dependencies wasn't where I wanted to spend my time. I still like Slackware. I think that if the dependency issue could be resolved well, I'd likely go back to it.
147 • @44 (by Adam Williamson on 2009-10-08 19:44:55 GMT from Canada)
Because evolution-data-server is not just part of Evolution. It's something of a misleading name. It's used to store data on things like to-do tasks and appointments that multiple GNOME components use, not just Evolution. gnome-panel depends on it because the panel clock applet uses it.
e-d-s is a sensible design; all desktops should have centralized storage of this kind of data. KDE is going the same way with Akonadi, rather than the old system of having it all stuffed into kmail.
148 • @125 (by Adam Williamson on 2009-10-08 19:49:49 GMT from Canada)
That is not correct. X only uses HAL for _some_ things (mainly to do with input). There are many X configuration options you can only set from an xorg.conf file, you could not set them via HAL configuration overrides (for instance, you can't set any X driver configuration options that way).
149 • Openoffice / Slackware (by Barnabyh (by Anon on 2009-10-08 21:24:50 GMT from Norway)
Hi Barnabyh - what I wanted to say about OOo Calc was just that it is a necessary tool for some spredsheet work. It has functionality not found in e.g. Gnumeric and Kspread. That some distros choose to omit it, is another matter. It is easy enough to find and install, as you point out. When somebody decides to knock OOo, they just reveal they are not into serious spreadsheet work :)
Hi Crni - there are many good reasons to consider Slacware outdated. Several have been given in both the current review and subsequent comments. As I see it, Slackware isn't 'targeting' any certain group at all, but is unwilling to move with the times and provide *choice* and therby, in effect, limiting its users freedom in various ways. I have used Bluewhite64, which for all practical purposes is Slackware, and of course it works fine *as it is*. It is Linux, after all.
On my present platform I can roll my own packages the classic way, or I can use a semi-automatic method, or I can download and install ready-made binaries in a matter of a few seconds - and from repositories on par with those of Debian's. There are some similar options in Slackware, but with its current offerings you have an enormous time handicap. The average Slackware user will need days to accomplish what users of certain other platforms can do in a few minutes. The only users benefitting from using Slackware are those who have learned Slackware and nothing else, and even they would benefit (a lot!) more from changing to a different platform. We humans are conservative and lazy. Slackware and its followers illustrate our basic traits to a T ;)
150 • Re: Openoffice / Slackware (by Anon on 2009-10-08 21:36:00 GMT from Norway)
Sorry about the heading above, Barnabyh!
151 • head bashing (by bugman on 2009-10-08 23:06:39 GMT from United States)
the puppy forum is somewhat unmoderated [there are mods but they left the leash at home] and free speech is rampant
and, like any computer forum, it attracts cranks--in this case, the cranks are puppy linux users
now at SOME forums [especially brown ones, i'm led to believe] those cranks get shut down
but in the kennels, we LOVE the sound of barking, and howling, and even an occasional rabid snarl
[good boy, that's a good--OW!!!]
152 • USB Distros (by HM Hadley on 2009-10-09 00:24:59 GMT from United States)
How about reviewing some distros that can be run from usb drives? On my Dell Lattitude E6400 laptop, I'm using CDLinux 0.9.4 installed on a 1 gig usb drive as I post this from FF 3.5.2. The image is as small as 67MB but I'm using the community version, 217MB, which has Skype included. The Xfce 4.6.1 desktop window manager is clean. Wifi support is excellent.
153 • #140 (by Notorik on 2009-10-09 00:34:53 GMT from United States)
I have to make one last remark:
Nice to know there is some sanity in the universe! Free speech and free thought are very under valued in many places. Look at all the hate directed at me just for having the audacity to speak the truth. It is amazing that the supposed "nice" people are really the ones full of putrid venom which they spew out endlessly when confronted with reality. I was never a Puppy "zealot" but I am going to join the dogs right now. Puppy 4.3 is an absolutely amazing distro. I will keep it proudly on my machine running as ROOT until I get hacked in the year 4087. I will then humbly return and admit that I was wrong.
