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Old 08-13-2005, 08:36 PM   #1
joshknape
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is Slackware user-friendly?


Can a novice figure out how to use Slackware, or is it for experts only? I understand it to be the oldest distribution(?), so I had supposed it was probably opaque and difficult, but I now have the impression I was completely wrong.
 
Old 08-13-2005, 08:48 PM   #2
aysiu
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From what I've read (not from personal experience), I get the impression that it's not that hard if you actually read the documentation and know your computer specs; however, if you want everything done for you automatically, then, yes, it is difficult.
 
Old 08-13-2005, 09:07 PM   #3
titanium_geek
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well, it's not idiot friendly. I'm no expert, but I have had a few years of gentle linux experience. I actually think it is more user-friendly than say, Mandrake or RedHat (it actually lets you DO stuff) the forum is also one of the friendlyest. Sure, you have to use the commandline a little more than other distros, but you are actually LEARNING and linux is well doc'd anyway.
friendly? the thing starts with a fortune! I think it is more friendly than other distros like debian or gentoo *tg ducks rotten fruit*

If you are serious about linux, then slackware might be for you. Just 'cause it's the oldest doesn't mean its out of date. (heard of ford, lately?) If you are a more "do it for me, I want to just point and click" then go with something else. However, I love it how slackware lets you USE the system- it's yours in the first place.

rant rant rant. Summary:
not idiot friendly. for people serious about linux. friendly. nice people involved.
USEr-friendly.

Give it a whirl!

titanium_geek

Last edited by titanium_geek; 08-13-2005 at 09:11 PM.
 
Old 08-13-2005, 11:37 PM   #4
detpenguin
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i spent about a year with suse and knoppix and finally thought i'd see what was so hard about slack, and like the others said, if you can read an understand what you read, you'll do fine. i've actually found slackware easier to use than suse or debian...and once you're used to slack, you can pretty much handle any other distro out there easier than if you were just starting..plus, i know it's becoming a cliche, but seriously, with all the "issues" and "glitches" and such in the other distro's i've tried, slackware always "just works" which is why it's my distro of choice...
my suggestion? try it...install it, tweak a bit...if you like it (you will, trust me...) you're hooked!!! if not, there's still a ton of other distros out there....you're bound to find something that fits you....
 
Old 08-13-2005, 11:48 PM   #5
hitest
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When you're startng out with slack just be stubborn. It took me quite a few attempts, but, now I can install slack in my sleep. With other good distros like Fedora, Suse, Ubuntu, etc. a lot of the commands are hidden behind nice shiny GUIs. I now like opening up a shell prompt, using VIM, or kedit to configure stuff. I recently set my Slack install to boot at run level 4 with kedit (I used vim too and borked it up).
The point is I'm finally learning about Linux. I've been running a lot of different distros for three years, but, slack in its simplicity forces you to learn. I'm a slack n00b, but this distro has me hooked.
Checking out Pat's blog entries I'm hopeful that Pat may release 10.2 in the very near future.
Slack rules.
 
Old 08-14-2005, 12:05 AM   #6
tuxdev
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Yeah, if you get to the command prompt an ask yourself, "What next?". Try Vector, it has really nice scripts to adminstrate your system. Not as much control, though...
 
Old 08-14-2005, 08:55 AM   #7
d00bid00b
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Re: is Slackware user-friendly?

Quote:
Originally posted by joshknape
Can a novice figure out how to use Slackware, or is it for experts only? I understand it to be the oldest distribution(?), so I had supposed it was probably opaque and difficult, but I now have the impression I was completely wrong.
I suppose it all depends on what you want to get out of using Slackware. But as a general response, providing that you are willing to do some reading and ask lots of questions, and not rely on the system to do things for you "automagically", you'll get on just fine.
The installer is a text-based (ncurses) one and it will boot you into a command line console by default, but by editing /etc/inittab you'll be able to change this to id: 4: initdefault which will boot you into a nice and friendly GUI for you to log into. Shilo (on these boards) has put a well-documented guide together for installing and configuring a Slackware distribution from the ground up. See this: http://shilo.is-a-geek.com/slack/

On a personal note, although I have used Mandrake, Red Hat, FreeBsd and dabbled with Debian (which I really enjoy), I still return to Slack because it doesn't do anything behind the scenes which I don't know about, is straight forward to configure and run, is stable, reliable, and entirely consistent with the broader UNIX systems. With x distro you learn x distro, but with Slackware you learn Linux/UNIX. In short, with Slackware you can get your hands dirty and be a control freak!!! It is the only distro that I have used that has a built-in feelgood experience that comes with use

The bottom line: USE IT and see for yourself

Last edited by d00bid00b; 08-14-2005 at 08:59 AM.
 
Old 08-14-2005, 11:33 AM   #8
killerbob
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Just to echo... it depends on your definition of "user-friendly". If you want something that'll hold your hand and do everything for you, then Slack isn't for you. If you're capable of reading docs and digesting what you read, and if you're not afraid of command-line-interface, then Slack shouldn't be any harder for you than anything else. As has been said, once it's all installed, you can change the runlevel to X.

There's a reason that Slack leaves it as command-line, btw. Because nowhere in the install does X get used, and because it's just a canned VESA xorg.conf file, there isn't a 100% guarantee that it's going to work for you when you boot into X. I mean, yeah, it's configured for VESA so there's about a 95% chance that it'll work, but for those last 5%, it's better to leave it as CLI and let them configure it separately. That, and the fact that in most server implementations you don't need X.

As for the difficulty of the install, it's about where RedHat 6 was. I didn't use RH7, but I think it hadn't changed much. It's NCURSES-based, it'll ask you to partition the drive, which you can do using fdisk or cfdisk, and then once it's partitioned, you just need to type "setup". All of those instructions, btw, are on the screen when you boot the install CD and log in. It isn't going to coddle you, but it's by no means as daunting as a Linux-From-Source distro.
 
