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View Poll Results: What is Slackware's most enduring virtue?
SlackBuilds / The ability to compile from source 72 35.82%
BSD-style init system 81 40.30%
It just works! 145 72.14%
Text-based installer 44 21.89%
Other (comment in posts below) 25 12.44%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 201. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-19-2017, 12:06 AM   #1
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Why do you use Slackware?

In the wake of another thread praising Slackware for its legendary rock-solid stability, I'd like to throw the title question out there, and see who came to Slackware for what reason, and who continues to use it, and why.

Let me start off this discussion.

I started using computers in the fall of '84, when, as a fresh-faced student in junior high, I had my first taste of computers. The very first computer I tried was a TRS-80 Model I. By today's standards, it was, and is, hopelessly underpowered, but for me, it was a chance to control something in my life. I knew from the moment I saw it that computers would become my life's passion. That has not changed.

When I entered high school, I took a programming class, and they used Apple IIe computers (a computer, by the way, I have major respect for, having been imbued with the genius of one Steve Wozniak, and the last computer Apple made which I used with regularity). That whetted my appetite for programming at the time, and I wanted more.

After getting out of the military, I started building my own computers. Anyone who started in that era will remember vividly when add-on cards came with jumpers, and a manual that detailed what settings controlled what IRQ line it would take, what memory range it would occupy, etc. To have a working system then would have been a work of art, and maybe a bit of genius.

It was around '96 when I first heard of this open-source OS called Linux. At the time, I was running FreeBSD, and liked its init system, and hoped for something similarly simple to administrate. Nevertheless, I experimented with some of the other major offerings to see if something else would be better suited to my tastes.

Alas, none of the major offerings (Red Hat, SuSE, Caldera, among others) came close to satisfying my need for tweaking my system to my heart's content. In frustration, I googled for a distro which was similar to BSD. Among the results was a mention of something called Slackware. Curious, I checked it out. The description sounded like what I was looking for, so I downloaded it. This was in, I believe, about 2006, soon after the release of 10.2; I bought 11.0 on CD-ROM when it was released, as a measure of good faith.

I had to use Windows for some applications back then, because application support wasn't where it is now, and so I dual-booted. But gradually, as Linux app support became better, I gradually used Windows less and less, and in about 2012, I stopped using it entirely. And I have had no reason to regret leaving it behind.

The reason I use Slackware is because it gives me the experience that those older home computers gave me: it forced me to know what my computer was doing behind the scenes. When something was broken or didn't work right, I was forced to find my own solution. Solving problems can be simultaneously frustrating and exhilarating. For me, it is something that I can never explain to another who is not already intimately familiar with that experience. You just have to experience it for yourself.

I can't ever imagine another distro that will give me that experience and for that reason alone, I will continue using Slackware for as long as it is maintained. Hopefully that will be for awhile!!

Sorry for this being long-winded, but I wanted to get this out there, and see who else is as excited as I to use this seemingly old-fashioned, out-of-date dinosaur of a distro to get modern tasks done.

Happy Slacking!

Last edited by 1337_powerslacker; 06-19-2017 at 11:16 PM. Reason: Edited for clarity
Old 06-19-2017, 12:31 AM   #2
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Location: Virginia, USA
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I use Slackware because I started with Slackware.

It was an accident. Someone told me I could use Linux to self-host my website. I had heard about Linux, but I had been reluctant to throw the family computer at Linux because it was, well, the family computer.

Then a coworker gave me some surplus computers. I tried to install some Linux distro or other to one of those surplus computers and it refused to install for some reason I forget what it was a long time ago. I then tried Slack and it installed (I used cfdisk rather than fdisk to partition the drive, as it was like DOS fdisk, with which I was familiar). It installed so smoothly that I ended up installing it three times that first Saturday afternoon before I was satisfied that I got it right.

I ended up self-hosting my website on that machine for several years. During that time, Slackware taught me to understand how Linux works. I learned how to compile from sources and how to resolve dependencies all on my ownsome.

I no longer self-host my website (the SQL database for my blog outgrew localhost), but I still Slack.

I've used many distros, but I've always had at least one Slackware machine, because Slackware always works and never breaks. As someone else once said, it is the "Distro of Iron."

No other distro achieves the elegant simplicity of Slackware.

