A self-confessed Slackware fan, Shashank Sharma is pained to declare
Slackel, a Slackware-based distro, as nothing special.
Slackel is based on Slackware and Salix, also a Slackware- based distro. While initially offered only as a KDE release, since 2013 the distro also has an Openbox variant for use on older hardware. The latest release is only available as an installable 32-bit image, which includes both PAE and non-PAE kernel with support for older hardware. Booting the installation image will prompt you to run a special image if you’re running Slackel on older machines.
Under the hood it offers kernel 3.10.30 and a number of tools that help keep a minimalist profile, such as the Midori browser, Abiword , Claws-Mail and SpaceFM , along with Openbox window manager in place of a fully fledged desktop environment. The default movie player is Whaawmp while Exaile lets you manage your music collection.
Gftp , Transmission and Pidgin round up other everyday tools.
The distro takes bleeding-edge software from Slackware’s current branch along with a few of the more choice tools from the Salix OS distro, such as the codec-installer and the Gslapt package manager.
Installation hiccups There are a number of traits Slackel has inherited from the more famous of its parents. For one, the distribution doesn’t offer a graphical installation.
During the installation, any unexpected key stroke, such as tab, in the Ncurses – based installer returns the installation to the starting point. In our tests, the partitions created during the installation were not harmed when the installation restarted, but we still had to enable swap and format the root partition again. While the distro does offer to create the partitions for you, using this option will format the entire hard disk.
All major filesystems such as Resierfs, XFS, Ext 2/3/4 and JFS are supported.
The distro offers three installation modes. Choose Full if you wish to install everything, which for a minimalist distro like Slackel implies one package per application. The Basic option provides a minimalist GUI and a web browser but nothing else. If you want control over what packages are installed, select the Core option which provides a console- based system.
The installer gives the option of Lilo or Grub as bootloader and you can switch the bootloader post-installation.
Slackel ships with a large selection of system tools and utilities to help you control and configure everything from desktop appearance to 3G devices.
Graphic card drivers aren’t installed by default but you can install Nvidia and other drivers using Salix’s repositories, which are enabled by default.
The distro can play YouTube videos out of the box and the IcedTea Java plugin is installed by default. You can use the codec-installer tool to get all additional codecs, which is a major plus.
Upon login you’re presented with a number of details on the desktop, such as CPU/memory usage, network data transfer and filesystem details, courtesy of the Conky system monitor.
The distro provides all the stability of Slackware along with just the right Salix tools to make new Linux users feel welcome. Still, the project offers sparse documentation and most of the content on its website and the forum boards is written in Greek. A little more work on the installer and Slackel may well become a good minimalist distro for newbies and powers users alike.