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A week with Slackware

Posted by jrswift on July 14, 2008

Been doing my best to use my expanded hard drive space to install and monitor most of the major Linux distros. Currently, I’ve got Fedora, Ubuntu, OpenSuse, Mint and both Debian stable and testing up and functioning and maybe I’ll even get around to reviewing one of them someday. I’ve also got Windows XP running nicely in a little Virtual Box where it can’t really hurt anyone. 🙂 A few weeks back, I decided that it was time to put in some time and get Slackware up and running again. I’ve used it a few times before but never spent much time with it and decided that, once I got it installed, I was going to spend a week living in Slackware.

So how did it go? Pretty well. As a confirmed Debian user/fan, Slackware is a big change of pace. I love using aptitude to update my system and Slackware has nothing official like that to perform updates. That being said, I like the purity of Slackware. While Debian likes to patch and tweak everything, Slackware pretty much takes the upstream packages and works with them. Sometimes the second approach seems like the more sensible one. I can’t really say that I found Slackware particularly fast (as opposed to say Gentoo or Arch) but it does feel very solid and I do like that.

I’m not a huge KDE fan and so I decided to play around with some alternative desktops. In particular, I installed Enlightenment (E17) which was not a particularly easy thing to do but made much simpler by the folks at SlackBuilds.org. This is really great source of additional Slackware packages and a wonderful addition to the Slackware community. Took some time but I got E17 up and running. I’m not really sure how much I like it but there is definitely potential.

That being said, I’m back using Debian (mostly testing) and haven’t spent much time on Slackware since that week. On the other hand, I feel very comfortable in saying that Slackware is still a very viable distro and, if you’ve never tried it, you should give it a chance. You may not love it but you’ll learn a lot about Linux and that alone is worth it.


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