7 Reasons I use Slackware

Slackware LinuxSlackware is the distribution of Linux I have been using for roughly seven years now. I use it both on the Desktop and in a server environment without any major issues with stability or security. I love the Keep It Simple philosophy of Slackware amongst many other things. If your looking for a lightweight, completely customizable, flexible, and mature distribution, Slackware is the definitely way to go. Here is why I think so:

  1. Simplicity. You can start from a base and build upon it. Most other distributions you start with a bunch of bulky software that you have to remove after installation. I don’t feel anyone should have to work backwards.
  2. Stability. Being that Slackware is the oldest maintained Linux distribution and is still kept wrapped in tight arms by the founder and maintainer Patrick Volkerding, there isn’t much chance for the project to stray away from its original intent. With many “big” distributions, there are so many programmers working on it, that it can easily stray away from the projects intended goals. The need to incorporate updates just because the version number is higher is not a practice of Mr. Volkerding, and probably has a large part to do with Slackware’s overall stability.
  3. Command line. I’ve been running Linux since 1999 and when I first started, I started on the command line. In recent years, I’ve noticed most all “mainstream” distributions focus strictly on the graphical user interface, which in my opinion, gives new users a false impression of what Linux is all about. Don’t get me wrong, the command line is present in all distributions to date, but less focused on. I always tell people who are looking to venture into the Linux operating system world that if they want to use Linux, install something like Mandrivia, or SuSE, but if they want to learn Linux, install Slackware.
  4. Direct Control. Slackware gives you, the system administrator, direct control over the machine without using fancy graphical user interfaces to hide anything. The ability to administrate and maintain your system is left completely up to you.
  5. Independence. One of the many quarks people have with Slackware is that is offers no form of dependency checking with its package management. I myself would much rather have the independence and security of knowing that my package manager is not going to install five other packages and possibly screw something up along the way. When I install something that requires a dependent package, I am knowledgeable [and not lazy] enough to manually grab the package, and install it.
  6. Community. Many communities are flushed with boatloads of users who do not really know what they are doing, but are offering advice, which is sometimes dangerous or bad, to new comers as if they were Linus Torvalds himself. What I have noticed about the Slackware community, whether it be on IRC, or a user group, is that the majority of Slackware users are mature, respectable, and very knowledgeable. I’ve never spoken to a Slackware user that wasn’t willing to help in any way they could. In the open source world, a community is what drives a project. Slackware being around since 1993 says a lot about the community.
  7. Comfort. Lets face it. I’ve been using Slackware for a long time!

In conclusion I would like to state that if you are a new Linux user, lazy, or someone that has difficulty spending time reading documentation and figuring things out on your own, Slackware is probably not the best choice for you in a Linux distribution. The most important thing is that you choose a flavor that fits you, and that you are comfortable with, because above all else, you are the one who has to use it!

With that said, happy slacking!

5 thoughts on “7 Reasons I use Slackware

  1. I really think that your opinion it’s very accerted, but, you have to note tools like swaret, that help us to maintain the system update and resolve dependencies for us. My choice is Slackware becouse thanks to it I learn Linux I have to find something real good to learn English.

  2. Slackware isn’t for everyone, in the same sense that Linux isn’t for everyone.

    And by that I mean, all of the ominous warnings from Windoze users, advising to steer clear of Linux because of the supposedly steep “learning curve”, how it’s not for beginners, etc., are exactly what Linux users say about Slackware. And in both cases, it is typically without any first-hand knowledge or experience.

    But in fact, in both instances, the situation can be analogous to the difference between driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission, and driving one with a manual transmission. At first, it might seem that the automatic is easier to operate, and more user-friendly. But once you become familiar with a manual transmission, you find that not only is it no more difficult to operate, the added control can make the manual transmission actually easier top operate in some situations.

    There is a reason Slackware has been around so long. It freaking works, and it can do ANYTHING. It can use .rpms, Slackware packages (.tgz), compile from source, etc.. If it asks a little bit more of the user, than other distributions, the benefits of simplicity, flexibility, stability, scalability, configurability, and community support make it more than worth it. It’s only limitation is the capability of the user.

    I have been using Slackware since Slackware 4. It was the first Linux distribution I ever laid eyes on. At the time, I chose Slackware precisely BECAUSE I had heard it was the choice of “hardcore” users. I have never regretted it for a moment.

  3. I’ve used Slackware for 13 years.
    I had to download the packages from my best friend over a 14.4k modem. My favorite game back then was Sastroids.

    Used to when you went to university professors would force you to learn Solaris. I guess you appreciated what you had. Now you can spend $500 and buy a laptop pre-installed with Windows Vista. It comes with .NET 2.0 installed ( C#, VB.net, j.net, clr ). It’s like a drug because everything just works and makes you feel complete. Then you start realizing they impede your efforts for like trying to reinstall the products. Sure there are ways around that but what a hassle.

    “Seek and yee will find”, Bible tells us.

    Then you find yourself with a copy of Linux. Sure you used Gimp portable for win32. But now you can install it native. It’s faster. Although, your Sony VAIO’s keyboard functions dont’ work like they did in Windows Vista. So you switch back and forth for a few years.

    Video games are like Opium! They draw you in get you hooked and you need more. You’re mad if you don’t get them. If your computer is broke you are mad.
    You’ll stay up odd hours trying to reinstall Windows.

    With Linux you just do your work and damn the games.

    Knoppix, Linspire, Ubuntu set a precedent. Instead of requiring the user to configure their X they configure it and more.

    My only wish is that Pat would just pull in some of the autoconfiguration from Knoppix… I mean come on how hard can it be”?

    I really do enjoy Slackware. Slack 4 was my all-time favorite. It was the fastest before they went to that crazy Elf/dynamic glibc.

    slack forces you to learn.. It’s similar to Blender3D. You appreciate the simplicity and intuitive design after you learn it.


  4. Sure, Slackware is an unususal distro.

    I like it.
    Slackware was my first distributive since that time when a sysadmin of an ISP burned a dvd with it and gave it to me :-) And I will never regret that Slackware was my 1st GNU/Linux OS! I still use it – for example on the gate in my university ;)

    My opinion is -
    if a person wants to use free and open source software, but is NOT interested how all that works – it’s better for him to use Open SuSE/Mandriva/etc.

    But if a person IS INTERESTED in different daemons and services, if he is on the way to become a system administrator – Slackware is one of the best solutions.

    PS: I also like ZenWalk, but the latest release (6.0) is much more hard to run at my old P-iii 800 Mhz, 128 mb :(

    Debian is also cool :) But today Slackware is closer to me.

    I also try to master OpenBSD, but do it extremely slow because of lack of time)

    Have fun! :P
    Kurgan, Russian Federation

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