In my continuing quest for interesting distros to check out, I remembered that LinuxQuestions.org recently gained a Zenwalk forum. I hadn’t really heard of this distro until the forum started (I know, I know) and for some reason had it tied up with Zenworks and so was less interested in it than I should have been.
What a fool. I went over to their site to see what it’s all about.
Well, firstly, let’s allow the team to tell us:
Zenwalk is a GNU/Linux operating system, designed to provide the following characteristics :
- Modern (latest stable software)
- Fast (optimized for performance capabilities)
- Rational (one mainstream application for each task)
- Complete (full development/desktop/multimedia environment)
- Evolutionary (simple network package management tool – netpkg)
There are 2 versions of Zenwalk :
Zenwalk (full version ~ 410MB iso download) is a complete system : out of the box, you will be able to browse, mail, chat, listen to music, program in C, Perl, Python, Ruby,.. watch videos in various formats, write documents, print, scan, burn CD and DVD, connect your camera and edit your photographs, without adding anything. Coders will like the full set of development libraries and interpreters.
Zenwalk Core (~ 350MB iso download) is a Zenwalk system without X applications. Zenwalk-core is intended to be used as a starting point to build a custom desktop system or a server system, and for users with limited space on their disk, or great perfectionists wanting to build their personal desktop system themselves.
Zenwalk is based on the XFCE desktop environment.
Yeah, didn’t help me much either – but it did look interesting. I delved a little deeper and discovered that it used to be called MiniSlack – which means that it’s based off Slackware, my usual distro, and so should be very cool and stable. So I downloaded the iso files and began the install.
If you have ever installed Slackware – and if not, why not? – there will be few surprises ahead of you. It boots with a 188.8.131.52 kernel and almost all of it is standard for a Slackware install. However, because the aim is a smaller Slackware (while still being usable and useful), there are no package selections to go through: the team have decided that there should be one of each package and that they will all be autoinstalled. Which is why the iso is only 410mb in size.
I installed this, as usual, via Qemu, and everything went swimmingly. Coincidentally, I gave it a 2Gb virtual disk to install to – which is the size of disk used in the documentation. Which was nice.
While it’s usual to provide screenshots, I’m not going to. This is because the install docs have very clear screeneshots and because the site itself has two pages of them – and we don’t really need more, do we? The main screenshots are here and the user provided screenshots are here. And very nice they are too.
So, in conclusion, what do we have? We have a Slackware based distro which means it should run on almost all pcs, it can run Slackware packages, it’s lightweight, easy to install and should be very stable. It’s ideal for people who want to run Slackware but don’t feel up to the configuration.