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Old 01-12-2008, 07:59 PM   #1
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Why is Slackware ignored by the press?

I was just reading all the hoopla on the release of KDE 4.0 and don't recall seeing Slackware mentioned even once, yet Slackware uses KDE as its default desktop.
That seems to be the case in almost every news story I read about Linux. Red Hat, SUSE, Ubuntu, and one or two others, are often mentioned, but rarely, if ever, does Slackware get a nod.
Why is that?
Old 01-12-2008, 08:11 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by cwizardone View Post
I was just reading all the hoopla on the release of KDE 4.0 and don't recall seeing Slackware mentioned even once, yet Slackware uses KDE as its default desktop.
That seems to be the case in almost every news story I read about Linux. Red Hat, SUSE, Ubuntu, and one or two others, are often mentioned, but rarely, if ever, does Slackware get a nod.
Why is that?
Slackware isn't really designed for Joe average computer user and as such will not generate the buzz of the pretty distros. Our favourite distro is rock-solid, secure, and I love it. Slackers are a class apart........we rock.
Old 01-13-2008, 12:16 AM   #3
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Because most users forget about Slackware. Possibly because Slackware does not have a commercial end, possibly because Slackware is older then the other existing distros, possibly because people are too used to RPM and dpkg and think tgz is only source packages.

Personally, I love Slackware for simplicity. At college the gameserver is a Slackware box.
Old 01-13-2008, 03:00 AM   #4
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Because the press just see windows alternatives in linux. Like the Ubuntu "Next-Next-Finish" Nobrainrequired approach...

Also there is no money in slackware, as it has been stated earlier.
Old 01-13-2008, 05:03 AM   #5
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I'm (sometimes) the press and I mention Slackware as often as possible.

The assumption is simply that "the reader" wants to read about the business-affine distributions like RH and Suse (if the article targets "executives") or about the ones which are coined as "desktop enduser's" distributions - like the Ubuntu family. I usally write my articles in distribution and package manager independent style, but some of my editors correct this into "make rpm --blahblahblah", for example.

And: "progress" is measured in terms of "graphical installation" and pre-configuration and things like that - not in terms of stability or simplicity.

Recently, all my "vims" in an article had been changed into "kates" and "gedits"...

Nevertheless - all editors I know are absolutely aware of the existence of Slackware and they all have an eye on it, but it's simply not the mainstream of Linux.

I'm really not sure wether this is a bad thing or just keeps the community nice and small. Public recognition isn't the same as a vivid and well-informed community.

I mean - the same goes for Perl - look at articles or comparision lists of programming languages - it doesn't matter that Perl still is extremely flexible, exceptionally well documented, easy to learn, has a very nice community, the books are funny and well-written, it's very embracing towards non-geeks and non-computer scientists - it's not fashionable any longer ever since PHP took over the web part and Python is considered to be "cleaner" and Ruby rolls on Rails. That CPAN is still a very outstanding and easy to use module repository - that all doesn't matter any longer in the public perception.
Old 01-13-2008, 05:33 AM   #6
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Suck it up folks -the rest of the world can exist quite happily without slack.
Fact of life.

The only reason I ever tried slack initially was to see what it had to offer prior to having a go at slack on 390 (mainframe). Didn't do anything for me I couldn't do somewhere else.
You'll all no doubt be happy to learn I just pulled the first two slack 12 CD isos to have another look and see if it appeals any more than in the past.
Swings and roundabouts ...
Old 01-13-2008, 06:26 AM   #7
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Ah why be a show off.

The reason slackware has existed in the way it has been for so long because its not a commercial sort of / marketed distribution, therefore has moved along at its own leisurely pace.

Like the grand old men of where ever said, slow and steady wins the race.
Old 01-13-2008, 06:58 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by syg00 View Post
Suck it up folks -the rest of the world can exist quite happily without slack.
Fact of life.

The only reason I ever tried slack initially was to see what it had to offer prior to having a go at slack on 390 (mainframe). Didn't do anything for me I couldn't do somewhere else.
Nah man Slack to me is like LFS that is already in binary form, it was my third and best distro until I went with LFS (And no I don't care about compile times or package management, these are for the user to over come..)
Old 01-13-2008, 07:48 AM   #9
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I'd say if anything automagical isn't needed beyond the "you seem to have plugged in a USB stick - what sould we do now?" message of KDE, and you're not keen to see those "you've got 253943 new updates available; wanna try to push your luck, ay?" messages, Slackware simply works. But if you'd rather like your system to be more "user-friendly" (as in: you plug a piece of hardware in that doesn't have Linux drivers, and it works in a minute), then you're going to have to do some work with Slackware. That's why the press isn't interested in it: nowadays the "best" operating systems tend to think for the user in addition to all the other things, and if some operating system doesn't do that, it's not worth mentioning (in their opinion).

