Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

MiniSlack is no mini Slack

Filed under
Linux
Reviews
-s

I have mentioned on more than one occasion that Slackware is one of my most favorite Linux distributions. So when on Friday, June 10, it was announced that Minislack 1.1 is ready, I thought this would be a good time to install and test this mini version. But is MiniSlack a mini Slack?

According to the site, this version introduces the fast and reliable Reiser4 filesystem, NPTL support, and "netpkg" : a user friendly package management and update tool.

Main updates are Kernel-2.6.11.10, Xfce-4.2.2, Openoffice 2.0b (available via netpkg), Mozilla-Firefox-1.0.4, Gaim-1.3.0, Gnumeric-1.4.3, Gxine-0.4.5, Bluefish-1.0.1. A lot of minor updates are also provided, please take a look at the changelog for details.

The XFCE desktop has been redesigned for a modern and sober look&feel with SVG icons.

Consulting the website we can find this wonderful Overview:

Minislack Linux aims to be focused on Internet application, multimedia and coding tools. It's a complete system : this means that, out of the box, you will be able to browse, mail, chat, listen to music, program in C, Perl, Python, Ruby,.. watch videos in various formats, write documents, print, scan, burn CD and DVD, connect your camera and edit your photographs, without adding anything. Coders will like the full set of development libraries and interpreters.

Minislack has the following objectives :

  • Be simple, fast, secure and reliable

  • Provide one application for one task
  • Be a complete development/desktop environment
  • Be small so that it can be distributed on a single 400MB ISO image

Some features of the current version are :

  • Kernel(2.6.11.10) with support for reiser4, USB, scsi, acpi, pcmcia, bluetooth, Framebuffer, sata, cpufreq...

  • gcc(3.3.5),JRE(1.5.0_01), Python(2.4.1),Perl(5.8.6),Ruby(1.8.2)
  • XFCE(4.2.2), Gnome-libs(2.10)
  • Mozilla-firefox(1.0.4)/thunderbird(1.0.2), Abiword(2.2.7), Gnumeric(1.4.3), Dia(0.94),
  • Gimp(2.2.6), Openoffice (1.9.104)

  • Anjuta(1.2.2), Bluefish(1.0.1), Leafpad(0.8.1), Gvim(6.3)
  • Alsa(1.0.8), Gxine(0.4.5), Gnomebaker(0.3), Beep-media-player(0.9.7)

Sounded good, I could hardly wait to pop in my cd. I was greeted by the familiar Slackware installer, albeit a differing color scheme. Picking out a keymap, defining a swap partition, and partitioning (or designating) a root start the install. A few questions about fstab and whether to include your windows partitions then it was off. I usually just say install everything, as I did this time. With MiniSlack this amounted to 1.1 gig of software. It installed in about a 1/2 hour and finished up by asking some configuration questions. Did I want to set up the network, yes. Did I want to set a root password, yes. Which deamons did I want started at boot...

Then I booted and my adventure began. The system booted fine except for an error about the sound, something about oss. I thought it was to use alsa - I guess the compatibility modules. Perhaps this is something that needs configuring, I wasn't too worried yet. So, usually the first thing I do with a fresh install is make my user and install nvidia graphic drivers. Well, useradd went without a hitch, but the drivers are another story.

First I had an error - something about a missing or incorrect manifest.file. I remembered seeing that before on my alinux install and a bell went off. What did those two installs have in common? Reiser4! So, I reformatted my hda12 as reiserfs (3) and reinstalled MiniSlack. This time the manifest file error was gone, but it complained about the kernel I had downloaded from kernel.org not matching the running kernel. Upon investigation on MiniSlack's forum, I found they provide a kernel source in their repository, so I netpkg kernelsource. Well, it still didn't install those drivers - as I recall it still shot the same error about the headers or source not matching the running kernel - I don't know, it's beginning to all turn into a horrifying blur by now. I messed with it and messed with passing this flag and trying that option to no avail. After what seemed like most of the day, I gave up and started X using vesa.

The video troubles didn't end there. I was busy checking out the menu/included apps and trying to decide what to say about this and that while I took my screenshots for this article. I like xfce, it's a nice, pretty, and fairly complete window manager. The fonts were pretty even under vesa. I tried grip that seemed to work and gimp also functioned as expected. Xfsamba functioned really well. Tar segfaulted several times while trying to unarchive the kernel source (I even tried uncompressing it first). The image viewer couldn't decode the jpegs I had shot so far but gxine was the worse. It did open avi files and play one movie I had on disc, but another avi caused it to exit fairly early on (started from menu - so unknown was the error). I walked away to start supper and X had caught a signal 11 by the time I had returned. I had left no applications open and was gone only long enough to get my supper on the stove.

That's when I decided MiniSlack was no mini Slack and rebooted my beloved Gentoo. I usually scrap the review idea if I have such bad results, but I had invested my entire Sunday off on this distribution because I wanted it to work so badly. I'm sorry I can't report better results. I'm sure the developers are working hard and there are probably people out there having wonderful results with MiniSlack. I, for one, was greatly disappointed. For an approximately 450 mb download making a 1.1 gig install, I found the included applications sparse. It goes without saying that I found MiniSlack unstable and quite lacking. All I can say is keep trying guys. But for now, no, MiniSlack is no mini Slack.

