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Slackware Linux 14.0
Reviews Views Date of last review
16 15712 01-18-2014
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Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
88% of reviewers None indicated 9.0



Description: "The long wait is finally over and a new stable release of Slackware has arrived! Since our last stable release, a lot has changed in the Linux and FOSS world. The kernel has moved on to major version 3 (we're using the long-term supported 3.2.29 kernel for this release), X.Org has released X11R7.7, and Firefox has had a whopping 11 major releases to arrive at version 15.0.1! We've brought together the best of these and other modern components and worked our magic on them. You'll find new compilers (including the LLVM/Clang compiler that's becoming a popular alternative to GCC), development tools, libraries, and applications throughout, all prepared with our careful and rigourous testing. If you've used Slackware before, you'll find the system feels like home."
Keywords: kernel-3.2.29 X.Org-X11R7 Firefox-15.0.1


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Old 10-01-2012, 11:08 AM   #1
DavidMcCann
 
Registered: Jul 2006
Distribution: CentOS, Salix
Posts: 2,943

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Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 6

Pros:
Cons:



This thread will soon fill up with posts by fanboys giving 10/10 ratings. Ignore them. This is the real review, by someone who has been using computers for over 30 years and has tested 79 distros, but who tries to approach each test as would a reasonably intelligent beginner.

The essential step before installing most distros is to read the manual, and if you go to the Slackware home page, you’ll find one. As you read it, you’ll think you’ve been abducted in a time machine. Boot floppy? Windows 95? These pages have not been updated in a decade. In fact, there’s a very good guide at docs.slackware.com, but the official site doesn’t mention it.

One thing that is not made clear is that the installer can delete or create partitions, but not shrink them. If you want to keep Windows, you’ll have to prepare your drive first (you’ll know if Windows can do this: I’ve never used it). Apart from that, installation is not difficult. A good feature is that you can customise your installation, both by selecting which basic bundles you want and even by choosing individual packages. The latter can be risky, though; where CentOS only asks about packages that are truly optional, Slackware gives you the chance to refuse ones which look unimportant but turn out to be vital. This is because there is no dependency management: choosing an application doesn’t ensure the essential libraries are installed. If you want full customisation, choose the “newbie” option, which describes each package. Then comes configuration, including the choice of GUI: KDE, Xfce, or a simple window manager. Finally, you reboot with Ctrl+Alt+Del, log in as root in the CLI, create a user with “adduser”, and edit /etc/inittab to change the run level from 3 to 4 to give you a GUI by default. Couldn’t those steps have been done by the installer? And if the installer can set the keyboard to GB, why does it leave the locale as US?

When I started a session I found that Xfce was not all there. Even Leafpad was missing: my only text editors were nano and vi. Many panel applets and configuration tools were also missing. I know that KDE is the preferred environment, and that other distros have a similar problem (although on a smaller scale), but that’s no excuse: if you can’t deliver, don’t advertise.

So what software do you get? Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin, Xchat, Gimp, Xpaint, Audacious, and Xine. With KDE, you also get Amarok and Calligra. Codecs were present and working. But that’s all there is — what’s on the DVD is what’s in the repository — no video editing or accounting with Slackware. There are third party repositories, of course, but installing any new software can be a complicated operation because of the lack of dependency management. Several programs gave warnings, and Gimp failed to run because of a missing library. This was obviously in one of the packages I hadn’t installed, but which one? When I finally found a loose copy (at PCLinuxOS!), Gimp started but complained of 11 other missing libraries. As for Calligra, recent reviews (Linux Pro and Linux User) have concluded that it lacks the stability and functionality necessary for professional use.

It is possible to turn Slackware into a good distro: the result’s called Salix. But in the raw state there’s too much work to do and too little software. The custom installation described one program by saying it “probably appeals to a handful of aging programmers”; I think that goes for the whole distro.
 
