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-   -   Bad review for Slackware (http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/slackware-14/bad-review-for-slackware-560783/)

Zmyrgel 06-11-2007 02:41 AM

Bad review for Slackware
 
I just quickly browsed LinuxUser or LinuxFormat magazine this morning and it had a distro review which didn't make Slackware to appear a good distro at all.

The review went through such areas such as:
-Installation time
-Default installation size
-Bootup speed
-Security
-Release speed
-Open ports
-Community
-Packages


In almost all categories Slackware was one of the last distros in it. Only category Slackware did fairly well was the community.

Other distros that were tested were: Sabayon, Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS. Sabayon came last in the review and Slackware was after that.

This got me to wonder the Slackware's current situation. I don't care for default installation sizes, bootup speed and available packages that much but thing that got me worried was the Security category. They tested how long it took for a distro to patch a found security hole and Slackware was last in this category with 68 days. Also the open ports on default installation didn't do well compared to other distros.
Also the article pointed out that slackware doesn't use firewall at all for default installation which reduced the points it got.

What do you think about all of this?

Gotta read the whole article with thought once I get home from work. Browsing it quickly at 4AM without coffee isn't the best idea.

Alien Bob 06-11-2007 03:14 AM

Without reading the article I can not say much about it.
Regarding patching security holes - I am curious what security advisory was addressed in the article. I know that Pat evaluates the risk of "advisories" and decides whether quick action is required. Sometimes an "advisory" is not affecting Slackware at all, sometimes Slackware is not affected in it's default configuration, and this mitigates the risk.

Regarding a firewall - this is a matter of taste. A firewall is good if you want to protect open ports, but by default Slackware has few ports open, and those that are open, you want open. The next release of Slackware will have even less ports open out of the box than Slackware 11.0. And although no firewall is shipped with Slackware, it supports one - if you have a executable file called "/etc/rc.d/rc.firewall" it will automatically be run at boot.

Remember that Slackware is all about you being in control. Other distros do a lot of hand-holding and hiding the inner workings from the user, even preventing the user from tampering with the internals. Slackware's philosophy has always opposed this concept.

If you have a link to the electronic version of this article, I'd be glad to read it.


Eric

samac 06-11-2007 04:33 AM

Hi I read this article about three weeks ago, and it appears that the reviewers think that all the things that make a modern distro good, are all the things slackers think makes them bad.

For example dependency testing, now Debian is meant to have a good package system, yet, in my experience, it will allow you to upgrade a core package, then not let you downgrade it after you have finished testing a piece of software. This upgrade may not work with your other software and when you force the removal BORKED system.

Therefore no dependency testing is good.

Number of packages. They think Slackware is bad because it doesn't have many, just how many text editors do you need. If anything Slackware could slim further to a core group of packages, and then you can add what you want/need.

I have tried most major distros over the years, starting with RedHat 5.2, and have in my time been a fan of Mandrake and Debian, but Plain old little stable fast vanilla configurable Slackware is for me.

samac

Zmyrgel 06-11-2007 04:38 AM

I can't recall the exact security hole that they checked. Only thing I remember that they mentioned that although Fedora patched it late, they found a similar security hole and fixed it before others even knew about it. I'll check the precise security issue they tested once I get home.

I have to admit that I haven't checked the default installations open ports myself so I don't know which ones are there. Probably lot less if at the end of installation user unchecks the services to be started at next boot.

It just the whole article made the Slackware seem such a bad distro :(
IIRC there was a link on the article to discuss the results on their webpage somewhere. Gotta check that out to defend the Slack a bit.

I gotta check the firewall thing too on my laptop. Would, for example this work if I made it executable and put it as rc.firewall in /etc/rc.d?

I was mainly concerned about the security patching thingy. It is quite important issue on any distro.

The article is on the latest Linuxformat magazine and I couldn't find that article on the web.

Zmyrgel 06-11-2007 04:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by samac
For example dependency testing, now Debian is meant to have a good package system, yet, in my experience, it will allow you to upgrade a core package, then not let you downgrade it after you have finished testing a piece of software. This upgrade may not work with your other software and when you force the removal BORKED system.

Therefore no dependency testing is good.

I think the Debians apt-get is probable the best package manager there is for Linux. IIRC the apt-get enables all services by default and makes all kind of Debian configurations to packages is what I don't like. Slackware's method of almost no package manager at all is a advantage in most situations. When I want to install some small piece of software that I know of it's easier and usually safe to add it with package manager.
I think a good method would be the same as in used in *BSD. The core system is separate from the addon software which is installed from ports.

Quote:

Originally Posted by samac
Number of packages. They think Slackware is bad because it doesn't have many, just how many text editors do you need. If anything Slackware could slim further to a core group of packages, and then you can add what you want/need.

