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-   -   Should I switch to Slackware? (

muzicman82 11-19-2003 01:23 PM

Should I switch to Slackware?
I've been trying Mandrake 9.2 Final for the past week or so... I've had nothing but problems trying to get the kernel recompiled for my Inspiron 8000.

When I chose Mandrake, I did so because of its popularity and mainly it was the first distro I found ISOs for.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of Slackware 9.1 over Mandrake? I think I will stick to KDE 3.1. Does it have similar features to Mandrake's configuration programs? How would you do all of that otherwise (like HardDrake) and such?


bynaar 11-19-2003 01:32 PM

basic difference is , you are will have to learn how linux works, when running slackware . .

There are no configuration programs.

I say give it a try !

EyesOnly 11-19-2003 01:44 PM

I've never used mandrake, but i've been told that it is somewhat similair to redhat or suse; a nice, easy to use disto, and all is done through GUI's

Slackware is the oldest distro around, it's main perpose is to be stable and simple. There are no graphical wizards to set things up, you will have to do this through the GUI. (the installation program isn't grahpical like the one from mandrake).

This might sound scary, but it isn't:p The installation is very easy, and once you got it working, you will notice it runs much faster than redhat and such (I've used redhat 8 before, and compared to slackware redhat was sloooooow..)
And you can make slackware as difficult as you want. You can install it, and use it as that. But you can also start modding your system

configuration goes trough the console by editing configuration files. At first this is somewhat difficult, But my experiences is that in the first weak of slackware, i've learned more than I've ever learned before (and i did use quite a lot of distro's). And there are always people here at who can help you out!

and after all, 'Once you slack, you never go back'
It's just the best there is:D (well, that is in my opinion anyway)

Netizen 11-19-2003 01:45 PM

hmmm. I recently found Slack myself. Well, "recently" meaning 9.0 was the first install. Before then it was Redhat and Mandrake. Left Redhat because of the rpm crap and the fact it feels bloated. Mandrake I left because I felt I didn't have much control over my system.

The biggest difference I found...Slack comes with fewer gui configs. If you are really use to the gui stuff, you will have to get comfortable editing the config files or find them gui programs and install them. Also, the install is different and not as gui as the mandrake and the redhat ones. Things like mouse wheel and video card with prolly require some small changes to the XF86Config, or at least mine did. I installed mine to dual boot with WinXP (counter strike) with no problems during the install.

Some of the programs you might be use to may not come with the full install so be sure to grab slapt-get and if you use openoffice go and download it.

For the most part, it rather easy to get going. There is a lot of great resources (including this one) on the net. It is different from Redhat and Mandrake, but in a good way. I didn't know what I was missing. Never going back...Slack is all I'm going to do from now on. :)

Good Luck!

ringwraith 11-19-2003 02:17 PM

Compiling a kernel is compliling a kernel no matter the distro. Changing to Slackware will not make that easier.

muzicman82 11-19-2003 03:03 PM

How is the partitioning done during Slackware install? My MBR is Windows XP. Mandrake has partitions hda5 as linux /, and I think hda 6 and 7 as swap and /home. Does it give enough info for me to know it won't wipe my other partitions?

Netizen 11-19-2003 03:20 PM

your going to need to know what is where. When you go to use fdisk or my perference cfdisk to create your partitions, you will need to know which drive to work with.

Like mine, I had 2 drives. Winxp was on /dev/hda so I started cfdisk at the command line with....

#cfdisk /dev/hdb

Then I setup my Swap and Linux partitions. If you just type


It will default to /dev/hda I believe.

luegner 11-19-2003 03:55 PM

Slackware is a good concept but you need to know what you're doing. I'm trying to switch to Slackware after a very disappointing install of Mandrake 9.2. Damn 9.2 is buggy! I can't believe they released that crap. 9.1 was a lot more stable and despite what people say a lot faster than 9.2.

Anyway, I was able to get it to install but I could never get it to configure lilo.conf properly. I have a dual boot system as well and when I selected linux, it booted into slack fine but when I selected windows it would hang and not load windows.

Also, Does anyone know if there is a graphical login manager for slack?

After slack is installed, I also tried startx but it was really sluggish and I couldn't get it to load KDE. It would just hang in the initial KDE load screen. Do I need to load a video driver (I'm using an nvidia card) or do some extra config in the x86config-4 file before I use startx?

Netizen 11-19-2003 04:25 PM

Can you post your lilo.conf?

I didn't have a problem dual booting myself, but maybe if I see the lilo.conf I could provide some help.


Onemessedupjedi 11-19-2003 07:03 PM

There is a way to make lilo graphical:
there's probably a graphical way to log in to but I don't know it and don't want it personally so I don't know.

Slackware is not nearly as hard as people say it is. I have more problems programming Input/output C++ then editing text files because in the config files there is advice on what you may need to do to get the desired results.
I would highly suggest trying it out.....and/or vector linux, it's supposed to be an easier faster version of slackware.

You'll have to look up how to edit some files but the man pages explain them well enough.
Also, to get your windows partitions to show up you have to edit fstab...if you didn't already know that...I don't know how mandrake works.

shanenin 11-19-2003 11:57 PM


There are no configuration programs.
I can think of a few netconfig, alsaconf, xf86config. I am sure theri are lots more. The three I mentioned are text-only, but they are very sufficient.

I have only been using linux for a few months now, slackware for about a month, I LOVE IT! as long as you have a some linux experience(very little) slack will be enjoyable.

