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ottavio 09-12-2013 03:06 PM

Farewell Slackware, farewell LQ
I would like to use this thread to thank those who helped me in these 6 years as a poster on LQ. I joined LQ only because of Slackware. I never believed in the forum format but the alternative at that time was alt.os.linux.slackware which was infested by trolls.

I don't see any point in following Slackware any more because of the stubbornness of the Slackware crowd in thinking that smartphones and tablets are not proper computers and to be honest also because my recent posts were ignored.

Thank you for what I've learnt here but it's time for me to move on.


dugan 09-12-2013 03:09 PM

I'm sorry you feel that way.

And as for the "stubbornness" you were complaining about, take some responsibility.

YellowApple 09-12-2013 03:52 PM

To build upon what dugan is was saying (looks like he edited his post while I was typing this), I don't think any of the responses were along the lines of "we shouldn't ever target mobile devices"; rather (at least of the ones I read), they were objections to the idea that Slackware would have to have its own fancy UI. Slackware is not Ubuntu; it is not led by an egotistical multimillionaire with a chronic case of Not Invented Here Syndrome (well, for all I know Pat might secretly be an egotistical multimillionaire, but he doesn't seem to be suffering from NIH Syndrome ;) ). Slackware doesn't *need* to have its own unique GUI, because Slackware - including Pat and the fine Slackers who use and help improve his OS - are comfortable with building upon existing projects; if a mobile interface is desired, then it would be desirable to use, say, KDE Plasma Active.

I agree fully with the idea that smartphones and tablets are proper computers. I don't agree with the idea that Slackware needs its very own UI project when there are other projects to refer to that can probably be adapted for mobile use cases with less effort and better results.

That said, there are a few ideas I've been mulling around for a keyboard-independent tiling window manager (i.e. being able to use mouse and/or touch gestures instead of having to rely on a keyboard for window manipulation); being a Slackware user, it's natural for me to make Slackware the primary target. Maybe I'll start writing some code one of these days.

Didier Spaier 09-12-2013 03:54 PM

Well, the Slackware crowd (including me) is mostly made of end-users.

But as you know, the job is mostly done by Patrick Volkerding, helped by contributors skilled but few.

I can't speak on behalf of Mr Volkerding but am not aware that he despises tablets or smart phones.

But it seems me obvious that porting Slackware to these kind of devices would need:
  • proper upstream software
  • sufficient workforce
I'm not sure that be available right now.

Bazzaah 09-12-2013 04:29 PM


Originally Posted by ottavio (Post 5026663)
I would like to use this thread to thank those who helped me in these 6 years as a poster on LQ. I joined LQ only because of Slackware. I never believed in the forum format but the alternative at that time was alt.os.linux.slackware which was infested by trolls.

I don't see any point in following Slackware any more because of the stubbornness of the Slackware crowd in thinking that smartphones and tablets are not proper computers and to be honest also because my recent posts were ignored.

Thank you for what I've learnt here but it's time for me to move on.


Who's the Slackware crowd? How are they stubborn? Whom have they been resisting, and why? What would you like to be different?

But sure, use a different OS if you like, the choice is yours.

ReaperX7 09-12-2013 04:55 PM

Slackware is what you the end-user make it out to be. Regardless of which distribution you drift off to, you'll never find another quality GNU/Linux distribution like Slackware.

Just because Slackware doesn't "cater" to a certain market doesn't mean it's stubborn. In fact Slackware has many system ports, but it's up to developers who are interested to make the final call if they want to help sponsor a distribution for a preset market.

Just because Slackware doesn't have a default UI, doesn't make it stubborn, either. Slackware's default UI is the Bash Shell. Just because other distributions have a fancy-shamcy UI defaulting to like Xfce, Gnome 3, or KDE 4 doesn't mean it's any worse off. Bash gives choice.

Slackware is about choice, plain and simple, and Patrick is granting us the highest amount of freedom to use Slackware as we see fit. That's why Patrick is the Benevolent Dictator for Life of Slackware Linux, because Patrick is willing to grant the users of his distribution the HIGHEST level of freedom, he's willing to allow a non-x86/x64 distribution of Slackware to be created.

We could be a locked in distribution like Ubuntu, Fedora, or even SuSE, but we aren't. We are Slackware, we are freedom, and we are choice...


slimkid 09-12-2013 07:32 PM

Concerning the future of computing, Linux, and Slackware
Let's just imagine for a few moments what computing might look like 20 years from now for ordinary home and office users, based on the (probably incorrect) assumption that no new devices are invented in that time.

