LinuxQuestions.org
Welcome to the most active Linux Forum on the web.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Distributions > Slackware
User Name
Password
Slackware This Forum is for the discussion of Slackware Linux.

Notices


Reply
  Search this Thread
Old 03-20-2019, 11:50 AM   #1
1337_powerslacker
Member
 
Registered: Nov 2009
Distribution: Slackware64-current,Ubuntu,openSuSE,Manjaro
Posts: 829
Blog Entries: 9

Rep: Reputation: 554Reputation: 554Reputation: 554Reputation: 554Reputation: 554Reputation: 554
Getting off the software upgrade treadmill


I've been doing some thinking over the past months regarding system stability, and I've come to agree with the general consensus that newer is not always better. I got off the hardware upgrade treadmill some time ago (that means that my venerable FX-8370 processor will be in service for the foreseeable future), and am now also getting off the software upgrade treadmill. This involves mainly three factors:
  1. Kernel series (4.20, 5.x,etc.)
  2. KDE Plasma 5
  3. NVIDIA drivers

Kernel series

A new kernel series always involves the risk of breakage due to new ABIs, APIs, and the like being introduced. While I am all for progress, the 4.19.x series seems to agree with my system, and because it falls under the 6 years of support for LTS, it will be the mainstay kernel for my system until support for it ends in 2024.

EDIT: drmozes pointed me to the kernel.org page which states that 4.19 support will be ending in December of 2020, so it looks like I'll be making a decision as to what kernel series I'll be moving to much sooner than I expected. But for the next year and some-odd months, I'll be staying put with 4.19.

KDE Plasma 5

Monthly updates are all good and proper, but the version I run (5.14.5 with Qt 11.3) functions well enough for the way I work, and it's blazingly fast. As far as I can tell, updates mainly involve new features being added and some performance improvements. KDE loads fast enough for me not to worry about any incremental increases in performance, and I don't need any new features. So until I see something in future updates that warrants a systematic upgrade, 5.14.5 stays put.

NVIDIA driver revisions

I've done some searching regarding driver updates (I have a MSI GTX 1070), and it looks like to me that driver updates mainly involve fixes to games, maybe a fix for window managers or DEs, and the like. My driver revision (418.43) works well with Plasma 5.14.5, and I see no need to change what works.


Summary and conclusions

As I've gotten older, I've come to prize a system that just works every day. Now, computers can be finicky, and I am not under the illusion that system administration will now just become a breeze. There will still be challenges to be overcome; my goal is to eliminate some major factors in possible system instability.

The point of this post isn't to incite a flamewar or anything; I'm stating this for the record. I hope that maybe someone will see this and follow suit, but this is mainly for my benefit.

Slackware is of itself a stable and performance-oriented distro, mainly because it relies on the user to manually administrate the system, instead of trusting some remote entity to do that for them, entities that don't necessarily have the user's best interests in mind, and I wish to add to that stability.

The only updates I will be performing on my system are updates to -current (yes, I am aware that -current is not necessarily the most stable, but software is a living, changing organism, and keeping up with the latest updates will keep my system from encountering nasty surprises in the future, as evidenced by posts in this forum about people having issues relating to stale old releases of software, and -current in Slackware is far more stable than the stable releases of other distros, some of which are well-known and established), and of course, the updates to the 4.19.x kernel series.

Again, this is a post for anyone that wants their system stable, and would like examples of how other people are doing that.

Happy Slacking!

Last edited by 1337_powerslacker; 03-22-2019 at 10:10 AM.
 
Old 03-20-2019, 02:06 PM   #2
drmozes
Slackware Contributor
 
Registered: Apr 2008
Location: Surrey, England
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,036

Rep: Reputation: 850Reputation: 850Reputation: 850Reputation: 850Reputation: 850Reputation: 850Reputation: 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1337_powerslacker View Post
A new kernel series always involves the risk of breakage due to new ABIs, APIs, and the like being introduced. While I am all for progress, the 4.19.x [..] ends in 2024.
Projected EOL - Dec, 2020

https://www.kernel.org/category/releases.html
 
2 members found this post helpful.
Old 03-20-2019, 02:07 PM   #3
1337_powerslacker
Member
 
Registered: Nov 2009
Distribution: Slackware64-current,Ubuntu,openSuSE,Manjaro
Posts: 829

Original Poster
Blog Entries: 9

Rep: Reputation: 554Reputation: 554Reputation: 554Reputation: 554Reputation: 554Reputation: 554
Quote:
Originally Posted by drmozes View Post
Thanks for pointing me to that page! I stand corrected!
 