Old 10-10-2012, 10:39 AM   #2
brianL
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Distribution: Slackware & Slackware64 14.1
Posts: 6,861

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9

Pros: Everything, so far.
Cons: Nothing, so far


David is entitled to his opinion, even if it is wrong. And without Slackware, there would be no offshoots such as Salix. Too little software? How can you say that, then recommend a cut-down fork? Six-and-a-half GB not enough?
Anyway, enough of David and his problems. :)
Slackware 14.0 maintains the high standard of previous releases, which is more than can be said of many other distros.
 
Old 10-12-2012, 12:34 PM   #3
Jaysonfw
 
Registered: Apr 2010
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 7

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9

Pros: Rock solid reliability. No assumptions made about the users competence.
Cons: A desire to know how's and why's of Linux are almost mandatory.


A review of any Slackware distribution is difficult because Slackware just isn't for everyone. Slackware in general is not a hand holding distribution. There won't be any fancy GUI's with buttons that magically make everything work. Slackware gives you a Linux system, and makes no assumptions on your ability or lack of ability to use it in the way you want. In today's world where all the work is hidden behind a pretty touch screen button, Slackware may seem outdated. But there are many who not only want to know what happens when that button gets pushed, but wonder if they could do it better themselves. They are the people who might not necessarily mind a pretty user interface to handle regular administrative work, but they are also just as comfortable, or at least not afraid to learn to do the same job in a terminal, from the command line. Slackware 14 continues the trend of not dumbing down Linux, but insists the user aspires to become smarter than the equipment he operates. It's a great distribution for anyone who wants to progress beyond simply using Linux, and become a user who knows Linux.
 
Old 10-28-2012, 01:29 AM   #4
bsdunixdb
 
Registered: Jun 2009
Distribution: Slackware-x86_64+multilib (stable)
Posts: 24

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10

Pros: You are in control of the operating system
Cons: None


I upgraded from Slackware 13.37 - which is a great distro - to Slackware 14.0 which is truly excellent.

The best operating system I have ever used.

If you are willing to learn, this is the distro for you.
 
Old 11-15-2012, 04:17 AM   #5
curious95
 
Registered: Oct 2012
Distribution: Slackware 14.0
Posts: 83

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10

Pros: very stable and secure
Cons: ........


I jumped from Ubuntu to Slackware and i have never looked back. A neccesity for powerusers!
 
Old 12-11-2012, 01:15 PM   #6
tronayne
 
Registered: Oct 2003
Distribution: Slackware 32- & 64-bit Stable
Posts: 2,993

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10

Pros: Rock Solid, Dependable, Stable and a Joy to Work With
Cons: None I can think of


I've used Slackware both personally and professionally for some 15 or so years; maybe more, maybe less, I forget. Tried others every so often, found them wanting in some way other other that made me work at fixing problems that I should not have had to deal with. VirtualBox makes trials easy to install (and just as easy to remove if found wanting).

I do full installs, on both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms, both "servers" and a couple of laptops, do not mess with the kernel (don't need to) and, once up and running, they sit there mumbling happily to themselves in a closet (2) or under by desk (1) doing what they're supposed to do with no fuss or bother -- they get rebooted, maybe, every few months unless there's a real good reason otherwise (like the power went out or a system library got updated). One 32-bit data base server ran for two years without a reboot till I decided to update it.

Installation is clean and easy: read the instructions on the CD-ROM/DVD, use cfdisk to partition, execute setup, wait a while, add a network address and DNS server (or choose DHCP), set the root password and you're off and running (there are setup options that slow things down enough for you to read the package descriptions and choose what to install or not but in these days of half- and multi- terabyte drives there really isn't a good reason to not just install everything).

No, there's no GUI installer (thank heavens) -- it's ncurses based and dirt easy to use. There's no automagic configuration, it's up to you to decide configurations, starting daemons, adding and managing users. You start clean and mess things up from there on your own if and when you want to.

