Okie has stated
if not for Slackware i would most likely abandon Linux for Crux or FreeBSD, or even abandon the PC all together and go buy Apple's Mac and then lose my enthusiasm for computers completely...
I absolutely (enthusiastically, I should say) agree with that, being actually a former Mac OS X and Ubuntu user. I mostly work on Web applications so a stack widely known as AMP
suits my needs very well. I am, however, anxious to learn more on lower level programming, but that would be another story.
Slackware was 7.1, when we first met. It was not a love at first sight. It was something exciting, though. Reading on how things work, discovering things, trying things. Those days my knowledge on programming and computers in general was very
basic. Instead of just doing a full install and starting using Slackware on daily basis (learning by doing), I drowned in the documentation trying to understand everything byte by byte. It was too difficult and I did not managed it. I probably was too ill-at-ease to ask more experienced users questions (all the time).
Then the Mac era came with some hillarious moments like switching from Mac OS 9.2.2 to Mac OS X 10.2 (exchaning single-tasking for antialiased, shadowed and transluccent lack of stability) and when the 10.4 Tiger showed up: "Spotlight? No, thanks. I am a "find n' grep" kind of guy. Widgets? Dashboard? And still no decent terminal emulator? Still no multiple desktops?
". It was sluggish as hell and dull in a way. Also nearly useless without MacPorts (similar to BSDs' ports). I switched to Debian because I found it a mature distribution supporting PowerPC architecture. "I learn again!
" -- was my first though. Which was good. But if you do web development, having Linux on PowerPC is a lifestyle not a rational thinking. No Flash Player except for some workarounds, that do not actually work. No decent x86 emulator for testing in Internet Explorer. Dead end. So when the Intel Macs showed up, and the 'Even Innovations Have Innovations' Leopard release... I was not going to use OS X anyway, so I bought myself a HP, couple of beers and installed Ubuntu (edgy-eft) in no time.
Well, it was way better. Still, it was far from speed, far from stability. I quickly got the same feeling that I already had about OS X: the version number stands for 1/10 of a number of so called 'features' I do not need/want to use or I need/want to get rid of. I also got a feeling that Ubuntu, Linux for human beings, is just a clone od Debian unstable / experimental with a number of workarounds and mess hidden
under <cynicism>a neat orange-and-brown fur featuring windows appearing and fading, shadows, highglights and more...</cynicism>. It was frustrating and once again sucking out all of my enthusiasm.
Two weeks ago I have visited The Slackware Linux Project website
. Guess what? It is exactly as it was in Slackware 7.1 times. I started reading, came here for more reading. For the first time I took a while to think
about partitioning schemes, boot scripts and such. I started learning before using. Installation of 12.1 took no time. It took a while to get wireless and on-line. I learned from it. Enough to tell some other guy: ignore that error message, it has nothing to do with your problems regarding the wireless stuff. Enough to eventually patch the script and get rid of the confusing error message.
that Slackware is the oldest distribution currently being maintained. I bet it has something to do with what Antoine de Saint-Exupéry mentioned once: "A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
I mean Slackware seems to be what I can build up on in whatever way I wish and what I do not need to prune / reduce / cut around in any way. Slackware (both as distribution and as a community) features steep learning curve, which I also would consider an invaluable plus.
I failed with Slackware 7.1. Then I went through some, "innovations that have innovations" and things "for human beings" with all those auto-configurations, auto-installations, auto-upgrades, managers, handlers and helpers. I was still looking for something different and I eventually succeeded with Slackware 12.1.
The day I failed with Slackware 7.1... I should have done a simple full install that day. Not that all those Mac/Debian/Ubuntu years did not teach me a thing. They did: I use Slackware anyway.
And I am going to stick to it. I am home.
I will go through Linux From Scratch
some day. For fun mostly and for cognitive purposes.