Originally Posted by Heliades
"If you want to learn how to use linux use slackware."
Ubuntu is a linux distribution focus'ed on
making things simple and easy for new comers and
experts alike. Basically Ubuntu holds your hand
the entire way. However Slackware is "hardcore"
linux if you want the same functionality as your
friend is getting out of Ubuntu you need to have
quite a bit of linux knowledge. Ubuntu has quite
a bit of popularity these days because its
considered an easy to use linux. Their motto I
believe is "Linux for human beings" instead of
10 years ago when you were considered a super
geek just because you had linux. To sum it all
up I think you made the right choice going with
slack. You will learn more than your friend is
because you are being forced to work these
things out on your own instead of relying on
programs to fix it for you.
The question here is: What is the benefit of
learning this all?
The answer depends on what you want to do with
your computer and what your profession is. It
makes a lot of sense to learn how networks
work, and what a service is. But learning to
activate a service in
Slackware doesn't help me a bit on any other
distributions. In fact, activating services (or
server programs) is pretty much standardized
in the industry. If you know the file system
hierarchy on OpenSUSE, you will find the
relevant parts in /srv also on Red Hat, and you
can usually use the same commands, as both
are LSB compliant. Many Red Hat packages can
be installed on SuSE systems, now, and vice
versa. This wasn't possible in the past.
Slackware is not LSB compliant and therefore you
have to acquire a lot of not-so-portable
Also, what the use in learning how to configure
X.org for a particular graphics adapter
installed in exactly one machine? You can't
reuse the option anywhere. IMHO, it's a wast of
time, having to figure out these things by hand.
For hardware-specific one-time tasks I really
like tools like SuSE's SaX.
On the other hand, netconfig make network
configuration pretty easy. I like that tool. But
then: What do you learn about Linux using it?
When it comes to other Linux capabilities, like
file sharing via NFS, SAMBA, web servers and
such, most distros are similar.
And finally, Slackware in my experience is the
distribution where I learn the least about
Linux. Because, as another poster said, you
only really learn, when you have screwed up your
But Slackware doesn't support this, and once it
is up and running, it runs so well, that I
forget everything I have learned, before I
need it the next time...
Serious: The point of learning is not a good
point. Better arguments are, that Slackware is
flexible, robust, secure (well, there is no
firewall by default, so one could argue about
this...), and very low-maintenance.
But the four best points for it are:
1. Is so well maintained by down-to-earth people
with skills proven over many years.
2. Its community (the people at LQ.org and
elsewhere). You never get
stuck completely, and upgrading a system is as
easy as following the instructions in UPGRADE.TXT.
3. The developers listen. (Well, the Ubuntu and
OpenSuSE and Gentoo developers, do so, too...)
4. Vendor patches are avoided where possible.
This means that you can usually expect that a
program compiled from source will actually run,
as there are no specific requirements or
dependencies introduced by a backport or vendor
patch necessary to get another thing running
before it is mature.
It also is one reason why Slackware is the best
platform for Java development I know, as the
Java package is what Sun provides, not a package
with vendor specific patches and dependencies.
And the Java version is always up-to-date.
This is noteworthy: "Modern" distros like
OpenSuSE fail to include the latest Java SDK,
while a "conservative" oldie like Slackware
has no problem with this.
Originally Posted by Heliades
Slackware keeps to the linux traditions more
than Ubuntu does.
What do you mean by that? And what's the
Originally Posted by Heliades
I've been using linux since 1998 and ever since
then Slackware and Debian have pretty much paved
the way as far as distributions go.
Much of the development of the kernel, KDE and
Gnome has been driven by Red Hat and SuSE. While
Slackware and Debian are the oldest distros
still in service, and "paved the way" in the
early days, they are now parasites, not
innovators. Which is exactly what makes them so
good as they integrate new stuff only when it
has matured and is stable. But others are
lighting the way, today, and Red Hat and SuSE
are doing a great job, in my opinion, and use
the money they get from customers like IBM,
Oracle and, yes, Microsoft quite well to
the benefit of all of us.
[...]Learn the CLI like the back of your hand.
Get your sound/hardware all working and learn
your way around system settings and config files
before you go into a distribution that does a
lot of that for you.[/QUOTE]
As I said above, there's no use in learning, how
to configure hardware, except you are a PC
technician or OEM employee. You will usually not
be able to use such knowledge ever again elsewhere. I agree, of course, that learning the
CLI is useful. But this is possible on any
distro, with Ubuntu being a special case due to
their sudo philosophy (which is a smart concept
for making the lifes for end-users easier on
single-user machines; which is what most Linux
machines are, actually).
It certainly makes sense to understand
client-server concepts, to learn about secure
tunneling with SSH and such, but this is
possible on most *nix systems, and nowadays to a
large degree even on MS Windows. If you want.
The difference is just, that you don't have to,
Being so sceptic regarding Slackware, why do I
still stick with it and recommend it, you may
The reason is simply, that it saves me a lot of
time. As has been said by some other poster,
software updates come in only as security
patches for "stable", and are installed quickly
with two simple calls of slackpkg. I am
not "bombed" with lots of updates, I can rely on
a certain (very high!) level of quality assured
for every new release, and I almost just can
forget about the system, once it is installed
So, in a way, Slackware keeps Ubuntu's promises.
But, as I have said in many posts before, a
third distro that I really like is OpenSuSE.
It's follows a different philosophy than Slackware and Ubuntu, and has, e. g., excellent
hardware support and localization. In the recent
11.1 release package management has become
fast, again, at last, so most of the problems
with the 10.x series are problems of the past.
But having said that, you see the advantage of
Slackware: Distros like OpenSuSE are changing
fundamental parts of the system, "paving
the way" and adopting new development of the
Linux world very soon,mostly to the benefit of
the users, they also lack the last bit of
consistency, sometimes. E. g., when SuSE
integrated HAL and D-BUS and udev and USB device
automounting, this was quite leap forward for
end-users used to such comfort on MS Windows.
But it worked well only in simple scenarios and
had problems when you removed and reconnected
the same device.
When Slackware finally followed with its
integration of HAL and D-BUS and udev, it was a
much more consistent, complete and mature
What I am going to say is, that the philosophy
of Slackware is to offer only functionality that
is proven and can be provided with a
minimum of quality.
The quality of OpenSuSE is usually very good,
too, but they accept compromises that you will
never see being accepted in a Slackware
release, in order to make something "available"
for the user.
But don't get me wrong: The result aren't show-stoppers, just little weaknesses or
inconsistencies, that hardly make the system
unattractive or unusable. Usually, it's no
problem to live with them. But sometimes,
like the slow package management in OpenSuSE
10.x, they can be annoying on a system used
daily, and these are things that you cannot
fix yourself. I guess the same holds for Ubuntu.
Both are, BTW, equally stable on servers, in my
experience. Which means, they don't ever crash,
except due to a hardware failure.