Old 03-20-2019, 03:10 PM   #4
kgha
Member
 
Registered: May 2018
Location: Sweden
Distribution: Slackware 64 -current multilib from AlienBob's LiveSlak MATE
Posts: 419

Rep: Reputation: 310Reputation: 310Reputation: 310Reputation: 310
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1337_powerslacker View Post
As I've gotten older, I've come to prize a system that just works every day.
(---)
I hope that maybe someone will see this and follow suit...
Well, I've gotten older too. Having retired from work a few months ago, I have more time for keeping the system up to date - but also more time to question the point of it.

I think your reasoning is perfectly sound. For myself I'm thinking of taking it a bit further: when Slackware15 is launched I'll probably switch from -current to -stable. Might have to reconsider that, of course, but right now it feels as the right choice for me, considering my needs and expectations.

Of course security issues may be an argument for kernel upgrades, but I'll address that when it happens.

I hope that both you and I will enjoy many more years of happy slacking, and I wish the same to all those who choose to upgrade to the very latest (thus helping us Luddites by wiping out the bugs in the early versions).
 
8 members found this post helpful.
Old 03-20-2019, 03:45 PM   #5
hitest
Guru
 
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Prince Rupert, B.C., Canada
Distribution: Slackware, OpenBSD, Debian
Posts: 6,589

Rep: Reputation: 2807Reputation: 2807Reputation: 2807Reputation: 2807Reputation: 2807Reputation: 2807Reputation: 2807Reputation: 2807Reputation: 2807Reputation: 2807Reputation: 2807
Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by kgha View Post
For myself I'm thinking of taking it a bit further: when Slackware15 is launched I'll probably switch from -current to -stable.
At the moment I'm running 5 laptops/desktops with Slackware64-current; they're all running well. When 15 is released I will move 3 units to the -stable branch. I will keep 2 -current boxes.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 03-20-2019, 03:48 PM   #6
PROBLEMCHYLD
Senior Member
 
Registered: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,143

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
I just updated a computer I had sitting around Dell 3541 AMD. I put a Crucial SSD 500GB + 8GB crucial ram. I have never been a fan of AMD, after installing Slackware 64 + Mled dual boot with Win 7, computer is pretty responsive. I'm straying away from the latest as well.
 
Old 03-20-2019, 04:43 PM   #7
drgibbon
Senior Member
 
Registered: Nov 2014
Distribution: Slackware64 -current
Posts: 1,005

Rep: Reputation: 674Reputation: 674Reputation: 674Reputation: 674Reputation: 674Reputation: 674
I'd like to try KDE 5, but I'm still waiting for it to land in -current (I know I could run ktown, but it's my work system and running -current is already far enough for me). Glad to hear it's stable and fast though!
 
Old 03-20-2019, 07:25 PM   #8
bamunds
Member
 
Registered: Sep 2013
Location: Mounds View MN
Distribution: Slackware64-14.2 XDM_Themes/WMaker
Posts: 735

Rep: Reputation: 229Reputation: 229Reputation: 229
There are many of us on stable because of the same desire.. to avoid the software upgrades every week and occasional breakage. I run stable because it is, well ...stable! Yes I run Window Maker because it works well and is ...stable. I don't chase the latest version of KDE or XFCE. I use practically no KDE or XFCE applications (maybe K3B, or Thunar/Dolphin occasionally). It fits my work flow.

Th second week of each month system administration involves,
1. check of kernel.org log to find security,Specter, reverts that affect my platform (x86_64) or hardware (ath9K) and USB improvements. This PC runs 4.19 - because PV configs are standard configs and his kernel releases are not Slackware specific. Also, GKH recommends "latest" long term release and it seems to implement updates as quickly as stable branch.
2. Running the Slackware updates ie. "slackpkg update, slackpkg install-new, slackpkg upgrade-all, slackpkg clean-system"
3. Running the slackbuilds updates ie. "sbocheck updates" and then determining if the newer version have security issues or simply features. I might upgrade for feature every six months.
4. I'll also check java release security, since I build it locally with PV provided slackbuild in /extra.
5. Last step is to run an archive backup to a second computer on the LAN so that a hardware failure can be recovered with minimal loss of data.
All this activity will result in maybe 4 hours of time, not counting the build time of some apps or kernel.

