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Old 05-25-2016, 03:43 PM   #1
tallship
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Exclamation "Is It Soup Yet?", and the relevance of versioning in Slackware moving forward...


Rarely do I chime in on one of those, 'Yet Another..." threads related to when the next version of Slackware will be announced.

Guilty, I am, at least for entertaining thoughts on a myriad of occasions on whether to post one of those "RTFChangeLog" digs on the uninitiated, yet well meaning Slackers new to the fold.

Truth is, I almost couldn't care less about when the next version of Slackware will be announced.... almost

In fact, for the past few years, I have secretly contemplated the relevance of Slackware releases. I have almost no use for them in relative terms, at least where my own needs in production are concerned.

I learned a valuable tool about 18 or so years ago, considering that my daughter, The Jennifer, will be 20 years old in less than a month: When on voyages, like all small children with a limited capacity for patience, she would often ask, "Are we there yet?".

Looking even further back, I remember what Peter Weller, as the character Buckaroo Banzai said, that became an axiom of space and time: "No matter where you go..... There you are."

So I quickly set out to dissuade my daughter from asking that most irritating of questions whenever we went on a trip lasting more than a half hour of drive time.

"Are we there yet?"

"Yes. We're here!".

Frustrated, The Jennifer soon learned that she would rather not be subjected to being told that no matter where you go, there you are.

This particular pending/expected 14.2 release of Slackware is no different than any other in the sense that kids are in the back seat asking, "Are we there yet?", but this particular one has been a particularly long release cycle, and as such I thought that I would relate my personal and professional feelings on the relevance of bothering to actually version Slackware - a subject that caused a big bump years ago because Redhat and others had gone through a release versioning frenzy prompting Patrick to skip a few major version numbers as a sort of tongue-in-cheek response to those who may have felt that bigger numbers meant more current software; and then again with Slackware 13.37 - coz we're frickin' l33t, biotches!

To me, with customers who expect to be able to compare version numbers as a sort of guide to how current their installed OS is, I have to admit, simply dating the iso files I make available of -current isn't enough for them - but those folks choose Debian or CentOS anyway, so who am I fooling? My Slackers look for a recent timestamp for a -current and mount that iso when launching a VM, and when no one currently has an older timestamped iso, I remove it from the SAN (They should be mirroring -current after initial install anyway IMNSHO).

Okay, before my loquacious nature becomes too tl;dr for most folks here, I'll just step right up and spell out my personal (and professional) feelings on the matter.

1.) Versions provide a reason to subscribe to the Slackware DVD collection, earning revenue for the BDFL - perhaps the single most important reason IMO to bother with versions of Slackware.

2.) Versions, to many of us, for whom don't even bother with Slackware -stable in production are superflous... at best, they offer a "CHECKPOINT" to delineate one generation of our fav OS/distro to the next.

3.) it is often pointed out that a lot of people often don't run -current because they don't realize just how stable it is, so they wait and wait and wait for a new version, sometimes thinking that Slackware isn't as relevant as it has always been.

4.) with the introduction of Eric's Slackware-Live, based by design on -current, versioning of the Slackware distro becomes even less relevant in the grand scheme of things (Again, my personal opinions only). With stable-production release of this ware and the exceedingly easy adoption of Slackware by virtue of the uninitiated being able to join the userbase, I can only envision even less relevance on the extant versioning system that we use today for Slackware.

5.) I see a day when Patrick will entertain the thoughts of, and may indeed even consider, ending the versioning of Slackware for something along the lines of "CHECKPOINTING" it.

As an LA County Underwater instructor since the 80's, one of the things you tend to impress upon your SCUBA students is to equalize, "Early and Often". Every child who has ever swam to the bottom of an eight foot swimming pool and dared to touch the light at the bottom instead of heeding that headache to return to the surface understands the basic principles of pressure and volume - at least, intuitively.

So.... Intuitively, and except for SBo purposes, I effectively abandonded attributing major relevance to Slackware releases (with the major exception of item #1 above, which we must all endeavor to rectify for Patrick and his family's benefit), thinking instead in terms of checkpoints of -current that are suitable to maintain for a short time as a release base from which to deploy Slackware in production.

Just my tarnished two cents, but I know a lot of people that pay more attention to the changelogs and their own mirrors for their own versioning purposes instead of the rigid, official releases that we are all grateful for on another level.

