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Slackware: the classic distro that's as timely as ever.

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In a way, Slackware needs no defense. Those that use the distro know of its merits and enjoy its stability, security, simplicity and speed. However, with the growing popularity of newer distros like Ubuntu, more and more articles seem to relegate Slackware to the dust bin of history, or they say it's a hobbyist's distro, or they make snide comments like “1995 called and they want their distro back.” As of late, these comments seem to proliferate at about the same rate as the Ubuntu articles. Using Ubuntu as an example, let's conduct a little examination to see where Slackware's strengths lie and how it compares and differs with the newer upstart distros of today.

Slackware enjoys the official position of “the eldest” of all of the currently developed distributions. Started in 1993 by Patrick Volkerding it began its life as a series of improvements to SLS' version of Linux. By and by, it grew into a separate distro of its own. In fact, several other distros (who shall remain nameless) used Slackware as their basis before they ventured off into their respective directions.

Through the years, many aspects of Slackware have remained the same such as the ncurses-based installer, the use of LILO over GRUB, and the general lack of auto-configuration tools. Back in the day this simplicity was no big deal; this was par for the course. But as the years passed, and as other newbie-oriented distros emerged with their graphical configuration wizards and step-by-step hand holding assistants, Slackware remained true to its commitment to be the most Unix-like Linux in the market.

And this meant staying true to the no-frills mentality that has made the distro famous.

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