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davem7 06-22-2010 02:26 PM

Seeking information about Slackware-current
 
Hello I am a very experienced Linux user who is most familiar with Arch Linux, Gentoo, and Ubuntu as well as Fedora and CentOS for servers. I'm considering which distro I would like to install on a core2duo Quad Core (x_64) which I am building. Although I ran Slackware over a decade ago (it was my first distro, this was back in the days of using floppies to install. I was 17 years old.), I have no recent experience with Slacware and really have very little information about "slackware-current".

Can anyone point me to a good recent review or technical description of slackware-current? About all I know is that it is basically "rolling release" (which is a requirement for my needs, I will not go back to dealing with releases) and likely makes use of a sort of "testing" repo.

I suppose I might as well put up some tidbits about what I want/need in case anyone sees any issues or has any advice:

1. I use neither KDE, Gnome, nor XFCE. I only use the Stump Window Manager (I have no problems compiling from source, in fact is is preferred).

2. I prefer minimalistic and vanilla.

3. I often compile programs from source (this is what attracts me to a package manager which does not keep track of dependencies)

4. I usually like the most recent stable release possible.

5. I prefer x_64 but can live with x86 for a while.

6. Certain programs I will need to compile by hand no matter what such as ffmpeg and vlc.

Right now I am trying to decide between running Slackware-current, Linux From Scratch, Arch Linux, or Gentoo.

Thanks for any assistance you can give. :)

Richard Cranium 06-22-2010 02:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by davem7 (Post 4011715)
Hello I am a very experienced Linux user who is most familiar with Arch Linux, Gentoo, and Ubuntu as well as Fedora and CentOS for servers. I'm considering which distro I would like to install on a core2duo Quad Core (x_64) which I am building. Although I ran Slackware over a decade ago (it was my first distro, this was back in the days of using floppies to install. I was 17 years old.), I have no recent experience with Slacware and really have very little information about "slackware-current".

Can anyone point me to a good recent review or technical description of slackware-current? About all I know is that it is basically "rolling release" (which is a requirement for my needs, I will not go back to dealing with releases) and likely makes use of a sort of "testing" repo.

I suppose I might as well put up some tidbits about what I want/need in case anyone sees any issues or has any advice:

1. I use neither KDE, Gnome, nor XFCE. I only use the Stump Window Manager (I have no problems compiling from source, in fact is is preferred).

It's not part of Slackware, so you will be compiling from source.
Quote:

2. I prefer minimalistic and vanilla.
You'll like that part of Slackware.
Quote:

3. I often compile programs from source (this is what attracts me to a package manager which does not keep track of dependencies)
You'll like that part of Slackware too.
Quote:

4. I usually like the most recent stable release possible.
You'll like that part of Slackware too.
Quote:

5. I prefer x_64 but can live with x86 for a while.
Code:

flacy@flacy:~$ uname -a
Linux flacy 2.6.33.4 #2 SMP Wed May 12 22:31:33 CDT 2010 x86_64 AMD Athlon(tm) II X4 635 Processor AuthenticAMD GNU/Linux

That's pure 64-bit. No 32-bit libraries at all, although there are multi-lib packages that you can install.

Quote:

6. Certain programs I will need to compile by hand no matter what such as ffmpeg and vlc.
Well, Slackware won't stop you from doing that.
Quote:

Right now I am trying to decide between running Slackware-current, Linux From Scratch, Arch Linux, or Gentoo.

Thanks for any assistance you can give. :)
I have not run Gentoo myself, but I have a good friend that does. Gentoo appears to be a close fit to what you want (well, there is dependency checking there, but it certainly fits the "I want to compile as much of my stuff as possible" model).

I've been running a Slackware system of some type at work and at home since 1998. There are very few Slackware-specific patches to any of the code in a Slackware distribution, so well over 99% of the code is whatever upstream provides.

(FWIW, I could not run the latest versions of Slackware at work since we used ClearCase dynamic views which required a somewhat ancient kernel version [2.6.18.8] to compile the required mvfs modules.)

piratesmack 06-22-2010 02:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by davem7 (Post 4011715)

1. I use neither KDE, Gnome, nor XFCE. I only use the Stump Window Manager (I have no problems compiling from source, in fact is is preferred).

Shouldn't be a problem. Slackware comes with all the compilers you need

2. I prefer minimalistic and vanilla.

That's Slackware

3. I often compile programs from source (this is what attracts me to a package manager which does not keep track of dependencies)

The easiest way to get software on Slackware is to use SlackBuilds, which are shell scripts that build a Slackware package from source. You can easily modify the SlackBuild script to add additional configure options, patches, etc.

Or if you prefer, you can compile everything by hand.


4. I usually like the most recent stable release possible.

I don't think -Current is technically a 'rolling release', but you do usually get the latest versions of most software.

