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Old 08-23-2012, 08:00 PM   #1
punchy71
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Why is Slackware for advanced users only?


What is it specifically that makes Slackware for advanced users only? Is it just one aspect or is it several that combine to make it particularly unsuitable for beginners?

Thank you
 
Old 08-23-2012, 08:15 PM   #2
brianL
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It isn't only for advanced users. You might have to do a bit more reading and thinking than with some distros, but it's not beyond the abilities of the average person like me, for example.
 
Old 08-23-2012, 09:09 PM   #3
Ser Olmy
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I happen to think that Slackware is great for beginners, as long as they don't want to remain beginners. The learning curve with Slackware is actually less steep than with other distributions.

If you go with Ubuntu or Fedora or one of the many other user-friendly distributions, great care has been taken to isolate you from the technical details of the underlying system. You can go from having a Windows system to a well-functioning dual-boot machine in less than an hour, and with minimal interaction. The installer does it all, and once you're done, the package manager will let you download and install software without even knowing what a "package" is.

Compare this with the Slackware installer. It dumps you at the command line with a few lines of instructions telling you to partition your hard drive before running "setup". It suggests that fdisk or cfdisk may be suitable tools to accomplish this, but that's all. If you have only a vague idea what a "partition" is, you're not going to be able to proceed without doing some reading first. So you read, learn something, and then proceed. Slackware is like that all the time.

Technically, Slackware is actually much less complicated than most other distributions. You can learn how the startup scripts work in an hour. The package manager is simplicity itself, and the system won't break if you compile and install software from source. This is in no small part due to the fact that Slackware doesn't check dependencies. Yes, this allows you to mess up your system if you don't know what you're doing. Just like that somewhat popular OS from Redmond, in fact.

If all you want to do is use a Linux system, go with Ubuntu (or something similar). They're all about the desktop experience, and will do their damndest to isolate you from the underlying mechanics of the distribution.

On the other hand, if you'd like to learn about Linux or servers in general, you could do a lot worse than Slackware. Over the last 15+ years, I've used Linux as a file server, storage system, firewall/router/VPN concentrator, web server, mail server/gateway, document management system, virtualization platform and telephony appliance. My distribution of choice has always been Slackware.

Last edited by Ser Olmy; 08-23-2012 at 09:46 PM. Reason: typo
 
Old 08-23-2012, 09:55 PM   #4
guyonearth
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Without making any judgments as to the quality of the distribution itself, regarding which I have no opinion, it would be considered unsuitable in my opinion for several reasons:

1. Complete lack of out-of-the-box functionality. In other words, you don't boot to a functioning system with the install CD, nor with an installed system. Additional interaction is required, much of which may be beyond the understanding of a novice.

2. Text-based installer requires SPECIFIC knowledge of your system layout and knowing what you're doing. There is no automatic or "default" install.

3. Non user-friendly software installation and package management. Once again, you need to know WHAT you're looking for and HOW to install it, or you may end up with a failed install or broken system. Lack of dependency checking may be viewed as a plus by certain users, but can cause serious problems if you don't know exactly what you're doing with whatever it is you're trying to install.

4. Most popular distros use either .rpm (Redhat-based) or .deb (Debian-based) packages to install programs and features, with either rpm/yum or apt as the package manager, with a gui frontend and search engine like yumex or synaptic. These are the methods most commonly used by a majority of distros. Slackware does not use packages or package management. This can make installing fairly common programs a time-consuming headache for the novice.

If you want to try Slackware, by all means do, but if your goal is to quickly set up a system that presents you with a usable desktop environment and working programs to handle common file types and multimedia out of the box, Slackware is probably not the right choice.
 
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Old 08-23-2012, 10:16 PM   #5
frankbell
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I won't recite any reasons for starting with or not starting with Slackware in detail; that field has been thoroughly ploughed by the two posts above.

I will disagree with guyonearth to this extent:

It is true that Slackware does not offer a Live CD environment and does not offer to partition the target drive automatically (cfdisk is actually quite easy to figure out), but after that the installation is quite straightforward and very well annotated, and once Slackware is installed, it presents a fully functional installation with a full complement of software. You have your choice of several desktop environments/window managers; you select the default choice during the installation process and can change it later quite easily.

I started with Slackware quite by happenstance, and I am glad I did. Once you know your way around Slackware, no other distro can ever intimidate you.
 
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:09 AM   #6
segmentation_fault
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Just to add my personal experience. My first Linux install was with Slackware 10.2 I had a little experience from Solaris that we used at the CS department I am student of, but that was all. I had some basic knowledge on computers, such as what is a partition, filesystem etc. I managed to get a working system, and I didn't even have internet connection to search for answers (just the phone numbers of a couple more experienced friends). So, I believe, it's not that difficult, as long as you are willing to do a little research, as mentioned before.
 
Old 08-24-2012, 02:36 AM   #7
Celyr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guyonearth View Post
1. Complete lack of out-of-the-box functionality. In other words, you don't boot to a functioning system with the install CD, nor with an installed system. Additional interaction is required, much of which may be beyond the understanding of a novice.
That's absolutely false, in both case you boot to a fully functioning system, just without GUI. And when booting from an installed slackware you just have to telinit 4 to get the gui

Quote:
Originally Posted by guyonearth View Post
2. Text-based installer requires SPECIFIC knowledge of your system layout and knowing what you're doing. There is no automatic or "default" install.

