Friday, December 28, 2007


All long time Slackware users know its package management tools do not calculate dependencies. It never has and possibly never will. At least not officially.

The author of Slackware, a certain Mr Volkerding, is on record as saying Slackware will never do dependacy checking due to the inherent risks of doing such. Now, it is perfectly feasible that as he gets older and married life takes a hold and the probability of children being added to the fold, that he may change his mind. However, at this time in Slackware's development cycle, it is at version 12 with -current (the play area that will become the next Slackware version when the author deems it fit to be so) in full swing, Slackware's package tools do not support dependancy checking.

There are a couple of packages in /extra that do do dependency checking but as is witnessed all over the Internet these programs sometimes wreak havok on users systems. It is not for me to say whether these issues are caused by user or program errors but having played with these programs on my test desktop machine I can only state what happened to me. I am by no means a novice Slackware, let alone Linux, user but both Slaptget and Slacktrack (the programs deemed worthy of a place in /extra) both bit me and totally hosed my test desktop machine. Luckily, having used Slackware since forever I recovered that desktop but as sure as night follows day there are many poor tortured souls out there that do not have me experience who would be left with but one option and that is to reinstall. I would hazard a guess that Mr Volkerding knows about these oopsies that occasionally happen and until such a time as these reports and complaints stop he will never incorporate such programs into Slackware proper.

And so it should forever be so.

So, why then do various third party outfits add in extra tags to their package sets that are for dependency checking? These outfits add slack-required files into their packages which are then used by Slaptget. started this rot and others such as and are doing it too. It is wrong and flies in the face of what Mr Volkerding himself has stated.

I ask these package repository owners to clean up their act and remove these slack-required files from their packages.

A while ago I joined a party whose aim was to properly explain how Slackware's package tools worked. The grand plan was to document every aspect of those tools. A noble aim I am sure you will agree. However, it soon became apparent that what they wanted to do was expand on what Slackware's package management tools already did by adding in various extra bits. As soon as this became apparent I and my partner in crime for this very blog, left.

Slackware is lean and clean. Long may it remain so.

Monday, December 10, 2007


That is the only word I can think of that hits home how I feel about this particular thing.

In the latest slackware-current changelog there is a reference to someone who is not averse to stealing scripts by other people and calling them his own. In this particular case it is the build script for XFCE4.

I put up my own build script for XFCE4 when XFCE went from the older XFCE to the newer XFCE and labled it XFCE4. In fact, I was building every new XFCE4 as and when they came out upstream. I would build it, put up the package, build script and slack-desc. For one or two releases I was prompted by users as I was slow in catching the upstream release. However, as soon as I was notified I went and downloaded it, built it etc etc.

The similarities between my own script and the script in slackware-current attributed to a particular person who has been noticed by others for stealing other peoples scripts is disappointing at worst and downright annoying at best.

Friday, December 7, 2007


For only the second time in some 12 years I am considering changing distributions. Over those 12 or so years I have enjoyed using first Slackware, then Slamd64 and latterly Bluewhite64. Those latter two are 64 bit ports of Slackware. Bluewhite64 is the more vanilla port as slamd64 has some additiions not found in Slackware itself.

In all that time my allegence has been with Slackware, or a port thereof and distributions have come and gone and some have been around forever but none have strung my head hard enough to make me change for more than a week.

The last time I considered changing distributions was about 6 years ago. I joined Arch Linux and did some 300+ packages for them but the administration team went off the rails around version 0.3. I argued with them. Left then rejoined only to leave again. That distribution is still going and my heart says give it another go but my head always brings back the thoughts of those arguments. The crux of those arguments concerned direction and if I am honest with myself I would end up back arguing again. To show how the current administrators act consider the fact I did over 340 packages for Arch Linux but you would not know it as my attributions have been removed from most of the PKGBUILD scripts and my name nor nick is mentioned anywhere on their web site. You would think with such a large contribution at a time when Arch was growing, and I believe I helped it grow with my huge contribution, would at least have got my name or nick mentioned somewhere but, and I strongly believe it is because of the current administration, I get no such mention.

Anyway, that gripe off my chest I looked around at the current state of the Linux distribution market both big players and little players. None took my attention. Not one. Well, that is not completely true. ROCK got my attention as did one of its spin offs but something stopped me from trying them. Was it my previous go, though I cannot remember trying them. Whatever it was it was something. The Ubuntu family simply turn me off so much I find them abhorant. My wife uses Ubuntu and administrating it for her, both hands on and remotely is a breeze but it is exactly that ease, and their overreliance on the sudo command, that turns me off.

Some of the middle field players i dug into insomuch as I viewed their web sites but there was always something that held me back from actually using them as my main stay everyday distribution choice.

So, for me at least, the newer Bluewhite64 which is based on the venerable Slackware will for the forseeable future remain as the distribution of choice on my desk top rig.

Now, if I had to change which one of the 300+ disributions would I choose? If I had bags of time to install it then ROCK or EDS would be my choice. If I did not have bags of time then it would be Arch or Crux Linux. Hmm, Crux I tried before and really liked what I saw but at the time I tried it its application database(s) where very small if they existed at that time at all. These days however, Crux has come along way and now has many databases spread around the Internet some of which have lots of content.

Anyway, after a 4 weeks search and read exercise I still cannot find anything to replace my Slackware based Bluewhite64 Operating System with.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Time rolls on.

Indeed it does. Time rolls on and the dinosaur's disappeared. And so it is. With the above line stated I think some explanation is required, especially its deeper meaning as well as to what it is I refer to in the present tense. Many years ago some Slackware users placed many nuggets of information relating mainly to that Operating System but sometimes to every GUN Linux based Operating System. They put on to web sites information such as how to 'properly' build Slackware packages. How to get around some of the quarks that distribution had. How to change the start up scripts to make them faster at boot time. Etc, etc, etc. All this and more was put out there for public consumption and people used that information. Then other Slackware users came to be and they too put such information into the public domain. These users collected the information scattered on many web sites put there by the previous generation, updated to fit new releases and then put it all together in one place for other people to view and use. Fast forward to today and yet again a newer set of users came to be who collated information out there on the Internet, gave it a new twist, called it their own and placed the result on the Internet. The different between the three generations of Slackware users, while all had or have good intentions, follows the same path and attitudes each generations general public had or had. Lets call the generations Gen-1, Gen-2 and Gen-3. Gen-1 built the foundations the Gen-2 built on top of. Gen-2 attributed Gen-1 for the work Gen-2 created off the back of what Gen-1 created. In otherwords Gen-2 acknowledged Gen-1. Gen-3 however is a different beast all together. They took the work done by Gen-2 and called it their own. They changed the smallest bits. They give no attribution at all to Gen-1 and Gen-2. They created web sites in a mirror image of web sites created by Gen-2 and then added or edited scripts then gave no attribution to Gen-2. So, today we have a situation where Gen-3 users are coming across, and they do everything possible to put that in the minds of other people, as being the first and only generation of Slackware users that have put information and slackware build scripts on the Internet. They give not the slightest nod to all those who have gone before them doing what Gen-3 users are doing right now. I reckon there are one or two reasons for Gen-3's attitude. Reason 1 is mirrored in how todays society at large acts. Reason 2 is that most of the Gen-3 web masters are American and we all know they think they rock andthe rest of the world does not exist in their minds and that they are hellbent on ruling the world. That is my take on the current generation of Slackware users. It is bad enough to make me want to change distributions for the first time in 12 years or so. Attributes people. Attributes. Deep deep down you know I am right.