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-   -   Slackware vs. Arch (http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-distributions-5/slackware-vs-arch-944506/)

thund3rstruck 05-11-2012 09:41 PM

Slackware vs. Arch
 
These questions persist like a plague on these boards and I apologize for perpetuating this question but I would really appreciate some experienced recommendations.

Please note that I'm a Linux veteran so I'm really looking for solid, experienced advice. I started with Linux in 1998 (Red Hat 6; not RHEL but Red Hat!) and over the years I've used Mandrake, SuSe, Libranet, Debian, Ubuntu, RHEL, CentOS, etc. My personal favorite desktop distribution at the moment is Fedora 16.

Anyways, I'm surprising my wife for mother's day with a new Laptop (Inspiron 15R, 2nd Gen Intel i5, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD) and I really, really want to load Linux on it for her.

The problem is her current laptop (5 year old Acer 3000) is running Lucid Puppy Linux v5.2.8 and she absolutely hates it because every time the machine boots she has to run this program to connect to our wireless AP and once she connects then the stupid wireless connection drops randomly every 20 minutes or so. I haven't had much time to dig into wpa_supplicant to try to get something worked out.

Before her current laptop I installed ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper) on her machine at the time but every system update used to break the wireless and I'd have to spend a week trying to fix it again.

So, after having said all that I want a stable, reliable, desktop distribution where the wireless will "just work" and the system won't crash and burn with every update.

I've narrowed it down to Slackware or Arch and I'm kind of torn. Once I setup the machine I want it to run forever, without any danger of a system update breaking everything but on the other hand I want to be able to update the system without having to backup and wipe the entire disk and reload from scratch every time a new version is released.Of course java, flash, codecs, etc are also essential must haves.

I've never used slack or arch but I've heard from colleagues and friends that these are the most stable and reliable options. My wife has been nagging me for Windows 7 so I need to give her something compelling enough (like a KDE desktop with conky and cairo-dock) that she will forget all about the Windows 7 machine she uses at work!

Sorry again for the length of this post but I'd really like some advice.

tronayne 05-12-2012 08:16 AM

I don't know diddly about Arch but I do know about Slackware: keywords, rock solid, dependable, stable, un-foold-around-with (what you get is what developers intended, no branding, no twiddling).

My machines (both 32- and 64-bit, including a 64-bit Dell laptop) measure uptime in months (one has been mumbling to itself in a closet for... uh, go look, 13 months, 20 days), most of 'em are running 24/7 (well, not the laptops). When patches become available (generally security patches, maybe a few upgrades) getting and installing those is trivial and, usually, do not require a reboot, reconfiguration or any twiddling with things.

Slackware comes with KDE, Xfce and a number of other window managers (your choice, easy change from one to the other). It does not come with either LibreOffice or OpenOffice but both of those are readily available at http://www.slackbuilds.org (as are any number of applications, utilities and libraries that you may find interesting for your specific needs). Java run-time installs by default, JDK is included on the distribution media and can be quickly and easily installed if desired.

If you've got 32-bit and 64-bit boxes, you can buy the distribution disk from the Slackware store as a dual-side DVD, 32-bit on one side, 64-bit on the other (that's kinda nice, eh?); see http://store.slackware.com/cgi-bin/store. And, of course, you can download from LQ as well.

Slackware is not bleeding-edge, rather it's for folks what want to sit down, wake it it up, do what they want or need to do and let it go back to sleep without needing to fiddle around with a constant barrage of updates and other nonsense -- of course, if you want to fiddle and tweak and experiment, that's perfectly all right and what you do is up to you; you'll have all the tools you need installed by default.

Hope this helps some.

saopedrodaserra 05-12-2012 08:23 AM

I tried all linux distributions until slackware. "just do it"

thund3rstruck 05-12-2012 08:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tronayne (Post 4676599)
Slackware is not bleeding-edge, rather it's for folks what want to sit down, wake it it up, do what they want or need to do and let it go back to sleep without needing to fiddle around with a constant barrage of updates and other nonsense -- of course, if you want to fiddle and tweak and experiment, that's perfectly all right and what you do is up to you; you'll have all the tools you need installed by default.

Hope this helps some.

It helps a great deal, THANKS!

This machine is for my wife, for mother's day, and she's pining for Windows 7 (which the machine already has pre-loaded) because she can rely on Windows to work. I made a bad decision years ago loading Ubuntu on her machine because it was suppossed to be user friendly when it reality it was the crashiest mess of crap since Windows ME. Above everything else, this machine's wireless has got to work flawlessly. Not like Puppy where you have to reconfigure it every time you log in and not like Fedora where WPA2 connections randomly drop constantly for no apparant reason.

If I give her this new laptop with Linux on it and a system update breaks the wireless driver or the machine suddenly stops being able to load Xorg then I'm afraid this will be the very last time my wife uses Linux.

pixellany 05-12-2012 08:44 AM

We've missed a fairly obvious answer here: If your wife wants Windows 7, then that's probably what she should be getting......