5. I prefer x_64 but can live with x86 for a while.

There is Slackware64-current

6. Certain programs I will need to compile by hand no matter what such as ffmpeg and vlc.

Alien Bob wrote a SlackBuild for vlc that wraps all the dependencies into a single package
http://connie.slackware.com/~alien/s...lds/vlc/build/

He wrote a similar SlackBuild for ffmpeg
http://connie.slackware.com/~alien/s.../ffmpeg/build/

Of course, you can do everything by hand without the Slackbuilds. Slackware doesn't care

...

Lufbery 06-22-2010 03:20 PM

One last note regarding your #4: If you want the most recent stable release, then use Slackware64_13.1. The -current branch is really current, not stable.

The -stable branch is great. It gets updated around once a year, with security patches when needed between major updates.

The -current branch gets updated more often, but in fits and starts depending on when new updates are ready to be tested. It is for testing changes that will go into the next stable release. Stuff sometimes breaks after updating to the latest -current state. A lot of the people on this board run -current as their system, but they do so knowing that they're serving as crash test dummies. :)

Regards,

davem7 06-22-2010 03:21 PM

Very fast responses, thank you both very much.

Regarding:

Quote:

I don't think -Current is technically a 'rolling release', but you do usually get the latest versions of most software.
Can you elaborate here? I mainly just do not want to have to mess around with doing a complete reinstall. If you mean it is not technically rolling release in that it doesn't always have the newest then this is fine. But if you mean that I will need to do a full reinstall every six months or a year in order to get the latest core utilities or such I would not like that.


--

As I've been thinking more about this I've considered that perhaps slackware-current might be right for me but I might merely install the base system and libraries using it's package manager and binaries. All the other proprams which I use such as Firefox, emacs, stumpwm, chromium, ffmpeg, xorg-server, etc I would prefer to compile myself from source myself to retain control and flexibility. Does this seem feasible to those of you who are more experienced with slackware-current?

davem7 06-22-2010 03:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lufbery (Post 4011771)
One last note regarding your #4: If you want the most recent stable release, then use Slackware64_13.1. The -current branch is really current, not stable.

The -stable branch is great. It gets updated around once a year, with security patches when needed between major updates.

The -current branch gets updated more often, but in fits and starts depending on when new updates are ready to be tested. It is for testing changes that will go into the next stable release. Stuff sometimes breaks after updating to the latest -current state. A lot of the people on this board run -current as their system, but they do so knowing that they're serving as crash test dummies. :)

Regards,

Mainly what I'm looking for from Slackware besides what I already know about it (e.g. no dependency checks by package manager by default) is that it's rolling release in the sense that I will be able to do a base install and then conceivably not have to do a full reinstall within the next five years to keep up with what the latest regular slackware releases are using for libs and such. I'm thinking current will work for me as occasional breakage won't be much of a problem for me. I'm just concerned as I'm not 100% certain now that it will meet my requirements for being "rolling release" in the way described?

IOW, with Arch right now I can conceivably keep updating the system regularly and it will update the base over time normally. New Gcc releases, glibc, libjpeg, etc are handled without having to do a full re-install. This is what I am hoping slackware-current (or possibly other trees) can provide. I've grown so accustomed to it that being without it wouldn't work for me as a matter of preference. Of course I'm aware that after something major is updated it will mean recompiling nearly everything which I compiled myself. I'm okay with that. :)

ponce 06-22-2010 03:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by davem7 (Post 4011772)
Can you elaborate here? I mainly just do not want to have to mess around with doing a complete reinstall. If you mean it is not technically rolling release in that it doesn't always have the newest then this is fine. But if you mean that I will need to do a full reinstall every six months or a year in order to get the latest core utilities or such I would not like that.

I have a router/apache box at my uncle house that's running slackware-current from five years now.

Quote:

As I've been thinking more about this I've considered that perhaps slackware-current might be right for me but I might merely install the base system and libraries using it's package manager and binaries. All the other proprams which I use such as Firefox, emacs, stumpwm, chromium, ffmpeg, xorg-server, etc I would prefer to compile myself from source myself to retain control and flexibility. Does this seem feasible to those of you who are more experienced with slackware-current?
yes, you can do that, but on slackware the preferred way of building and installing things is using a slackbuild script so you have to familiarize with that, slackware itself is build with those: if you don't use slackbuilds, things will get messy when you have to update stuff (but this thing is common also in gentoo, linux from scratch or any other distribution where you hand-build).

linus72 06-22-2010 03:41 PM

hey davem7
as a proud slackware current user I say it's great
I have been running Current since like march
before that I ran the stable 12.2 and then 13.0
I haven't had any issues except sometimes SlackBuilds may not build
right due to newer versions as SlackBuilds covers the stable release I think...
but it's not an issue

also, the best thing about slackware is "makepkg"
its so easy to mae a pkg from source in slack

theres also some livecd/usb's like salixos, fluxflux-sl, slax-remix07-13.1
note that nFluxOS slack is slackware Current as of june 14th

and be sure you check out Tagfiles too
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...ml#post4004242

Richard Cranium 06-22-2010 03:43 PM

Ah, in that case you should look at slackroll, which is designed to keep your system up-to-date with -current.