Slackware is all about choice: if you don't want to install the default ("huge") kernel with everything available, you can choose to install the generic kernel and fine-tune or fiddle all you want, you have the full kernel source and all the necessary tools and libraries available at your fingertips to do as you please or need. If you don't want KDE, choose Xfce or one of the other window manages available by default (no GNOME, but, then, who cares -- if you want it, it's available).

Slackware is, on purpose, not bleeding-edge (thus the stability and reliability). The distribution software is as un-foooled-around-with as it can be to maintain the upstream developers' intent. There is no branding; e.g., Firefox, SeaMonkey and Thunderbird are as intended by Mozilla. You won't see Slackware logo's plastered all over everything.

Slackware does not include, for example, LibreOffice.org or OpenOffice.org. If you want one or the other (or both!) they are available at SlackBuilds.org (along with hundreds of other application packages, libraries, utilities, you name it). http://slackbuilds.org/ is maintained by a group of volunteers who make available software for multiple Slackware releases based upon SlackBuild scripts (used to compile and package Slackware itself); SlackBuild scripts compile source into Slackware packages that are installed, upgraded or removed using Slackware standard package tools.

Slackware comes in two versions: "pure" 32- or 64-bit. You can't execute 32-bit software on a 64-bit box without adding multilib (freely available at http://slackware.com/~alien/multilib/). Eric Hameleers, alias Alien BOB, a Slackware team member, developed and maintains multilib packages for Slackware 64-bit. If you need it, it's available; if you don't need it, well, you don't.

When I say rock solid, I mean it: I keep local files in /usr/local (fonts, home-grown utilities, add-on applications that don't qualify to live in /opt). When I do a fresh install it takes about 25 minutes from booting the DVD to running system with all my local add-ons in place and ready to go (that's on a large 64-bit box, it's about 10 minutes more on 64-bit laptops and old 32-bit boxs). I do that by choosing to not format the /usr/local (and other) partitions when assigning them to fstab during setup. I may choose to recompile existing software using my existing SlackBuild scripts (I usually do) but, typically, I don't have to right away -- most everything "just works").

If you're going to use Slackware you won't regret it but you do need to invest some time learning the basics; Slackware is not click-`n'-drool, it's a full-boat operating system that will serve you well for years but you will need to learn a few things (like how to use a text editor and read some manual pages, for instance). This is not to say that it requires tremendous effort, a full install delivers a fully-usable system, but the time will probably come when you'll wonder if you can add something or change something to fit your needs and Slackware make that enjoyable, feasible and fairly easy to accomplish will little fuss and bother (and a little elbow grease on your part).

For my money, Slackware is the only distribution.

Hope this helps some.
 
Old 12-16-2012, 09:46 PM   #7
rabirk
 
Registered: Dec 2012
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 83

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Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 5

Pros: Runs smoothly
Cons: It does not "just work"


I've enjoyed playing around with Slackware on an older "junk" laptop. It runs smoothly and gives me an old-school experience on the command line with a fairly current KDE GUI when I want it. Unfortunately, Slackware can't be relied on as a production operating system without pouring extensive time and research into some simple tasks, like printing and playing DVD movies. Furthermore, googling the issues involved with making the system fully functional for some of these "ordinary" usages oftentimes returns ten year-old information. If you need an operating system that will "just work," it's easier to load Linux Mint or Ubuntu. If you're just trying to figure out Linux, then Slackware is a fine system.
 
Old 12-21-2012, 11:48 PM   #8
Myk267
 
Registered: Apr 2012
Distribution: Slackware, Debian
Posts: 86

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8

Pros: With great power comes great responsibility.
Cons: The distro isn't self-aware. Yet!


I first came to Slackware looking to learn about Linux. I had played around with Debian and Xubuntu, and while those are both great, each one featured rather powerful abstractions like GUIs and package manager that resolve the dependencies on their own, each of which can seem very opaque to the newbie wanting to get more familiar with the underlying operating system. The "Learn Debian and you learn Debian, learn Slackware and you learn Linux" quote kind of pulled me in.