What commercial interests drive the needs of RAM, CPU, and GPU manufacturers to continually make their components faster? --Heavy multimedia applications (e.g., movie editing), other types of workstations in a business environment, and of course also gaming.

What, however, do most business users need? A computer that can run (and importantly, multitask) email, spreadsheets, word processors, development environments, and the like.

What do casual users need? Pretty much the same thing, plus support for movies, music, and lightweight games.

That pretty much covers the vast majority of computer users. (So excluding servers.)

Is there any reason to believe that in the next 20 years, word processors, programming environments, email clients, and the like, will suddenly become far more resource intensive than they are now? Probably not.

There must come a point in hardware progression, therefore (in fact we have probably long crossed this point), where additional computing power will not be needed for everyone who isn't running a heavy-duty workstation or gaming system. That means that the market will have to at some point experience a significant split, more so than it already has.

What we call our "desktop computers" today will probably move to the living room to become dedicated media consumption devices, including gaming -- essentially merging the traditional home videogame console with the traditional desktop computer.

What we today treat as more "portable" devices (i.e. laptops) will then end up in our offices, because there is no reason to put so much computing power into something tomorrow's smartphones can handle. The input devices and the display will need to remain as hefty or nearly as hefty as they are now, and importantly, the input will need to remain separate from the display. Bending over a screen that you touch is not feasible for your back, nor is constantly lifting your arms up to a screen that sits vertically in front of you. The shape of our bodies and the requirements of ergonomics ensure that there is a limit to how much the computing landscape will change from today.

However, the actual hardware holding the computing components (e.g., CPU) will by that time (beyond any shadow of a doubt) fit into your palm. However devices like the Ubuntu Edge wouldn't be completely necessary -- while plugging in would be possible, you generally won't need to plug your phone into your monitor in your home or office, because your monitor will likely already have all of the needed components (like an iMac). It would simply be an unnecessary cost to have so many extra pieces of hardware sitting around.

As for smartphones and tablets, they obviously have their uses, but realistically speaking one cannot really use them for much else besides the most simplistic of tasks. The tablets of the future will honestly look a lot like Microsoft's Surface Pro -- a full computer on a small screen, with a fold out keyboard for getting real work done when you're on the go and don't have any other choice. Smartphones can never replicate this behavior due to their tiny size, so a "tablet/laptop hybrid" similar to the Surface Pro is here to stay.

So what are we left with, 20 years from now? (Again based on the most probably false assumption that nothing significant gets invented by then.)
1. High-end workstations
2. High-end home media centers as game console replacements
3. Low-end home media centers for old people and casuals
4. Lightweight business/office computers, probably embedded in some other device*
5. Tablet/laptop hybrid devices
6. Phones that we would today call "superphones"

* Keep in mind that device #4 could easily be embedded in #5 or #6 with an external display and input devices a la Ubuntu Edge, but not necessarily -- who knows where they will be embedded.

So not really a whole lot different from today, huh? So now to answer the question of whether Slackware needs ever to be ported to mobiles, we have to think not just about hardware change -- but software change.

On the one hand, there is the maxim, "Do one thing and do it well". Well this is certainly true if we are talking about a very small unit of software. But it makes no sense to apply this to an entire operating system, because an OS is already a combination of many things that are capable of doing many things very well. Slackware is a "general-purpose" (i.e. multi-purpose) OS -- so already it violates this piss-poor interpretation of the maxim anyway. And besides, if you were a true believer in this maxim, you would only use Windows for the desktop, since (WARNING: fact incoming) the Windows 7 desktop environment is more stable than KDE or GNOME or any other feature-complete Linux DE.

No, the reason you use Linux is not because it's "about choice". That's a very insidious lie used to justify petty developer politics. Linux is the opposite of choice -- it is a fascist operating system that takes over virtually every device it can. If you want a single operating system that runs on nearly all of your old and new devices (there is no other kernel I know of that can compete with Linux's hardware abstraction layer) and can therefore run all of your programs across the board, you HAVE to use Linux. You don't have a choice, nor should you. Choice is inefficient -- it prevents progress and is therefore "anti-scientific". (The "infectious" nature of the GNU GPL ensures that Linux is as pro-science and anti-choice as possible -- like when Google gave up on trying to maintain a separate Android kernel.)

