People complain that Slackware is hard to use. I don’t believe that thats true. I don’t think that its any harder to use than any other Linux distribution. I also believe that there is perfection in simplicity. Believe me that it isn’t the easiest to set up but once its up it is actually easy to update and maintain once you learn how.
Despite popular believe Slackware does have good package management software. The main ones that come to mind are slapt-get, slackbuilds, pkgtools, swaret and slackpkg. Below is a small amount of information about each of them.
I’ve never myself used swaret so I don’t know too much about it other than its a package manager that manages dependencies. I also know that a new version will be released soon. If your interested in finding the best package management for Slackware you might want to check swaret out.
slapt is a mashup of the two words slack & apt. Those familiar with Debian or Ubuntu will know apt-get is at the heart of these systems, slapt-get is a clone of this system. Its been in Beta since its creation but works perfectly. There are graphical front ends for this software. I personally don’t use it because I can not find a fast repository in my area.
slackbuilds are kind of like the Gentoo package management. They are distributed with the source code on the Slackware DVD. They are basically scripts that help compile the source code. Its pretty easy to use, for more information visit: slackbuilds.org
pkgtools are the base of Slackware package management. Basically it is a suite of utilities that you can use to install, remove and upgrade software. The best source I’ve found for finding extra packages is linuxpackages.net.
My favorite for updating Slackware is slackpkg. It uses pkgtools to install and remove packages. It comes on the Slackware CD’s / DVD’s in the extras folder and is pretty easy to use. Basically you install it, select a mirror from the config file and then run:
Once its finished doing its thing you can then do:
This will start a fairly lengthy process of downloading and installing all of the new packages. Other options are available such as options to install new packages, remove packages revert to vanilla system and many more. One thing I have to caution on is updating to current. Its not as easy as upgrading from release X to slackware-current all the time. This is due to the different versions of GCC, glib, solibs and various other types of libraries. Always read the UPGRADE.TXT or at least have a back up of all of your critical data before attempting to upgrade.
There are a lot of options, if your interested in running Slackware I suggest you try them all and then use the one you like. If you don’t want to run Slackware because another distribution suits you better try not to use the “I don’t use Slackware because its hard to maintain” card.