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-   -   Is Slackware easier to use now than it was 16 years ago? (https://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/slackware-14/is-slackware-easier-to-use-now-than-it-was-16-years-ago-4175658855/)

Lysander666 08-09-2019 04:08 AM

Is Slackware easier to use now than it was 16 years ago?
 
Why specifically 16 years, you may ask. Simply because that was when I first heard about Slackware, in the Autumn of 2003. That would have been, according to Wikipedia anyway, version 9.1, so I will take that as the point of reference for this question.

I've only been using Slackware since 2018 so really I'm just a novice, but I know there are plenty of people around here who have been using it for many many years.

Can anyone here remember version[s] 9.0/9.1? Was it more difficult to install then or not? Was it more difficult to configure? Or was it just different? Slackbuilds didn't exist, so what did one do for third party packages?

For that it's worth, here are the Distrowatch top ten rankings in 2003:

Quote:

1 Mandrake 473
2 Red Hat 453
3 Gentoo 326
4 Debian 311
5 Sorcerer 253
6 SuSE 250
7 Slackware 216
8 Lycoris 209
9 Lindows 151
10 Xandros 123
To me, this shows how much more specialised knowledge was required for Linux use at the time. Four out of those ten are discontinued now.

average_user 08-09-2019 04:24 AM

I do not remember them but I think it was harder because hardware was slower and Internet access wasn't so easy and common.

Lysander666 08-09-2019 04:32 AM

Well, as far as I'm aware, some places in the Middle East [e.g. Syria] didn't receive internet at all until the late 2000s. As far as Poland goes, was it difficult to get newer hardware then? I remember visiting Poland in 2004 and being surprised by how old some of the hardware was in the shops, but maybe that was just Katowice!

I didn't think of the difficulty of Slackware install/use being dependent on location but of course that must have been more of a factor back then. Further West, getting new hardware wasn't an issue and broadband internet was relatively commonplace in 2003.

Labinnah 08-09-2019 04:41 AM

I don't remember very good what was 16 years ago, but Slackware I think in same level of easiness as was then. Maybe little tougher for me as 16 years ago my Linux knowledge was lower.

For custom package building, in times before slackbuilds.org, I've used checkinstall script which make packages from "make install" stage. Little later (as checkinstall broke in some day) I use:
Code:

DESTDIR=/some/dir make install
cd /some/dir
makepkg ../some-package.tgz

Sometimes I still use this method for building packages.



But you can check it by yourself by downloading old Slackware ISO and installing it on some older hardware or virtual machine.


Edit:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lysander666 (Post 6023226)
I remember visiting Poland in 2004 and being surprised by how old some of the hardware was in the shops.

In those days in Poland almost nobody buy whole computers in shops. Everyone assembled it by itself or by some friends. And mostly this was low/middle end hardware - so maybe it looks old.

average_user 08-09-2019 04:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lysander666 (Post 6023226)
Well, as far as I'm aware, some places in the Middle East [e.g. Syria] didn't receive internet at all until the late 2000s. As far as Poland goes, was it difficult to get newer hardware then? I remember visiting Poland in 2004 and being surprised by how old some of the hardware was in the shops, but maybe that was just Katowice!

No, it wasn't harder but I think it was relatively more expensive than it's today because salaries increased. And generally 16 years ago HDDs were smaller and SSDs were not so common, CPUs were slower, there were fewer blogs, wikis, videos, articles on the web. And I think you had to use CDs to boot because it wasn't possible to boot from USB sticks but I'm not sure.

mlangdn 08-09-2019 05:28 AM

Let's see, 99.9% of stuff works out of the box now. At least for me it does. Back then, I started with 7x Slackware. I was on dialup and had a winmodem. I had to find and learn how to compile a driver and how to configure kppp for AOL (lol). The nvidia driver for my Riva TNT M64 was in two parts. I barely remember that, and I have none of that old stuff any more.

Long live Slackware!

rkelsen 08-09-2019 05:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lysander666 (Post 6023219)
Why specifically 16 years, you may ask. Simply because that was when I first heard about Slackware, in the Autumn of 2003. That would have been, according to Wikipedia anyway, version 9.1, so I will take that as the point of reference for this question.

It was different.

Not necessarily easier, nor more difficult.

9.x were my least favourite versions... 10.x were far superior.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lysander666 (Post 6023219)
Can anyone here remember version[s] 9.0/9.1? Was it more difficult to install then or not?

The Slackware installer has not changed one iota since version 7... At least, that's how it looks to me. If you're comfortable installing 14.2 or current, then you could install any version going back at least that far... possibly further.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lysander666 (Post 6023219)
Was it more difficult to configure? Or was it just different?

Getting things like sound cards working required manual editing of the /etc/rc.d/rc.modules file, to find the right module for your sound card. Once you found it, you had to uncomment that line so that the module would load at boot. Configuring X could be finicky... that part has certainly become a LOT easier. The rest of it is very much the same... aside from auto-mounting of removable devices. IME, configuring printers worked better in the older versions which used APS Filter.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lysander666 (Post 6023219)
Slackbuilds didn't exist, so what did one do for third party packages?

1. Download the source
2. Hope that you had all of the dependancies
3. configure && make && make install
4. Cuss at the computer when the build fails because 'configure' lied to you

Labinnah 08-09-2019 06:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rkelsen (Post 6023252)
Configuring X could be finicky... that part has certainly become a LOT easier.

Almost forgot about that... Manual setting "HorizSync", "VertRefresh" and "ModeLine" and praying to not fry monitor :D.