So, in closing, I would like to answer some of the questions in forthcoming, and previous threads like this:

"When will the next version of Slackware be released?"

"Lemme check.... um... it hit most mirrors about 17 minutes ago".

I could have said more, but even less folks here would have bothered to read it lolz.

Kindest regards,
 
Old 05-25-2016, 03:54 PM   #2
Mobile1
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The most interesting part is in your signature - http://Linboard.org - it doesn't work : ) Otherwise, Linux (Slackware) works well the way it is, and if you want to upgrade it - you can, but you have to know what you're doing.

Later on,
 
Old 05-25-2016, 04:06 PM   #3
kikinovak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tallship View Post
3.) it is often pointed out that a lot of people often don't run -current because they don't realize just how stable it is, so they wait and wait and wait for a new version, sometimes thinking that Slackware isn't as relevant as it has always been.
Slackware -current is stable indeed... until there's breakage. You don't want that to happen on a production server.

Besides Slackware, I'm increasingly running CentOS, because it's based on a principle of low-risk predictable long-term security updates. Meaning bugs are patched while at the same time, no new potentially buggy features are added. Which allows network administrators to sleep soundly at night, without wondering what nasty surprises tomorrow's updates will bring.

Slackware stable, while not exactly subscribing to the enterprise Linux model which would include backporting bugfixes to older software components like Red Hat does, nevertheless finds a healthy approach to keeping things secure in its stable releases, and that's why I like using it. I bluntly admit I have no use for Slackware -current. I prefer keeping the spirit of adventure for my climbing hikes.

Cheers,

Niki
 
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:05 PM   #4
hitest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tallship View Post
1.) Versions provide a reason to subscribe to the Slackware DVD collection, earning revenue for the BDFL - perhaps the single most important reason IMO to bother with versions of Slackware.
Yup. I have a subscription and will continue to support our BDFL and help to ensure the longevity of Slackware. At the moment 4/5 of my boxes are running -current.
 
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:46 PM   #5
enine
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I hope you do realize that most of the "are we there yet" are just joking.

I use new Slackware versions as time for new hardware. I typically put in a new hdd and start clean then the old hdd goes in the old laptop and the old hdd from the old laptop becomes a server drive and the old drive from the server goes in one of the kids laptops, etc.
 
Old 05-26-2016, 01:12 AM   #6
drgibbon
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Version numbers still seem relevant to me, particularly with the way Slackware is developed. Also all the SBo slackbuilds are made for a certain release, so you can be fairly sure that they will build if you are running the appropriate Slackware version. Works well with the "solid base and only security updates approach". Maybe you run into some troubles with very new software once the release starts to age, but that's the "reliability vs cutting edge" trade-off that you get with Slackware.
 
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Old 05-26-2016, 08:00 AM   #7
ttk
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I'm in the same boat as kikinovak. Reliability is very important to me, both personally and professionally. Even though the risk inherent in using -current is slight, minimizing that risk is far more worth it to me than newer versions of some packages.

The largest difference between "versioning" and "checkpointing", to me, is that a stable version is also a branch. The stable branch receives bugfixes and security fixes (decreasing risk over time), while the -current branch receives new, less-tested packages (increasing risk over time).

My preferred methodology is to upgrade operating systems only when a newer version offers something I genuinely need, which the version I'm actively using does not. This minimizes risk and amortizes effort (the effort of stress-testing the new OSes with all of the software I want to run on them in a test environment, and the effort of installing the new OS on multiple systems). It is why I remained with Slackware 13.1 until 14.1 (and didn't even bother testing 13.31 -- it offered nothing I needed which 13.1 didn't already have).

Of course, different strokes for different folks. If your customers want the latest and greatest, it is only wise to give them what they want. Our criteria are different, but that doesn't make either of us wrong.
 
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:19 AM   #8
onebuck
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Member response

Hi,

I use 'Slackware64 -current' to work with my newer hardware. But I can see some users that would caution the use because of the lack of understanding and abilities to get one out of trouble when using a development branch of Slackware. One of the reasons for seasoned Slackers to present to user not to use 'Slackware -current' on 'Production' side equipment.

If you are one, like myself who like to experiment and have new hardware then testing '-current' can be a fun experience. Chilli is ready when the spices blend to perfection after cooking slowly and simmered to perfection.

Slackware -current is just like a good chilli, it's done when it's ready to be served.

