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Slackware 8.1 rc1 Announced 297

Demerol writes with word that "about 12 hours ago, Patrick announced the that Slackware is now in Release Candidate stage in preparation for the long-awaited 8.1 release. Hundreds of updated to the current tree in the last few months have had all the slackers drooling, and now it is almost upon us. Now, I don't want to hear any more talk of Slackware being dead. Thanks. ;) Here is the ChangeLog and the Userlocal announcement"
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Slackware 8.1 rc1 Announced

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  • wow, everyone's putting out a new relase, even slackware(never realized how apropropriate the name was until now.) maybe I'll have to fire up a test box and try it again.

    The question is; why?
    slackware has a new one, redhat, mandrake, suse, debian(shortly)... even the packages like mozilla and kde are having long awaited releases....

    maybe we're about to stumble on the turning point on the computer era... maybe 10 years from now we'll look at the 1995-2002 as the dark ages of the operating systems.

    As a side note, I showed my girlfriend the article about sherwin williams, and she replied, "this linux thing isn't going away, is it?" ...and now she's ready to learn.
  • You can check your email and receive messages from the world wide web! Slackware will help you stay in touch with all your friends by making a buddy list. I know that I instant message my friends all the time. Plus the new Slackware comes with bright shiny buttons, surprising sounds that make you excited about the interweb and being in-touch with folks from around the world who are just like you!!!!!
    "Slackware's tech support has been nothing but patient, understanding and helpful!" says grandmother Eunice Haversham.
    "It's so easy even I can use it!" says Michigan resident Robert Malda.
    The best thing of all about Slackware is the fact that it's FREE !!! Just pick up a copy at McDonalds in their Tux Happy Meal or download it from your favorite website or give us a call at 1-800-LUNIX4U right away and we'll tell you about our other great offers!
    • My siblings and I bought my mother a computer and as the designated s/a, I put Slackware on it 'cause that's what I'm most familiar with.

      Now, my mother is working her way up to being a novice user. My favorite example is that I had to explain to her what to do when her mouse reached the end of the mouse pad, but the pointer hadn't reached its destination.

      Say what you want about Linux's usability (for any distribution) vs. Windows or Mac, but I have no doubt I'd have been answering questions I can't even make up myself with any other platform. However, with Slackware I know that no matter what she does, I can fix it, and I have the best chance of being able to explain to her how to do things.

      I think the experiment has paid off, since I haven't heard any problems from her in a long time now.

      I wouldn't have dreamed of having her install her own OS - Windows or otherwise - but I think that the anecdotal evidence of her success is proof that pretty much anyone can use Linux, Slackware in particular.

  • I'm a slackware whore. I sure wish someone would update once in a while, pretty sad that some other site has news on this before there's a peep of it on slackware's own web site.

    I've used 8.1-beta2 at work, I love it.
    • by Faux_Pseudo ( 141152 ) <> on Sunday May 26, 2002 @06:22PM (#3588369) Homepage
      cat file Slackware users know to look below the surface and check the changelog in slackware-current for information. You can do this with a quick bash script in cron once a week and read about any changes in your inbox:

      # only meagerly tested code that i banged out for this post
      # covered under GPL

      Chan geLog.txt"
      if [ ! -d $DIFF_STORAGE ] ; then
      mkdir $DIFF_STORAGE
      if [ -d $DIFF_STORAGE ] ; then
      cd $DIFF_STORAGE
      mv -f ChangeLog.txt ChangeLog.txt.orig
      wget ${MIRROR}

      if [[ -f ChangeLog.txt.orig && -f ChangeLog.txt ]] ; then
      if [ $(diff ChangeLog.txt ChangeLog.txt.orig 2>/dev/null | wc \
      -l | awk -F : '{print$1}') -gt 0 ] ; then
      diff ChangeLog.txt ChangeLog.txt.orig

      alt.os.linux.slackware has known that rc1 on was out for a few days now and someone on the group even makes the effort to make current ISOs on a weekly bases. Other innovations mentioned in that group are the ability's to easily install slackware from ftp or DOS.