Last edited by frankbell; 06-19-2017 at 12:43 AM.
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Old 06-19-2017, 01:01 AM   #3
Didier Spaier
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I began using Linux circa 1997. In 2004 I migrated from Mandrake 10.0 to Slackware 10.0 but don't remember why. I still use it (Slint is based on Slackware). Why not?
Old 06-19-2017, 03:16 AM   #4
Registered: Nov 2005
Distribution: slackware
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it was the midlate 90's and I did alot of drugs.

tried redhat it seemed bloated and experimental. redhat was based off slackware so when I got tired of redhat I went to slackware.
been using slackware since 97/98. though took a unwanted break last few years.
Old 06-19-2017, 04:40 AM   #5
Registered: Jul 2003
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Started with Slackware in 1995 - very old version.

I was interested in Linux because I was working with SunOS workstations at the time, and I liked the stability and the command-line - I had been using MS-DOS since version 3.0 or 3.3 at the time, so I liked using stuff like bash or sh. Slackware (Linux) was the only "real" Linux distribution for PC at the time, so that made my choice easy.

I remember copying dozens and dozens of floppies, because the computer I had at the time did not have a CDROM drive. Then, spending hours nursing the computer, ejecting floppies and putting the next one in. Fun times!

Before installing Slackware for the first time, I read all the documentation I could get my hands on, so it went pretty smoothly. However, I was really disappointed, because my graphical card was not able to support a resolution of 1024 x 768 for X11, only 800 x 600. I probably messed up the X11 configuration as well, which was easy to do with XFree86.

But I kept getting back to Slackware, after going through Mandrake, Red Hat, SuSE, NetBSD and FreeBSD because Slackware was always the easiest to install, the distribution that best supported my hardware and the one that seemed the most "open" of them all: since almost everything in Slackware is a shell script, including the installer itself, you can read the code and understand it. Slackware does not treat you as a moron, like many "user friendly" distributions out there and it does not install a ton of crap, like so many others (*cough* *cough* systemd *cough*).

These days, Slackware is still my "go to" distribution, when I want to throw something together quickly, and have a super-stable, easy to update server at the same time. And I became a sysadmin instead of just being a "power user", so you could say that Slackware has influenced me in many ways.

I keep using Slackware because it provides you with a system that feels both "light", borderline minimalist, and complete -- and that is a very very rare thing these days.

The one thing I would change in Slackware is to use Postfix as a mail server instead of Sendmail and Unbound as a DNS server instead of BIND. But that's just nit-picking, and my personal opinion.

Long live Slackware, and thanks to Patrick "The Man" Volkerding and the rest of the Slackware crew for a fantastic ditro, and one that has given me years and years of faitful service!
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Old 06-19-2017, 05:34 AM   #6
Registered: Dec 2012
Location: Mauritius
Distribution: Slackware
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Hi, nice thread. We can learn about people's experience and about the past history of computers and OS's.

For my part, I started using computers in 2001 at school. All we knew about was Windows 98 and WindowsMe. I come from a small country and we were quite poor, so I had no idea there were other OS's. My use of the computer was extremely basic.

It was in 2007, when I got into University for a BSc Physics that I learnt about Linux. It is really a good thing that the Dept of Physics at the University of Mauritius teaches us Linux. Yeah, we have a whole module about Linux and LaTeX typesetting in BSc Physics. And the even greater thing is that they teach the module using Slackware. Slackware is a great tool to learn; the curve is steep but you can learn a lot.

Unfortunately, the lecturer who does the module is pretty bad at explaining things. So, we end up frustrated and scared of Slackware. So I started using Ubuntu. I dual booted Windows XP and Ubuntu for a while. Finally, I started to get tired of both Windows and Ubuntu. Then, Unity came and I quit Ubuntu.

In 2013, I overcame my fear and officially returned to Slackware. I honestly struggled during some time, but as the months went by I started to exploit the power of the system and the shear simplicity of Slackware. I enjoyed it. I liked it so much that I started to spend more and more time on Slackware and less time on Windows. At some point I realized Slackware didn't crash at all. And, the mind-blowing speed. Slackware is huge but boots so fast and I always have a smile when I look at the RAM usage. I literally fell in love with Slackware.

Two years after adopting Slackware, I parted with Windows. Today I wake up with Slackware, spend the whole day with it and go to sleep with it. Even my brother, who does not know much in Linux, uses Slackware, just for the speed and stability. I manage 3 PCs and a laptop with Slackware. Seriously, I cannot live without it. Nowadays I am doing a PhD in Physics and I develop software for Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics. Slackware is essential for my work. The huge library reservoir with which Slackware comes is a huge advantage.

People might think Slackware is a dinosaur, but it is actually the exact contrary. Slackware comes with the latest tools already. If you want it to look and behave old-style, you can. If you want it to look modern, you can as well. I say, it is the rigid ready-made and supposedly user-friendly OS's which are obsolete.

