Yes, it’s that time again! After many months of development and careful testing, we are proud to announce the release of Slackware version 13.1!
We are sure you’ll enjoy the many improvements. We’ve done our best to bring the latest technology to Slackware while still maintaining the stability and security that you have come to expect. Slackware is well known for its simplicity and the fact that we try to bring software to you in the condition that the authors intended.
Slackware 13.1 brings many updates and enhancements, among which you’ll find two of the most advanced desktop environments available today: Xfce 4.6.1, a fast and lightweight but visually appealing and easy to use desktop environment, and KDE 4.4.3, a recent stable release of the new 4.4.x series of the award-winning KDE desktop environment.
We continue to make use of HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) and udev, which allow the system administrator to grant use of various hardware devices according to users’ group membership so that they will be able to use items such as USB flash sticks, USB cameras that appear like USB storage, portable hard drives, CD and DVD media, MP3 players, and more, all without requiring sudo, the mount or umount command. Just plug and play. Properly set up, Slackware’s desktop should be suitable for any level of Linux experience.
New to the desktop framework are ConsoleKit and PolicyKit. ConsoleKit handles “seats”, things like dealing with devices when switching from one user to another. PolicyKit is a system for fine-grained access control, allowing a non-root user to run certain tasks with elevated privilege, but more securely than if the entire task were simply run as root.
Slackware uses the 126.96.36.199 kernel bringing you advanced performance features such as journaling filesystems, SCSI and ATA RAID volume support, SATA support, Software RAID, LVM (the Logical Volume Manager), and encrypted filesystems. Kernel support for X DRI (the Direct Rendering Interface) brings high-speed hardware accelerated 3D graphics to Linux.
There are two kinds of kernels in Slackware.
- First there are the huge kernels, which contain support for just about every driver in the Linux kernel. These are primarily intended to be used for installation, but there’s no real reason that you couldn’t continue to run them after you have installed.
- The other type of kernel is the generic kernel, in which nearly every driver is built as a module. To use a generic kernel you’ll need to build an initrd to load your filesystem module and possibly your drive controller or other drivers needed at boot time, configure LILO to load the initrd at boot, and reinstall LILO. See the docs in /boot after installing for more information.
- Slackware’s Linux kernels come in both SMP and non-SMP types now. The SMP kernel supports multiple processors, multi-core CPUs, HyperThreading, and about every other optimization available. In our own testing this kernel has proven to be fast, stable, and reliable. We recommend using the SMP kernel even on single processor machines if it will run on them.
Here are some of the advanced features of Slackware 13.1:
- Runs the 188.8.131.52 version of the Linux kernel from ftp.kernel.org. Also included is a kernel patched with Speakup to support speech synthesizers providing access to Linux for the visually impaired community. The 2.6.x kernel series has matured into a stable kernel, and provides reliable performance for your desktop or your production server.
- System binaries are linked with the GNU C Library, version 2.11.1. This version of glibc also has excellent compatibility with existing binaries.
- X11 based on the X.Org Foundation’s modular X Window System. There’s been much activity in the X development world, and the improvements in terms of performance and hardware support are too numerous to mention them all here.
- Installs gcc-4.4.4 as the default C, C++, Objective-C, Fortran-77/95, and Ada 95 compiler.
- Support for fully encrypted network connections with OpenSSL, OpenSSH, OpenVPN, and GnuPG.
- Apache (httpd) 2.2.15 web server with Dynamic Shared Object support, SSL, and PHP 5.2.13.
- PCMCIA, CardBus, USB, IEE1394 (FireWire) and ACPI support. This makes Slackware a great operating system for your laptop.
- The udev dynamic device management system for Linux 2.6.x. This locates and configures most hardware automatically as it is added (or removed) from the system, and creates the access nodes in /dev. It also loads the kernel modules required by sound cards and other hardware at boot time.
- New development tools, including Perl 5.10.1, Python 2.6.4, Ruby 1.9.1-p378, Subversion 1.6.11, git-1.7.1, mercurial-1.5.2, graphical tools like Qt designer and KDevelop, and much more.
- Updated versions of the Slackware package management tools make it easy to add, remove, upgrade, and make your own Slackware packages. Package tracking makes it easy to upgrade from Slackware 13.0 to Slackware 13.1 (see CHANGES_AND_HINTS.TXT). The slackpkg tool can also help update from an older version of Slackware to a newer one, and keep your Slackware system up to date. In addition, the slacktrack utility (in extra/) will help you build and maintain your own packages.
- Web browsers galore! Includes KDE’s Konqueror 4.4.3, SeaMonkey 2.0.4 (this is the replacement for the Mozilla Suite), and the immensely popular Firefox 3.6.3, as well as the Thunderbird 3.0.4 email and news client with advanced junk mail filtering.
- The KDE Software Compilation 4.4.3, a complete desktop environment. This includes the KOffice productivity suite, networking tools, GUI development with KDevelop, multimedia tools (including the amazing Amarok music player and K3B disc burning software), the Konqueror web browser and file manager, dozens of games and utilities, international language support, and more
- A collection of GTK+ based applications including pidgin-2.7.0, gimp-2.6.8, gkrellm-2.3.4, gxine-0.5.903, xchat-2.8.6, xsane-0.996, and pan-0.133.
- A repository of extra software packages compiled and ready to run. This includes the Java(TM) 2 Software Development Kit Standard Edition, an MPlayer browser plugin, and more (see the /extra directory).
- Many more improved and upgraded packages than we can list here. For a complete list of core packages in Slackware 13.1, see this file: ftp://ftp.slackware.com/pub/slackware/slackware-13.1/PACKAGES.TXT