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Venerable Slackware 12 gets a sporty new wardrobe

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Slackware Linux is the oldest surviving Linux distribution, and still one of the most popular. Last week's release of version 12.0 is a milestone for the Slackware team, as it marks Slackware's first use of a default 2.6.x kernel. Other new components include KDE 3.5.7, Xfce 4.4.1, Xorg 7.2.0, and GCC 4.1.2. Slackware is now nearing the bleeding edge without sacrificing stability, making this truly an exciting release.

I downloaded the first three CD-ROM images as torrents. They came in suprisingly fast for torrents, indicating many seeders.

Slackware's installer has remained largely unchanged -- a menu-driven interactive ncurses installer. The basic steps include partitioning the drive if necessary, activating a swap partition, designating a root partition, choosing software, setting up a root password, and installing LILO (or not). Slackware provides four kernel choices: the generic kernel, generic-smp (for multiprocessor/multicore machines), huge (built with about every driver in kernel), and huge-smp. I used a huge kernel for my Hewlett-Packard dv6105 notebook. With a 2.0GHz AMD Turion CPU and 512MB RAM, it boots in an impressive 30 seconds.

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