Nostalgia: Slackware 14.1

Patrick Volkerding released Slackware 14.1 yesterday. Yep, Slackware is still alive and kicking.

Many years ago, I first encountered Slackware. I was in junior high, and had been using some GNU tools on Windows via DJGPP, but I read about ‘GNOME’ and wanted wanted to try this Linux thing. So I convinced my dad to let me install LoopLinux on the family computer (a 120 MHz Pentium from Gateway 2000).

LoopLinux was a Linux system that ran from a single file on your DOS or Windows filesystem. The installed system consisted of the filesystem file, kernel, initrd, and LOADLIN; it would boot the kernel, mount the DOS filesystem, and mount the Linux system as a loopback filesystem. Once installed, LoopLinux used Slackware packages.

We only had dialup at the time. I stayed up all night the night I downloaded LoopLinux; I’d sleep for an hour or two on the living room couch, then wake up and go check the downloads and see if I needed to start another of the files downloading.

Downloading Slackware packages over dialup was slow and cumbersome. So I ordered a Slackware 7.0 CD set from CheapBytes to more easily install add-on software.

After we got a new computer, I started dual-booting. Since I knew it (sort-of), and already had the disks, I installed Slackware. Somewhere in there, I also bought 7.1 and possibly 8.0.

Later, I moved to the *BSDs, then a tour through Gentoo, Ubuntu, Debian, Zenwalk, some more Slackware, and finally Fedora, which I’m rather happily using now. But Slackware was my first Linux. It’s good to see it still alive.