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

Fedora: Updated F27 Live ISOs, Synergy 2.0, Bodhi 3.2.0, Announcing Flapjack

  • F27-20180112 Updated Live Isos Released
    The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated 27 Live ISOs, carrying the 4.14.13-300 kernel.
  • synergy-2.0.0 is in Fedora updates-testing
    I have packed the latest stable version, 2.0.0, for Fedora 27, 26 and EPEL 7. No EPEL 6 update this time as it requires CXX14, which EL6 does not provide.
  • Bodhi 3.2.0 released
  • Announcing Flapjack
    Here’s a post about a tool that I’ve developed at work. You might find it useful if you contribute to any desktop platform libraries that are packaged as a Flatpak runtime, such as GNOME or KDE. Flatpak is a system for delivering desktop applications that was pioneered by the GNOME community. At Endless, we have jumped aboard the Flatpak train. Our product Endless OS is a Linux distribution, but not a traditional one in the sense of being a collection of packages that you install with a package manager; it’s an immmutable OS image, with atomic updates delivered through OSTree. Applications are sandboxed-only and Flatpak-only.
  • Flapjack Helps Developers Work On Components Inside Flatpak

Security Leftovers

  • Security updates for Wednesday
  • Latvia's e-health system hit by cyberattack from abroad
    Latvia said its new e-health system was on Tuesday hit by a large-scale cyberattack that saw thousands of requests for medical prescriptions pour in per second from more than 20 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the European Union. No data was compromised, according to health officials, who immediately took down the site, which was launched earlier this month to streamline the writing of prescriptions in the Baltic state. "It is clear that it was a planned attack, a widespread attack—we might say a specialised one—as it emanated from computers located in various different countries, both inside the European Union and outside Europe," state secretary Aivars Lapins told reporters. "We received thousands of requests in a very short space of time. That's not the normal way the system works," he said, adding that an investigation is under way.
  • Linux Lite Developer Creates Automated Spectre/Meltdown Checker for Linux OSes
    The developer of the Ubuntu-based Linux Lite distribution has created a script that makes it easier for Linux users to check if their systems are vulnerable to the Meltdown and Spectre security flaws. As we reported last week, developer Stéphane Lesimple created an excellent script that would check if your Linux distribution's kernel is patched against the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities that have been publicly disclosed earlier this month and put billions of devices at risk of attacks.
  • Purism Releases Meltdown and Spectre Patches for Its Librem Linux Laptops
    Purism, the computer technology company behind the privacy-focused, Linux-based Librem laptops and the upcoming smartphone, released patches for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities. The company was one of the first Linux OEMs and OS vendor to announce that it's working on addressing both the Meltdown and Spectre security exploits on his Linux laptops. Meltdown and Spectre have been unearthed in early January and they are two severe hardware bugs that put billions of devices at risk of attacks.
  • Facebook Awards Security Researchers $880,000 in 2017 Bug Bounties
    Facebook is hardly a small organization, with large teams of engineers and security professionals on staff. Yet even Facebook has found that it can profit from expertise outside of the company, which is why the social networking giant has continued to benefit from its bug bounty program. In 2017, Facebook paid out $880,000 to security researchers as part of its bug bounty program. The average reward payout in 2017 was $1,900, up from $1,675 in 2016.
  • Multicloud Deployments Create Security Challenges, F5 Report Finds

Arch Linux vs. Antergos vs. Clear Linux vs. Ubuntu Benchmarks

Last week when sharing the results of tweaking Ubuntu 17.10 to try to make it run as fast as Clear Linux, it didn't take long for Phoronix readers to share their opinions on Arch Linux and the request for some optimized Arch Linux benchmarks against Clear Linux. Here are some results of that testing so far in carrying out a clean Arch Linux build with some basic optimizations compared to using Antergos Minimal out-of-the-box, Ubuntu Server, and Clear Linux. Tests this time around were done on the Intel Core i9 7980XE system with ASUS PRIME X299-A motherboard, 4 x 4GB DDR4-3200 Corsair memory, GeForce GTX 750, and Corsair Force MP500 120GB NVMe solid-state drive. The system with 18 cores / 36 threads does make for quick and easy compiling of many Linux packages. Read more

Mozilla Leftovers

  • Making WebAssembly even faster: Firefox’s new streaming and tiering compiler
    People call WebAssembly a game changer because it makes it possible to run code on the web faster. Some of these speedups are already present, and some are yet to come. One of these speedups is streaming compilation, where the browser compiles the code while the code is still being downloaded. Up until now, this was just a potential future speedup. But with the release of Firefox 58 next week, it becomes a reality. Firefox 58 also includes a new 2-tiered compiler. The new baseline compiler compiles code 10–15 times faster than the optimizing compiler.
  • Firefox Telemetry Use Counters: Over-estimating usage, now fixed
    Firefox Telemetry records the usage of certain web features via a mechanism called Use Counters. Essentially, for every document that Firefox loads, we record a “false” if the document didn’t use a counted feature, and a “true” if the document did use that counted feature.
  • Firefox 58 new contributors
  • Giving and receiving help at Mozilla
    This is going to sound corny, but helping people really is one of my favorite things at Mozilla, even with projects I have mostly moved on from. As someone who primarily works on internal tools, I love hearing about bugs in the software I maintain or questions on how to use it best. Given this, you might think that getting in touch with me via irc or slack is the fastest and best way to get your issue addressed. We certainly have a culture of using these instant-messaging applications at Mozilla for everything and anything. Unfortunately, I have found that being “always on” to respond to everything hasn’t been positive for either my productivity or mental health. My personal situation aside, getting pinged on irc while I’m out of the office often results in stuff getting lost — the person who asked me the question is often gone by the time I return and am able to answer.
  • Friend of Add-ons: Trishul Goe
    Our newest Friend of Add-ons is Trishul Goel! Trishul first became involved with Mozilla five years when he was introduced to the Firefox OS smartphone. As a JavaScript developer with an interest in Mozilla’s mission, he looked for opportunities to get involved and began contributing to SUMO, L10n, and the Firefox OS Marketplace, where he contributed code and developed and reviewed apps. After Firefox OS was discontinued as a commercial product, Trishul became interested in contributing to Mozilla’s add-ons projects. After landing his first code contributions to addons.mozilla.org (AMO), he set about learning how to develop extensions for Firefox using WebExtensions APIs. Soon, he began sharing his knowledge by leading and mentoring workshops for extension developers as part of Mozilla’s “Build Your Own Extension” Activate campaign.