As a learning tool it's been first class. You really do have to jump in and learn the tools and how the operating system works, which is fine because Slackware uses a lot of the tools all the time. The admin tools are usually written in shell script and a few have an ncurses menu setup to help you out.

The default (full) software set is pretty substantial. You get about ~6.5 GB or so of everything from command line tools to some really nice GUI applications and everything in between like language compilers and interpreters, SQL: MySQL, SQLite, Apache, and a lot more. More than a desktop operating system, it's more like a general operating system, so you can use it for anything and everything.

It's fast and stable. I play with a few other distros on a day to day basis and software in Slackware just seems more snappy and cohesive. My dual-core, 2 GB RAM machine isn't on the bleeding edge anymore, so I do tend to notice these things. I haven't had any crashes or otherwise buggy behavior as far back as I can remember.

Extra software is plentily available at various third party sites, so even if something is missing you can often look there: slackbuilds.org, alienBOB, rworkman and various others. Sbopkg is also really powerful and when combined with community contributed queue files you can install a lot of software with very little effort.

If you're looking for more control and learning in your Linux experience, Slackware should definitely be your first stop.

I gave it an overall rating of 8. If the barrier to entry were somehow easier: some of the slackware site's docs are outdated and not so useful, and docs.slackware.com project is, err, picking up the slack there, so we're getting there. Even then, I'd be hesitant to give anything a 9 or 10.
 
Old 01-06-2013, 09:48 PM   #9
Linux.tar.gz
 
Registered: Dec 2003
Distribution: Slackware forever.
Posts: 2,227

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10

Pros: 100% pure Linux OS. Stable. Fast. Simple. No blah blah.
Cons: Well... If i'll find one, then i'll tell ya.


Here's a way to have a PC fully powered. Even an old one. No bad surprise. No bulls**t. Good reactivity of updates. No 140 cd's set you'll never use.
I like the poor graphisms during installation because they introduce no bug.
The configuration tools (net, packages...) are quick.
On the Slackware site, you have The Book, from which you can learn Linux really fast.
The packages system is strong. No dependencies headaches.
A LOT of packages at http://slackbuilds.org/

Slack leads you from newbie to expert :
I've learned more slackin' 6 monthes than 10 years of others OS (including other Linuxes).
Well, please stop reading and just go for it.

P.S.: Big thanx to Patrick Volkerding and all other people who makes Slackware.
 
Old 02-18-2013, 07:35 PM   #10
perezomail
 
Registered: Mar 2009
Distribution: slackware lubuntu + andoid 2.3 phone
Posts: 17

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10

Pros: lilo fast and easy edit boot file
Cons: slackpkg upgrade-all not a good idea for me


I think this is going to be my system for an unforeseen amount of time, I don't plan on any other Distros being on this, built by me desktop, or any others by it. When I first installed Slackware, while Kubuntu 1204 was on half my hard drive and I was duel booting vary happily, Kubuntu and Slackware. Until the day I upgraded my programs on Slackware and had graphics issues, I must say I was surprised to see 3.7.1 kernel after the upgrade of Slackware, while Kubuntu was only using 3.4 or something like that. I then opted to wipe my hard-drive clean down to all zeros and install only Slackware and upgrading only programs like Firefox and Opera. It was a faster install than Kubuntu and with saving my 64 bit programs on a flash drive I have had no issues whatsoever with kernel 3.2. I chose Slackware for the learning experience and got for me the best Distro ever. Heck, I even made myself a Slackware shirt.
 
Old 06-14-2013, 07:56 AM   #11
mobjr
 
Registered: Apr 2009
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 50

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10

Pros: Perfect (server and workstation)
Cons: None


I have bad English.