Screenshots available.

UPDATE: Please see my commentary and an opposing viewpoint for more information.

UPDATE 2: Please see my more recent review on Zenwalk 1.3.

More in Tux Machines

OSS Leftovers

  • First results of the ROSIN project: Robotics Open-Source Software for Industry
    Open-Source Software for robots is a de-facto standard in academia, and its advantages can benefit industrial applications as well. The worldwide ROS-Industrial initiative has been using ROS, the Robot Operating System, to this end. In order to consolidate Europe’s expertise in advanced manufacturing, the H2020 project ROSIN supports EU’s strong role within ROS-Industrial. It will achieve this goal through three main actions on ROS: ensuring industrial-grade software quality; promoting new business-relevant applications through so-called Focused Technical Projects (FTPs); supporting educational activities for students and industry professionals on the one side conducting ROS-I trainings as well as and MOOCs and on the other hand by supporting education at third parties via Education Projects (EPs).
  • Baidu To Launch World’s First Intelligent Vehicle Infrastructure Cooperative Systems Open Source Solution By End Of 2018
    Baidu Inc. has announced it will launch the Apollo Intelligent Vehicle Infrastructure Cooperative Systems (IVICS) open-source solution by the end of 2018, leveraging its capabilities in autonomous driving to bring together intelligent vehicles and infrastructure to form a “human-vehicle-roadway” interplay – an important step toward developing future intelligent transportation.
  • Versity Open Sources Next Generation Archiving Filesystem
    The ScoutFS project was started in 2016 to address the rapidly growing demand for larger POSIX namespaces and faster metadata processing. The design goal for ScoutFS includes the ability to store up to one trillion files in a single namespace by efficiently distributing metadata handling across a scale out cluster of commodity compute nodes.
  • Moving from Wordpress
  • Epic Clock Clocks The Unix Epoch
    Admit it: when you first heard of the concept of the Unix Epoch, you sat down with a calculator to see when exactly 2³¹-1 seconds would be from midnight UTC on January 1, 1970. Personally, I did that math right around the time my company hired contractors to put “Y2K Suspect” stickers on every piece of equipment that looked like it might have a computer in it, so the fact that the big day would come sometime in 2038 was both comforting and terrifying. [Forklift] is similarly entranced by the idea of the Unix Epoch and built a clock to display it, at least for the next 20 years or so. Accommodating the eventual maximum value of 2,147,483,647, plus the more practical ISO-8601 format, required a few more digits than the usual clock – sixteen to be exact. The blue seven-segment displays make an impression in the sleek wooden case, about which there is sadly no detail in the build log. But the internals are well documented, and include a GPS module and an RTC. The clock parses the NMEA time string from the satellites and syncs the RTC. There’s a brief video below of the clock in action.
  • 3 top Python libraries for data science
    Python's many attractions—such as efficiency, code readability, and speed—have made it the go-to programming language for data science enthusiasts. Python is usually the preferred choice for data scientists and machine learning experts who want to escalate the functionalities of their applications. (For example, Andrey Bulezyuk used the Python programming language to create an amazing machine learning application.) Because of its extensive usage, Python has a huge number of libraries that make it easier for data scientists to complete complicated tasks without many coding hassles. Here are the top 3 Python libraries for data science; check them out if you want to kickstart your career in the field.
  • PortableCL 1.2 Still Coming While POCL 1.3 Will Further Improve Open-Source OpenCL
    It's been a number of months since last having any major news to report on POCL, the "PortableCL" project providing a portable OpenCL/compute implementation that can run on CPUs, select GPUs, and other accelerators. POCL 1.1 from March remains the current stable release while POCL 1.2 has been in the release candidate stage. The POCL 1.2 release candidates began last month with a few highlights like LLVM 7.0 support, device-side printf support, and HWLOC 2.0 library support.

New CloudBees Suite Addresses DevOps Gaps in Software Delivery

CloudBees is bringing a set of products into a new CloudBees Suite that it said will help companies of all sizes streamline the software development process. The new software is set to be announced Sept. 18 at the company’s DevOps World / Jenkins World conference in San Francisco. Jenkins is the open-source version of CloudBees, which is a commercial offering. A central piece of the CloudBees Suite is the CloudBees Core for unified governance of continuous delivery operations and processes used in DevOps. Software pipelines can also use Core to run software pipelines more efficiently in a self-managed way in the cloud or on-premises. Read more Also: CloudBees Announces Availability of Support for Jenkins Open Source

Chrome's Latest

Everything Is File In Linux - Part 1

Divided into 2 parts, in this first part I will introduce the concept that everything is file and present the special devices / dev / null, / dev / zero, / dev / random and / dev / full. Part 2 will be to present didactically interesting features about this, for example, how to turn a file into a partition! Read
more