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Hello Slackware, our old friend: Veteran Linux distribution releases version 15.0 at last
Nearly 6 years after previous version
It's been a long time coming but version 15 of Slackware finally showed up at the weekend.
Fans of the distro, which debuted in 1993, have waited since 2016's 14.2 for the full fat update. Now, nearly a year after the beta turned up, "the Slackhog emerged from its development den, did *not* see its shadow, and Slackware 15.0 has been officially released," according to Benevolent Dictator For Life Patrick Volkerding.
The release is a big one; after all – it's been nearly six years since the previous, which came after 2013's 14.1. Version 14 goes all the way back to 2012. Hopefully the next iteration will not take quite so long, although Volkerding warned that he would be taking "a bit of a breather" after the lengthy gestation period of version 15.
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As for what's new, the most immediately eye-catching feature is the move to the Linux 5.15.x LTS kernel (although some sample config files were included for anyone fancying 5.16).
Other bits and pieces include the shunting of the venerable SendMail to the /extra directory in favour of Postfix, and the retirement of imapd and ipop3d, which are being replaced by the Dovecot IMAP and POP3 server.
"The challenge this time around was to adopt as much of the good stuff out there as we could without changing the character of the operating system," said Volkerding.
"Keep it familiar, but make it modern."
While there is all manner of slick and modern ornamentation on show (such as the Xfce 4.16 desktop environment and KDE Plasma 5 in v5.23.5 guise), Slackware retains its period charm. We threw the distro at a number of PCs, old and new, and had no problems getting it up and running. As one would expect, the packages have also seen substantial updates, from the welcome arrival of Rust and Python 3 to an updated Firefox browser.
There are 32-bit and 64-bit versions on offer (Slackware recommends the Slackware64 on machines that support x64_86 "for the best possible performance.") It is also possible to upgrade from 14.2 although we opted for a clean installation.
The Register is delighted to see that there is life in the old dog yet. Although it's debatable whether version 15 will tempt a user to switch allegiance from one of the big distros out there, existing Slackware users will be mostly pleased. And choice is always good. ®