I have a somewhat different situation: My wife could care less what the OS is---as long as a few things work: browser, e-mail, and (rarely) some sort of word-processor. My position has always been that--if she wanted windows,she was certainly free to set it up--or go buy a Windows machine. So far, that's worked---we've both been Linux users for almost 10 years now.

Oh---you want me to address the actual question????....;)

Arch and Slackware cannot be reasonably compared---they have radically different philosophies and approach. I like Arch and I do not like Slackware---does that help?

thund3rstruck 05-12-2012 09:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pixellany (Post 4676615)
We've missed a fairly obvious answer here: If your wife wants Windows 7, then that's probably what she should be getting......
Oh---you want me to address the actual question????....;)

Its not that she wants Windows 7 per se, she just wants a laptop that works reliably and consistently. The machine is gonna dual boot regardless.

Quote:

Originally Posted by pixellany (Post 4676615)
Arch and Slackware cannot be reasonably compared---they have radically different philosophies and approach. I like Arch and I do not like Slackware---does that help?

I thought they could be directly compared because their philosophies are based around stability, user control, and minimalism?

Maybe Arch or slack isn't the right question to ask. I need a Linux distribution that will run on a brand new Dell laptop that will be stable and reliable. Primarily, the WiFi has to work correctly all the time. This means that WPA2 connections can't drop out randomly for no apparant reason, the connection shouldn't have to be configured on every user login, and system updates absolutely cannot break the wireless driver.

I'm reading the slackbook now; but I don't know if that's a good choice for this laptop (no multilib support???)

TobiSGD 05-12-2012 09:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thund3rstruck (Post 4676651)
I thought they could be directly compared because their philosophies are based around stability, user control, and minimalism?

Arch is a rolling release distro which tries to always have the latest versions. That means that it occasionally can break on updates, since testing times are very short.
Slackware is very well tested and only released when it is proven to be as stable as possible.

Quote:

I'm reading the slackbook now; but I don't know if that's a good choice for this laptop (no multilib support???)
Slackware supports multi-lib, if you use AlienBob's packages. The question is: do you actually need multi-lib? My 64 bit system runs perfectly whithout multi-lib.

thund3rstruck 05-12-2012 09:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TobiSGD (Post 4676654)
The question is: do you actually need multi-lib? My 64 bit system runs perfectly whithout multi-lib.

Maybe not, so long as everything works: Wine, Komodo IDE, Java, FlashPlayer, Media Codecs & browser plugin, printer drivers, etc, etc. I'll search google for the alien-bob stuff and take a look. I think I'd prefer a distro that natively supports multilib though because I want to avoid an administrative nightmare. This machine isn't for me so I kind of don't want to have to touch it ever again once its setup and running.

tronayne 05-13-2012 07:18 AM

You don't need multilib unless there is some 32-bit only application you want to use. All the things you mention (IDE, Java, FlashPlayer, codecs and browser plugins) work just fine in 64-bit Slackware -- there's no administrative headache. The only things I'm aware of that are 32-bit only might be GoogleEarth and Adobe Reader. Slackware includes PDF readers so that's not a problem but GoogleEarth you have to wait for Google to get going or install AlienBob's multilib package.

Personally I run 64-bit without multilib and have yet to run into anything I want or need that is not available (other than those two applications) 64-bit. My wife is as un-techie as you can get and she's perfectly happy using my 64-bit laptop for things like GIMP, OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird and all the stuff the embeds Flash, Javascript and the like. Can't really tell the difference, no headaches.

Hope this helps some.

thund3rstruck 05-13-2012 11:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tronayne (Post 4677207)
You don't need multilib unless there is some 32-bit only application you want to use. All the things you mention (IDE, Java, FlashPlayer, codecs and browser plugins) work just fine in 64-bit Slackware -- there's no administrative headache. The only things I'm aware of that are 32-bit only might be GoogleEarth and Adobe Reader. Slackware includes PDF readers so that's not a problem but GoogleEarth you have to wait for Google to get going or install AlienBob's multilib package.

Personally I run 64-bit without multilib and have yet to run into anything I want or need that is not available (other than those two applications) 64-bit. My wife is as un-techie as you can get and she's perfectly happy using my 64-bit laptop for things like GIMP, OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird and all the stuff the embeds Flash, Javascript and the like. Can't really tell the difference, no headaches.

Hope this helps some.

Thanks for all the feedback and suggestions! It's Mother's Day today and I surprised my wife with the laptop but I didn't have the time to get it loaded up so she's using the Windows 7 OS that came with it now. This week while she's at work I'm going to install Slackware and give that a go.

Thanks again everyone!

whizje 05-13-2012 12:05 PM

If you want to run wine you have to use multilib or slackware 32. In slackware sometimes things break too but it is almost always mentioned in the readme's with the solution. I managed to break slackware many times by actively playing with the settings. Windows has also broke many times for no apparent reason. Happy slacker for 10 years. Arch i don' t really know.


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