Thursday, 12 November 2009

Back to Slack

In a previous post, I said that I was using Debian on my EEE. I have though become increasingly frustrated at the length of time it takes Debian to move programs from sid to testing. When I first installed Debian, I used the default option, which is stable (i.e. Lenny at the moment) with Gnome desktop. That was, however, not really what I wanted, so I went off and RTFM, and found that you can change this by using expert mode. So, I kept Lenny on his own partition, and installed KDE on another partition. I first tried with sid, but couldn't get X to load - gave me strange error msgs which I didn't have time to try and fathom - so I installed testing instead. In theory, programs are quickly moved from sid to testing unless there are major issues, but the new versions of KDE seem to have got stuck in sid. In the meantime, KDE have released 4.3.3, but Debian have still not moved 4.3.2 to testing, let alone 4.3.3. As Slackware made 4.3.3 available in current just a couple of days after the KDE folk released it, I decided to go back to using Slackware. In fact, I kept testing, and installed Slack on top of the Lenny partition, as I wasn't really using this for anything.

In principle, the big advantage of Debian is the vast package repos, which Slack doesn't have. However, there is now an excellent collection of additional Slackware packages at I've so far found only 2 packages I use that are in Debian and not available for Slack: mapserver, and Google Gadgets for Linux, which can be used as KDE plasmoids. I could compile for Slack, but, if necessary, can also boot my testing partition and use that. There are a couple of curious little bugs in Slack I've not got to the bottom of yet: those icons that are in Hicolor but not in Oxygen are not displayed; and Ark seems unable to open tar.gz files (I think this is because a compile option was missing).

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