  • One man show (Score:4, Insightful)

    by m_evanchik ( 398143 ) <michel_evanchikATevanchik@net> on Sunday May 26, 2002 @02:21PM (#3587583) Homepage
    What really amazes me about slackware is that it really does seem to be a one-man show.
    This is reassuring to me. It's good to know that there really is one authoritative voice on at leat one distro.
    It lacks bells and whistles and requires some expertise, which is why I couldn't stick with it, but philosophically, it appeals to me.
  • by truefluke ( 91957 ) on Sunday May 26, 2002 @02:22PM (#3587586) Homepage
    I actually went to Slack's site about a week back, with the intent to either download stuff or order something from cheapbytes. When I read that they were preparing to release 8.1, I decided to hold off and wait.

    I was going to download Slack so I could install the base and just do the ./config, make, make install dance for a buncha stuff I like to use, like evilwm. My intentions was to pull something together from installing just the bare libs and packages I need, and create a desktop box for myself that just plain works.

    Slackware may not be for everyone, but that doesn't make their efforts any less relevant. They're a proven distro. Looking forward to this!

  • Why Slackware? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Sunday May 26, 2002 @02:25PM (#3587600) Homepage
    Some people may be wondering why someone would use slackware when there are distros like Mandrake which have a graphical configuration utility for everything. There is a very good reason: to learn about Operating Systems and about Linux. To change a configuration in Slackware, you have to edit text files. But that's not really bad, because Slackware has amazing comments in the config files. You are encouraged to learn the filesystem and the config file structure. If you want to learn Linux as opposed to simply use Linux, run Slackware!
    • A few years ago, I installed Slackware on a spare box and thought it was a nice distro. As you said, this is really nice if you want to learn how your OS works rather than just using it.

      I don't use it anymore because all of my boxes (including my server) are running linux from scratch [] which while being much longer to setup (especially the first time), it is the ultimate learning experience. Everything on my workstation was compiled manually by me, including the shell, the compiler, X, etc...

      One good thing about slack and linuxfromscratch is that you *know* exactly what is installed on your machine.
      • I've been a Slackware user for years, and I've done LFS too.

        Recently I've switched to Gentoo Linux []. It's the same no crap, basic distro that Slackware is with the added benefit of everything being compiled for your specific system and knowing exactly what goes on your system like LFS.

        The reason I use Gentoo over LFS now is the package system (it's like BSD ports) is genius. I would recommend Gentoo to any Slack or LFS user.. you get all the benefits of the two plus an easier way of installing and uninstalling apps.
    • If you want to learn about Linux, why not just do LFS? I use slackware because it's a great server operating system - I like it because it doesn't have a bunch of GUI configuration tools and runs just fine without a monitor.
    • Other good ways to learn linux:

      Gentoo []: the portage package management utility is based off the BSD ports system and downloads, compiles, and installs programs instead of using binaries for increased optimization. The only graphical configuration tools are the ones the user 'emerges' using the portage system. Much like Slackware and Linux from Scratch, you have complete control over your system.

      Linux From Scratch []: step-by-step instructions to compile your very own Linux from the ground up. Excellent docs that are worth a read even if you don't decide to install it.
  • by crovira ( 10242 ) on Sunday May 26, 2002 @02:25PM (#3587602) Homepage
    Latest's of every thing I need:
    with all the php packages I have to move over,
    LOTS of standard stuff (Nautilus, Mozilla etc.)

    I should be able to upgrade my box, install ZendStudio_Server, use the journalling file system to mirror my drives and have the bullet proof system I need to support my Community Wikis.
  • We need to face the facts. The Linux distro business model just doesn't work and sooner or later, a lot of the distro people are again going to be amateurs doing it for love and not money.

    All that might be a good thing as the emergence of a clear commercial leader can only help Linux in the business world - it still looks like too much of an anarchy at the moment.

    My first distro was a shrinkwrap job, but now I know I'd never do that again - there is no money to be made out of me or anyone like me. My contribution is in code and similar efforts.

    When the shakeout comes then the hacker community are really going to be tested - without that money it is back to people in their bedrooms churning it out. Are they/we up to it?
    • but you've got to remember that slack doesn't have to support a small army of people, just Patrick, David, Logan, and Chris. I think he has a better chance of holding on than a company like mandrake, since his overhead is MUCH lower, and his product is (IMHO) better.

