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

Red Hat Fluff and News

  • Q&A: How open source made Kubernetes appealing to enterprise app developers

    A: We are at an interesting inflection point right now with computing. We went from physical hardware to virtual machines to containers and to concepts like serverless computing. And we’re asking questions like, “Can it get even smaller?” We’re trying to make the underlying platform more powerful, but less and less visible. So if it’s invisible to developers, do we just stop caring about it? But you could make the same argument with Linux, right? If the application is done well, and Linux is doing its job, you shouldn't care about it. It's just running, it’s fast, it’s scalable. Kubernetes probably follows that path more than anything.

  • How open source communities work and what enterprises can learn
  • Inside Red Hat: Its open source heritage means big opportunity in cloud computing

    The open source proposition has been embedded in Red Hat’s roots since the company’s founding in 1993 and has since remained at the core of its guiding principles, with Linux operating system (OS) at the heart of all its innovations. Vendor loyalty and clearly charted paths were the mantras many companies operated on for years, while “digital transformation” was barely on an enterprise’s short-term road map. Then a decade ago, cloud adoption surged, creating the impetus to embrace more agile and flexible development models, and open source technologies emerged. [...] While the topic of COVID-19 did not overtly dominate the discussions or significantly color the overarching Red Hat messaging, it became clear that the ability to pivot rapidly, embrace change and remain flexible will underscore Red Hat’s efforts to successfully promote transformation amid the pandemic. Red Hat’s reputation has historically been predicated on its open and agile approach to development and deployment, long before such attributes were considered valuable, let alone essential.

  • Red Hat: Holding Its Own and Fueling Open Source Innovation

    When IBM acquired Red Hat for $34 billion in 2019, it was considered the industry’s largest software acquisition. The synergy between the two companies led them to become one of the leading hybrid multi-cloud providers globally. In most acquisitions, the acquired entity sometimes loses momentum and sheds some of its original luster. This does not seem to be the case with Red Hat.

Audio and Video: GNU World Order, Test and Code, More

  • GNU World Order 356

    Learn a little Postscript in this episode about **Ghostscript**.

  • Test and Code: 115: Catching up with Nina Zakharenko

    One of the great things about attending in person coding conferences, such as PyCon, is the hallway track, where you can catch up with people you haven't seen for possibly a year, or maybe even the first time you've met in person. Nina is starting something like the hallway track, online, on twitch, and it's already going, so check out the first episode of Python Tea. Interesting coincidence is that this episode is kind of like a hallway track discussion between Nina and Brian.

  • How to install Google Chrome on Pop!_OS 20.04
  • Are Custom Linux Kernels Faster than Stock?

    Are Custom Linux Kernels Faster than Stock? Benchmarks are done and will be compared using phoronix test suite. We will be analyzing 3 kernels, Liquorix, Mainline, and Xanmod.

Linux Lite 5.0 Final Released

Linux Lite 5.0 Final Codename Emerald is now available for download and installation. This is the most feature rich, complete Linux Lite release to date. This is the release many people have been waiting for. See below for details. Read more Also new: Whonix VirtualBox 15.0.1.3.4 - Point Release!

Open Data and GIS

  • How Open-Source Data Can Drive Automotive Innovation
  • LiDAR-Captured Road Data Now Publicly Available in Open-Source Machine Learning Dataset

    Scale AI says COVID-19 has shown the value of autonomous vehicles for no-contact delivery. They're making real-world road data available to train machine learning models to this end. Last week, Scale AI released PandaSet to the open-source community. According to Scale AI, PandaSet is the world’s first publicly-available machine learning dataset to include images from forward-facing solid-state LiDARs and mechanical spinning LiDARs. These two LiDAR technologies from Hesai will allow ML development teams to reap complex, real-world road data.

  • Podcast: Why should you take a closer look into Open Source GIS?
  • This German town replicated itself in VR to keep its tourism alive

    Nicolai Reith, Head of the Control and Communication department and advisor to the Mayor of Herrenberg, told Cities Today: “You don’t have to make a decision and then see [what happens]; you can see before you make the decision what the effect will be via the digital twin. This makes it easier to make the right decision for our city council, politicians, and citizens.”Herrenberg is already using the digital twin, which incorporates super-computing and technologies typically deployed in advanced aerospace, to visualize city data and citizens’ emotional responses to inform better decision-making. There are now plans to develop the emerging area of virtual tourism for the town, which has a population of around 31,000. “We have a very beautiful city center so tourists can explore it in a digital way with VR glasses before they come to Herrenberg, which is an interesting benefit for the future,” Reith said. [...] The team then added in geographic information system (GIS) data and traffic control systems data to incorporate topography, road geometry , and detailed traffic flows. Using the open-source fluid dynamics code OpenFOAM — which is typically used for modeling fuel injector sprays or airplane aerodynamics —they also created realistic models of the movement of wind and emissions through the city.