Lightweight Linux distribution Slax rides again with v11.2

Prepare your removable mass storage and give it a boot – you know you want to...

It appears that the diminutive Linux distribution Slax is not dead. It's been a while, but version 11.2 has finally popped out.

By "a while" we mean more than two years, according to the maintainer. However, it's a welcome update, even if some of its fans might have moved on to alternatives during its hiatus.

Slax is an impressively compact distribution and will boot from USB mass storage devices as well as traditional hard disks or CD/DVD media (the slots for which are disappearing from hardware faster than the once ubiquitous floppy).

The distro's homepage claims it will also run on 128MB of RAM, although a full 512MB is needed if one wants some web browser action. Chrome is, however, missing this time around (although "you can still install it with a single click or two").

More useful is the addition of EFI boot for USB devices and better support for Wi-Fi connections. As is the up-to-date version of Debian Bullseye on which Slax is based (and from which it inherits the 11.2 number). The Debian update means that Slax is now running with the 5.10 LTS Linux kernel as well as picking up updates to supported packages.

For users keen on the modular approach taken by Slax (if you aren't, then Slax might not be for you), AUFS support is also present to allow modules to be added or removed on the fly.

We fired it up on a sacrificial VM (64-bit, although a 32-bit version is also available should one have suitable hardware to hand) and can confirm the distribution works well. The missing Chrome browser (dropped for space reasons) can indeed be installed in a few clicks, although an alternative might suit some users better.

Slax is hardly the only distribution to run from USB. Puppy Linux springs effortlessly to mind, as does the surveillance-obsessed Tails, but it is one of the best, and a new release is therefore something to welcome. ®

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