Linux is about the power and flexibility inherent in its system design. It is deeply hindered in userspace by the "choicetards" who think that it's important to have a choice between sound systems, desktop environments, and the like, instead of just choosing the obviously superior one and forcing everyone to work on it to make it as flexible as possible. Linux needs a "userspace leader" who is as awesomely amoral as Linus Torvalds to viciously strike down all of the inferior products that are taking talent and bug-reporting away from the real projects. KDE, in spite of being the most flexible desktop environment I've ever used, still infuriates me. My system tray bugs out a little when IBus is running. I don't even care if there's a way to fix it -- the very existence of the problem is unacceptable nonsense. (And don't tell me to use SCIM, because (for Chinese anyway) that is just abominable.)

The only way forward is for desktop system software to be developed the same way the Linux kernel is -- fascist-style open-source of course (I mean restrictive licensing), but with clear top-level leadership that forces software developers to focus on perfecting a single system rather than hopelessly trying to juggle compatibility between 20 different half-broken "choices". Red Hat is not this leader -- they have chosen GNOME 3, which proves they have no taste whatsoever LOL, nor is Canonical -- whose visually pleasing but isolationist desktop softwares are doomed to failure, just as Google's isolationist Android kernel was doomed and forced to submit to its master.

I use Slackware because Pat Volkerding comes closer than anyone I know if in the Linux community to being a sensible human being with good taste. (This is, apart from Linus Torvalds, who can't be bothered with userland.) That taste could be improved, by replacing SCIM with IBus for example. KMix+KDE's Phonon using ALSA is also frighteningly bad, and I was forced to replace them with Pulse+pavucontrol, although I don't blame him for that. Linux just isn't meant to be listened to at the moment, I'm afraid.

Is Slackware ideal because it gives you lots of choices? Slackware doesn't give you lots of choices. You ALWAYS HAVE choices, but it doesn't give them to you. Pat made the choice of KDE for us, because he didn't have the space for both and KDE was the obviously better option. If you want GNOME you have to do extra work for it. LibreOffice was an unfortunate casualty due to its large size, but then we have AlienBOB to thank for making a proper (though aesthetically VASTLY inferior) office productivity suite easily available. So they've got a decent system going on. And that's about the highest praise I'm capable of giving to desktop Linux at the moment. It's certainly more than I would say for most other distros.

I firmly believe in the inevitability of the scientific progress of computer software -- which means eventual convergence, because convergence is ultimately more efficient for everyone. But this process always follows the hardware. Linux has never necessitated the invention of new hardware, as far as I know -- it follows it but does not precede it. Thus I think that for the 20-year span I mentioned above, we could still very possibly see quite a bit of OS fragmentation between the three major categories -- workstations, home media centers, and casual use devices (tablets/laptops, phones, basic office computers). Slackware will still be as useful for workstations as they are now -- and I don't really know how often they get used for this purpose, but in any case I see no reason why there should be any substantial change in this sphere.

Home media center computers will likely still be tightly wound up with proprietary tools in 20 years, as "media" refers to art (TV shows, movies, videogames), which will never and should never be "open-source" because that's dumb. Art is not science. Tools need to be made open-source for them to really work in the long-run, but with art the tools are secondary and all that matters is that they work for delivering the "art" content, not that they be free of closed-source backdoors or anything like that. Whatever OS runs media the best/fastest is the one that will be used in these machines, period. And nobody knows if that will still be Windows 20 years from now.

It's only in the third and final category that Slackware's future relevance can be said to be in jeopardy. We all know that desktop systems are going nowhere, but the actual computing components and the OSes they run are in question here. It all depends on how the whole mobile phone vs. tablet/laptop market plays out. OSes designed specifically for tablets are doomed. Windows RT, anyone? So they will either have to share software with smartphones, which is a waste of power, or much more likely they will as I said be like Microsoft's Surface Pro, running the full desktop OS on a touch-screen tablet, with optional fold out keyboard, etc., in which case Slackware will simply use the touch interface software that gets developed for whatever DE is in use at that time.

Or, the desktop and portable OSes will all converge into one single system for maximum flexibility. This is the ideal scenario, but not for Slackware, because it means that it will eventually have to be relegated to merely forking a bigger OS, like how Mint improves on Ubuntu, or dying altogether.

And it's the mass market that dictates the options for much of the smaller markets, so ultimately these "masses-friendly OSes" will probably overtake home media and workstation computers as well, but much later. So yeah, Slackware as an independent OS is doomed, but not for a long time, but this isn't exactly a revelation -- all beautiful things must die some day. And anyway we use it now and for many years to come because it seems to be the best possible option right now, not because it was made by the magical immortal operating system fairies....

dugan 09-12-2013 07:41 PM

Ottavio's timeframe for PCs (to run Slackware on) dying out was 5 years. Not 20.

slimkid 09-12-2013 07:53 PM

And you should be able to understand that I'm suggesting Ottavio's prediction isn't entirely groundless, except for his timeframe.

dugan 09-12-2013 07:54 PM


Originally Posted by slimkid (Post 5026785)
And you should be able to understand that I'm suggesting Ottavio's prediction isn't entirely groundless, except for his timeframe.