Have fun & enjoy!
 
Old 05-26-2016, 12:41 PM   #9
coldbeer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tallship View Post
Rarely do I chime in on one of those, 'Yet Another..." threads related to when the next version of Slackware will be announced.

Guilty, I am, at least for entertaining thoughts on a myriad of occasions on whether to post one of those "RTFChangeLog" digs on the uninitiated, yet well meaning Slackers new to the fold.

Dude, I think you may be reading Shakespeare way too much.
 
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Old 05-26-2016, 01:04 PM   #10
Smokey_justme
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Here's my point of view:

I've grown quite fond of the Slackware stable philosophy to not change the feel of the system and trying to avoid regressions between versions... I'm also a lazy guy and can literaly feel myself groing more lazy each day so while I enjoy discovering new things, I don't like repeating what I learn (sometimes not even to improve) ... This is what -current, even if most of the times pretty stable fails to provide.. It's still a testing platform and while it's ussually more stable than a lot of production-ready versions of other distros, it still has some breakage, some knots not tested yet, some features unpolished.. Hell, you can pretty much find yourself installing a package from -current that will work just fine but break a whole lot of other things... To be, that's unacceptable even for the day-by-day usage...

Unfortunatly, a version an year was pretty ok.. but Pat sure takes it's time with this one... Fortunatly for users like me there are some periods of time when slackware-current is rock-solid and carefully choosing what to update afterwards can keep the system stable...

P.S. In all honesty, I currently have a partition ready for 14.2 and in the mean time I'm just distro-hopping and use Win10 as my main platform....
 
Old 05-26-2016, 02:26 PM   #11
keithpeter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enine View Post
I hope you do realize that most of the "are we there yet" are just joking.
Possibly OP is joking as well - pulling old mens' beards now and again does no harm.

Slackware stable allows me (a humble end user with no servers to tend) to compile recent versions of rapidly changing software (e.g. R) against a stable OS. I don't want to play upgrade lotto thanks.

Kikinovak (who has posted here already) once said

Quote:
"the only maintenance task I have to do is keeping the machines up to date and changing the toner cartridges on the printers. That's what is meant by "stable"."
That is what I need on my work machine during an academic year (I am a teacher).
 
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Old 05-26-2016, 04:27 PM   #12
hitest
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by keithpeter View Post
That is what I need on my work machine during an academic year (I am a teacher).
Very nice to meet a fellow educator! I'm a recently retired teacher(January 31, 2016) and a Slackware enthusiast.
I'm looking forward to 14.2.
 
Old 05-26-2016, 04:29 PM   #13
kikinovak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keithpeter View Post
That is what I need on my work machine during an academic year (I am a teacher).
Actually, it's a bit more than that.
 
Old 05-26-2016, 07:52 PM   #14
philanc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttk View Post
I'm in the same boat as kikinovak. Reliability is very important to me, both personally and professionally. (...)

Of course, different strokes for different folks. If your customers want the latest and greatest, it is only wise to give them what they want. Our criteria are different, but that doesn't make either of us wrong.
One more in the boat! In all this excitement about the new-release-give-me-a-new-toy brouhaha, I think that the intrinsic values of Slackware are often underestimated, if not lost.

The major one is for me --and certainly many others-- the constant flow of security updates to stable versions. Maybe not as sexy as pulseaudio or bluetooth, but so important in the long run...

A second one is the quality of the kernels selected for the stable releases. I don't know about you, but just look at the selected kernels (and compare e.g. with Ubuntu :-)), look at default kernel config, I think they really are so good. From all distributions I know, the Slackware kernel selection and config are the sanest, and the best base for customization --and we all know how good it is to start from something good rather than from a blank page!

So I don't know how much Pat makes with Slackware, and I suspect it is not much compared to the work and the value. So instead of purchasing a new release, here and there, I should better pay for a subscription, and label it "security upgrades", and at least feel that I contribute a bit for what I receive.

Phil
 
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Old 05-26-2016, 08:23 PM   #15
hitest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philanc View Post
So instead of purchasing a new release, here and there, I should better pay for a subscription, and label it "security upgrades", and at least feel that I contribute a bit for what I receive.
Phil
Agreed. I have a subscription. I feel that a subscription is a good way to ensure that our favourite OS will continue. I also buy swag at the store from time to time.
 
  


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