If you stay up-to-date with -current, you will eventually have the next stable release by incremental installation of new packages.

If you have a lot of self-installed packages, then you may want to use slapt-get instead which is a Slackware version of apt-get. The advantage of slapt-get over slackroll is that slapt-get can also include a local repository of the packages that you have created for yourself.

OTOH, if you whined a little to the slackroll maintainer, he might add code to support that too. You never know.

damgar 06-22-2010 03:56 PM

I've had no real problems going from 13 to 13.1 via -current. I personally like to just use Alien BOB's mirror-slackware-current.sh to keep a local mirror and do my upgrades from their. From 13 to 13.1 I can think of maybe 2 occasions where I personally had some breakage that took some sorting, but If I'm remembering right, it was with the kernel moving faster than NVIDIA an Vbox rather than the Slackware breaking breaking anything itself. Others had bigger problems.

Lufbery 06-22-2010 04:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by davem7 (Post 4011787)
Mainly what I'm looking for from Slackware besides what I already know about it (e.g. no dependency checks by package manager by default) is that it's rolling release in the sense that I will be able to do a base install and then conceivably not have to do a full reinstall within the next five years to keep up with what the latest regular slackware releases are using for libs and such. I'm thinking current will work for me as occasional breakage won't be much of a problem for me. I'm just concerned as I'm not 100% certain now that it will meet my requirements for being "rolling release" in the way described?

While what everyone has said about -current is (of course) true, it's almost trivially easy to update the -stable branch of Slackware with each new release. Take a look at the Upgrade.txt file from the latest -stable release to get an idea of the procedure.

Basically, you log in as root, go into single user mode, upgrade some stuff with the new packages, delete some obsolete packages, and then check your configuration files.

Whenever there's a kernel upgrade or change, you'll need to update LILO, but that happens with -current or -stable.

I can only think of one time when an upgrade wasn't supported, and that was the upgrade from 12.2 (which was only available in 32-bit form) to 64-bit Slackware 13. Now that Slackware comes in both 32 and 64-bit versions, you shouldn't have to worry about it in the future.

In short, you can do an incremental upgrade with each new -stable release, or you can do several more incremental updates with -current. Check the (ironically enough) -stable changelog to see how the last round of -current updates went to get a sense of how often and what you'll be updating/upgrading.

After upgrading, you may not even need to recompile software that's not included with Slackware. I've had binaries I compiled for previous versions work perfectly with newer versions. I eventually recompile anyway, but it's not always necessary.

In short, by following the Upgrade.txt instructions with each new -stable release, you get a rolling release. :D

Regards,

dive 06-22-2010 04:08 PM

The way to stay abreast of -current that most of use is slackpkg, which comes with slackware. And also keep a check (manually or make a cronjob/script) of the ChangeLog to keep up-to-date with the latest upgrades/additions.

For compiling from source most of us use slackbuilds.org and the rsync/installer frontend sbopkg from sbopkg.org.

For anything you can't find on slackbuilds.org that is useful to you and perhaps others, feel free to submit a slackbuild. *edit: for stable version only, although if a build works in current too then that's a bonus*

Be prepared for things to break in -current and give feedback/bug reports etc though. You won't need to reinstall at all if you use slackpkg (unless something badly breaks). It's usually advised to use a stable release for production boxes. Current is mostly experimental versions to test before going into the next stable release. For this reason I think most of us use stable for day-to-day use and a current box for testing.

piratesmack 06-22-2010 06:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by davem7 (Post 4011772)
Can you elaborate here? I mainly just do not want to have to mess around with doing a complete reinstall. If you mean it is not technically rolling release in that it doesn't always have the newest then this is fine. But if you mean that I will need to do a full reinstall every six months or a year in order to get the latest core utilities or such I would not like that.

I was reading about rolling releases on wikipedia and saw:

"Other Linux distributions may maintain a development branch in between releases. These development branches may resemble a rolling release because software in such a branch is continually updated. However, unlike a rolling release, these branches are intended to be the next release, and will be frozen and tested prior to such a release. Mandriva Cooker, openSUSE Factory, Fedora Rawhide, and Debian's testing and unstable branches are examples of this type of development. Running these development branches in a production environment can cause instability and other problems and is not well supported."

I think that describes Slackware-current

davem7 06-22-2010 08:36 PM

Wow thanks to everyone for the info. There certainly is a great community of Slackware users out there! I am going to read up on everything pointed out thus far and at this point I will likely install Slackware current to a laptop I have to test it out and become familiar with it before doing or deciding on the real thing. I probably won't have the mentioned core2duo box finished for a few more weeks so I have some time to experiment around with things and see for myself a bit.

Side note: it was interesting looking at the tree and seeing how the packages are separated -- i.e. "N" for networking. It brings back memories all those years ago of doing my first Slackware install as a teen when the Networking disks (With the networking related programs) were numbered N1 ... N4 on floppies. Amazing that I still remember that. :) Nice to see some things are the same...


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