The mumblings of a Christian autistic husband, dad, IT guy and amateur radio operator - Will Brokenbourgh / AF7EC
Crazy Distro Shuffle Days - Part Two
Cue the slowing zooming black and white turning to color flashback of my last post:
"Ship...out of danger?"...Oh wait, not that flashback... :-P
"I still have Wheezy set up and installed on my other partition, but FreeBSD is the default, and for good reason. I'm hoping I don't run into any killer issues that will prevent me from continuing to use FreeBSD. I'm enjoying the speed and responsiveness, while sacrificing some of the convenience of instant package installation gratification."
Well, that didn't last long. Unfortunately I did run into some show-stoppers with FreeBSD, so it was back to distro hunting again. This time around, I didn't have to hunt long.
I tried Slackware 14.0 again, but this time I elected not
to upgrade the kernel and kernel sources. Last time I tried Slackware, I made the mistake of upgrading
the kernel and sources. While that alone didn't cause any immediate issues, one challenge it did
cause was the inability to build the proprietary Nvidia driver for my particular card (the 304 series driver).
Apparently the newest kernel sources for 3.7.1 don't have the files necessary to build the driver...
version.h being one of them, for example. This time around, I kept the kernel at 3.2.29, and it's worked
great and there were no challenges building the proprietary Nvidia driver.
Well, I didn't pick Slackware for ease of use, that's for sure. But I will say that with the excellent Slackbuilds site, I was able to fill in a lot of what the standard Slackware install and repo lacks. If I were using Debian, pretty much everything I'd want is available through one of their repos, but Slackware is understandably limited. I chose Slackware because it's probably as close to plain vanilla as you can get in the Linux game. Arch Linux is probaby close, but it's a rolling release, and Arch's hot-shot maintainers and developers just love breaking stuff all the time. No thanks, I'll pick my more mature and stable Slackware distro, thank you very mucho! Also, it doesn't hurt that Slackware was the first Linux distro I ever used, as it was bundled with the 'Linux for Dummies' book I purchased many many years ago.
Dearest Wheezy, why do you struggle so?
Yes, dear reader, my heart truly belongs to Debian, but even with Wheezy getting really close to release, and a lot of Wheezy's packages being pretty solid and mature, it still seems so slow compared to Slackware. For example, when I'm in Wheezy and repeatedly restore, then minimize a Thunar window from the taskbar, the window decorations appear, then after a brief delay the window's 'client' contents display. It's dreadfully slow to me...and something that Debian Squeeze didn't/doesn't do. Slackware Linux doesn't have that latency or lag, either. Sure, the first time you spawn the window it might take a small bit of time, but after that, the same restore and iconify test I perform works nearly flawlessly...with the window, decorations and client stuff all appearing pretty much at the same time.
With Debian Wheezy, it's either some problem with X or maybe even the kernel. I don't know if all of Wheezy's packages have extra debug symbols in it still, or if the Wheezy kernel is just slower than others because of some weird customization they've done. All I know is my favorite distro is acting a like a sluggish old dog, and that just doesn't work for me. Slackware happily picks up where Debian falls flat.
Keep It Pure and Simple, Silly!
If I had the time and patience, I would be running a Linux distro made completely from sources, like LFS (Linux From Scratch). To me, a guy who has very little free time for such undertakings, LFS would be a HUGE Linux computing achievement. I like purity in my Linux distro, without someone monkeying around needlessly with upstream's packages. Bug fixes? That's fine. Security patches? No problem. Adding 'features' for the sake of being different or showing off? BUZZZ...not for me! Some upstream projects have ruined their software all by themselves (I'm still very bitter about the Remmina folks royally messing up an otherwise decent app. Remmina 0.9.3 was probably the last decent release. Version 1.0.0 was/is a travesty...it is horribly mangled and malfunctions often. YUCK!) but who needs a distro maintainer to jumble up a previously good-working package?
So will I stay with Slackware? As long as it meets my needs. I don't need any fancy GUI like Unity or Gnome 3, don't need helpful 'features' like an app/document search app that suggests Amazon products, don't need a unified notification center or video-card-straining 3D effects when I log in or out. I just want a nice, simple, responsive, uncluttered and productive environment, and Slackware has helped deliver that. With Xfce 4.10 as my desktop environment and Slackware 14 as the beating heart within, I'm getting stuff done, and not waiting what seems like an eternity for my windows' contents to eventually show up.