The best operating system I have ever used.
 
Old 10-15-2013, 05:28 PM   #12
canadensis
 
Registered: Sep 2013
Distribution: Slackware, FreeBSD
Posts: 18

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10

Pros: It is the distribution that I would build, if I could!
Cons: None so far...


To respond to the first post from David, I first used computers in 1972 so I have over 40 years experience in the IT industry and as an academic. I started using Linux in ~1996 and I have used it exclusively for over 10 years. I have not counted the number of distributions I have used, it would not be as many as David's 79 but does include Debian and several derivitives, Red Hat and derivitives, Arch and Gentoo. I have also used FreeBSD and OpenBSD on desktops and servers.

Unlike David, when I found Slackware I stopped my distro-hopping. Like most Slackware users I like the installer, the website and the lack of dependency checking by the package management tools. Using Slackware took a day or two of reading, but once you find the sites I list below you are up and running (apologies if I missed any Slack sites!)

The posts above answer many of David's complaints, but can I add that David clearly did not do enough research. If you come to Slackware from a background of using hand-holding distros and try to use Slack without spending some time reading, you will most likely have problems. The comments he makes demonstrate a clear lack of understanding of the philosophy of Slackware. Patrick builds a pure and simple Linux and packs it with all the tools you need to either use it out of the box or build it into what you want. I like the inclusion of all the development tools, I like the init system and the documentation in the scripts and I like the simplicity and stability. Also very importantly, the Slackware community is full of very knowledgeable and friendly people who will help anyone.

Slackware is important in an environment of increasingly "shrink-wrapped" Linux distros which assume that users have no knowledge of their operating system and do not have any desire to learn. These distros, such as Ubuntu, Mint, OpenSUSE etc. are also important - most people are not hackers. But for those of us who want to learn Linux in a pure Linux environment, Slackware is the distro we end up with.

Cheers,
Bill

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/slackware-14/
http://wiki.linuxquestions.org/wiki/Slackware-FAQ
http://wiki.linuxquestions.org/wiki/Slackware-Links

http://slackbuilds.org/
http://docs.slackware.com/
ftp://ftp.slackware.com

http://alien.slackbook.org/dokuwiki/doku.php
http://rlworkman.net/pkgs/
http://www.slackware.com/~mrgoblin/
 
Old 11-02-2013, 09:46 AM   #13
paladin.michael
 
Registered: Jun 2011
Distribution: Kubuntu, Slackware, Debian, FreePBX
Posts: 60

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10

Pros: pure, clean, doesn't make decisions for you, programs exist because you put them there
Cons: NOT for lazy people, requires knowledge of the core GNU/linux operating system, gives you plenty of rope to hang yourself with.


rating qualification: I give it a 10 from the standpoint of an I.T. Professional who would go to it for mission critical tasks which need to run for a long time with stability.

From the p.o.v. of a barely computer literate user or someone who doesn't have the time or inclination to learn what their computer is actually doing, that rating would be much lower.

But then reviews, especially of linux distributions, are subjective to what you personally want from an operating system. It isn't fair or accurate to rate different distributions by a simple number scale. The fact that there are so many distributions out there is because different people want different things out of the gate. Personally, when I want to be lazy I use Kubuntu. When I want bleeding edge and punishing learning curves I use Gentoo (which I ultimately break or grow impatient with). When I want to set something up once and have it work indefinitely or increase my knowledge of he GNU/Linux operating system in general, I use Slackware.

Slackware is designed to be clean and to give you ultimate choice about what goes into your system while maintaining solid and consistent operation. I've never seen a Slackware system crash unless I made it crash through a mistake or my own ignorance (or I installed software with bad code in it, it happens). A properly configured Slackware system will run indefinitely and do it's job until the hardware fails from long use.

That being said, if you just want to put a disk in, run an installer, then just have things automagically work for you without any effort or learning on your part, I would say that Slackware isn't for you and that, additionally, I will have a hard time convincing you why Slackware is so great because it isn't made to do things for you that you haven't expressly told it to do.

