Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8
very fast, easy to maintain, excellent development tools
much redundancy of applications, incompatible with slackware repositories, backporting of current applications
My review is based on the 64-bit XFCE version of Vector Linux 7.0.
Vector linux is another user-friendly implementation (joining slackel, salix, zenwalk and slax) of Slackware Linux. Version 7.0 is similar in configuration to Slackware 13.37, but the two distributions are not compatible and usage of the Vector repos along with the ones from slackware will corrupt and eventually break the system. Strangely, Vector has included all slackware mirrors and repositories in gslapt as options
The compatibility problems are easiest to spot in the kdeold (Vector) and KDE (Slackware) package sets. Vector includes the "kdeold" set to indicate a repository for KDE 4.5. while the KDE set from Slackware gives a different version of KDE entirely. The two repositories are enabled by default (even in the XFCE version of Vector). Naturally, this is a problem because, unless Vector is pinning or backporting KDE 4.10 packages to KDE 4.5, there will be a certain amount of trouble just waiting to happen. I think this is not OK for an everyday user.
If a user doesn't understand backporting, changing any of the slapt setting presents a potentially dangerous situation. The process of backporting involves the installation of a more recent application in an older distribution. This allows Vector to use the latest software with the Slackware 13.37 base system. Thus, the user has the benefit of a very stable system that includes current software like the latest versions of XFCE, LXDE and KDE.
On the other hand, Vector linux is very fast on both aging and modern systems. The inclusion of Vector's own version of gslapt allows for easy updating and system configuration. Users are encouraged to build specialized packages from source using slackbuilds. Vector has gorgeous artwork and most applications are polished and fast. I ended up installing Libreoffice instead of gnumeric and Abiword. even with Libreoffice installed, Vector is still lightning fast and easy-to-use.
Vector has tried very hard to include user-friendly configuration apps at evry turn including a graphical system installer to replace the older, curses-based installer that is common to vanilla slackware. The effects are not positive because Vector's graphical install is slower and disorganized compared to the traditional text installer. Vector has replaced the cfdisk utility with a graphical one similar top parted. This ends up being more difficult than cfdisk and it is quite hard to set upp and then initialize partitions for /home /var /tmp and /etc. Slackware really needs these partitions to be separated from the root directory and it seemed hard and confusing to not have cfdisk as an option. Luckily, Vector includes the old installer as a boot option and older users can still use a more traditional install method.
For a complete slackware installation, I recommend purchasing an official disk set which comes with free email support from slackware itself. I guess I'm being overly harsh, but this system is a little too easy to break even as it is advertized as being unbreakable by the folks at Vector.
At any rate, Vector linux is a great project and a great version of linux. Slackware users wishing for compatibility are encouraged to use Slackel or Salix instead.