It makes life a lot easier to have lot of packages but core Slackware has almost all packages in it that I use, even lot more.
But for example I use MPlayer, I download the source, check documentation, search web for dependency packages and libraries etc instead of finding them on some central repo.
Atleast the most common packages that are not available in vanilla Slack can be found Devalia.net, Slackbuilds.org or Linuxpackages.net.

One thing I really appreciate in Slack is that when you add the packages yourself if the system becomes unstable I atleast know which package is causing it. And when the repos for some other package managers are broken it might bork your system beyond repair as I have gotten it few times. It just pretty tedious process to track down the changes to some packages to keep them up to date and bug-free as possible instead of package manager.

I really gotta learn how to write slackbuilds :)

Alien Bob 06-11-2007 05:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zmyrgel
I gotta check the firewall thing too on my laptop. Would, for example this work if I made it executable and put it as rc.firewall in /etc/rc.d?

Yes, it is an iptables script, and has a start() function, so it should work.

Eric

Zmyrgel 06-11-2007 05:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alien Bob
Yes, it is an iptables script, and has a start() function, so it should work.

Eric

Ok, Thank you. I'll test that. I really should learn to use the iptables anyway :) Atleast I know OpenBSD's Packet Filter so iptables can't be that difficult.

SlackDaemon 06-11-2007 06:03 AM

Slackware does come with a firewall installed by default. It just leaves it to the user to configure. I also noticed that Stability/Reliability was not on the reviewer's list. This is one of Slackware's strongest points.
Admittedly release speed does fall behind many of the newer distros.

Alien Bob 06-11-2007 06:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SlackDaemon
Slackware does come with a firewall installed by default.

No it does not. It comes with support for running a firewall script if you add one to the proper location.

Eric

nass 06-11-2007 07:21 AM

its not too much hassle in my opinion...
to me the article (i haven't read it - no link available eh?) is merely saying, 'don't enter the linux/unix world with slackware, unless ur prepared and you have time to spend configuring your pc'...

and i did start with slackware and haven't tried another since. sure, i did get cracked before setting up the firewall and i did need a long time to understand how the package system of slackware worked, when all i heard about is ppl talking about the ease of apt-get...

in the end though (and 1 year later), i know how to compile, configure, install, pack and unpack applications, secure my pc, make customized kernel images with no fear of tampering with the unknown, heck, i even set up a home server with raid, samba, ftp and http(s) servers, fully customizable from the darn other end of the world with just a simple konsole!

i guess most of my problems would be non existent to someone with prior unix knowledge (lets not forget that slackware has several similarities to BSD)... and so the article is only focused to the newcomers population

onebuck 06-11-2007 09:57 AM

Hi,

Hey guys, how about a link to the referenced article(s) you are speaking about?

Some people are now including the 'Slackware LQ Suggestions!' link in their sig.

Lufbery 06-11-2007 10:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SlackDaemon
Admittedly release speed does fall behind many of the newer distros.

I'm not picking on you, SlackDaemon, but I really wonder about the veracity of the above statement. As a relative newcomer to Linux, the one thing that really bothers me is the push in the Linux community for quick updates.

As a user, I don't mind updating my operating system every three years or so (or even longer). Of course I apply necessary patches, but full upgrades, regardless of the OS, have always been a major pain in the butt, so I avoid them until necessary. It takes me a week or more to get an OS set up the way I like it, change preferences, install software that I like, and generally deal with new features. I can't imagine going through that every six months!

The same goes to a lesser extent for the applications I use. I don't generally update an application unless, (1) there's a fantastic new feature that I absolutely cannot do without, or (2) I absolutely must upgrade so I can be compatible with other people when sharing files.

With all that in mind, I don't think Slackware has a slow release cycle at all. It is just about right. :)

Regards,

-Drew

Zmyrgel 06-11-2007 11:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by onebuck
Hi,

Hey guys, how about a link to the referenced article(s) you are speaking about?

Unfortunately the article only appeared on the latest Linuxformat magazine and AFAIK isn't available in the web.
Discussion about the article: "Ultimate distro test" can be found here.

The discussion doesn't provide much information about the article though :(

folkenfanel 06-11-2007 11:54 AM

American Dad
 
Hi there

Slackware is like a gun. Guns don't kill people. People kill people using guns. If you don't know how to use it it could kill you as well.

"C'mon, gun. Kill. Don't be shy..."

Slackware is like a sword. Nothing better for a duel, IF you are a skilled swordsman. It could kill you as well.

Weapons are not bad or dangerous per se. It is you who make them be whatever you like. Slackware is the most customizable distro I've ever tried. It lets you do whatever you want with it. It's raw. That's a matter of taste, I like it that way. I am in control.

"Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it's because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn't like me..."

Zmyrgel 06-11-2007 12:46 PM

I would say your more in charge when your using Gentoo :)


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