For the stability, simplicity, speed and for the ease of doing whatever I want with the system, I will continue to use Slackware for many more years to come.

Finally, I think I have to thank Patrick Volkerding for his amazing work. And many thanks for all the developers, and especially Alien Bob.

Long live Slackware.

Last edited by aragorn2101; 06-19-2017 at 05:38 AM.
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Old 06-19-2017, 06:40 AM   #7
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Well, when I came to Slackware there weren't that many alternatives to choose from. Why I'm still here is harder to answer succinctly. I suspect familiarity plays a large part; that along with Slackware mostly following the traditional UNIX model are probably what keep me here.

If/when I ever jump ship I expect it'll be to a *BSD.

Last edited by GazL; 06-19-2017 at 06:44 AM.
Old 06-19-2017, 10:16 AM   #8
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Why I Use Slackware
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:28 AM   #9
Registered: Sep 2006
Location: Earth
Distribution: Slackware 14.1 Slackware64-current multilib
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Slackware 3.0 came with the book I bought, The Linux Bible 4th edition, Yggdrasil Computing. To surf the BBS and internet later.
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Old 06-19-2017, 01:03 PM   #10
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I distro hopped around several different distributions since starting in Linux, from various flavors of Ubuntu to Mint and then Manjaro and finally Debian. They were all fine in their own ways, but none of them appealed to me enough to keep me from getting curious and eventually switching to something else.

For some reason, while using Debian I got interested in seeing what BSD was all about. I tried it in a VM and found that I really liked it. It seemed well thought out and didn't try to protect the user from himself or herself. I soon realized that I wouldn't be happy with the hardware support situation on my laptop, so I never installed it to bare metal and instead went searching for a "Linux distribution most like BSD." It was then that I came across Slackware. I guess I had not considered it before because of the rumors that it was difficult and/or old-fashioned, not to mention that there was no dependency resolution (which sounds horrible coming from someone who is familiar with apt, pacman, etc.). I'm glad I did give it a try, because it turns out to be just about perfect. It's simple, it lets the administrator actually administrate instead of getting in the way, and it's rock-stable while still being cutting edge if you want. And, as it turns out, the lack of dependency resolution is actually a huge advantage, because it (in part -- there are other reasons too) makes Slackware by far the easiest distro to build packages for or upgrade software using SlackBuilds from current or third-party sources.

Last edited by montagdude; 06-19-2017 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 06-19-2017, 01:43 PM   #11
Registered: May 2012
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I started with Slackware 3.0 because the CD was in the back cover of "Linux Unleashed". As a young software developer it satisfied my needs -- it gave me the GNU toolchain (gcc, gdb, gas, ld, etc) and an editor, and it ran on the ancient computers I cobbled together from third-hand parts.

Over the years I distro-hopped a little, but kept coming back to Slackware, mostly because it was very reliable, but also because I am lazy enough to appreciate its "kitchen sink" approach of installing everything I need out-of-the-box.

Fast-forward twenty-something years and I'm still using it because it is so very reliable, is familiar, satisfies most my needs, and when it doesn't satisfy a need, its simplicity lends it to adaptation.

I run servers, and I develop for servers, and having the same Slackware on my laptop/desktops as I do on my servers means I can develop and test my software on my desktop systems with some confidence it will JFW on the servers when it is deployed. I still test under the production environment, of course, but the congruency means there are hardly ever problems needing correction. It's just damn convenient.

Having worked for places which use other Linux distributions, and having witnessed first-hand the reliability problems those distributions exhibit as a consequence of their higher complexity, lackadaisical development methodology, opacity and relative deficit of testing, I don't foresee ever switching away from Slackware.
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Old 06-19-2017, 02:28 PM   #12
Mark Pettit
Registered: Dec 2008
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
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I use Slackware because surprises should only come on your birthday.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:07 PM   #13
Registered: Nov 2009
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Originally Posted by Mark Pettit View Post
I use Slackware because surprises should only come on your birthday.
Well said, Mark!
Old 06-19-2017, 03:53 PM   #14
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i use Slackware, because it is stable, reliable and last but not least, because I am already familiar with it.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:57 PM   #15
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I use Slackware because it's easy to customize it for web development. For the developing and the serving of web sites.

I also like Slackware because package management is simple compared to other distributions. Extending the base system is easy and causes no issues.

Slackware also doesn't assume you are a remedial user and allows you to have full control over your system.
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