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Old 11-19-2002, 12:55 PM   #1
sankeny
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Question re: backwards compatibility....


I am considering Slackware (having cut my teeth on SuSE). I have fairly exotic hardware between my desktop and laptop, but I also have several older machines of the 386/486/Pentium variety.

If I use Slackware 8.1 or Slack-Current, can I configure my newer hardware as well as my older hardware? And, what is the opinion of older versions of Slack vs. the newer?

I would like the latest version of Slack for the simple reason of having the latest compiler tools and libraries, as well as the latest support for PCMCIA/USB/etc.

On the website, it still says that it will run with as little as 4MB of RAM, and it still references a 386. I understand that it takes more RAM for X and KDE/Gnome, but if I can get X running on some of the older systems, I would be tempted to export my desktop server to these lesser clients.

Am I thinking along the right track? Thanks.
 
Old 11-19-2002, 09:53 PM   #2
Excalibur
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You will find that Slack is considerably different from SuSE. On the latest releases, say 8.0 or 8.1, I would only recommend the newer hardware. Not because the older want run X and KDE/GNome, etc. but because of performance. The window managers have really started being quite blotted and easily overload an older system rapidly. For the older hardware, Slack 7.0 or 7.1 should run most admirably even in X windows. I was running it on a P120 with 64 MByte quite well. Also, for the X server the video adapter is important. This also can be where the newer AGP video cards help performance tremendously.

I still use a lot of the older hardware even with the newer versions in run level 3, console mode, for gateways, print servers, file servers, fax servers, etc. The more mundane behind the scenes type operations using hardware that is usually just sitting around not doing anything any more. Hey, it adds extra life to the value of the hardware and the operations would generally not benefit from the newer hardware really at all, except perhaps in reliability. A ten year old machine could fail at any time.

I would suggest staying with Slack 8.1, a released version for your first time though. The slackware-current is beta and it can change from day to day. Both 8.0 and 8.1 are extremely stable. 8.1 is QT 3 based where 8.0 is QT 2 based. So that might make a difference for you depending on your version of SuSE you are used to. 8.1 also uses the 2.4.18 kernel. Very stable kernel with a lot of support for USB, Firewire, etc.

You mentioned desktop and server combined together. With Slack the default run level is 3 and for the X server it is run level 4, not 5 like SuSE. But your servers do not even require X to be installed with Slack, X is considered optional. I have server builds that use less than 300 MBytes of disk space for Linux. You really do not need X because most everything is configured in a BSD style shell scripts. Just your favorite editor.

Many of my servers do not have keyboards, mice, or monitors. I use my notebook or another workstation to secure shell into the unit and change what I need. I only use secure shell, I shut down all the other options like telnet, for security reasons.

On my notebook, I have Slack 8.1, SuSE 8.1, Slack 7.0, and (choke) MS Win2KPro. (PIII/1.2GH, 384 MB RAM, 30 GB HDD) Everything works, even the LT WIn modem, thanks to linmodem.org.

Hope the info will be of some help to you. Perhaps others will post their opinions and/or suggestions as well.
 
Old 11-20-2002, 06:48 AM   #3
sankeny
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Thanks for the information.....

What I am trying to do (other than have a lot of fun) is to run an applicaiton server and thin client scenario (ala City of Largo, FL). That's what my reference to desktop server meant.

Do you know where I can get an older copy of Slack? Looking through my stack of CDs, I find that I actually have several older distros -- Caldera 2.2, Red Hat 6.0, SuSE 6.1 - 8.0 and Slack 4.0 I would like to find Slack 7.1 as you suggest.

My guess is that I would run the latest on the server and export my apps to thin clients built with an older version. That is why my concern for performance on lesser hardware.

Another question, off topic. How do you upgrade packages on Slack? I think it uses RPM as a package manager, but does Slack maintain an ftp site for patches and such? SuSE (and Mandrake, Red Hat) use an online feature to help a person update their distro. What's the process with Slack?

I can build software from source, and I can manage rpms. I can also edit scripts. Slack will offer me lots of opportunity for these skills, I am sure.

Thanks.
 
Old 11-20-2002, 08:08 AM   #4
Excalibur
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Slackware maintains their releases from the ftp server, ftp.slackware.com. They offer all the versions of slackware on their server. Some mirrors may also have 7.1 since that is fairly recent. The iso images are only available for 8.1 though at the current time, unless you locate it on a mirror somewhere. Check to see if the directory tree has a "patches" directory, as it would contain updated packages to install. Slackware will use RPM but you need to force it without any dependency checks. Slack uses its own program to install packages called pkgtool.

If you do not want to download file by file and build your own iso, I could probably post an iso image for 7.1 on a server where you could download. Let me know via private email if you desire.
 
Old 11-20-2002, 11:47 AM   #5
sankeny
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Thanks....

I will look around first to see if I can locate it. Your comments have wet my appetite all the more. I appreciate it.
 
Old 11-21-2002, 08:13 PM   #6
Texicle
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RE: Old Hardware

I'm on a Pentium 120 with 80 MB of RAM. I'm having difficulty with Slackware 8.1 only in that I can't get the resolution in X to work properly. I was able to get up 1024x768 with XFree86 v. 3.6.x but with Slack 8.1, that version is not available, only v. 4.1.x (at least that's all I have on my iso). Anyway, Slackware 8.1 works really well on my system, but the X resolution is stuck on HUGE for now.

If you have an old Trident TGUI9660 or TGUI9680, I'd recommend getting a different vid card that will work better with XFree86 v. 4.1.x (if you have the cash) or getting an older Slackware/XFree86. Other than that, I love Slackware 8.1. I also went with xfce for my desktop environment and it runs MUCH faster than KDE or Gnome on my system. It's really quite fast considering my hardware.

Just thought I'd give you some idea of what you might run into if your hardware is as slow or slower than mine. Good luck!

Last edited by Texicle; 11-21-2002 at 08:15 PM.
 
  


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