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Old 09-03-2003, 11:12 AM   #1
Registered: Jun 2003
Posts: 34

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Considering Slackware

Here's the skinny:

I've been primarily a Windows user for my 8 or so years of computing. Within the last two years I've dabbled in Redhat and Mandrake periodically, although I've never used either for an extensive length of time or as my main OS.

As of right now I have decided to completely rid my PC of Windows and make the full conversion to Linux. I'm currently leaning towards Redhat since I've at least played with before and know generally what it's about. However, I've read about Slackware and how it is a good distro in terms of getting in and getting your hands dirty and learning about *nix.

What I'm curious to know, since I am relatively a linux newbie (meaning I've on occasion tinkered with some config files and have enough command line knowledge to perform simple tasks) is Slackware going to be a bit overwhelming for me to use as my first primary Linux distro? I want to be able to tinker around with things, but at the same time not be overwhelmed and intimidated, because the last thing I want at this point in time is to play with a 1000 config files before getting something to work.

What are your thoughts and experiences with this type of situation?
Old 09-03-2003, 11:39 AM   #2
LQ Guru
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Sparta, NC USA
Distribution: Ubuntu 10.04
Posts: 5,141

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Only you know your ideal distro and yes, there is a fairly steep learing curve that the links in my signature help to climb it.

# Linux Distribution links:
A Beginner's Guide to Choosing a Linux Distribution
Reasons to Choose or Not Choose Linux
LWN distro list
elinux Linux Distributions

Pick one and try it. All are good except for the ones that try to run on the Microsoft filesystems.

# Red Hat links
Installing from a Hard Drive
Red Hat Linux Manuals
Get your mp3 support here
Maximum RPM
Easier software management: apt4rpm - Red Carpet
Red Hat 8.0 Tips & Tricks

# Red Hat 7.3 down configuration commands
setup leads to several configuration tools

# Red Hat 7.3 up configuration commands
Configure soundcard:
Configure X server:
Configure network:
Manage software:
Red Hat 9.0 Package Management Tool
Manage users

# Handling NTFS
New Technology FileSystem (NTFS) HOWTOs
Linux NTFS project

# Slackware
The Official Guide To Slackware Linux
Old 09-04-2003, 12:44 AM   #3
LQ Newbie
Registered: Sep 2003
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 18

Rep: Reputation: 0
It isn't very hard. I have been frustrated with Suse and Mandrake when their wizards failed and in some cases rewrote configs I fixed. Most things in Slack work 'out of the box' and the stuff that doesn't is easy to fix since Slack keeps most packages (and paths and configs) the way the maintainers intended.

Little things like changing the default login manager, making sound work, setting up cd-burners, etc. are simple and you should learn these things quick anyhow.

On the other hand, I have never been able to get my printer working but I'm not very bright so YMMV. The startup scripts are by far the simplest to use (or rewrite) of the major distros.

On the downside you don't get the advantage of rpm, on the upside you don't get the disadvantages rpm.

IMHO, it's worth the small extra effort (unless you really need to print something

Old 09-04-2003, 01:09 AM   #4
Registered: Apr 2003
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 345
Blog Entries: 5

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I think you won't have any trouble with Slackware. As mentioned above, it picks up on most all your hardware, and those things it doesn't pick up are almost always fixable in some way or other. Which brings me to the main advantage of Slackware and distro's like it: you don't get a runaround from the operating system when something doesn't work. There are no mysterious settings files you can't get to and there are almost no inexplicable errors that can't be fixed. All in all it is very hands-on indeed, but once you get going you should have no problems solving your own little issues and system hick-ups.

Craig: have you tried apsfilter's ./SETUP?

Old 09-04-2003, 05:22 AM   #5
LQ Newbie
Registered: Sep 2003
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 18

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zsejk: Well put on the Slack comments and thanks for the printing tip, I like the shell script aspect. Truth is I never really cared much about the printer and so I quit easy. But this APSFILTER thing looks like it would be fun to play with regardless of whether or not my printer starts working : )

Old 09-04-2003, 06:13 AM   #6
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: --> X <-- You are here.
Distribution: Slackware, OpenBSD
Posts: 292

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Hi Rudebr00d.

If you want something really simple to use, I would suggest getting a Mac...

More seriously, a very good place to start, IMHO, is the "Slackware Essentials" book, that is actually available over the Internet, at

This book covers a lot of features, and explains a lot of stuff in a simple-to-understand manner. It's not very large, and therefore, perfect if you want to get a quick idea of how Slackware works. Reading documentation is important when using Linux (any distro), because the system is quite complex.

Another, more general, book is the "Rute" book, which you can find at the following address:

Now, if you really don't understand a thing in the "Slackware Essentials", I would suggest going to Red Hat first, then to Slackware later, once you have a better "grasp" of Linux.

The idea behind Red Hat [and many others!] is to "hide" the complexity of Linux behind a layer of GUI tools, just like Microsoft tries to hide the complexity of Windows XP behind its own GUI tools.

These tools can be pretty good, but, if they are buggy, they can create more problems than they solve.

On the other hand, the idea behind Slackware is that it's better to leave the user complete control over the system and not try to hide Linux complexity. Therefore you are in charge, and not some GUI utility. This means that, if you blow it, you are responsible. But this also means you learn a lot more about the system in the process.

Slackware also aims to be as stable as possible, which means that you won't find the "latest and greatest", but only software that has been well tested. This is another, great reason to try Slackware.

Finally, this forum (and many others) are a great resource if you'd like to "pick the brains" of people who have more experience... Just remember to read a lot before you try to

That's about it. You took a great decision to leave MS behind and I wish you all the best with whatever Linux you decide to use!
Old 09-04-2003, 06:17 AM   #7
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: --> X <-- You are here.
Distribution: Slackware, OpenBSD
Posts: 292

Rep: Reputation: 46

If you are using LPRng, get "LPRngTool", it only requires the TCL/Tk packages to be installed.

If you REALLY can't make it work, just try CUPS...

Hope this helps!


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