Get Slack!

The oldest Linux distribution in existence is Slackware. It’s about time that I actually posted something about my favorite Linux distribution on this blog.

Like most X-MS Windows users, I did not come to Slackware directly. I took a round-about route through a few other distributions first. The very first distribution of Linux that I installed on my machine was Ubuntu 6.06 “Dapper Drake”, an impressive offering from Mark Shuttleworth and the Canonical folks. I still have a copy of it on CD. It was impressive to this frustrated MS Windows user. It was also like having a lifeline thrown to me as I was drowning in frigid North Atlantic waters.

Once I began to expand my Linux horizons, I found out there were other Linux’s out there. How cool is that? I was used to only a few MS Windows… 3.1, 98, ME, XP, etc. Here I find that there are many… and I do mean MANY different Linux variations out there in the wild. I wanted to try ’em all. I was searching for “my” Linux. I think it’s something most geeks do when they first come to Linux. It’s a right of passage, maybe?

Linux tends, like all things from brands of catsup to the cars we drive, to develop loyal followers. While Slackware may be my favorite Linux distribution for my own reasons, that doesn’t by any means rule out my like for other distributions. I think ALL things Linux are COOL! I don’t care what distribution you run. If it works for you, it’s the best one out there. Slack works for me… so does Debian or Arch or… you get the idea. I do love Slackware the best, though. It has an attitude that appeals to a biker, I think… simplicity, strength, stability.

Richard Hillesley in his excellent article at ITPro entitled Slackware Linux – Less Is More writes:

Slackware isn’t for everyone, and will never win the race for the Linux desktop, where fancy gizmos, music players, office suites and games are at a premium, but works for users who want “a system that makes a good server – where you aren’t even required to install X if you don’t want it – or a good desktop workstation if you do a full installation with KDE” or Xfce or Fvwm or Windowmaker or Fluxbox.

Much truth in that statement, folks. Slackware is definitely not for everyone. If you’re GUI dependent, Slackware can be difficult. Many customizations and setups that you would normally do in a graphic environment in say MS Windows or Ubuntu, you’ll need to learn to do by editing a text configuration file using a command line editor in Slackware. It’s not that it’s difficult. It’s just that a lot of folks don’t like non-graphic computing. I can understand their feelings. It’s a personal preferential choice, for sure. I’ve gotten so that I can do things much faster at the command line than I used to be able to in the graphic environment. Of course, I’m a relatively fast touch typist, too. That helps. Hunt & pecking on the command line is SLOWWWW!

Hillesley continues:

The asset most valued by the Slack user, and most often claimed for Slackware Linux, is system stability. If you install Slackware on a backroom server you expect it to stay there, and be unnoticed.

And this is no baloney, friends. I’ve had Slackware crash due to an application caused issue, but NEVER because Slack itself destabilized. It is the proverbial ROCK. I use it on a personal work station, but it’s uniquely suited to server duties because of that legendary stability.

Hillesley covers a bit of Slackware history in his article:

Slackware took its name from the mythical J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, the charismatic leader and figurehead of the Church of the Subgenius, whose message to the peoples of America was to “Get Slack”.

I’ve read a lot of stuff about Slackware over the years. Richard Hillesley’s article is one of the best I’ve ever read. If you have a few minutes and a hot cup of coffee next to you, give it a read.

I’m running Firefox in Slackware right now to write this article. I’ve been a Slacker for nearly four years now. I have other Linux distributions on my systems, but Slackware is my Linux now. Ubuntu was that cute girl at the bowling alley that I had the fling with way back when. Debian is an X who I keep in touch with. Arch is a sweetheart from the office. Sidux, CentOS, and those others are occasional flings, but Slackware is the girl I always come home to.

Have FUN with it!


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  • Securitybreach  On April 28, 2010 at 22:05

    Excellent blog post Eric.

    BTW whats up with the toolbar on the top of blog that stays there when you scroll? I liked it better when it was just the popup “Tools” on the bottom. The notepad part is a nice touch though.

    • V. T. Eric Layton  On April 28, 2010 at 22:14


      About the toolbar at the top… I’m not sure what you mean. Are you sure that wasn’t the flash banner ad that’s normally up there? The Google bar on the bottom is controlled by the site (Chris P.), not me. It’s pretty neat, though.

  • Securitybreach  On April 28, 2010 at 22:09

    Hmm weird now it is stationary?

    • V. T. Eric Layton  On April 28, 2010 at 22:16

      Do you mean the black bar at the very top with the Subscribe, Settings, Login(out), etc? That should be stationary… unless Chris P. is experimenting with something.

  • Securitybreach  On April 28, 2010 at 22:39

    Yeah I meant the black bar at the too that says Subscribe, Log In, Forum, Community, etc. Chris must of been experimenting because it was moving as the page scrolled. I even reloaded it a few times and still got the floating bar.

  • mfillpot  On April 29, 2010 at 04:27

    Eric, this is a great post. Keep up the good work.

  • Le Hoang Long  On April 30, 2010 at 03:43

    I love Slackware
    my first linux contact
    simple and believeable

  • limewire  On April 30, 2010 at 08:00

    lmao fun stuff man.

  • chrisretusn  On May 3, 2010 at 05:19

    Enjoyed reading your post as I sit here typing this in Slackware64 13.0 using Fx 3.6.3 .


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