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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 10
Minislack is a distribution which almost exactly fits my needs
Minislack is not a typical starters distribtion (yet)
Minislack is a distribution which almost exactly fits my needs, with a no-nonsense look and feel and a very helpful group of people managing questions on the forum at http://www.slackplanet.org/.
The choice of applications is mainstream - like Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird, GIMP and so on. A very nice selection and as a MS-Windows user who has been using OpenSource based applications for a while I am already familiar with these applications.
The distribution is focusing on:
* Desktop usage
* The programming tools
Minislack has the following objectives :
* Be simple, fast, secure and reliable
* Provide one application for one task
* Be a complete development/desktop environment
* Be small, distributed on a single 400MB ISO image
Minislack is not a typical starters distribtion (yet), it is after all based on Slackware, which is usually considered the choice of experienced people, but the helpful instructions on the homepage - http://www.minislack.org/staticpages/index.php?page=20050321023829882 - is what made me dare to take the step. It is worth gold to a newbie.
The "cut" made with Minislack (in comparison to Slackware) is focus on the Desktop user, and with only one application for each purpose. It includes a fairly large and complete portion of programming tools. Any user can add to the installation with personal needs - preferably based on Slackware tarballs (but any other common way can be used, of course). With Minislack you get what you need to watch videos in various formats, write documents, print, scan, burn CD and DVD, connect your camera and edit your photographs. In other words, supporting much of what a desktop user needs for his computer utilities.
In spite of its small size - the installed system is only about 1.1 Gb, Minislack show off a decent amount of "eye-candy" - it does not leave you with the touch and feel of a scraped down almost-nothing Linux. Rather on the contrary, I feel that I could migrate entirely to this distribution of Linux and not be missing a thing. The desktop manager is Xfce, which I think is a nice desktop.
The limited distro means that packages are up to date, well maintained and matches each other. Things have been checked out, and you will not find unexpectedly that some packages work while others do not work together. All packages are tested together as a whole distribution.
With release 1.1 of Minislack there is this special Minislack tool, the "netpkg" command line tool, which can be used to keep Minislack up-to-date in a very easy way. It checks your installation with a public package repository (with http connection - you need to login to your internet service provider before running netpkg). You can then download upgrades and choose to install them either on-the-fly, or manually use Slackware installpkg.
Installing OpenOffice is as simple as "netpkg openoffice" - and the package is fetched from the package repository (http connection), then installed on-the-fly. The KDE and OpenOffice packages are available as add-on packages (not included on the CD-ROM ISO) - I guess they are slightly bloat for a distribution, which intends to be a mini.
I'd expect the next release of Minislack (1.2) to be available around august. In this case all you have to do is run "netpkg upgrade-all" - and your system will be updated. It cannot be easier than that!
Some people have asked, why Minislack and not the real Slackware? To me the answer is easy. As a beginner I need the usual applications, but I do not need too many options, since I have no background for choosing one over the other. A user with routine could easily pick out the packages he needs, but a newbie would not know one package from the other. It is possible to unselect a few applications perhaps, but close to impossible to see through the vast amount of libraries and not least fighting
the feared dependencies.
In Minislack the choices has been taken for me - in my opinion excellent choices. It gives a complete distribution with a small footprint, and you can add packages as you find the need for them. I feel it is better to start with a small system, then add what you need.
Minislack is easy on hardware requirements. I have seen claims of Minislack running on a Pentium 233 MHz with only 64 Mb RAM. Minislack run very smooth on my own PC. It is a Pentium II, 400 MHz, with 256 Mb of RAM and an NVidia RIVA TNT2 Graphics Adapter card (32 Mb RAM). It resides on a 1.5 Gb partition + a second 386 Mb harddrive. Swap is only 32 Mb, which is on the low side. I never see Minislack swapping to it, though, buf if you're going to stream some TV or edit a very large picture with
GIMP, then it will become a problem.
If you're going to install more on top of your Minislack than just a few apps, if you intend to burn CD's (eg. ISO's), then you need more space, say 3 Gb.
The main site is : http://www.minislack.org/ - check it out!
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 9
Tight, fast, sobre - 'less is more', the Linux way - and the lovely Xfce desktop :)
So far? None :)
Coming from SuSE and Kanotix, Minislack was quite of a leap - based on Slackware... I remember my first linux experience being Slackware 9.0 - man I was so excited about that! Popped in the cd, installed, rebooted, hell, what am I supposed to do with a command line login? Where's the graphical login? Why do I have to login?
Anyway, those days are over... Some minor tweaking sufficed to adapt Minislack to a normal desktop user's needs. As a treat you get the Xfce DE - man I love that :). So neat & fast!
Anyway, back ontopic. Whereas SuSE did all my configuration for me - HP printer, Canon scanner, with Minislack, I had to do that all myself. No problem though... Spitting in the SANE and CUPS documentation and some googling taught me the tricks I needed to start out.
Furthermore, OpenOffice 1.9 is nicely integrated, and I absolutely loooove the restricted amount of packages that comes with the default install. The choices are made for you, instead of giving you 10 apps for every possible purpose you might ever consider (the way the major distro's do it). When you ask me, I think the choices made here are excellent choices (although I had some strange error messages with Gnomebaker, I replaced that with K3b), and the majority of the packages are very recent - if not all.
Another great feature is the 'netpkg' updater/installer. This program will search for updated/new/uninstalled packages available in the repositories (you can add some yourself, as long as they're slackware repositories). One command that upgrades your whole system, simple & efficient. Do you want more?
On the other hand, you can also download packages with netpkg that aren't available on the CD - extra packages (like OpenOffice 1.9 for example). You keep a nice and small install cd, but still, if you might want some additional packages, you can still look for them with netpkg :). Piece of cake :D.
The forum is also very responsive, helpful guys over there (of course I am one of them :D). Despite of being a young (but very promising) distro, Minislack has already a lot of useful tutorials (installation, frequent problems, howto's) available, which is truly great if you run into problems - you don't have to post on a bunch of forums, no you can just check the site and follow the instructions. How do you love that?
Minislack is said to install on 1.1 GB (with a full install), but I recommend at least 2 GB. If you want to install other programs (like OpenOffice 1.9 (100 MB), Acrobat Reader 7 (80 MB) and KDE components (300 MB)), i strongly suggest you install Minislack on a 2.5 GB partition. Even with all the programs you ain't gonna use removed (for example gnumeric, abiword, gnuplot, anjuta, bluefish, ...), you still need some spare space.