Slackware 14.1 has been released today. The package tree had been finalized a couple of days earlier, to give Patrick time to write the release announcement, create ISO images, and send gold master disks to the factory. My gut feeling told me that we had been working long and hard on this release, but looking back at the previous 14.0, I realized that development cycle which has been concluded now, was actually three months shorter (14 versus the previous 17). And with less release candidates, too.
I am glad we have something solid to share with you. I am running the development version of Slackware all the time on my primary desktop and laptop, and use an older laptop to compare with the most recent stable release. I must say, Slackware 14.1 has been extremely stable all the way through its development.
Lots of activity is happening on the side which the active Slacker can use for fun and profit. We have a vibrant community on LinuxQuestions.org, we welcomed many contributions in the Slackware Documentation Project last year, there was a completely new GNOME2-fork project called Slackware MATE Desktop, and cutting-edge versions of KDE are as always provided through my ‘ktown‘ repository. If you are a gamer, you might want to join the Steam Slackware community – Steam works perfectly on Slack.
What’s new in Slackware 14.1?
We have X11R7.7 (X.Org server 1.14.3), KDE 4.10.5, XFCE 4.10.1, the Linux 3.10.17 kernel as default, but with sample kernel configs for newer 3.12 and older stable 3.4.66 kernels included as well. Slackware supports UEFI firmware now (in the installer too), so that you can install and boot it on the newest hardware. For this reason, elilo and grub2 have been added to the core distribution. There is lots more of course! All your familiar development tools and end-user utilities have been updated to the latest releases. Of the nearly 1250 packages in Slackware core (a 100 more than in 14.0), over 800 have been upgraded or recompiled since Slackware 14.0. “Why were not all of those packages recompiled or upgraded” I hear you say. Remember, the Slackware adagium is “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it!“.
As you may have expected by reading the previous sentence, we do not include SystemD as a replacement of the venerable Slackware init system. We also do not ship a Wayland display server to replace X.Org.
How to get Slack?
If you are upgrading from Slackware 14.0 you will certainly want to read the CHANGES_AND_HINTS file to get a good picture of the many package additions and what to expect from them. You can also check out the information in the Slackware Documentation Project, there’s an article in there called “upgrading Slackware to a new release” using the included slackpkg tool.which will help you convert your Slackware 14.0 system to 14.1 painlessly.
If you have lots of custom packages built from source using scripts from slackbuilds.org aka SBo, then you should check out the news on that site to see if there were any mandatory package upgrades. And sbopkg is a useful companion to SBo (but not supported by them) to manage your source compilations.
If you have lots of custom packages which you installed from 3rd-party unofficial repositories (like Robby’s packages, the slacky.eu community, my own main, multilib or ktown repositories), then you should check out the slackpkg+ extension for slackpkg, which allows you to easily manage your 3rd-party packages.
Together with Slackware for x86 and x86_64 (Intel-compatible) platforms, you can also enjoy the new Slackware ARM 14.1 created by Stuart Winter if you are the proud owner of an ARM computer.
We have setup several sources where you can download the ISO images – all the Slackware main mirrors of course. Akamai have generously provided Slackware Inc. with extensive global content caching and Internet routing performance enhancements, allowing us to keep the site up, even at peak times.
Our torrent tracker is ready and seeding on big pipes: http://www.slackware.com/getslack/torrents.php.
I beg you to consider buying a subscription at the Slackware Store – it will help keeping the distribution alive. You must realized that Pat is the only one in the core team who is financially dependent on the sales of Slackware DVD’s and other merchandise. I do not think anyone who ever used Slackware wants to see this great distribution die through lack of funding. The rest of the team does this for fun, not for profit – we buy our own subscriptions from the Store, just like you do.
Have fun! Eric