It's a sort of "why press likes Java but not C++" thing if you ask me.
Old 01-13-2008, 08:59 AM   #10
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Where did you get your data? And what are you comparing it to?

I was over at Google trends and checked out slackware against various things (Mandriva, Windows ME, Xandros) and it's certainly not negligible.

Considering Xandros has teamed up with mighty Marketing Machine Microsoft, and has commercial installations like Asus eee, it still figures lower than Slackware on google trends.

I know it's hard to get numbers on this stuff, but behind it all, the more or less undisputed title of oldest linux distro, already gets Slackware a fair bit of coverage. I saw a recent Gartner report on linux distros and there were only some 7 mentioned, and Slackware was one of them. I rather feel that there is a concerted effort to maintain a low profile.

Another question of course is whether a press profile is a desireable thing.

Some time back I bought a slackware polo from the slack store. I haven't worn it, because when I tried it on, and looked at myself in the mirror, it seemed to say "Towering Genius", which unfortunately I'm not ... maybe when I'm 70 ...
Old 01-13-2008, 09:12 AM   #11
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It's because the press is demented and full of propaganda ... hahahahah.
Old 01-13-2008, 09:36 AM   #12
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I think Slack does get its fair of press coverage when Pat releases a new version or when there is some news that impacts the distro (e.g. when Pat was ill). There probably isn't a lot of news about Slack because they don't follow a typical development model, so usually you don't get news about betas and release candidates. The devs seem to stay clear of the media limelight unlike the Canonical media machine that seems to release news about Ubuntu everyday.

Last edited by reddazz; 01-13-2008 at 09:38 AM.
Old 01-13-2008, 01:26 PM   #13
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I think most people in the press assume that most home users are going to want something Windows-like in order to make a smooth transition. They look at the dsitros with lots of automation, handholding and little-to-no need for the commandline. Slackware doesn't exactly qualify as Windows-like. It originally aimed to be the most UNIX-like Linux distro.

H_TeXMeX_H, I couldn't agree more! At least in my corner of the world. I'm almost certain that the local newspapers and television stations are biased. The authors of the tech articles in my newspaper are so obviously in favor of Windows. One in particular said Ubuntu Feisty was easy to install and use but difficult to learn the program names and difficult to install hardware, so he wouldn't recommend it.

When I think of things like this I always end up with the idea that maybe it's a good thing to not be in the media. Why should it advertise? Why should Pat do interviews for every tech magazine? Why should Slackware need media attention to attract more users? I think that in the long run it could do more damage than good. All it would take is a misquote of something Pat says, or stating (whether true or not) that Slackware is lacking some key features that distro X comes with. These days eye candy is considered a *key* feature.

Why is Ubuntu so popular? The media. Is it as great as the media says? Pat has been providing us with Slackware since 1993, but we, the Slackware users, not the media, are the ones that ensure it's survival and make it great.

Last edited by dracolich; 01-13-2008 at 01:28 PM.
Old 01-13-2008, 05:40 PM   #14
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To my knowledge, Slackware is used in business and is a business itself. Pat seems to make his living off it.

Why is it not so often in the press, then?
Because it just works. Go into a bookshop and see what the most IT related titles are about: MS Windows, MS Office, SAP R/3, and so on...

Why? Because of two reasons:
1. They have many users.
2. These products cause non-trivial problems that an average user cannot solve. The users need guidelines even for the most basic tasks they want to do with them.

What should be written about something that just does its job reliably? Slackware just works. Not many problems one could write books about... ;-)

Old 01-14-2008, 12:22 AM   #15
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I would partially disagree with gargamel. There are many books about ms office just because almost any pc user uses some sort of the office, so they need to learn office somehow. IMO, > 50% of pc users do not know what driver is or how the mail works (at least, where I work). Talking about apache server problems with a friend seemed like mystics for them.

Last edited by Alien_Hominid; 01-14-2008 at 12:24 AM.


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