At first I thought I add to defending Slack's way and Pat's work.
I did read on ad saw it's ben defendend and the bashing and stuff.
but, OTOH, there is a bit of mis understanding of both Debian and Slackware among people here.
They both are needed and both have a place beneath the sun IMHO.
Debian is the largest OSI/GNU sandbox out there, and really rich entities will allways have the opportunity to launch their 'Canonocal'-s from it. And the comunity gains in having multi-kilo-eyes geezing at the code and 'making the big wheels run'.
Debian is the 'ocean' of open source.
Fedora is a top-notch community with also large contribution to the kernel for example - Fedora is the cutting edge for kernel-patches and draws thus alot forward. The support is also outstanding/supreme (fedora-forums have more hits than LQ for hot topics (!) I bow to the results of Fedora community ).
Slackware is a very specific distro - it has "the man that saw it all from the begginig" in charge. That man showed to be able to pack "the best there is" in a way that is easy to grasp. The result is all but trivial.
1. Slackware is most stable
2. Slackware is most fast (fastest among pre-packaged distros AFAIK)
3. Slackware can be grasped in one head in resonable time (is containable) and thus is finite.
4. Slackware's security has allways ben top-notch and examplatory.
Slackware is the "sandcastle" on "Debian's shore" they are kind of adjacent to each other, and both have roles in our world.
We compare them the wrong way.
Now to the 64bit issue.
Anyone knows (hands-on) DVB-internet with Astra around here? (warning i ate that dog-food for couple of years)
They use a client named 'telique'. It's development has ben ababdoned since late '90s. It has been bound to NT5.0 and RH7.3. It has released binaries and tht's it.
One either has to run a NT client or a 32bit obsolete binary in linux.
What is better:
To run an obsoleted distro (realtime H/W interaction makes VM a no-go)
To run a NT station exposed to the internet
To have a up to date distro compatibile (binary) with the legacy apps?
And, Yes it can be done in both Debian and Fedora - but on higher cost of downloads on the expense of few hours more to think with Slackware.
And no surprises once done - "it just works" - unlike automated - dependences controlled - blow out of nothing and without of warning - systems.
Since I found Slackware, I seek no more, I just peek over to remind my self how good I feel about it.
But still I deploy Fedoras to newbies and recommend Mandriva for the offices and Debian to the ever-faster-learning-stopped-to-benewbie-bloody-nosed-advancing-linux-users like I was a couple of years back.