|KDE Main Screen|
Note: this review will be heavy on images, so don't be surprised if the page takes a little time to load.
With all these things in mind, follow the jump to see how my experience with the grandfather of distributions (well, not quite) turned out. I tested this in a VirtualBox environment with 1 GB of RAM and an available 10 GB virtual hard drive.
Slackware doesn't have any official live media; it needs to be installed. However, these installation media go way back; in fact, on their website, there are still references to installation floppy disks. Wow, that's old-school! Anyway, I downloaded the full installation DVD (a hefty 4 GB download) and started looking through the website for installation help.
|Dolphin in KDE|
|Xfce Main Screen|
|Mozilla SeaMonkey in Blackbox|
|Calculator in FVWM|
|XSnow in FVWM|
After that, I tried FVWM. Boy, was I in for a shock. FVWM is quite an old WM, and it certainly looks the part. Although it has 6 virtual desktops, it has no panel of any kind, and the menu is brought up by left-clicking (as opposed to right-clicking) on the desktop. Furthermore, the window buttons are really weird; the minimize button is on the leftmost side of the title bar, while on the rightmost side are the close and maximize buttons, in that order (going right). That one confused me for a while. After a little time, I got used to it. I looked around in the menu to see what else I could find and found...XSnow! Yes, folks, before Compiz and KWin existed, FVWM had a desktop effect allowing for snow falling on the desktop background (and allowing for other applications to run at the same time)! Wow!
|KWord in Fluxbox|
After that came MWM. It seemed to operate much the same as FVWM, so after a quick glance I exited the session.
After that came TWM. TWM is the oldest surviving graphical WM for Linux, and it has its share of quirks. For example, its terminology (e.g. "iconify") dates back to the Microsoft Windows 1.0 days. Also, it has a window button layout similar to that of FVWM. I again didn't spend too much time here.
|Mozilla Firefox and XTerm in TWM|
So what's the deal? Slackware is certainly best for the intermediate to advanced Linux user with a good deal of patience. This applies to issues like the ethernet issue as well as quirks like LILO and the lack of dependency management (though there are third-party tools like Slapt-get and Gslapt). I had fun working with Slackware and its myriad included DEs and WMs, but I could honestly never see myself using Slackware on a regular basis and being patient enough to deal with its numerous foibles.
|Mozilla Firefox (working) in WindowMaker|