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GENERAL FEATURESZenwalk is a small and fast GNU/Linux distribution aiming at providing a complete development/desktop/multimedia environment. It features XFCE as the main desktop and comes with quite current versions of popular Linux applications. Zenwalk doesn't aim at being a distribution, but rather a Linux Operating System. Along with this only one application for each task is a philosophy used for the ISO. This is efficient and rational. (Zenwalk is previously known as Minislack).Slackware is the oldest, still maintained Linux distribution. It has been built on the SLS foundations. The first version was released on July 13th, 1993. Patrick Volkerding is the main programmer and founder of the project, he is called "The Man" by Slackware users. The "Slackware" name comes from the "Church of the SubGenius".
Supported architecturesx86 onlyi486, ESA/390 mainframe, there is also unofficial x86_64 port — slamd64
Minimal hardware requirementsPentium II class processor, 128 Mb RAM, 2Gb HDD. The system is not particularly for old hardware. It runs better with Pentium III, 256 Mb RAM, 4 Gb HDD (it leaves more room for your data). Double that once again, and you're flying!x86, 16MB RAM
Software freedom statusMostly free, but includes some proprietary driversAll components are free.
Installer - overall(5) Comes with a fast and simple ncurses-based textmode installer. If not used to Linux and cfdisk for partitioning - try to download the ZenLive CD and run its graphical "GParted" partition manager.(6) In spite of general opinion, Slackware installer is no very hard. It's rather simple and well-thought. A semi-intelligent computer user should be able to install it without any major difficulties. Partitioning knowledge and a little of general computing skills is recommended though.
Package selection(0) There is no package selection. The simple installer installs everything, which is only one application of each type because that's all this OS comes with on the ISO.(7) Available modes of package selection are: full (all packages from selected previously groups, 3.5 GB hard disc space required if all packages from all groups are selected), expert (allow to choose individual packages from previously selected groups), menu, newbie, custom, tagpath.
Predefined package groups(3) Depending on the ISO you download (or CD you buy) you can have a desktop CD, a server CD, or a LiveCD demonstrating the desktop version. Each version is in itself a complete system, not split into groups. When installed, the packages are in groups, compatible with Slackware.(8) Packages divided into groups depending on their purpose: A (base), AP (most important apps), D (development), E (Emacs), F (docs), GNOME, K(source code), KDE, KDEI (KDE localization), L (libraries), N (networking), T (Tetex/LaTeX), TCL, X (X-window system), XAP (X apps) i Y (games)
Expert mode install(0) Not available. Not required.(1) Expert mode only. There are however menu and newbie modes during installation of packages.
Graphical installer(1) No, the installer is pseudo-graphical (ncurses-based). Only package management is GUI-based when running the ZenLive CD.(0) Installation is console-based (dialog boxes).
Installer speed(8) Extremely fast. Installs Zenwalk in 20 minutes. Add another 20 minutes for configuration if you don't have your config files backed up somewhere.(5) Average speed. Default system installs in about 15 minutes.
Graphical system management(3) Yes, some things comes with Xfce. Other things are specific Zenwalk tools, which are executable either in graphical mode or text mode. The graphical system management is not complete in the sense that sometimes you must drop back to manually editing your text configuration files. On initial install, your system should boot up without any problems. Very good hardware support.(0) No graphical tools. One of course can use wizards from environments like: KDE, GNOME, XFCE.
Console-based system management(4) Yes, Zenwalk comes with specific tools that are compatible with ncurses (text mode GUI).(2) Vi, Emacs. Except for those there is pkgtools package where very basic configuration can be made (lilo, networking, desktop environment selection, etc).
Number of packages(4) TGZ format, inherited from Slackware. This gives a very large base of packages available - also from Slackware derivatives. The Zenwalk repo is not so big, but ever growing as the user community grows (and contributes).(2) Small number of official (vanilla) packages. In most cases, manual compilation of many packages will be needed. Sometimes there is an alternative being unofficial Slackware packages downloadable from project's pages or LinuxPackages and
Package management, automatic dependency resolving(5) Yes. Central management of dependencies. This reduces typical complications with dependencies. Dependency check can be disabled.(3) Slackware's package management system is based on the simple tgz packages which do not contain any information about dependencies. Additional unofficial packages can be found on LinuxPackages and These packages are in extended tgz format — so that they can contain meta-information about dependencies (but unfortunately in each case). There are two programs that can use this information: swaret and slapt-get (together with graphical frontend GSlapt). Many additional tools has been designed to improve Slackware package management -- from tiny scripts to full systemy portów (Emerde, pkgsrc, Portpkg). It is also possible to create own packages using checkinstall utility.
Graphical package management tools(5) Special "netpkg" package manager for downloading upgrades off the internet and installing, quick and efficient. Handles multiple package repositories. Other than that, Slackware pkgtools are included. GSlapt available (currently experimental).(3) No official graphical package management tool. Unofficial tools: Smart Package Manager, GSlapt, XPKGTOOL, SlackMan.
System boot-up speed(8) Hardware dependent, but probably around the 30 seconds (ie. very fast - basically as fast as it gets).(6) Acceptable speed just after installation, but optimization quite easy well-documented BSD-like scripts.
System responsiveness(8) Very responsive due to a "light" system.(6) Unlike Mandriva or Fedora, Slackware has not enabled many services, so freshly installed system has qood responsiveness. Packages compiled for i486 but with i686 optimizations (-mcpu=i686).
Popularity(5) Among the popular distros, eg. check Distrowatch.(5) Slackware is popular among experienced users. It is usually located at the end of the Top 10 in the DistroWatch ranking.
Security focus(5) Security advisories are released frequently which inform users about necessary updates (7) High security level.
Stability and maturity(5) Zenwalk has a conservative policy towards upgrading core elements of the system while applications and peripheric components are mostly bleeding edge(9) „Slackware Linux. Because it works.” — this marketing slogan best describes the oldest GNU/Linux distribution. Patrick Volkerding, Slackware founder chooses the packages carefully to provide the best stability and reliability of all worlds.
Does the installer support multiple languages?(1) Yes, regarding keyboard setup. Other than that, only English language setup.(0) Installer is English only.
Is the system localized after installation?(7) The localization is managed during installation.(3) Default system is in English. One needs to localize manually in order to get a native language and encoding support.
Is manual system localization easy?(7) Yes. Zenwalk specific tool "Localeconfig" is used for this.(3) Localization, although very standardized, may be tricky for a newbie user (configuration files need to be edited manually).
Support for restricted formats(6) MP3 playback is supported out of the box(1) JRE 6 and JDK 6, MPlayer in repository.
Sagem DSL modem support(0) ?(3) Modem works after kernel compilation (with proper options) and compilation of eagle-usb. Unfortunately there is no eagle-usb package in the standard packages set.
Alcatel DSL modem support(0) ?(3) ?
Wireless support(0) Yes.(4) Slackware supports WiFi networks thanks to NdisWrapper, however Linux drivers (sources) can be used too. The base is wireless-tools package, that is standard Slackware component.

Each system gets a mark from 0 (min) to 9 (max). In most cases the description precises the mark. A question mark (?) means that we do not have any information about certain feature.