SlackwareThis Forum is for the discussion of Slackware Linux.
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Today I felt like sharing my feelings about Slackware with you guys. I don't know whether you have had similar experience or not.
Have been using Slackware since Slackware 10, intermittently! I have tried Mandriva, Ubuntu, Fedora, Suse, Sabayon, etc. But my flirtations with these distros did not last long. I still have Mandriva and Ubuntu 9.04 installed on my laptop. Everytime, Ubuntu comes out with a new release, I upgrade to it and use it for about a fortnight. But each time I promptly jump back to Slackware. Sometimes I wonder why? Ubuntu is much more 'polished' than Slackware. The 'bells and whistles' just work out of box in Ubuntu. Package installation and system maintenance is so easy. Same cannot be said about Slackware. I have yet to get fglrx working on my laptop on Slackware, so no Compiz-Fusion. Font rendering in Firefox 3.5 leaves much to be desired. Getting squid to work took me a lot of time. Still there is this feeling of being at home in Slackware that is lacking in any of the above distros, that pulls me back to Slackware.
Besides, I found Slackware to be much more responsive than the rest I have tried. Somehow I have started liking the sbopkg method of install, though most of the new packages are missing here. Webmin takes care of maintenance. Moreover, my needs are few and Slackware meets them perfectly. And it give me an opportunity to learn how Linux actually works.
In the other distributions everything goes fine until you run into some situation that is not handled by the automated tools -- and at that point you are usually out of luck. Slackware requires manual configuration but since everything is put together in a very clear and transparent way, in any situation I can eventually figure out how to do what I want. I can customize my Slackware box to an extent that is not possible with most distros out there, and that could be the thing that gives the "at home" feeling.
Yes. I have had similar experiences. That is, I started with Slackware 10 and tried other distros. However, other versions of Linux make it difficult to trouble-shoot problems if GUIs stop functioning. Slackware has a simple, clear, logical design. Stability, security, and speed are Slackware hallmarks. I love Slackware.
I've been using slackware only for the last 5-6 months but noticed a similar phenomenon, ie. I've stopped booting my computer into other systems. 3 reasons:
1. the hardware on my laptop was recognised out of the box (which can't be said of some other distros that I've used)
2. By far the most responsive distro I've used.
3. For the last 6 months I has crashed once or twice - in both cases it was actually firefox.
Well... It's been a long time since I posted in these forums, or even logged in to check up on anything. This is because I've been using Xubuntu on my Linux boxes for a couple of years now. Until recently, it's worked like a dream: the package management is much simpler and, by and large, everything just works.
Then, a couple of months back, my main net-facing PC died and I was left using my laptop to access the net. It's an old IBM thinkpad; not particularly fast, but solid. There are times when Xubuntu makes it unusable: when it decides to update its package database info, usually at a completely random time, everything grinds to a halt. Which is the kind of stunt that made me turn away from Windows and look for alternatives in the first place; that attitude that says, "Stuff the user, what I need to do is far more important, so I'm doing it now and you can lump it, guv."
So, having bought a second-hand dual core rig, I've just installed WinXP (for some Windows-only applications) and Slack 12.2 as a dual-boot. I anticipate several weeks of pain while I get it configured, but damn, at least Slack does as it's told.
I recently started using 12.2 after a long hiatus. The last version I used was 1.01, and I used it for a long time since upgrading meant spending a lot of time copying floppies
Anyway Slackware and SLS were my formative experience in running a Linux box, so regardless of what new things come along, the model of Linux that exists in my head is still the old Slackware.
Lately the most popular distributions have evolved to a point where I don't know how to do anything with them. I think that's great because it means the young eager developers are energetic and are having a good time trying to improve things, but it can be frustrating sometimes trying to trace your way through things like network startup scripts if you need to do an odd customization.
So anyway after installing 12.2 I got nostalgic, dug out a very old (my first, in fact) Transameritech CD that had SLS 1.0 and Slack 1.01 on it, and installed a copy of it to QEMU. Impressively, it installed and ran just fine, and more impressively, some of the screens in the old 1.01 installer haven't changed much in the newest versions.
My answer to your question is then that you probably come back because its comfortable, and if you value being able to have some fun while screwing around with your computer (I use my slack machine in my job as a developer, but I still have fun with it), then it's all the more fun when you have a machine you're comfortable taking care of.
Yes, it is because of all the reasons stated above. But basically, it is the satisfaction one gets from using a Slackware system, much like riding a thoroughbred. Its Keep-It-Simple philosophy is what attracts me most.
I have used many Linux distros over the years (Red Hat, Fedora, Ubuntu, SuSE, etc.). In the end, I always end up going back to Slackware. I have to find a distro that runs so fast compared to Slackware. Granted that the definition of "fast" can be debated. I still have a P3 1.0Ghz PC, and Slackware just works so much better than anything else that I have put in. I recently compiled a custom kernel on it and it's even faster!!
The biggest reason why I use Slackware is the great group of people maintaining the distro. Slackware releases are consistently reliable, complete and bring new but proven features with them. I've also noticed that the folks involved in Slackware get along pretty well without the kind of infighting and other problems of other distros.
The SlackBook and a consistent attention to providing useful information has also sold me on Slackware. I'm looking forward to future versions of the SlackBook and I often recommend it to people trying to learn about Linux.
Two of my computers use "fake hardware RAID" and I found Slackware to be much easier to install on those than other distros. The Setup in Slackware manages to be easy to use without getting in the way of a knowledgeable user.
Slackware is the "hands on" distro that I always recommend to people who want to learn about Linux along with using it. You don't have to be an expert in Linux minutia to install Slackware but you can still make changes and learn about Linux. I've never understood why a distro that's difficult to install is automatically a distro for "geeks". I think Slackware is a distro that "geeks" can truly love because of the obvious software expertise that goes into providing something that installs easily, works great and remians accessible to technically experienced users.
The reasons for my loyalty are varied. Initially it stemmed from a familiarity and fondness for the SysV init and directory structure and an ingrained need to get up close and personal with my operating system, but since then it has grown to include gratitude for the stability and robustness of the distribution, its flexibility (I use it in many ways: web and data servers, desktops, embedded systems, and development platforms, etc.), and of course the community support and enthusiasm. Patrick and the rest of the development/contribution team (and all folks here) deserve high praise.