3. Non user-friendly software installation and package management. Once again, you need to know WHAT you're looking for and HOW to install it, or you may end up with a failed install or broken system. Lack of dependency checking may be viewed as a plus by certain users, but can cause serious problems if you don't know exactly what you're doing with whatever it is you're trying to install.
That's false also, the only hard thing is to partition the hard drive. You can install a fully functioning slackware by simply pressing OK\NEXT to each window

Quote:
Originally Posted by guyonearth View Post
4. Most popular distros use either .rpm (Redhat-based) or .deb (Debian-based) packages to install programs and features, with either rpm/yum or apt as the package manager, with a gui frontend and search engine like yumex or synaptic. These are the methods most commonly used by a majority of distros. Slackware does not use packages or package management. This can make installing fairly common programs a time-consuming headache for the novice.
Slackware HAS a packaging system, but not dependency checking. But when you try to run something it tells you "you need this" and guess what are you going to install ?

The point is just that advanced users usually read when the OS asks something.

Last edited by Celyr; 08-24-2012 at 02:37 AM.
 
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Old 08-24-2012, 04:03 AM   #8
brianL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guyonearth View Post
Without making any judgments as to the quality of the distribution itself, regarding which I have no knowledge
Fixed That For You.

Quote:
Originally Posted by guyonearth View Post
1. Complete lack of out-of-the-box functionality. In other words, you don't boot to a functioning system with the install CD, nor with an installed system. Additional interaction is required, much of which may be beyond the understanding of a novice.
So you've got such a low opinion of the average person that you think they're incapable of changing a 3 to a 4 in a file with a simple text editor?
Quote:
Originally Posted by guyonearth View Post
2. Text-based installer requires SPECIFIC knowledge of your system layout and knowing what you're doing. There is no automatic or "default" install.
So you've got such a low opinion of the average person that you think they won't know what keyboard layout they want to use, for instance?
Quote:
Originally Posted by guyonearth View Post
3. Non user-friendly software installation and package management. Once again, you need to know WHAT you're looking for and HOW to install it, or you may end up with a failed install or broken system. Lack of dependency checking may be viewed as a plus by certain users, but can cause serious problems if you don't know exactly what you're doing with whatever it is you're trying to install.
How much more difficult is running installpkg filename, than apt-get install filename?

Quote:
Originally Posted by guyonearth View Post
4. Most popular distros use either .rpm (Redhat-based) or .deb (Debian-based) packages to install programs and features, with either rpm/yum or apt as the package manager, with a gui frontend and search engine like yumex or synaptic. These are the methods most commonly used by a majority of distros. Slackware does not use packages or package management. This can make installing fairly common programs a time-consuming headache for the novice.
Quick answer: sbopkg with queuefiles. Check those out.

If you don't know what you're talking about, don't pass on that ignorance to other people.

Last edited by brianL; 08-24-2012 at 04:06 AM.
 
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:10 AM   #9
konsolebox
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Sometimes it just depends on the user's level of enthusiasm. Linux was originally CLI-based after all. Back then everyone who'd like to learn how to use their software would either ask someone to teach them or buy a book and study them. You don't necessarily need a requirement like having to become an advance user or have a prerequisite knowledge to make a start.
 
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:13 AM   #10
clocker
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Its true its called the thinking man's linux, to me that statement is true. I realize you are a debian person if not ubuntu, that's a good step next go to mint the redhat and then you will be ready for slackware.
 
Old 08-24-2012, 12:03 PM   #11
DavidMcCann
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It's not that Slackware is beyond people's ability, but that most people have other things to do than reading documentation (often out of date) and fiddling with configuration files. That's why Linus has used distros like Fedora and even Ubuntu: he's said he just wants to get on with his work.

Take Brian's remark about not knowing what keyboard layout you want. It's not obvious. There was an enquirer here earlier in the year (a Slacker) who'd tried to add a Hebrew driver, but had assumed it was called 'he' rather than 'il'. Similarly, for Britain the console driver is called 'uk', but the xorg one is 'gb'. And for LibreOffice, the uk version is Ukrainian.

If you want to set up a simple server, Slackware is probably one of the best choices. If you are a hobbyist who wants to study Linux because it sounds interesting, any distro would do. If if you've got research to do, or an article to write, you want something that looks after itself.
 
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:26 PM   #12
guyonearth
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Reading some of the comments posted here proves my point, that Slackware is a hobbyist OS that is very much do-it-yourself. It does not deliver out-of-the-box functionality by any definition I would apply. I'm sorry if my "knowledge" of Slackware is so lacking, last time I tried to set it up the installer just kept crashing. I just don't have tine anymore for stuff that doesn't work.
 
Old 08-24-2012, 05:37 PM   #13
TobiSGD
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That is weird. Everytime I install Slackware (which works fine here with Slackware 13.37 and -current without any crashes during the installation) and take the default install I get a system that is usable out of the box, with several DEs and WMs already installed.
How exactly do you define out-of-the-box functionality?

But the real question is: Why do you answer to threads where you yourself have to admit that you have no knowledge about the topic and all what you can contribute is what you got from hearsay?
 
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:48 PM   #14
brianL
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Alright, guyonearth, tell us your definition of "out-of-the-box functionality".
 
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:22 PM   #15
linux999
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@ punchy71
slackware isn't hard to use.
 
  


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