Mixed feelings

Story: VectorLinux: A Desktop That's Slim, Sleek and SpeedyTotal Replies: 6
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Sep 12, 2012
11:56 PM EDT
I have mixed feelings about this review. I used to be a big fan of VectorLinux and even volunteered as a packager and repo maintainer for a while. I really thought VL 6.0 was excellent. I migrated away from that distro to SalixOS due to the lack of a 64-bit version.

VL 7.0 has a 64-bit version so I had to try it, both the Standard and Light builds. I really wanted to like them. Sadly, I found them to be so filled with bugs and issues that were real problems for me that I removed VL from my system and went back to SalixOS. IME the current VectorLinux may be their worst release, well... ever, and I've used it on and off since the very beginning.

So.. I'm glad VL 7.0 works for some people and at some level I'm glad it's getting some positive press. At another level I wonder how many people have had really poor experiences with the current release. I've run into quite a few.

[Edit: typo]


Sep 13, 2012
12:47 AM EDT
Too bad. I was planning to try it.

That might explain why the torrent I downloaded early this year has seen so very little activity...

Sep 13, 2012
6:16 AM EDT
I gave VL 7.0 a spin when it came out and found the installer to be a totally useless mess. For my own company's needs (e. g. the production desktop I install for professional clients), I use a stock Slackware base with Xfce-4.8 and roughly 150 addons, mostly from SBo. Why a crappy Slackware spinoff when the RealThing(tm) is perfect?

Sep 13, 2012
9:19 AM EDT
You had to ask that question, kikinovak, so I will give an answer that I have never given before. It's simple. Vanilla Slackware is utter cr@p for most business environments. With no PAM it doesn't support multiple authentication methods used in most modern mid-size and larger businesses, with no SELinux it utterly lacks in enterprise level security, and with no automated dependency checking it is a royal pain to administer and maintain. Did I mention the lack of kernel upgrades within a release cycle so that known vulnerabilities get locked in place? Slackware is a toy for tinkerers, not a decent business distro. It's fine for people who want to get under the hood and play. For business it is a nightmare.

SalixOS, which at least adds dependency checking, is at least usable. The reason there are so many Slackware spinoffs is because many of them add the basic functionality that Slackware utterly lacks.

[Edited to qualify my criticism of Slackware. It's fine for home use if the user is knowledgeable and is willing to take responsibility for their security in detail. Saying that Slackware is poor in general is unfair and I really needed to take that back.]

Sep 13, 2012
4:45 PM EDT
You know, it never occurred to me that Slackware doesn't patch the kernel for releases. I looked back -- http://slackware.com/security/ -- and they do so only on very rare occasions. So I do get your point, Caitlyn.

Sep 13, 2012
5:53 PM EDT
As a counterpoint (from an admitted Slackware fanboi)--

An unpatched kernel can be an advantage: No waiting for Debian, Red Hat, whoever, to get it wrapped up in a nice, neat package, with their own patch set, tested and released. As soon as the kernel is up on kernel.org, Slackware admins can download, configure, build, and install.

Sep 13, 2012
9:36 PM EDT
@gus3: Your point is why I added the disclaimer to the bottom of my comment. However, for a business/government/organizational environment that is totally unacceptable. They want the patches to come from the distributor to insure uniformity across the server farm/workstations, they want the patches supported and they want someone with real kernel expertise to take responsibility for making sure they are done right.

Again, for someone who wants to roll up their sleeves and dabble with the internals of an OS I'd say that Slackware is a perfectly valid choice. For business? Not just no but H#LL NO!

Going back to kikinovak's comment, Vector Linux has never been a "crappy spinoff". It was a really excellent distro that made a Slackware base user friendly. Sadly they've had one very poor release. Every distro that is around for a long time (VL started in 1999) is going to have that happen eventually. I certainly wouldn't dismiss them or write them off.

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