Slackware doesn't have a package manager with automatic dependency management because it doesen't want to make your choices for you. For every dependency a piece of software requires, there are potential configuration choices to be made which change the operation of that piece of software and, by extension, the system. By installing the dependencies yourself, you're forced to understand what thy are and what they do and generally can make better and more well informed decisions concerning your system due to that understanding of what's installed on it. Additionally you know exactly what's on the system because you put it there yourself.

A Slackware system works the way the system administrator wants it to work because the system administrator made it that way. That's what's great about Slackware. If you haven't put it into the system, then it doesn't exist. You don't have to worry about package maintainers making arbitrary decisions about software inclusions or versions that break your system when you update packages. You will rarely find yourself in a position where you see something come up on your screen and have to ask yourself, "where did that come from?" You do have to be responsible for your own actions in your system. If you misconfigure or break something in your system, then you get to figure out how to fix it.

That being said, there's a tremendous network of people (not to mention the LQ forums) who are happy to help where they can if you ask for it.

I learned more about linux in the first two months of setting up and using my first Slackware system than I had in 5 years of using Kubuntu.

Your milage may vary, of course. I consider Slackware a production environment. E.g. I can use it for mission critical stuff which can't break. I consider kubuntu, mint, and the like to be useful when you just want it to happen easily and don't have the time to invest and make easy to deploy personal environments for the impatient.

Using Kubuntu/Debian based distros gave me a safety net while I learned how to not screw up my system. Using Gentoo taught me how to use portage and wait a lot. Using Slackware taught me about GNU/Linux, how it works, and how to use it. Additionally, what I learned using slackware is applicable to every other linux distribution to some extent. The reverse can't be said.

When looking for a linux distribution, always keep in mind who the primary users will be and what the primary purpose is. I would never recommend Gentoo to my mother in law, for instance, who uses the computer mostly for accessing email, saving pictures from her phone to make room, and looking things up with Google. Then again, I wouldn't recommend kubuntu for a Systems Administrator at a ISP looking to set up an apache web farm which. It's not that each couldn't be used that way, just that I don't think they're the best choice for the intended use.
 
Old 11-07-2013, 12:35 PM   #14
MisterBark
 
Registered: Jul 2012
Distribution: Slackware & Zenwalk core + compile
Posts: 57

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10

Pros: The only REAL Linux.
Cons: Idiots don't know about it.


Slackware is just the ONLY true, real, pure Linux.

The Linux without anything stupid that gives people a wrong idea of what Linux is.

I really hope Slackware will survive because no Slackware mean that I'll have to compile my own distrib from scratch.

Best wishes to the Slackware community! keep up the good and pure work!
 
Old 12-06-2013, 12:54 AM   #15
Knightron
 
Registered: Jan 2011
Distribution: Slackware.
Posts: 1,324

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9

Pros: Everything
Cons: xorg version


Slackware 14 is a terrific release. I found bugs in Slackware 13.37 that i thought would have been noticed and a different version of foo software used instead. Slackware 14 is solid and lacking many bugs, at least in the software i use. The only bugs i've found are in Amarok, but i dislike that music player anyway so it is no issue to me.
The intel drivers in xorg have issues with freezing my computer and i am not the only one with this issue, and Slackware for that matter is not the only distro with this issue. a new version of xorg can be compiled of course to over come this issue, but i just don't think the version should have been included. I guess i can't talk though since i did not participate in the rc's and betas.
Slackware 14 delivers stability overall and a very flexible system that is too my liking.
Good work to Pat and the rest of the devs, and also the community providing Slackbuilds scripts and third party utilities like Slackpkg and Sbopkg.
Slackware takes a little longer to setup than other distros, but it's worth it.

The flexibility in Slackware makes it my favorite distro.
 
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