Slackware 12 in Da House
Having tried a number of different distros over the years, I always enjoy reinstalling and running Slackware. For a number of reasons, I was running Kubuntu for a while – if you need to be up and running in little time and have a fully functional and straightforward desktop, you could do a lot worse than use one of the *buntus.
However, Pat released Slackware 12.0 and I had to have it. One of the reasons that I was using Kubuntu was that 12.0 was a release candidate (meaning it was almost finished) and the pain of going from 11.0 to 12.0 via the upgrade route just seemed a bit too much like hard work.
So, what did I do? Well Drew kindly suggested a download site for the .iso (since my torrent download seemed corrupt). I tried getting just CD1 and it wouldn’t work. I even installed the USB boot disk to an old Dell 64mb USB stick I had lying around and still no go. I eventually obtained the full DVD iso file form belnet.de – it was fast, just 4 hours for a full download and the file worked. And lo, I was ready to rock and roll.
So, what’s it like then? Pat has cut down on the number of kernels in this release – in fact, there are just 3 kernels available: speakup, huge and hugesmp. All are 184.108.40.206 kernels and none are acpi enabled. Which is a shame because I liked the old 2.4 bareacpi kernel. Maybe in the next release eh?
KDE is at version 3.5.7 and Pat has moved it out of /opt and into /usr. This will take a little getting used to but is a minor annoyance. X is now far more modular, so there are a lot more packages to choose from than before. Again, fairly minor, but future updates should be quicker as the whole X system is split across many smaller packages. XMMS is gone and replaced by Audacious – no biggie for me as I didn’t use XMMS. And Pidgin is in this release – – I think (though don’t quote me) that this is the first Linux distro to include the new name in the install. Others still have Gaim. As I said, don’t quote me. Also, you are no longer prompted to make a boot floppy, you are now prompted to make a boot USB disk.
The install is very quick and as easy and straightforward as ever. If you dislike the options in the kernel supplied with 12.0 either recompile it or grab the latest kernel (like what I did) and compile it instead. If you wish to take the latter route, the latest kernel is 2.6.22 and Alien Bob has a very easy to follow article on his wiki about compiling a kernel for Slackware. He also has a large number of Slackbuilds and are, I believe, recompiled for 12.0. If that’s not enough, Slackbuilds.org had 12.0 compatible slackbuilds available within hours of 12.0 being released. Incidentally, Alien Bob and at least one of the nice people at Slackbuilds.org post on Linuxquestions.org (the Slackware sub-forum is the official Slackware forum – accept no substitutes – and Pat has endorsed it) and I am one of the moderaters there, so you have no excuse for not believing either of us.
Anyone who has run Slackware before will know what to expect – a lightweight, very configurable system that has most things you need out of the box. Hunt down my post here on installing MPlayer and the mplayer-plugin and you really can’t go wrong. If you are new to Slackware, you are most definitely in for a treat.