Twice a year there is a cleaning of the hardware from dust bunnies and inspection of capacitors(this is a fourteen year old PC and leaking bad caps happen).
Once a year there is a review of software being used. For example the developments in browser, browser extensions, OpenOffice, PDF viewer, email features, GNUCash functions, slackpkg+, and sbotools. I check if I'm really using the extra slackbuilds software or can it be uninstalled and save time with updating. Since my graphics card is a GEForce 8400GS, the Nouveau driver works without having to track NVIDIA releases, that would add time to kernel build.

This schedule works for me. Thought I'd share it. Cheers.
 
3 members found this post helpful.
Old 03-21-2019, 01:23 AM   #9
1337_powerslacker
Member
 
Registered: Nov 2009
Distribution: Slackware64-current,Ubuntu,openSuSE,Manjaro
Posts: 829

Original Poster
Blog Entries: 9

Rep: Reputation: 554Reputation: 554Reputation: 554Reputation: 554Reputation: 554Reputation: 554
Quote:
Originally Posted by kgha View Post
Well, I've gotten older too. Having retired from work a few months ago, I have more time for keeping the system up to date - but also more time to question the point of it.
I haven't as yet reached that point (I have around 20 years of work to accomplish before that happens), but in the past, I've had the inclination to upgrade just because it was there. But the trade-off is that instability often rears its ugly head at the most unexpected times. I'm not of a mind to deal with that because it has been my experience that it happens at the most inconvenient of times.

Quote:
I think your reasoning is perfectly sound. For myself I'm thinking of taking it a bit further: when Slackware15 is launched I'll probably switch from -current to -stable. Might have to reconsider that, of course, but right now it feels as the right choice for me, considering my needs and expectations.
Thanks. -stable sounds at first like it would be a good choice for stability, given Slackware's track record, but I've heard many reports of how upgrades to the latest version can go wrong when you've decided to give it a go. Software changes much too quickly for me to be comfortable with a -stable system. I'll deal with the possibility of breakage (seldom as it is) with -current, just to be able to have a seamlessly working system when the new -stable comes out.

Quote:
Of course security issues may be an argument for kernel upgrades, but I'll address that when it happens.
Security updates usually are backported to the LTS kernels, so I'm not worried about that.

Quote:
I hope that both you and I will enjoy many more years of happy slacking, and I wish the same to all those who choose to upgrade to the very latest (thus helping us Luddites by wiping out the bugs in the early versions).
I wish the same.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 03-21-2019, 11:57 AM   #10
enorbet
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: Virginia
Distribution: Slackware = Main OpSys
Posts: 3,509

Rep: Reputation: 3397Reputation: 3397Reputation: 3397Reputation: 3397Reputation: 3397Reputation: 3397Reputation: 3397Reputation: 3397Reputation: 3397Reputation: 3397Reputation: 3397
I am in strong agreement with the concept of being very cautious and judicious about upgrades. Since it doesn't require "either/or" to try new kernels, I try those at my leisure with no need for hurry especially since I rarely keep the default kernel of a new release for more than a few days. I build my own.

WM/DEs I don't worry about hardly at all since I am comfortable with CLI, Fluxbox, WMaker, Xfce, Enlightenment and KDE with any version of KDE other than the early 4x releases being my "go to" Desktop.

As for graphics drivers I have used nothing but nVidia since around 1990 on many operating systems and always choose the proprietary NVIDIA-foo.run installer for Linux and the analog for other OpSys. The only exception was a 2 year stint with Matrox before the nVidia driver became available for OS/2. That said I have always also been a gamer and multimedia worker so performance is very important to me and I'm pretty deep into hardware and hardware tweaking on very low levels.

It has been my experience that most graphics manufacturers, and certainly nVidia, start with beta drivers that are heavily biased for maximum performance. This is probably to post big numbers for new releases, a useful sales tool. Over time the performance usually gets dialed back in favor of compliance and stability with run-of-the-mill gear, especially onboard I/O chipsets and RAM. Once enough time passes that a newer core paradigm is released, driver updates involve, let alone improve, previous revisions less and less. So I strongly concur on reaching a somewhat ideal state for a given "orchestra" of hardware and stopping right there and then only upgrading with hardware upgrades.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 03-21-2019, 01:34 PM   #11
garpu
Member
 
Registered: Oct 2009
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 793

Rep: Reputation: 377Reputation: 377Reputation: 377Reputation: 377
I install security and other patches whenever they land. That having been said, I'm still on Slackware 14.2. I did Arch for 6 months and ran screaming back to Slackware, since I was spending most of my time trying to get things working after weekly patches that broke everything else. (Plus, the old adage of too many cooks spoiling the broth works for linux distros--when you have so many people compiling things and patching things, things break in unexpected ways. Slackware doesn't patch much, and it's more stable as a result, IMO. A lot of people love Arch because it's on a rolling distro, and good for them. It was a headache for me.)