But in 2004 this was after me. I've this dilemma in ~ 2000.

hitest 08-09-2019 07:26 AM

As rkelsen said some things had to be set-up manually. Now that X windows and sound "just works" life is easier with Slackware. I started 15 years ago with Slackware 10.0. It came on several CDs. Many thanks to Red Hat for moving to pay per view after Red Hat 9. I didn't want to pay for their enterprise Linux.
Slackware was my new choice; it came with a learning curve. Praise Bob!

cowpoke 08-09-2019 07:45 AM

I was toting a fresh IBM (NOT Lenovo) ThinkPad X31 ultra-portable at the time. The thing had zero drives, so the first thing I learned to do was get a tftp going to PXE boot and install Slackware 9, which as I'm sure we all remember, set the month of March on fire in 2003. The time for Linux on the Desktop had finally arrive, and it was all Pat's doing. Anyone who says otherwise is just a Gentoo fanboy. Don't listen to them.

Yes indeed, the wave of Linux on the Desktop was totally real, as long as you... wait a second, does anyone have one of those cool USB drives big enough to hold the stinking firmware for this pain in the neck wireless-b adapter? Why did IBM ship this? Forget it, let me just unwind that 40 foot CAT-5 cable. Oh, hold on a sec... I'm not totally sure what my refresh is for XFree86. Dang it....

Shortly thereafter I decided to try out a Dropline GNOME, which used Slackware as a base and it was an experience that no one should ever hear about.

Bring back 2003! Bring back Linux on the Desktop!

pan64 08-09-2019 07:58 AM

it was much simpler that time, but the software knows much more nowadays. So actually it is different. If you want to know "everything" you need to learn first the old things and additionally the changes and news of the last 16 years.

allend 08-09-2019 08:04 AM

Quote:

Is Slackware easier to use now than it was 16 years ago?
Yes.

The first time I upgraded a Slackware installation, there was no slackpkg. I still remember printing out a list of packages and crossing them off as they were upgraded. The next time, I used the new slackpkg tool. Manna from heaven!

I remember trying to upgrade using a serial modem. My maximum allowed connect time was 4 hours. I dreaded KDE upgrades. A 70MB file would just about come down in that time, otherwise start over. Sometimes I resorted to using the newfangled network connection that I could access at work to get problematic large packages.

I also do not miss the necessity for configuring xorg.conf for video or configuring /etc/rc.d/rc.modules, so that sound cards and serial port or parallel port printers would work.

Last, but not least, the documentation is so much better and easier to access.

demifiend 08-09-2019 08:11 AM

I don't recall slackbuilds.org being available when I tried Slackware 8 back in the day, nor tools like slackpkg and sbopkg.

Lysander666 08-09-2019 08:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rkelsen (Post 6023252)
Getting things like sound cards working required manual editing of the /etc/rc.d/rc.modules file, to find the right module for your sound card. Once you found it, you had to uncomment that line so that the module would load at boot. Configuring X could be finicky... that part has certainly become a LOT easier. The rest of it is very much the same... aside from auto-mounting of removable devices. IME, configuring printers worked better in the older versions which used APS Filter.

I would love to see an example of an old /etc/rc.d/rc.module and xorg.conf file so that I can appreciated that I don't have to edit them. Though that depends on how involved they were, commenting out the odd line doesn't sound too hard.

Quote:

Originally Posted by cowpoke (Post 6023290)

Bring back 2003! Bring back Linux on the Desktop!

Well, I would gladly bring back 2003, 2004 and 2005. Great years for me. I wasn't using Linux though, I was on Windows XP since I was a gamer.

Quote:

Originally Posted by allend (Post 6023305)
Yes.

The first time I upgraded a Slackware installation, there was no slackpkg. I still remember printing out a list of packages and crossing them off as they were upgraded. The next time, I used the new slackpkg tool. Manna from heaven!

Great point, I didn't consider slackpkg. Apparently it was included in /extra in 9.1 but didn't main it into the main install until some years later. It's a great script, doing things just through pkgtools must have taken longer.

Quote:

Originally Posted by allend (Post 6023305)
I remember trying to upgrade using a serial modem. My maximum allowed connect time was 4 hours. I dreaded KDE upgrades. A 70MB file would just about come down in that time, otherwise start over. Sometimes I resorted to using the newfangled network connection that I could access at work to get problematic large packages.

That's one thing I don't miss about the early 2000s - the ratios of large files to bandwidth. Thankfully it's mostly the other way round now. Music file sizes haven't changed one bit [haha] since the 2000s since the .mp3 standard remains.

Quote:

Originally Posted by allend (Post 6023305)
Last, but not least, the documentation is so much better and easier to access.

That's something else I didn't consider - nowadays there is so much extra help on websites, blogs and most importantly Youtube videos. It was Youtube that helped me initially get set up with Slackware in a VM. It was quite a few months before I had the guts to go for a bare metal install.

Quote:

Originally Posted by demifiend (Post 6023313)
I don't recall slackbuilds.org being available when I tried Slackware 8 back in the day, nor tools like slackpkg and sbopkg.

I think SBo would have come along roundabout Slackware 11. sbopkg would have been around 12.1/12.2 I think.

pan64 08-09-2019 08:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by allend (Post 6023305)
Yes.

The first time I upgraded a Slackware installation, there was no slackpkg. I still remember printing out a list of packages and crossing them off as they were upgraded. The next time, I used the new slackpkg tool. Manna from heaven!
...
I also do not miss the necessity for configuring xorg.conf for video or configuring /etc/rc.modules, so that sound cards and serial port or parallel port printers would work.

And can you still do that without those intelligent tools (where the knowledge is built-in)?

Now those things looks trivial and you say it is much easier. Now we have other things to learn... which did not exist that time.


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