Glock Shooter 11-20-2003 12:15 AM

I just recently (2 weeks) switched to slackware 9.1 after being with Redhat for over a year. RedHat was a good learning experience but only to the extent that I had things memorized and followed HowTo's. In just 2 weeks of slack, I understand the how's and why's of linux, not just type this to get this.

luegner 11-20-2003 01:14 AM

Thanks for the offer of help. I messed around with lilo a little more. I think windows wasn't booting because I didn't have a boot partition set on the linux hard drive. It could also be that I didn't have this setting for the windows partitions in the original lilo.conf file:

map-drive = 0x80
to = 0x81
map-drive = 0x81
to = 0x80

Perserverance pays off though cause I'm typing this message in Slack 9.1. I must say that slack is awesome! It is SO much faster than MDK it's not even funny.

Anyone have any experience installing winex3 on slack 9.1? I have it installed but I get this message when I run it:

Your system requires the use of pthreads but the maximum system allowed stack size of 2052 kB may be too small for some games

I've done some searching around and I found one spot where a guy said it didn't mean anything because when you type unlimit -a, it says the stack size is unlimited. Is this a message I shouldn't pay any attention to or is it going to affect some games as it says when I run the test in Point2Play?

phishman3579 11-20-2003 09:24 AM


Originally posted by ringwraith
Compiling a kernel is compliling a kernel no matter the distro. Changing to Slackware will not make that easier.
I don't know if I exactly agree with that. Mandrake and Red Hat come with modified Kernels where Slack is the Basic Kernel. If you make changes to the Mandrake Kernel but do not pickup the modifications the distro already had to it then you will have alot of stuff not working.

2TonCartoon 11-20-2003 11:31 AM

If your interested in getting to know how linux works, then have a go @ slack. I put slack on about a week ago , haven't used linux myself since I used a distro from walnut creek in about 94-95?. although I do some adm on a Suse system for someone else , when they have problems.

So why so long before setting up my own linux ? well TBH I really disliked it, well to re-phrase that, I disliked Suse, and the GUI (KDE & Gnome), Suse (6.1 and 8.?) was way too slow on a 600 Mzh Intel box (its gonna run like a 3 legged donkey on my K6II 450, I thought) and since linux is linux, just assumed it would be similar for other distros. So I'd summarise my knowledge of Linux's 'workings' as pretty basic.

Anyway was bored, came across ZipSlack 9.1, and thought why not, easy enough to put on a Win system for testing, installed in only 95Mb, all working great. Then went about installing the absolute minimum to get Xserver and Kde working (I got free disk space issues lol) Cant tell you how surprised I was when I saw how fast KDE3.1 ran (compared to the Suse I'd used), was really pleased with it all. ( I know Suse will run just as fast with a min install, just that space wasn't an issue on the Suse system,
using zipslack on my system made me think about min requirements etc, thats how I found out how fast a linux box can run)

Anyway that didn't last long :-), next came the Conexant ADSL PCI card. Huh ? I got to do what ? recompile the kernel ? Nightmare! No #*&#!* way I thought, and almost said good bye to linux again. Anyway read some stuff on the slack site, got the kernel source, and a min install for the development tools. Took XServ & KDE off to make room, read the "Kernel compiling guide for newbies... " from this slackware forum, set my kernel options and recompiled. All straight forward, no problems. Took a while longer to get the conexant stuff working, well 95% working :-), its what I'm doing now.

Must admit its been bit of a trial by fire, it was kinda fun. The upside? well linux doesn't seem anywhere near as daunting as it did with Suse , when it was hidden behind all that GUI config stuff.

Yep, Suse (RH, Mandrake and similar distros) are easy to adm, that's until you get to something that hasn't got a pretty GUI config, (it was a Samba server in my case) then you are thrown straight into the deep end, in that you have to deal with all those scripts in all those Directories, that were mostly hidden from you when using GUI configs.

Its my opinion now, that you should deal with that stuff right at the start without too many Gui configs, when things are relatively simple, i.e. a slack install and basic desktop setup. That way you learn quickly about linux itself. Yes it may seem a little daunting, but there is plenty of info and help on the net, to get it all sorted out, and because its linux, you can take what you *had* to learn to use slack, and apply it to any other linux distro. (I'm going to rebuild those Suse box's, get them lean, and get them running like a linux box should run)

I know zipslack isn't a true Linux environment, but its quick and easy to install, which makes it an ideal system for testing and learning on. Once you've tested, practised and learnt for a bit, you can easily setup a true slack linux system , and with the knowledge you've gained, it will be one that meets your exact requirements, and isn't over bloated and slow.

Given my real basic knowledge on some of the workings of linux prior to using slack, after several kernel rebuilds, and numerous recompiling and re-installations of PCI ADSL drivers from several sources and all for other distros (RH, mandrake etc) in an attempt to get this ADSL working, or put another way - "I'm sure my system is a mess" lol, I'm amazed how stable slack as been, not a single system hang. I knew slack had a rep for being stable [but so has Windows if you listen to billy and his lil helpers, erm sarcasm if anybody is wondering :-)] , so I always reserve judgement on such matters until I've tested. and yep slack9.1 seems pretty solid.

So in my opinion, you should give slack a go, if you've got a Win system with some spare room, stick zipslack on, its simple and very quick to install (errr re-intsall if you mess up big time while learning), and get to know linux properly, its worth the effort.

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