      Please don't bother flaming me about that statement of opinion, since that's all it is. I prefer the clean simplicity of slack, that's all.

      • Re:Not dead - yet? (Score:3, Informative)

        by dangermouse ( 2242 )
        Honestly, it's just Patrick at this point -- again. The rest of us were there for a year or two, depending on how you count our level of involvement, and then were scattered again by the BSDi collapse.

        I'm immensely proud of my association with Slackware and with Patrick, but credit where it's due and all that.


    • Re:Not dead - yet? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Phroggy ( 441 ) <.slashdot3. .at.> on Sunday May 26, 2002 @03:14PM (#3587780) Homepage
      The Linux distro business model just doesn't work...

      Um, last I heard, Slackware has always been profitable. Quit spreading FUD.
    • When the shakeout comes then the hacker community are really going to be tested - without that money it is back to people in their bedrooms churning it out. Are they/we up to it?
      In their bedrooms? Real geeks work in their bathrooms with a mini-fridge on the counter!
  • This is the release I've been waiting for. I've tried Redhat, I've tried Mandrake, but I fell in love with Slackware. The Sys V init on the redhat-ish distros annoy me... I really love Slack's BSD style init (and it supports Sys V style too if required!). It's much easier to edit.

    Hooray for Patrick and gang! A job well done.

    • I agree, I hate Sys V init files, and most Distros don't support a full Sys V, like Solaris...BSD init style works easier for me!

      Slackware users since floppy days!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    He's authored more than a couple programs I use day-to-day (fetchmail, for one), and I hear he's got a bit of free time [] on his hands.
  • I used to be a Slackware user. I'm fairly advanced when it comes to Linux and UNIX in general so I don't care at all about graphical interfaces or configuration tools. However, I have fallen in love with advanced package management tools and distro companies that are really quick to update packages.

    I just don't have the time to spend a few hours grabbing the latest source patches and doing a recompile. I use to like to compile everything from source so that I could optimise it for my machine but real life eventually got in the way of that and it stopped being fun.

    So for the past 3-4 years I've been using Mandrake. But the first thing I do is 'rpm -e linuxconf drakx* kde* gnome*' etc. The reason I like it is not because of the ease of use but because Mandrake is really quick to release security updates and all it takes is a simple urpmi command to download them. Plus every release comes with tons of new toys that I like to play around with when I'm bored.

    There's lots of other reasons I choose Mandrake too but I mean this as constructive critisism towards Slackware so I'll leave those out.

    Comming from a BSD background I always felt right at home with Slack but when you just want something that you can use and keep up to date and secure with minimum effort then it just doesn't cut it.

    I don't feel that you need to be user friendly and geared towards windows and mac users to fill this gap. Just a few command line tools that make a UNIX administrator's life easier when it comes to managing what's installed on the system (and the pkg_* tools are not up to speed on this IMO).

    So I'm going to go off on a limb here and get ready to be flamed by all the Slackware lovers. I would probably switch back to Slackware if they were to switch to rpm or deb pkg. They can keep the "no easy configuration tools" or the bsd-style init scripts which I love so much. But I really need a way to customize my system and keep it up to date with minimal effort.

    I know Slack has come with rpm installed optionally for a while but all of the system stuff like glibc, bash etc. should be installed as rpms so that it's really easy to updgrade them without taking hours to recompile.

    • Hmm...yes I feel the same way. The only major problem of slack is the lack of a decent packaging system. Even though I favor debians apt over RedHats Package Management.
      I also have to say that in fact Slack IS the best way to learn about Linux (and BSDUnix) and whenever a friend wants to switch from windows to linux i tell him to use Slack. He probably has only heard about Redhat or SuSE but i believe using tools to do the job wont help much when further problems arise.

    • by bonch ( 38532 ) on Sunday May 26, 2002 @04:08PM (#3587982)

      Oh, please. As you know, Slackware has its own package management system, the same one it uses to install with. glibc, bash, and so forth *are* installed via binary packages. No need to recompile. Just follow slackware-current.

      I upgraded KDE 2.2.1 to KDE 3.0.1 just by downloading the packages and using upgradepkg. I've also upgraded the kernel, a bunch of my X apps, and even X itself. All without compiling.

