Absolute Linux is a distro that raises the question: Is it really worth the bother?
Any version of this Slackware-based Linux OS is just that -- a really big bother -- unless you love Unix-like systems that give you total control. It likely would be especially bothersome for less experienced users and for folks comfortable with Debian distros such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint and such.
Some Slackware-based distros are easier than others to use -- but the text-based installation and mostly manual operating routine makes using Absolute Linux a challenge. Once you get beyond the configuration steps, you still face a considerable learning curve to keep it running smoothly.
Clearly, I am not overly impressed with the Absolute flavor of Slackware Linux. I see it as the equivalent of driving a stick shift automobile with a crank-to-start mechanism instead of an automatic model with keyless ignition. That said, once you have the engine purring, it drives fast and furious along the highway.
I like to offer unique computing options in these weekly Linux Picks and Pans reviews, so I set my comfort zone aside and rolled up my sleeves to get my hands a little scraped reaching under Absolute Linux's hood.
After announcing the availability of a remix of Raspberry Pi Foundation's Raspbian PIXEL Linux OS that features Refracta Tools, GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton informed us about the availability of a custom Linux 4.9 kernel build for Slackware 14.2, Zenwalk, Slax, SlackEX, or other distro based on them.
I wanted the latest LibreOffice in the upcoming Slackware Live Edition 1.1.4 (PLASMA 5 variant) so I have built and uploaded a set of packages for LibreOffice 5.2.3. They are for Slackware-current only.
Today I conclude my packaging frenzy with a new release of ‘liveslak‘. Version 1.1.4 is ready with only some minor tweaks. Users of the “iso2usb.sh” script on non-Slackware distros should be happy that the script finds all the required programs now.
I made a set of ISO images for several variants of the 64bit version of Slackware Live Edition based on liveslak 1.1.4 and using Slackware-current dated “Fri Nov 4 03:31:38 UTC 2016”. These ISO images have been uploaded and are available on the primary server ‘bear‘. You will find ISO images for a full Slackware, Plasma5 and MATE variants and the 700MB small XFCE variant.
Here's the first post-8.0 "current" ISO. Along with many packages updates from upstream and Zenwalk, you'll get the MPV media player out of the box, some improvements in the setup (new disk partitioning dialog) and the ZenENCFS privacy folder encrypting tool (so that you won't have to put your hardware into the microwave oven any more to remain anonymous).
The upgraded boost package in slackware-current last week had broken LibreOffice’s “localc” program. Which is typical because I compile LibreOffice with a “–without-system-boost” flag. Apparently a dependency on the system’s boost libraries gets added nevertheless. Patches to cure this behaviour are very welcome!
Thus it became necessary to compile new packages for slackware-current. Co-incidentally there was also a new LibreOffice release last week: a minor upgrade to the 5.2 series, check out the announcement on the Document Foundation blog . And note their designation of this release: “LibreOffice 5.2.1, targeted at technology enthusiasts, early adopters and power users, provides a number of fixes over the major release announced in August. For all other users and enterprise deployments, TDF suggests LibreOffice 5.1.5 “.