Full Slackware 12.0 Review
So as you all should know by now, the king of Linuxes, Slackware, just released version 12.0. After over 14 years Slackware still holds true to its ideals of keeping it simple and straight forward.
The Linux Kernel: 10/10
Slackware 12.0 has kernel version 126.96.36.199, which is the most current version as of now. It also supports SMP.
Window managers and Desktop environments: 9/10
Let me start off by saying that I want to give a 10/10 on this one but I can’t for 2 reasons. First of all it is gnomeless (I don’t like gnome but I know others do). If you want gnome go here http://droplinegnome.org. My second reason is that it doesn’t come with beryl. Now I only docked 1/2 a point on this because it is not something Pat would include or that anyone would need, it just looks nice. Slackware 12 comes with everything from KDE 3.5.7 and Xfce 4.4.1 to twm. It also includes fluxbox, blackbox, windomaker and fvm2. This really shouldn’t go here but gtk+-2.10.13 is also included.
Slackware has finally moved to modular X.org. In this release it comes with version 7.2 which is the current version to date.
Graphics Card support: 8/10
Slackware 12 doesn’t come with any closed source drives, but you you want to install them yourself you can. The Nvidia drives work fine for me, but the only problem is that it doesn’t come in a .tgz
Browsers and Email Clients: 10/10
Again Slackware 12 is up to date, coming with Firefox 188.8.131.52, Konqueror, Seamonkey 1.1.2, links and lynx. And for email clients it has Thunderbird 184.108.40.206, Kmail and mutt. There may be a few more but these are the main ones.
Chat Clients: 10/10
Despite the snafu with Pidgin, Slackware 12 includes Pidgin 2.0.2. It also include Kopete. For irc, there are more clients that you would ever need, some of which include xchat, irssi, bitchx, epic.
Music Players: 10/10
This version of Slackware has dropped XMMS (RIP) in favor of audacious. If you like a music player with a bigger footprint and do more than just plays music, there is the current version of Amarok. And for cli music players there is mgp123 in /extra.
Text Editors: 10/10
You may like Emacs, you may like vi, it really doesn’t matter because it has both and even more. It has my personal favorite Joe. It also includes nano, pico, jove, vim, and kate.
Movie Players: 9/10
Slackware 12 comes with GXine and Xine. If you want mplayer you can go here: http://www.slacky.eu/repository/slackware-11.0/multimedia/mplayer/1.0rc1try3/ Even tho it says it is for version 11, it should still work with 12. There should be a 12.0 version very soon too. Also you will need the codecs which can be found here: http://www.slacky.eu/repository/slackware-11.0/multimedia/all/20061022/
Office Suites: 8.5/10
Sorry Pat, but I’m going to have to give you an penalty on this one. Slackware 12 comes with KOffice. If you want OpenOffice, you will have to go to my favorite 3rd party Slackware site, slacky.eu again and download it from here: http://www.slacky.eu/repository/slackware-11.0/office/openoffice/2.2.1/en-us/ I use OpenOffice and it works fine, but I guess Pat doesn’t care for java.
Terminals and shells: 9.5/10
Slackware 12 comes with rxvt, xterm and Konsole. It lacks my personal favorite Aterm. You can head on over to slacky.eu, and go to utilities to find aterm, eterm, and mrxvt. For shells they have all that you can ask for. Some of them include bash, ksh, zsh, and csh.
Cd/Dvd Burning: 10/10
Again Slackware 12 has growisofs, k3b and more. This is enough to burn cd’s and dvd’s and copy them.
Compiling tools: 9.5/10
Even tho it doesn’t have the most recent version of GCC (4.2.0) it does include version 4.1.2. It also include autotools, cvs, ruby, svn and other tools that you may or may not ever use.
Server software: 10/10
This is where Slackware really shines. Slackware finally ditched apache 1.x in favor of the newer apache 2.2.4 Also Php was updated to version 5.2.3 Slackware 12 also comes with the most recent version of bind, cups, dhcp, mysql 5.0.37, procmail, proftpd, smbd, ssh, and vsftpd. I probably forgot some, but Slackware can be just about any server you want it to be.
System Internals: 9.5/10
Slackware 12 finally comes with both HAL and Dbus. It also comes with just about every library under the sun. The only dependency problem you might have is if it requires a something from gnome. The boot scripts are still bsdesk SysV. And this version of Slackware is as stable as ever. I will probably get flamed for this one, but Slackware 12 comes WITH a package manager called pkgtools. It doesn’t resolve dependencies or fetch packages remotely. These functions ARE NOT requirements for something to be a package manager. If you want dependency checking and repo fetching you can install slapt-get, but you can find it yourself because I don’t recommend it.
I can not really give this a score because I didn’t install 12, I upgraded a previous install to Slackware 12. But it should have the same setup as it always had. This is a command line installer. It ISN’T hard. Don’t listen to what people say.
UPDATE: I run -current so all I did was rsync and upgradepkg –install-new a few packages and I was running 12. Also the installer isn’t GUI so I consider it CLI even tho IIRC it is ncurses.
Repositories and Communities: 9/10
Slackware’s community may not be as big as ubuntu’s, but they know what they are talking about. A good place to go for help is ##slackware on freenode. There are many knowledgeable people there, many are more knowledgeable then me. If you want a forum, LinuxQuestions is a great place despite a few fools. http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/forumdisplay.php?forumid=14 If you want an online repo, use http://slacky.eu/ It isn’t in English (it’s Italian, so if you can read Italian you are even better off), but the box to the right type in what you want and and hit enter. 90% of the time you’ll find what you are looking for. Slacky.eu has both the .tgz package and a .slackbuild in case you want to compile it yourself. Also you can go to http://slackbuilds.org/ if you want to compile it yourself. Just do everyone a favor, and DO NOT USE linuxpackages.net I’m not even going to link to that site. They are horrible. They DO NOT compile in a clean environment, so you will get random dependencies. You also don’t know what is in there. For all you know they could be root kitted. Also, they are kind of shady. They have popups that get around firefox’s blocker and apparently have a package to stop people from “leeching” or reselling.
Overall score: 9.5/10
I HIGHLY recommend Slackware 12 to anyone that has an open mind and isn’t afraid to maybe get their hands a tad dirty. Slackware won’t baby you like ubuntu, but you will learn a lot more about Linux with Slackware. If anyone has anything to add or comment on please leave a comment and I will change it.
Update: This review has been dugg so if you would please digg it http://digg.com/linux_unix/Full_Slackware_12_0_Review