      I should probably point this out--I'm an idiot. I probably shouldn't even be using a Linux system. But someone like me got Slackware Linux up and running and using all my devices. Wasn't hard at all. And now I have no reason to use Windows except to run certain games.

      Then again, maybe I'm just ignorant since I haven't used any other distros since I first used Slackware 4.0. I guess I don't need to try the others when I've already got the best. :)

      (shameless plug) Slackersguild [] will always use Slackware... ;)

    • Slackware has a binary package format you know...ever heard of the pkgtools (installpkg, upgradepkg, etc.)? Slackware packages are available on many sites being a big one.

      Having switched from an RPM-based distro (Red Hat) to Slackware, I can honestly say that I don't miss RPMs at all and like having the option of using either source or Slackware packages, which I can actually use together properly...without dependency hell.

  • Try Gentoo, I can't see how you'd go back.
    • used slackware for about 4 years and i was a gentoo lover within seconds :)

      But this doesnt mean i wouldnt use Slack if i need a system up and running fast, cause gentoo is still a slow bastard with all the nice compile time needed...
    • It's too bad you won't like Gentoo on a dialup connection.
    • Try Gentoo, I can't see how you'd go back.
      Not everybody's got the bandwidth and the time neccesary to install and maintain Gentoo. After all, that's why Slackware distributes CDs; while the most Gentoo does is have a single 10-100M ISO that acts only as a bootstrap to downloading it via a fat pipe.
  • by BRTB ( 30272 )
    And I just rsync'ed and upgraded everything up to "beta2" level a couple days ago. Now I have to go and update more stuff. Oh well, updates are always good....
    • Where are you rsyncing from, or is there a web page that details some rsync:// sites? Email me if you don't want the world knowing.
      • Straight from slackware's server, actually..., something like that. Unfortunately I haven't been able to actually get in with rsync for a couple weeks now, so I just did a wget mirror from the ftp instead. Max speed I get from there is about 8k/sec so probably be prepared to let it run at least overnight.
  • For producing a distribution that's rock-solid and doesn't get in your way.

    I still have the CD for 3.2, from 1997 :-) which was the release that got me started with Linux. If you _really_ want to learn Linux, I think Slackware is still the way to go.

    I've tried Red Hat and Debian, but I still come back to good old Hackware.

    • I'll say this. Because of Slackware's "raw" way of doing things, Linux isn't really as intimidating as it once was when I was but a newbie. Redhat's RPMs were nice, but I always wondered where everything was going, what it was doing behind the scenes, etc.

      Having used Slack, that mystique is gone, and I'm okay now with the basic internals of Linux. I just grew comfortable with it since Slackware exposes it all. Hell, I'm even toying with doing Linux from scratch []. As someone pointed out before, Slackware is one of the best ways to truly learn Linux.
  • The best Linux based server operating system is soon to see yet another fine release.

  • Anyone got a mirror for an ISO?

  • by zdzichu ( 100333 )
    The new slack is coming. Great.

    But what is more important - it still has users that loves slack.
    Look at comments here! There are no angry posts. Almost everyone claims almost love to slackware, even users that had to go away from slackware. They were made to leave slack, but they still love it.

    There are no post like BSD is dying, there are no troll or flamebaits commonly accompaning RedHat or Mandrake releases. Everyone seems to have warm feelings about Slack.

    I think that slackware has one of best userbase around here.
    Go slack!
  • what about linuxpackages? []
  • Death to the lame distros. Real SA's do Slack.
    Stupid RedHat and other GUI installs suck. If I wanted GUI I'd get a Mac.

    I was there from the beginning. Slack is the best.

    Give me Slack or give me Death!
  • Slackware is unquestionably the best distro for linux newbies. It was my first distro and it forced me to learn all the nitty gritty details of linux. Now its nothing but debian for me, but I must pay homage to their roots. Way to go Patrick... and praise Bob!
    • by Zo0ok ( 209803 ) on Sunday May 26, 2002 @07:08PM (#3588537) Homepage
      Actually, when I first installed Linux in 1998 i considered lots of distros (Debian, Caldera, RH, Slackware, and probably some more). Finally I installed Slackware because that was the only distribution that had an installation procedure that felt... solid (and worked from floppies). I had never used Linux, and had only little experience of Solaris from University. In a month I had Slackware 3.6 running on a Compaq LTE 5300 laptop. The PCMCIA modem worked. The TFT-display worked. I downloaded tarballs and recompiled my kernel.

