Paul Berry (stereotype441) wrote,
Paul Berry

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Mmm... slack (geek post)

As of about 8 this morning, I have officially ditched Debian Linux in favor of Slackware.

I had the web server transferred over late last night, and now I'm working on my main machine.

So far I'm quite happy. Fortunately I'm already familiar with Slackware--I first installed it in 1995, off of about 50 floppies. Unfortunately, that was just before my hands gave out. When I returned to the Linux world in 1997, 177560 recommended Debian, which I used until yesterday.

Debian and Slackware have very similar philosophies: friendly to hackers and people with programming skills, not-so-friendly to others. Configuration parameters are stored in text files (where they belong, damn it!), and most system administration activities are done through the good old command line.

At the risk of starting a religious war with my Debian-using friends, here are my main reasons for switching:

  • I could never figure out how to get Debian to use reiserfs. As a victim of several hard drive and power failures over the years, I am sick and tired of fsck. Slackware supports reiserfs natively.
  • I couldn't figure out how to run VmWare under Debian (granted, I didn't try all that hard). I know you can run it under Slackware (we do at work), and I found some friendly-looking instructions on the internet for how to do it.
  • I somehow managed to break apt-get a month or two ago, so I haven't been able to install new packages or get security updates. I considered bypassing apt and just installing packages directly, but I couldn't understand how the dependency tracking worked, and I was worried about completely screwing up the system. In Slackware, the entire distro fits on two CD's, and there's no such thing as a package conflict, so you can just install all packages and not worry about dependencies. Plus, if anything goes wrong, packages are .tgz files, so I know I can just install the package myself manually.
  • Slackware seems to be more current than Debian. My new system uses a 2.4 kernel by default, and has more recent versions of a lot of the tools I use (e.g. apache, php, gcc, X Windows). Granted, I'm comparing it to the Debian "stable" release, which may not be fair.

To some degree I'm sure I'm experiencing a "grass is greener" effect here--give me six months and I'll probably come up with as many reasons to complain about Slackware as I currently have about Debian.

Anyhow, there's still much to do. And it looks nice outside. Note to self: Do not spend all day on the computer today. Get outside and enjoy some fresh air too.

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