Saturday, July 17, 2010

Happy 17th Birthday Slackware Linux


Yesterday (Indonesian Time) was the day when Slackware officially released 17 years ago, so it marks the 17 years of development of the oldest and still maintained Linux distribution, Slackware Linux Party. You can see the history on Wikipedia entry.

I have been using Slackware since 2005, so it's been five years now and i still thinks it's the best Linux distribution i have ever tried. In the past, i have been using many kinds of Linux distributions, but after a while, i find it not suitable for me as there were many problems spotted such as bloated package management, unstable releases, upgrade problems, and many more.

Even though Slackware do have some weakness in some points based on normal user point of view compared to other big Linux distribution, i still can handle it and i think it can be viewed as a strong point of Slackware.

Take an example of lack of dependency in Slackware's package management tool, pkgtool. While Ubuntu has solved dependency problem using Synaptic or apt-get, i think it's not the best idea since users are being spoiled and they must follow the package's configuration. This is not the way Slackware handle dependencies. Slackware users are given freedom to choose which package should be included as the dependencies by compiling their own packages (thanks to SlackBuilds project to help users ease this job). In the end, packages are customized to our need, not by packager.

Other point is about releases. Slackware doesn't have any fixed release dates or months such as Ubuntu which has 6 months interval. Slackware is released when it's ready. For some people, this is considered bad, but in my opinion, it's a good thing. Why releasing something when you still have problems with the products? When Slackware release it's final version, the overall system is considered very stable and in normal circumstances, you would have a very little updates in the next two or three months (except for security fixes). In other distributions, even a small updates will results in a daily updates (take an example of Kernel packages). For people who didn't have good Internet connection, this might be a little bit problematic.

This is probably a biased review of Slackware as i'm using it, but anyways, i would like to give my biggest appreciation to Patrick J. Volkerding for his dedication to keep maintaining Slackware Linux for 17 years. Please keep doing so in the future.

Viva Slackware Linux and cheers Beer Orange Cheers