154 • @153 - Notorik (by Matt on 2009-10-09 01:01:21 GMT from United States)
...so much for signing off, until someone asked for an opinion.
I have reviewed these comments daily, monthly, and I have been an avid reader of DW for years. There is no "hate" directed at you, and calling those who disagree with you full of "putrid venom" is a little over the top. I have tried many distros (writing this from a well known beta) and I really try to keep an open mind on some of this DEBATE, but like I said, your last comment is too much. Hit the X.
155 • Slackware in the rubbish pile (by Feedbag on 2009-10-09 01:03:45 GMT from Canada)
A couple of years ago I was out walking the dog and it was garbage night. As I was walking by a pile of trash, the glint of moonlight caught my eye as it reflected off what appeared to be a CD case. Out of curiosity I stopped to see what it was....it was an unopened, as in shrink-wrapped, totally mint condition CD copy of Slackware v4.0. Did I keep it, yes. Did I install it, no. I'm a Debian man. And besides, it was quite outdated then.
Cute icon set on LliureX, btw.
156 • #154 (by Notorik on 2009-10-09 02:04:18 GMT from United States)
It's exactly the opposite pal. "...putrid venom is over the top"? ROFL. Forest was scared to connect to the internet with Puppy, ROFL!
157 • Slackware, etc configuration... (by lynucks on 2009-10-09 02:43:51 GMT from United States)
How many of these people would find Slackware easy to configure?
Answer: Probably about .1%
These aren't "dummies", just normal everyday people who don't know jack about computers, and don't really care either.
OS's' have a long ways to go before they are truly an appliance for the masses (like toasters and to some extent automobiles). Some OS's (like Slackware, Gentoo, etc) REALLY have a long ways to go to get outside the very tiny percentage of computer user population who really want to spend the time configuring / tinkering with their OS to make it work.
With that being said, some of the more popular OS's that provide fully functional live CD / DVD's with automated scripts for installing on a hard drive are coming closer to the appliance / ease of use idea, they just all need more work to make it automatic for the typical computer user that makes up the majority of the population. Now if you can just get that majority to understand what an ISO file is and how to burn it on a CD...
158 • 156 (by Warp0 on 2009-10-09 02:56:00 GMT from United States)
Seat belts only help you when you're in a car accident, l'il pupster. Run root all you like. There is a good chance you will never get hacked.... the same way that there is a good chance you will never see any ill effects if you don't wear a seat belt. Course, when that semi pulls out in front of you and you go through the windshield face first, it is a little late to have a change of heart.
I tried the latest puppy along with some other light weight distros on an older thinkpad. Puppy ran well, although I thought it was as ugly as sin and the woof woof stuff was puerile. My opinions only of course. I ended up installing Vector, which is quite a polished light weight effort.
159 • #156 (by Matt on 2009-10-09 03:18:40 GMT from United States)
Again... I have tried many, many distros, including Puppy...
No hate or venom, but maybe a definition of your attitude about those who disagree with you could be simply stated as the following:
Pronunciation: ˌsäf-ˈmȯr-ik, -ˈmär- also ˌsȯf- or ˌsä-fə- or ˌsȯ-fə-
1 : conceited and overconfident of knowledge but poorly informed and immature
2 : of, relating to, or characteristic of a sophomore
160 • It's back - Yoper - public health warning (by gnomic on 2009-10-09 06:18:43 GMT from New Zealand)
Unless this concoction has vastly improved, and it would have to be immensely vast, don't waste your time. Last time I tried this mess, the CD booted on a range of machines, but either wouldn't put up a desktop or the desktop was unusable as minor necessities like mouse and keyboard would not function. Possibly its aim is to sabotage Linux?