Old 08-14-2005, 11:54 AM   #9
tuxdev
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Yes! All of the installation ease and speed benfits of a binary distro with nearly the speed of the from-source distros. There still needs to be a official definition of "user-friendly". Wonder what Webster says...
 
Old 08-14-2005, 12:42 PM   #10
samael26
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Slack is NOT user-friendly, neither is debian. Sorry, folks, but let's talk
fair and square. For someone just starting linux, with no experience of
what command-line is, afraid of partitioning, not very passionate about
reading doc, not installing (easy, perhaps) but CONFIGURING IS a pain in the ass.
I see lots of people preaching for slackware, but it is people with a good
undestanding about the above-mentionned requirements.
It is not a reason not to try these distros because they're the best out there
no discussion, but please, stop telling people they're easy, this just a lie.

This is no rant, this is no trolling, just plain fact. Don't try to assume most people
have a high level, first of understanding, then of desiring to learn.
 
Old 08-14-2005, 12:57 PM   #11
tuxdev
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There is a humongous definition problem with "user friendly". It seems to mean "PEBKAC resistant", "easy to do stuff", and "highly convenient".
 
Old 08-14-2005, 01:16 PM   #12
killerbob
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Quote:
Originally posted by samael26
Slack is NOT user-friendly, neither is debian. Sorry, folks, but let's talk
fair and square. For someone just starting linux, with no experience of
what command-line is, afraid of partitioning, not very passionate about
reading doc
, not installing (easy, perhaps) but CONFIGURING IS a pain in the ass.
I see lots of people preaching for slackware, but it is people with a good
undestanding about the above-mentionned requirements.
It is not a reason not to try these distros because they're the best out there
no discussion, but please, stop telling people they're easy, this just a lie.

This is no rant, this is no trolling, just plain fact. Don't try to assume most people
have a high level, first of understanding, then of desiring to learn.

Emphasis mine. Basically, what you're saying is that if Sparky doesn't feel like reading TFM, then he isn't going to enjoy Slack. The point I'm trying to get across, and the point that I think most people who say that Slack isn't really hard at all, is that if you are willing to RTFM, then you won't really find it that hard, and you may learn a lot in the process.

Configuring *any* OS to do something other than what it does out of the box requires at least some reading. It's possible to completely screw over a Windows-based PC my unchecking the wrong box and not knowing how to undo the change. Mac is a little more robust in that respect, but if you know what you're doing or are too curious, you can still screw it over to the point where you need to reinstall the system.

I agree in some respects; if you're a Windows- or Mac-user and refuse to acknowledge that these things called "manuals" exist, then you probably won't ever be able to get Slack, or any distro for that matter, working the way you want. You *might* have better luck with Lycoris or Mandriva, if that's the case. Slack is, however, very well documented, and there's a very helpful community out there who, I believe, honestly wants to help you get into the Linux OS, and Slack in particular.
 
Old 08-14-2005, 01:24 PM   #13
LiNuCe
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Re: is Slackware user-friendly?

Quote:
joshknape wrote :
Can a novice figure out how to use Slackware, or is it for experts only? I understand it to be the oldest distribution(?), so I had supposed it was probably opaque and difficult, but I now have the impression I was completely wrong.
Slackware Linux is neither user-friendly, nor for expert. It is for people who wish to learn Linux and are able to spend time reading documentation. Knowing your hardware is also a requirement to properly configure it (however, this is not only true with Slackware Linux, but with most of Linux distributions). Another good thing about Slackware Linux is that it is mainly build by one man, so it has the least customizations among Linux distribution and with time, you can even "easily" understand the whole distribution.
 
Old 08-14-2005, 01:46 PM   #14
joshknape
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This is what I was afraid of. I have the ability, but no longer the time or patience to go through a Slackware installation as you describe it. I I were still fourteen and playing the DOS command line like a pianist plays a concert grand (disregarding that DOS is not Slackware--I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that), I would gleefully jump into the Slackware fray. Unfortunately, I am now a college student one year away from graduate school, and am fairly burned out on computers--I think I've been building up to that ever since my first Windows computer "disappeared" my entire year of notes from AP History seven years ago. Even if I weren't, I'll have too many more pressing things to do than manipulate Slackware. Question answered.
 
Old 08-14-2005, 01:58 PM   #15
alienDog
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There is no such thing as absolute user-friendliness. Whether something is user friendly or not can only be determined with by the actual user, and even then only for her/himself. Is Slackware user-friendly, yes to some users, to some other users no. Depends on what you're looking for. I would also argue against it being only for people wanting to learn and tweak around with Linux. It's for people who want a system that "just works". That's what it does. It's for people who think that simplicity is divine. It's simple as a banana. There are some points to consider with Slackware and it's user friendliness.

* it requires you to do the configuration by editing configurationfiles

* it does not do lots of things automatically for you (counting out hotplug system, that detects quite a large amount of hardware, though it's not the best one around)

on the other hand

* everything is configured sort of through "one interface" (the text editor), you don't have to learn tens of configurationtools, and you even get to choose your text-editor (or course you do, this should be obvious)

* the configurationfiles in Slackware are usually very well commented, so you should be able to configure your system just fine without extensive knowledge of Linux systems, mostly it's just a question adding or removing # at the beginning of lines (commenting and un-commenting)

* the structure of Slackware is more sane than some other distributions, it's more logically organized and it doesn't have any weird hooks anywhere

Consider these and decide wheter it is friendly for you or not. Just my 2 cents...

Last edited by alienDog; 08-14-2005 at 02:00 PM.
 
  


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