That makes it entirely groundless.

slimkid 09-12-2013 07:59 PM

Do you have an ax to grind with him or something? Who the hell cares what his timeframe was, or about anything he said. The point is that it's as good an opportunity as any to talk about the future.

dugan 09-12-2013 08:06 PM


Originally Posted by slimkid (Post 5026790)
Do you have an ax to grind with him or something? Who the hell cares what his timeframe was, or about anything he said. The point is that it's as good an opportunity as any to talk about the future.

No it's not. If you don't care about anything he said, and you just want to talk about the future, then start another thread.

apolinsky 09-12-2013 08:38 PM

Having been around since Slackware 2.2 I have some perspective. In the early 8-'s the premier word processor was Wordstar. If you try to rad those files today you will have some problems. You would not have any difficulty ready BOOKS produced at the3 same time. Patrick does not necessarily immediately adapt to the latest platform. He doesn't, most likely, have the time or the money to do so, but his distribution is reliable, and easy to maintain. It is similar to BSD in it's various permutations. It works. Over time. And is secure. It largely depends on what you need a computer to do. The head of DEC once said he didn't think the market for computer was very large. Perhaps he was right.

hitest 09-12-2013 09:38 PM


Very sorry to hear that! Perhaps you could take a break from the forums and Slackware and relax for a bit. Your reaction to ignored posts seems a bit extreme in my opinion. Some distance may give you some perspective. Slackware is worth it in my opinion. I hope to see you back here again at some point.

ReaperX7 09-12-2013 09:40 PM

I'm going to say this...

Desktop PCs will always be around just like Server PCs because desktops by comparison are cheaper and more cost effective to produce than laptops or even tablet PCs. The desktop PC isn't going anywhere any time soon, if ever. The Server Unit isn't going to vanish either as both desktops and servers have very much in common.

Laptops will always be a favorite of students and educators because of the compactness and portability, while tablet units have very limited abilities but are useful to those who find them somewhat useful. Yes they're fun, and mildly helpful, but honestly can you really get as much work done with them as you can a traditional desktop/laptop PC? No you can't. This isn't Star Trek TNG where Geordi La Forge is on the Enterprise-D with his Does-It-All Tablet unit having Lt. Data hack it so they can gain control of the ship back from the Romulans while holding up in Sick Bay with the Doors welded shut.

The Tablet PC is honestly a fad and it's really limited in usefulness in my opinion. Already as it is, Smart Phones like the Galaxy Note II have virtually replaced the Tablet PC by duplicating Smart Phone + Tablet abilities in a single unit. I mean seriously, if you have a Note II, why bother getting anything else?

Sadly you're sorely mistaken about Linux being fascist. Yes, Linux can support a good number of hardware systems, but that's on the choice of the developers and contributors of GNU/Linux to support as many systems as possible by offering a free OS where Microsoft chooses to either force you to upgrade or dumps you off without support.

Plus GNU/Linux offers a variety of distributions whereas Windows offers usually 3 choices. Home, Pro, and Server editions.

Just because you see only an illusion of free-will with GNU/Linux doesn't mean free-will isn't actually there in another form. Free-will takes many forms: Red Hat or Slackware, source built or prebuilt packages, KDE or Gnome, kernel 3.4 or kernel 3.10, ALSA or OSSv4 to name a few.

Just because GNU/Linux can take over older systems more effectively than Windows doesn't mean GNU/Linux is truly fascist in any regards. It means GNU/Linux actually is developed to support systems and prolong the life-time of systems by people who actually want to support their users properly, not trash them and demand and upgrade at a premium payment price.

With GNU/Linux sadly you have choices of all kinds but how you choose what you want and for what you need, is entirely up to you with some research coming your way.

Not to mention non-Linux systems like NetBSD, as an example, support a vast range of hardware, almost to which you could probably load it into a toaster oven.

If you want to know a true Fascist OS, look at OS-X for Macintosh. OS-X is a pure fascist OS. There is no real choice, but OS-X, and if you stray outside of OS-X not only do you lose support for OS-X, you loose support of said PC it was installed upon.

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