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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
For more advanced trainees it can be a desktop reference, and a collection of the base knowledge needed to proceed with system and network administration. This book contains many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. They hope these examples will help you to get a better understanding of the Linux system and that you feel encouraged to try out things on your own.
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» Number of reviews : 3 - viewing 10 Per Page
Last Review by tireseas - posted: 07-09-2005 08:25 PM
I've been using Slackware since 8.1 and probably since 9.0 exclusively as my desktop/workstation OS, single boot. I have it installed on a Windows dual-boot which my partner uses and on a laptop (which, using slapt-get I have recently upgraded to 10.1). I have also managed to leverage a small non-X version onto some old hardware (2 Gb) with a Pentium 750 and 64 Mb of RAM for testing purposes.
I am no computer whizz by any standard, and once the basics are set up, and the batons tightened, then really the system is low maintenenace. There are so many more activities I could put this machine, but don't - not because the OS can't handle it, but because of the brick wall that is my knowledge limit. I suspect however that Slackware is a distro that will never get in the user's way and will always provide more than enough gumption to perform ahead of the game.
The machines are always on, often with several applications minimised or running in the background, and even with 256Mb the system is responsive and runs smoothly.
The WM/desktop I use is Xfce which is so cool with a small footprint. Running OOo-1.9* is a thrill, and I enjoy the distraction of Battle for Wesnoth, great connectivity software, and all the usual stockpile of GNU/Linux applications and utilities, thanks to some well-made packages at http://www.linuxpackages.net (thanks guys!! :-))
The user list/community is outstanding. The participants are knowledgeable and generous with their knowledge and time.
The only "con" I could think of again reflects the almost infinite possibilities a distro with this much flexibility and raw power for those who do know how to harness it ... I'm not yet one of those people, so for me the learning is still quite steep. The beauty about Slackware though is that the skills and info one learns is applicable across distros and even UN*CES.
Thanks Pat : outstanding workmanship.
Man - I LOVE my Slack Machine!!!
I'm not biased, but I must say that it has been using Slackware for the last year and a bit (since 8.1) that has made my Linux experience so pleasurable. I don't mean to poke at the other distros yet somehow, I feel shortchanged (too molly coddled, perhaps) after each time that I have installed MDK or RH (now Fedora Core), Debian (sorry guys, nothing personal), and even FreeBSD4.8 (although, I confess I didn't give *BSD a fair chance). Especially with RH and MDK the branding of the distribution takes over the applications and one is reminded that one is working with MDK or RH. I like my Linux naked!!!
I am amazed at how stable the distribution is. I like that all configuration files can be tweaked. I like that things "just work" and it is this which reflects the Linux that I have come to know and to love.
Although it might happen, I really can't see myself changing distros at any time soon.
Patrick and team: thanks guys!!!
My rating would be 'Excellent', except that I am nowhere near experienced nor sufficiently adept at using the Slack distro to its full capacities. But certainly, it is a great system.
The installation process uses a text-mode approach which is pretty straightforward, although - as with any other distro - be sure to do some preliminary reading about the distro first. The best source of info is http://www.slackware.com and also the site of the Slackware book available for on-line reading at http://slackware.com/book/ . There is also another site that is not Slack specific but one that I would certainly recommend because of the discussion on Slackware (and other distros) and especially configuring a *secure* Slack system - http://jetblackz.freeservers.com .
I installed Slackware onto a Mitac 7321 laptop and was very pleasantly surprised when all the various components were auto-detected (makes life a lot easier). However, LILO didn't install successfully and so I boot with a stiffy but that's not really a problem once a boot routine is developed. Once the set-up/installation process had completed I rebooted and was faced with the familiar white text of the terminal, and did a couple of basic configuration changes with JOE - e.g. changing the /etc/hosts.deny config file, shutting down some unnecessary services, the init level so that when the machine boots it boots into init level 4 (X Windows system), etc., and then typed in the magic phrase 'startx' and held my breath (I had loaded Slack 8.1 previously and this required me to hack the X Config file). Lo! and behold - X started up and from there it was into KDE3.1 and the rest is as with any other distro.
A couple of things though:
1. The CD-RW and the printer are still giving me some difficulty to configure, but the luxury of the laptop is that it is a learning machine for me and I don't have anything mission critical on it yet until I can get these two items figured out. I don't know if I am the only one experiencing these config problems but if you are thinking about using Slack just shop around for input and feedback from others and get a sense of whether my experience is a rarity.
2. Slackware has a long tradition of purporting to be one of the most Unix-like systems of the Linux family. It also tends to stay out of the way of the user, meaning that the user had better be prepared to read widely, tinker with configuration files, and to learn, learn, learn. This, far from being a negative, is a positive aspect - that is, it is not a bug but a feature ;-) - if one has come to Linux Land to not only draw from the pool of great software developed with a community ethic in mind, but also to learn about computers and computing. If you have come to Linux as a cheaper alternative to MS or Mac and aren't really interested in what's under the hood, you might want to either get someone else to do the basic set up and configuration for you, which then will give you a rock-solid, secure and resource-friendly distribution, or go to another distro that does everything for a general user (which means it comes with a lot of bloat and without your own specific needs in mind).
All-in-all, Slackware 9.0 is easy to install, straight forward to use, responsive and a resource-friendly system. Yes, you will have to play around with it to make it your own and to configure some peripherals, so it would probably appeal more to the person who *does* want to see what lies beneath the hood of the machine and its OS rather than the home-user who just wants to get on with using the machine without thinking about how it works. Either way ... it is a great system, and I'd strongly encourage people to give it a try.