      I dont think I would have made it with another distribution. Whats so good with Slackware is that if something does not work, then you know it is your fault. There is always something you have done wrong, or something you dont know or understand. I'm a pretty experience Windows user, and when things dont work in Windows, its always Windows fault (Its true!). Its never slackwares' fault! I find it much more reassuring to know that solving a problem is just a matter of gaining more insight into it, not a matter of luck. It is always possible to understand what is wrong when using Slackware.

      Nowadays I use OS X for daily work, and Debian for other needs (unfortunately OS X can do most things I ever wanted with Linux. so I hardly need Linux).

      If I wanted a Linux desktop today chances are I would finally give Suse, Mandrake or Redhat a chance - they seem to be pretty good nowadays.

      If I was to set up a server I would stick to Slackware or Debian.

      If I wanted to learn or explore I would try Solaris/x86 or BSD, preferably on some odd hardware...

      So what did I want to say? Hmm. Start with Slackware, dont give up - there is always a solution (and it is a great feeling to solve problems by really understanding them). When you know Slackware you can use any other Linux-distro you want - if it suits a particular need well. After running slackware you also have a good feeling of what UNIX is, and you feel like you basically can use any BSD or UNIX system.
  • I looked in the changelog yesterday and it's really impressive to see so much important software beeing up to date.

    Slackware isn't anymore using old outdated software. Take a careful look in the changelog and drool.

    Also note the boot/root disks supporting the new journaling filesystems directly from a fresh installation.

  • Great! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sinistre ( 59027 )
    I've been waiting for this a long time - Gives me a good reason to reinstall. I was expecting it to come during the last few weeks and I've been trolling the slackware ftp to see if anything had changed - and I was kinda hoping to be the first to post it here on slashdot. Heh, only to find that somebody else posted it first and it even had more than 100 comments already... makes me wonder how you ppl are spending your time.

    Great this is good news!!! This is cause for a celebration!
  • As All slackers know "Simplicity is the Divine" A LinuX distro who really saw linux kernel 0.99.15 in its first release!

    Now troll on this if you can!
  • by Joel Rowbottom ( 89350 ) on Sunday May 26, 2002 @05:07PM (#3588165) Homepage
    (fwiw, this is probably flamebait, and will get moderated as such - but it's my 2-worth; disclaimer is i don't normally get involved in distro-wars)

    I'm a happy Slackware user. I've been a Slack user for years - and not just out of "being used to it". I used Slackware in my first job, I built mailservers on it in my second job, I used it to run a complete ISP [] in my third job, and a complete domain registry [] in my fourth job (incidentally, I'm still on a heck of a salary and really enjoy my work).

    I've actually looked at other distributions to make maintainence easier, but:

    • Debian I found was populated by anal freaks who were real religious fanatics - we had a department full of Debian people and I said "ok, let's do Debian then" and two years later I'm finding it hard to work out just where they put everything [1].
    • RedHat just had too many problems and decided to SetUID root a load of crap (plus there's the obvious rootkits).
    • SuSE fell apart at the seams.
    So I went back to Slackware.

    It's quite funny when someone came along, found a security hole such as the recent OpenSSH hole, and tried to crack a Slack box - it was fairly obvious from the start, because the rootkits failed. Then I built Slack packages for tripwire and stuff.

    Pat's got it right, IMHO. It's a good, simple distro with decent ground-up building. And there's a lot of misconception that you have to build stuff on Slack boxes - you don't - you can quite happily build packages.

    I now run Slack on my laptop, on the company servers, on my desktop, and loads of other places. It works for me. I'm pleased to see Pat's finally got it together for 8.1 (I've been following the updates for some time).

    But one bit of advice: update - it's bloody old.


    [1] Admittedly I haven't got used to it in the same way I got used to Slack, but there's enough people in the company who can get used to Slack. Standardising means getting other people to learn it too.

  • Why I use Slackware (Score:5, Informative)

    by SteelX ( 32194 ) on Sunday May 26, 2002 @06:23PM (#3588372)
    I've been using Slackware since 3.5 back in 1997, and I continue using it today. In fact, I'm posting this from my Slackware 8-ish box. So why Slackware? It's all about simplicity. Let's get more specific...

    The lack of "forced" package dependencies is a good thing. When I know exactly what I want, I don't need to care about "forced" package dependencies. I run a Debian laptop at home, and when package dependencies break (ok so I'm trying out the unstable branch), it can be a real pain to fix that back. And I don't even want to get started on RPM (yes I run a Red Hat box too). But if I know exactly what I want, I can fix everything myself in Slackware. I'm not forced to accept what a package/distro maintainer wants me to install. It's all about control.

    Learning Linux/UNIX. Some of you have already mentioned this. If you really want to learn about Linux/UNIX administration/development, Slackware is a great distro for that purpose. Now, people who would just want to use Linux as a desktop (for non-programming purposes) should use another distro. Slack's not for you. However, people who really want to learn will love the DIY-ness of Slackware. When you have to compile stuff yourself, or figure out why a certain library isn't working, you'll learn a whole heap of skills and tricks that will be really useful to you later. For example...

    Moving back and forth from/to BSD is a breeze. When I first had to admin an OpenBSD box, I felt right at home. The similar *.tgz-style packages were easy to admin, and so was editing/configuring the system via editing text files. I later had to do some research using FreeBSD boxes, and again, I'm on familiar ground.

    There are a whole lot of other reasons too, but I can't spell it out right now due to my current semi-hangover mode...

    The downside: Of course, the obvious downside to using Slackware is time. You need to have heaps of time to learn and use it. But once you're done with that phase, you'll find your investment in Slackware will be worth it all. Again, I stress that Slackware is not for everyone. I certainly don't expect some of my less-obsessed-with-UNIX friends to like it. But hey, if you're the adventurous type who loves to learn and tinker around with stuff, go try it out. I think you'll like it.
    • by Eil ( 82413 )

      I agree with you totally on the dependencies thing. That's the main reason I installed Slack about a year ago. I bought the Mandrake 8.0 Power Pack for something like $80, discovered it was crap, and downloaded Slackware 8.0. It's on all 3 of my machines now and I haven't looked back.

      The downside: Of course, the obvious downside to using Slackware is time. You need to have heaps of time to learn and use it.

      I think I disagree with this. The time spent on learning Slackware is time that you'll spend on learning Linux itself anyway. If you're coming from one of the Bells-and-Whistles distros (like RH, Mandrake, or Suse) then you'll actually save quite a bit of time because you aren't trapseing all over the whole system disabling things, getting rid of performance wasters, and closing security holes.

      I'll bet I could customize a brand new Slackware install to my tastes within an hour. Doing the same with Mandrake (for example), used to take me upward of 2 or 3 entire evenings.
  • Boot kernels (Score:2, Informative)

    by brsmith4 ( 567390 )
    I think it is quite interesting how slack has different boot kernels for different hardware configs for the install. Thats a pretty unique approach in my opinion. I also think that the installer rocks. Its very easy to use (even if it isn't 'Mandrake-esque') and I love curses programs. I do have a question though (haven't found the answer in the changelog). Does anyone know if there is an installer image with the base ISO that has a kernel supporting USB HID devices? The PS/2 ports on my best machine are fried and I only use USB for keyboard and mouse. I know I can download the image but I also don't have a floppy drive on that machine. Any help would be appreciated.
  • After I downloaded Slack 8.0 Last Year some time. I was always kinda curious how long before the next release. and After A year goes by and the forum closes down I start thinking maybe they are having a problem . Maybe slack is going away. Maybe the maintainer is just to busy to keep up slack. Well after reading the changelog that guy has been busy allright maintaining and making slack better more power to ya I should have sent my 20 buck to slack instead of mandrake. Don't forget to follow the adventures of slack-girl []
  • There is a site that makes binary packages of mostly everything you'll for slackware 8 and 7. You'll need some packages that are hard to compile or that you don't need much personalization or that you may want to easily remove with removepkg.

    So in between official upgrade, take a loot at the [] site.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak