Man thats going to take a lot of floppies.
Pardon my complete newbness, but why would I want Slackware over Arch, Gentoo, LFS, or something else?
I haven’t used it in a while, but I used Slackware (with Fluxbox) for a long time, and it taught me a ton about Linux.
There are no configuration GUIs, fancy package managers, or anything like that, and the packages in the base install are (usually) straight from upstream with no patches applied. There’s very little hand holding. It’s great to learn how things are really working.
When I used it there were relatively few packages available compared to the big distros, so for me there was quite a lot of building things from source. That was also a bit of a learning experience, but most of the time “./configure && make && sudo make install” just worked, assuming all the dependencies were installed. You definitely appreciate the work that goes into Debian (and other distros) after installing and updating packages this way for a while.
It’s the most unix-y distro and has had a long tradition. It has litlle innovations with respect to other distros, some people like that.
Nowadays, personally, I’d go with one of the more modern and better supported distros; I am biased towards the Debian family since I love apt. Distros with a similar feeling are Arch or Gentoo, and I believe they have more maintenance and support. LFS is not a distro and I wouldn’t recommend it except for learning purposes.
Slackware was one of the first distros (after Yggdrassil if the memory does not fail me) and is currently the oldest still maintained. I’d say, try it if you want a BSD-like experience with a Linux kernel or if you’re a nostalgic. Notwithstanding all the value it’s provided, I’d say its time its past.
I’d say, try it if you want a BSD-like experience with a Linux kernel or if you’re a nostalgic.
For me, one of the most defining features of BSDs (besides better man pages and a more coherent system) are their ports collections. Slackware is sort of the anti-thesis to that. Sure, there are external sites which provide extra buildable packages (slackbuilds.org), but it is all hand-work, due to the reluctance of Slackware (and projects that extend Slackware) to support dependencies.
Notwithstanding all the value it’s provided, I’d say its time its past.
Historically, it’s definitely one of the most important/defining distributions.
building packages doesn’t have to be hand-work though: http://idlemoor.github.io/slackrepo/index.html
Looking at the git repository, it seems quite dead. I think pkgsrc is one of the most reasonable options. But that works outside the control of the Slackware package tools.
i’m not entirely sure why a build tool should be updated frequently. slackrepo builds repositories like slackbuilds.org (which, btw, tracks dependencies).
this is the first release to officially include pulseaudio. to quote the changelog:
Best of all, we’re finally a modern, relevant Linux distro! ;-)
what i like about slackware:
i’d say if you want to learn stuff about your computer, gentoo is great. i haven’t used it in a long time, but learned much from it. LFS was always too much for my taste ;)
you get security updates for 13.0 released in 2009 (of course this is limited by upstream dropping support..).
Which makes it pretty useless, because it means you have to track who still provides security support by hand. I’d rather have a system that has a shorter support period, but guarantees backports of security fixes, even when upstream has dropped support.
you get announces in the changelog when upsteam is eol.
i think backporting is wrong and creates more problems. but whatever floats your boat.
Like many others, Slackware was my first distro - back in 1994! I learnt a huge amount, from hand-crafting an X11 configuration to building software manually. After a few years I graduated to using Red Hat and then Debian, which has been my distro of choice since about 1998. As dated as it may seem today (and some of the complaints raised were complained about 15-20 years ago), it’s definitely one of the most import distros.
Kudos to those who keep it alive, if only as a historical artefact of simpler times.