Slackware 12.0 is out

The creaking Linux distribution known as Slackware has clocked over another major version number to make it to 12.0. Amazingly, Slackware is still largely maintained by one individual, Patrick Volkerding, although of course most of the software behind the distribution is maintained by hundreds of other open source developers. It’s finally managed to bring itself out of the dark ages with the 2.6 kernel being the only one officially supported (until fairly recently Slackware still used 2.4 by default). Most of the other software is up to date, such as KDE 3.5.x and gcc 4.1.x, so you can rest assured that you won’t be running a system several years behind anyone else’s.

What puzzles me though is why Slackware is still going. I can’t see anyone using it as a desktop distribution, when Ubuntu has pretty much wiped the floor with everyone else (although Fedora and SUSE are catching up fast and provide excellent alternatives), but neither can I see anyone using it on a server where the market is split between free (mostly Debian with the odd smattering of Gentoo) and enterprise distributions (RedHat and SUSE mostly). I suppose if Volkerding enjoys working on the project and there is still a large enough user base to justify it then that’s a good enough reason in itself, but I haven’t heard Slackware mentioned in any Linux-related conversations for a long time.

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