Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

Slackware & Derivatives

There’s a saying out there about Slackware being the only distribution that’ll teach you about Linux. For one thing, it certainly has been around since near enough the dawn of Linux and I remember a colleague at The University of Edinburgh using it on one of the institution’s research PC’s. There is a hardcore aspect to the distro so it’s not for beginners and, whatever you do, don’t go expecting any easy way of updating the software that you install on your system.

Salix OS

Here is a Slackware-based distro that comes with the following desktop environments: Xfce, MATE, LXDE, Fluxbox, KDE and Ratpoison. It is interesting to see that GNOME has been given a wide berth with MATE included in its stead. This was created as a fork of Zenwalk when its originator decided to slim things down from where they had gone.


This is a Greek distro that is based on both Slackware and its derivative Salix. KDE and Openbox are the desktop choices for anyone who might be interested.


Slackware & Derivatives

Along with the longstanding x86, releases (32- and 64-bit, by the way), there’s even an ARM version now. Early in 2012, the distro’s website disappeared because there wasn’t money to address a hardware failure. Thankfully, it’s back online now thanks to the support of its community, even if RAM remains an issue on the main server; that’s why a mirror site exists. The way this bump was resolved shows that even more technical variants of Linux have their fans and there’s something to be said for knowing more about the innards of the operating system too.


Whether you are an admirer of Slackware or not, this modular lightweight distro is intended to run on some very old computers. While I have no idea where they might find PC’s from around twenty years ago (Intel 486, anyone?) for testing that Slax runs on them, that hasn’t stopped the project allowing its wares to run on those at all. They even sell a USB stick drive with the software installed on there to fund the project if downloading the files is too much for you.


The acronym stands for Superb Mini Server and that provides the intent of this Italian distro. Slackware is its basis and the inclusion of Webmin is more than a strong hint that it is built for remote management too. Also, part of the package is the sorts of tooling that you’d need for a web server so it’s not just for file storage and there’s firewall management available too.


XFCE is the main desktop environment chosen for this distro and it too has been around for nearly twenty years. Things have slimmed down to a single 64-bit edition though legacy versions remain available from mirror sites.

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