Slackware Linux 15.0 hit the streets on February 3, 2022. Either way, the latest version of the legendary Linux distro led by Patrick Volkerding is available for download.
Slackware is, above whatever else, the world’s oldest surviving maintained Linux distribution. Patrick Volkerding created the Slackware Linux distribution in 1993, based on Softlanding Linux System.
Slackware’s goal is to offer design stability and simplicity as the most Unix-like Linux distribution. It does that by avoiding as much as possible any modifications to upstream software packages.
In addition, Slackware eschews the Linux distro trend of changing to the systemd initialization process. It’s a completely systemd-free Linux distro. It uses init rather than systemd as its process manager. Systemd has its roots in modern Linux distros, while init comes from the Unix System V design, and there is a difference.
Probably because of this, Slackware Linux is noted for being the most Unix-like of all Linux distributions. Well, probably side by side with Void Linux.
With five years and seven months in the making, I honestly have had some difficulty believing that this would eventually really happen, but yet here it is. 2044 days after the previous 14.2 release (June 30, 2016) the new Slackware Linux 15.0 stable is here! With that said, let’s quickly take a look at what’s new.
What’s New in Slackware Linux 15.0
A full Slackware 15.0 installation provides you with a modern and ready-to-use operating system. And before you ask, that does include desktop environments. On the surface, Slackware looks and behaves just like any other comparable Linux distribution.
We start with the fact that the Slackware 15.0 core distribution consists of 1590 packages, a 19% increase from the 1332 packages in Slackware 14.2 core. If you look at the number of packages that have been added to the distro since the Slackware 14.2 release, that’s an impressive 534. On top of that, a lot of packages (276) have been removed.
Slackware 15.0 delivers with KDE 5.23.5 and Xfce 4.16 as desktop environments. The Linux Kernel is at version 5.15.19. Wayland 1.20.0 is available as an alternative to the venerable X.Org 1.20.14 which is still the default graphical display system.
Still, the most predominant changes with Slackware 15.0 have probably been the replacement of ConsoleKit2 (user and session tracking) to elogind and added support for PipeWire as an alternate to PulseAudio.
We can’t fail to mention that
pkgtools, the in-house package manager, brings file locking mechanism to prevent locking situations, well-controlled data I/O to SSD drives to minimize storage I/O and more.
Under the hood, the whole build toolchain has seen a thorough refresher, with glibc 2.33, GCC 11.2.0 and LLVM 13.0.0, and the addition of Rust which is now at 1.58.1.
Among other noteworthy changes, this release comes with Python 3 but Python 2 stuff remains available and is still the default Python. Its most relevant modules have been bundled in a compatibility package.
With the release of Slackware 15.0, PC gamers have a reason to rejoice. The latest Mesa and Vulkan libraries are installed and GLvnd ensures that for instance NVIDIA’s binary driver is a breeze to install and will not overwrite any system files.
Last but not least, please consider supporting Patrick and his family by visiting his Patreon Page, choosing a membership category and becoming a Patron. If you can spare a dollar or so per month, it will help keeping this legendary distribution alive. All that money goes only to Patrick!
More on the topic here: Donating to Slackware
Installing Slackware can be a difficult task, especially for users who just want a Linux distro that just works out of the box.
If you are going to sample Slackware beyond the live session showcase ISO, spend considerable time getting familiar with the installation guide from the Slackware Documentation Project.