161 • Slackware review (by Crni on 2009-10-09 07:49:07 GMT from Serbia and Montenegro)
1. PAM: This is discussed many times - it's just that most of Slackware community is considering PAM more of trouble, security-wise, than what is worth. For main usage of PAM, and in my book this is authentication to a remote LDAP server, there is workaround in Slackware. There are other usages, yes; but seems like community just doesn't care much about it - for example, I do have fingerprint reader on my notebook, but I just don't care about it, I really see no big problem in having to type my username and password in, just like I was doing for all these years before.
2. LILO: Well, Slackware had GRUB on its install disk long ago, recently even ncurses tool for configuring it (same as one for LILO) was added; however, GRUB development is in rather messy state for years, and the legacy version have some serious ongoing issues - for example, it is not possible to build it on pure 64-bit system. I know about advantages of GRUB over LILO, but again it boils down to the type of user: for example, I run Linux only on my machine, and I really don't care about boot-loader much - after eventually re-installing my machine, I just set its delay to 1s or something like that, and forget about it.
3. Dependencies: OK, I'll have to repeat it: we have a dependency resolving tool in Slackware, it's called ldd, it serves us well, and thanks, but we do not need anything alike built in the package manager tools.
I too, on Slackware, can roll my own packages the classic way (if you mean on building from source here), or I can use a semi-automatic method (through SlackBuild scripts for creating packages that others, or myself, prepared), and I can also download and install ready-made binaries from corresponding third-party repositories. Admittedly, third method is probably not near as good as for other Linux distributions, but - again and again, most of Slackware users are not much into that approach anyway. But on the other side, even if I have to spend some time in building packages, and even my selection of packages through SlackBuilds.org is maybe not that diverse as for other distributions, at least I know that these guys are highly competent, and that there is no way some random Joe Packager could screw my system, like what happened to Debian users with recent OpenSSL package fiasco.
Overall: I really don't get it why is so hard to understand that there exist a community of users with needs that Slackware fits well (this community is obviously able to sustain Slackware development, and is pretty happy with how is that development ongoing), and that Slackware is primarily interested in keeping filling the needs of this community, and not interested in reaching some kind of mass adoption. So, there is really no point in trying to judge Slackware as "outdated", or whatever, for not being designed according to your wishes - if that is the case, please just do realize that you're not the type of user Slackware is intended for, that there is nothing wrong either with Slackware or you in that regard, and then just go on and look for distribution that would fit you better.
162 • #157 The Browser IS the search engine? (by Barnabyh on 2009-10-09 09:43:05 GMT from United Kingdom)
Thanks for that link, I had a good laugh. Reminds me of my friend who would always go to the Google web page although he knew the full URL he wanted to go to and typed that into the search box.
No explanation that it would be quicker to type that into the URL field of his browser because he already knows the address helped.
But let's get real, we're not in an arms race for market share, and I don't care what OS or if indeed any computer at all these people are using, they can use what ever they like and it does NOT have to be "linux", and almost certainly will not be Slackware. And that's fine. If they only use their iPhone to access the internet- good for them.
I don't want to see the pc become an appliance, that would take all the configurability out of it.
163 • notorik (by bugman on 2009-10-09 11:26:57 GMT from United States)
Comment deleted (off-topic).
164 • #163 (by Notorik on 2009-10-09 13:40:39 GMT from Germany)
Comment deleted (off-topic).
165 • getting blocked/banned here.. @164 (by Sean on 2009-10-09 13:49:42 GMT from United States)
Comment deleted (off-topic).
166 • #165 (by Notorik on 2009-10-09 16:19:35 GMT from Seychelles)
Comment deleted (off-topic).
167 • @166 (by Sean on 2009-10-09 17:31:47 GMT from United States)
Comment deleted (off-topic).
