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Taking Up the Slack(ware)
Catching Up with Slackware 8.1rc2
June 6, 2002
In the last episode, I explained that my Linux boxes run Slackware and XFCE and aren't encumbered by KDE and GNOME. I'm happy to report that they all still run Slackware -- and one of them now also has both KDE and GNOME, because I installed Slackware's 8.1 release candidate 2. Slackware devotees won't be disappointed with this release because most of what you have come to know and love about Slackware is still present in this release. The pending release of Slackware 8.1 might interest users of other Linux distributions, too. In the aftermath of last week's bizarre UnitedLinux announcement, which amounted to "All yer Linux Standard Base are belong to us, but only in source code because all you desktop Linux users are freeloaders!", fans of TurboLinux, OpenLinux, SuSE, and Connectiva may be in the market for a truly free Linux that has the latest and greatest of all the major applications. Slackware 8.1 fits the bill nicely.
For this review, I gave Slackware it's own 20GB disk on my VA Linux Pentium III 800, which has 256MB RAM, the aforementioned Quantum Fireball 20GB ATA disk, an ATAPI 40X CD/DVD-ROM driver, an Intel Ethernet Pro 100 NIC, Matrox G400 AGP video adapter with 32MB, a Logitech 3-button PS/2 mouse, and an Ensoniq 5880 AudioPCI card. In all, my crash test dummy for this review was very standard, and the Slackware installer properly detected all of the components, except for the sound card. To be fair, the Slack's installer does not attempt to configure sound cards, so this was no surprise. There were a couple of installation details I wish were handled differently, but, this is a beta. More about these "details" in a moment.