Video card drivers I keep updated, but because I game. Otherwise...I probably wouldn't.
 
2 members found this post helpful.
Old 03-21-2019, 09:17 PM   #12
Richard Cranium
Senior Member
 
Registered: Apr 2009
Location: Carrollton, Texas
Distribution: Slackware64 14.2
Posts: 3,748

Rep: Reputation: 2085Reputation: 2085Reputation: 2085Reputation: 2085Reputation: 2085Reputation: 2085Reputation: 2085Reputation: 2085Reputation: 2085Reputation: 2085Reputation: 2085
I've had few problems (some of the few due to my use of the Nvidia drivers) by keeping a released version of Slackware to date with slackpkg. I'll check several times during the week and I'll re-run my slackrepo box every Friday night and/or Saturday to pick up changes.

If I used fewer slackbuilds.org packages, I'd probably use -current. (That's not a slam on slackbuilds.org, btw.)
 
Old 03-21-2019, 10:00 PM   #13
TarFile
Member
 
Registered: Mar 2003
Posts: 344

Rep: Reputation: 31
Yeah current breaks things if you have a lot of stuff installed. Not good for the main Linux box. Found that out the hard way
 
Old 03-21-2019, 11:15 PM   #14
ttk
Member
 
Registered: May 2012
Location: Sebastopol, CA
Distribution: Slackware64
Posts: 965
Blog Entries: 27

Rep: Reputation: 1354Reputation: 1354Reputation: 1354Reputation: 1354Reputation: 1354Reputation: 1354Reputation: 1354Reputation: 1354Reputation: 1354Reputation: 1354
I can totally relate to the desire to get off the treadmill. As long as an OS does everything I need it to do, I'll apply security fixes but otherwise just use it, not administer it.

That having been said, I'm starting to chafe a little under Slackware 14.1 (running on this laptop I'm typing this on). I've been learning to program in D, and the DMD compiler runs great on 14.2 but not 14.1. I've also been learning CUDA kernel programming, and I haven't gotten the CUDA toolchain to work under 14.1 either, but again it jfw on my workstation, which is running 14.2. Occasionally I run into a video file that can't be played on 14.1 (not with xine nor mplayer).

14.1 works great for everything else I do, and I've been updating its kernel from the 14.2 kernel packages to stay abreast of security fixes, so rather than upgrading my laptop from 14.1 to 14.2 I'm going to stick with it until 15.0 comes out, and upgrade then. The new extra/pure-alsa-system subsystem appeals to me, and once I upgrade to 15.0 I shouldn't have to upgrade again for another five years or so.

Now if browser technology would just settle down, and hardware vendors would stop putting side-channel vulns into their products, life would be golden.
 
3 members found this post helpful.
Old 03-22-2019, 07:40 AM   #15
orbea
Senior Member
 
Registered: Feb 2015
Distribution: Slackware64-current
Posts: 1,946

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Quote:
Originally Posted by garpu View Post
I did Arch for 6 months and ran screaming back to Slackware, since I was spending most of my time trying to get things working after weekly patches that broke everything else.
Please Slackware current is not remotely comparable to arch, I've run arch too and its a full time job to fix things other maintainers broke...
 
1 members found this post helpful.
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Help! Can boot off CD, but not off HD mikecrowe Linux - Hardware 4 11-23-2004 09:40 AM
Cant book off of Mandrake CDs, but can boot off of Knoppix.. WEIRD Whiskers Linux - General 6 09-05-2004 02:02 AM
How to turn off Xserver in the gui and turn it off in the command line geminiviper Linux - Newbie 8 08-20-2004 08:05 AM
Debian Unstable update treadmill causing problems Gordon Airporte Debian 3 06-21-2004 03:14 PM
apci=off or acpi=off ? mattl Linux - General 4 04-11-2004 10:42 AM

LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Distributions > Slackware

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:11 AM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration