Ten reasons to choose Slackware Linux (by Niki Kovacs)
This summer, the Slackware Linux
distribution will celebrate its twentieth anniversary. Patrick
Volkerding's official release announcement for Slackware 1.0 on July16th
1993 is still online. Read it here.
Here's a list of ten reasons why Slackware is still the perfect choice on servers, desktops and workstations.
Experience. Slackware is the oldest surviving
Linux distribution, it's been around even before Debian and Red Hat.
There's a famous Nutella ad in France: Twenty years of experience make all the difference.
The same thing applies to Slackware. The odd critic may have been
pointing out the fact that Patrick Volkerding's favourite hobby is
blindfolded jogging in front of buses. In the meantime, he's managed to
avoid them all, and Slackware is here to last.
Perennity. The Slackware installer and the
collection of basic administration tools remain the same proven tools
that have been shipping over the years. Which means that if you're a
system administrator, you won't have to relearn your basic skills from
scratch every time a distributor decides on a whim to switch init
systems like he would change his underwear. Changes to the distribution
only happen in small incremental steps and without drama, like the
addition of slackpkg to Slackware 12.2. Some folks like to
complain that Slackware tools like the installer or the package
management tools are bone-headed dinosaurs. Remind them curtly that it
still takes a meteor strike to wipe them.
Stability. Only proven and tested software gets
added to a release. One thing you'll never find in Slackware is the
unholy collection of half-assed technology previews sported by the more popular distributions, which tend to make your admin's life a misery.
Flexibility. As an admin, I have a pretty good idea
of what I want on a LAN server, on a public server or on a desktop.
Unfortunately, no canned distribution ships these configurations out of
the box. But Slackware is pretty much the only distribution that doesn't
make me jump through burning loops to simply configure things like I
want to configure them.
Flexibility (cont'd). If a package is not included in the distribution, I can be pretty sure SlackBuilds.org
has a build script for it. Otherwise, I'll just write one myself. Right
now I have a collection of about 140 extra packages, and every single
one built just fine. No distribution makes building stuff from source so
Simplicity. I often install desktops and
workstations on old and/or exotic hardware, and Slackware lets me
configure the more problematic stuff where the usual suspects among the
installers just choke on it. The KISS principle reveals its full strength here, the more so since you won't find any DO NOT EDIT THIS BY HAND nonsense in Slackware.
Humanity. I know, this is a word the Ubuntu
folks claim for themselves, but one of the things I like about
Slackware is its human size. Small distro, not too many packages, but
carefully tendered. Folks in the Slackware forum at LinuxQuestions.org
are a nice and competent crowd, and I like the general tone and
no-bullshit attitude. Plus, the average Slackware user doesn't have the GNU/Linux taliban touch to it, which you see all too often here in France. Last but not least, Ubuntu is an old african word meaning I can't configure Slackware :o)
Transparency. This one's obvious, but one less obvious factor is that it makes Slackware a great tool for actually learning Linux. Earlier this year, I've been teaching a class of ten sysadmins, and most of the course was based on Slackware.
Efficiency. My Xfce-based desktop
runs great on twelve year old hardware, and that's something I could
only achieve with Debian or a handful of lightweight distros like Puppy
or Slitaz, but not with the mainstream stuff like Ubuntu or openSUSE.
Release policy. Slackware Linux pushes out a new release roughly once a year, when it's ready. Every release gets security updates for at least five years. Which makes Slackware perfectly fit for your business.