Registered: May 2002
Why I chose Slackware
I started with Linux a year and a half ago with SuSE 7.1, then SuSE 8.0, then
RH8 and RH9.
At that point the following dawned on me:
1. Keeping SuSE and RH updated is first, tedious because the updating process
used to take, at a minimum, three hours (full install distros) over the relatively fast university network, and second, the way RH was giving me their update was too conditional to accept: every now and then I had to fill out the survey and if I missed one, I was "punished." No
thank you! I thought that the whole Linux idea was a community of honest and
hard-working people devoted to each other and helping each other. If I had mustered
the courage to completely stop using Windows, I was not going to fall into the
trap of distros (SuSE and RH) which were slowly but surely going the age-old
path of proprietariness, profit, and paying-customers-only operating systems.
SuSE's move to stop putting their ISOs for download convinced me that money was
now the priority. Thank you for the time when you were true Linux distros, but
now you're not.
2. Too many programs coming with SuSE simply did not work, and gave me the
impression that they were included just to fill the many cds and hence the rather high prices they commanded. And were they all tested first? I doubt it.
3. While most programs coming with RH worked, the overall performance and speed
were below par. With a P4, 512 memory, and 64 Mb VGA, this was simply not
acceptable. Opening OpenOffice 1.1 used to take, with RH9, about 45
seconds. I almost decided to stop using OpenOffice just because of the
intolerable waiting time.
And then I heard of Slackware (remember, I'm a newbie to Linux). Despite the
stories saying that it was "difficult" to live with, I nonetheless gave it a
try. After being a user of Slackware 9.1 for about three months, I can say the
1. Slackware is NOT "difficult" at all! On the contrary, everything is crystal
clear, provided one is ready to set aside a few minutes a day to READ what is
written in the numerous help files. The very few difficulties I had and which I
couldn't solve myself were solved by the many nice and friendly users at this
forum (thank you all!). Networking was a piece of cake, dial-up setting took 2 minutes,
and setting up the printer took 5 minutes.
2. I've never had a crash on Slack 9.1, which is something I can't say about RH. Put a defective cd in RH, try to read it, and see what happens. With me, the whole system froze, and "nothing" could defreeze it (not even the extra consoles thing). Maybe my ignorance, but hey, that's what
happened! Not only did Slack as a whole OS never crashed on me, but NOT ONE of
the applications/programs shipping with it ever crashed or refused to run either.
3. All that I needed came on two cds, and I'm the type who likes to tinker with
things and explore new apps. Why would SuSE come on 7 cds (ok, the last one or
two are the source, I know), and Slack on 2, and I wouldn't miss anything?
4. Slack is super-fast: it boots faster, it runs faster (OpenOffice takes
exactly 12 seconds to open as opposed to 45 on RH. A big difference, no? Now I'm
using OOffice again!), and it shuts down much faster (about 5 secs).
5. Maintaining it with Swaret is a pure pleasure: it is fast (full distro
install update: less than 1 hour), simple (just ONE command to type and
everything is magically done), complete (it checks dependencies and all that
stuff), and hassle-free (no threats, no subscriptions, nothing of that sort).
Compiling from source, if no .tgz files are available, is easy, universal, and
never crashed on me. I can also take the folder where the updates were stored
and transfer them from my laptop at work to my home desktop (Slack too).
Updating was never so easy!
6. Security-wise, Slack ships with very secure default settings (services are
off until you decide to turn them on) and the permission setting, though
slightly annoying at first (can't mount/unmount) can be adjusted later. So the
design is, I think: let's lock it as tightly as we can first, loosen it if you
7. GUI-wise, it's slick, updated, and beautiful to look at.
Bottom line: It's super-fast, easy if one puts the required intellectual effort
at trying to understand how things work (and isn't it why we have moved from
Windows to Linux?), stable, secure, easy to maintain, REALLY FREE, and nice
What can I ask more? Thumbs up, Patrick! I think I will BUY the cds next time (rather than download the ISOs) not because I am forced to but because I value your effort and your integrity!