168 • Re: Slackware (by Anon on 2009-10-09 18:20:55 GMT from Norway)
#161, Crni, wrote: "Overall: I really don't get it why is so hard to understand that there exist a community of users with needs that Slackware fits well (this community is obviously able to sustain Slackware development, and is pretty happy with how is that development ongoing), and that Slackware is primarily interested in keeping filling the needs of this community, and not interested in reaching some kind of mass adoption. So, there is really no point in trying to judge Slackware as "outdated", or whatever, for not being designed according to your wishes - if that is the case, please just do realize that you're not the type of user Slackware is intended for, that there is nothing wrong either with Slackware or you in that regard, and then just go on and look for distribution that would fit you better."
When I grew up, I often used a horse and cart, or sled, to get around. Very nice. I learned how to handle horses etc. and have had no use for it since. Still, the momories are pleasant. A little later I learned the Morse code and worked as a radio operator. That's another piece of knowledge which has become mostly useless today. Of course, I could choose to play with amateur (ham) radio and still get to send Morse-coded messages, like I could elect to use Slackware for my operating system. All of this is perfectly legitimate and fine, but it is outdated. We live in a *different* time.
I am *not* bashing Slackware, though, and I have used it myself (as in Bluewhite64) - it runs as gently as any other horse out there, only today the roads and the traffic are better suited for cars. However, if you want Linux to compete in the modern world, you have to agree that the Slackware project, as it is today, is a sad waste of talents and time.
169 • Debian OpenSSL problem (by Xtyn on 2009-10-09 19:22:27 GMT from Romania)
Kurt Roeckx, the Debian developer who made the OpenSSL mistake, asked on the OpenSSL mailing list if it was OK to remove 2 lines of code because of debugging problems.
Kurt Roeckx: "What do you people think about removing those 2 lines of code?"
Ulf Möller: "Not much. If it helps with debugging, I'm in favor of removing them.
(However the last time I checked, valgrind reported thousands of bogus
error messages. Has that situation gotten better?)"
You can see it here:
170 • Slackware review (by Crni on 2009-10-09 19:30:41 GMT from Serbia and Montenegro)
@168: I understand, and appreciate, that your intentions are OK, but I really can't find your drawing parallels with transportation means other than silly (BTW, you reminded me of ex-prime minister, now deceased, of my country, that had following to answer to protests coming from local Linux community, after signing one of these "partnership" agreements, putting the whole government and academia sector into Microsoft hands: "Well, we are not going to drive rickshaws (Linux), when we could drive Mercedes (Windows), right?"). Again, and again: I can certainly understand each and every Linux user finding that Slackware doesn't fit him well, but I really don't get why is so hard to understand that there exist people that Slackware design decisions fits well, and that there are enough of that kind of people to sustain Slackware development.
But then again: someone put it very well above that the community around this site consists mostly of distro hoopers, and seems to me it really explains it all. The article indeed present Slackware realistically from the point of view of that kind of person, but the author could also had them spared of the whole reading and boiled it down to single sentence "Not for you.".
171 • Slackware review (by Crni on 2009-10-09 19:47:42 GMT from Serbia and Montenegro)
@169: The more detailed record could be found on many places, for example here: http://lwn.net/Articles/282038/. It is indeed stupid from Moller to comment seemingly positive on patch that he didn't reviewed more carefully at all, but it was much more stupid from Debian guy to mess with OpenSSL code that he don't understand at all. But hey - guy learned to use Valgrind, and now it's his time to show to upstream how much smart is he. So typical for Debian package maintainers.
172 • @160 Yoper (by pfb on 2009-10-10 20:32:52 GMT from United States)
Some things I have to find out for myself. But, thanks for the warning.
I think they need to work on screen resolutions first. It only worked on my nVidia machine (but surprisingly well there!). Yet on that machine it couldn't find my ethernet card (Marvell).
It also took 4 hours to download. Like they are providing through dial-up? The rate never exceeded 51kb/sec. Yet, it is rpm enabled, so I wanted to give it a shot.
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