Distros: I try Slackware 13.37

The latest version of this OS came out last year. I installed it like a breeze on a Compaq Evo with an HP1740 LCD, and it worked perfectly (using 5.7GB), even through my KVM switch, which other distros sometimes choke on.

What really impressed me?

Slack boots to a console for login by default, so you can upgrade without stuffing up the X-server.

It still uses lilo for boot management, which is so much easier to configure than grub2.

Xfce ran without a hitch using startx.

Even better, ctrl+alt+bksp killed the X-server, so no more configuring this key combination with ‘setxkbmap -option terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp’ as you have to in other ‘modern’ distros.

And amazingly, with no X-server running, just on the bare login console, movies play perfectly using the frame buffer, because Slack had created the device /dev/fb0 by default on booting:

$ mplayer movie.avi
MPlayer 20101218-4.5.1 (C) 2000-2010 MPlayer Team
Playing movie.avi.
vo: couldn’t open the X11 display ()!
VO: [fbdev] 640×480 => 640×480 BGRA

The only small quibble I have is that 13.37 perpetuates the brain-dead /bin/df of recent times, which can’t get the root filesystem device right, even though the OS has access to that info:

$ /bin/df -HPT
Filesystem     Type   Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/root      ext4    12G  5.7G  5.3G  52% /

Easily fixed, however, with this kludge:

$ /bin/df -HPT|sed s/root/$(/bin/ls -l /dev/root|awk ‘{print $NF}’)/
Filesystem     Type   Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1      ext4    12G  5.7G  5.3G  52% /

What a distro!

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