SLAX: A LiveCD featuring KDE 3.2 Beta 2 and KOffice 1.3 Beta 2

SLAX is a Slackware-based LiveCD. The latest release, available as a 177 MB ISO, features KDE 3.2 Beta 2 and KOffice 1.3 Beta 2. As a LiveCD similar to Knoppix in operation, you can simply boot off the CD to safely try out these new releases without disturbing your existing installation and see the future of the KDE desktop. As a dogfood exercise, I am posting this using SLAX right now!


Ha! Seems that now /me can finally also savely try one of these Slackware varieties... ;-)

Which hardware recognition does it use?

By Kurt Pfeifle at Fri, 2004/01/02 - 6:00am

As a long standing fan of slackware, I must say that this project is a good thing (tm). For a while, I was trying to do something similar but as an installable distro (not a CD-based distro), but never had the time.

Now I use slackware whenever freebsd is not suited, and will continue to be loyal to it as the king of all hard-core distros! Now, I can have my KDE demo disc a slackware system -- groovy! :P

/me tips his hat.

Troy Unrau
(bored to tears? read my blog -- http://tblog.ath.cx/troy)

By Troy Unrau at Fri, 2004/01/02 - 6:00am

Finally! A live-cd with KDE 3.2 Beta2! *downloads*

By Eike Hein at Fri, 2004/01/02 - 6:00am

I'm currently a SuSE user.
I'm no linux expert, but I'm not afraid to compile/make
things my self and solve most things on the command line.
But I don't know any little setting in /etc however.

Now my questions are:
Debian, Slackware - what are the differences / main characteristics
of these distributions? What other really "free" (in contrast to
commercial distros like SuSe or RedHat) are there? Which one should
an average linux user choose? Or isn't this recommend at this point of time?
How is the development of these destros in terms of user friendliness?
Is there any progress in this sector? Are there i.e. tools to setup my
CD drive? What about hardware recognition? Does it work for most systems?
I recently switched my graphics card and was afraid that my Linux system
didn't even boot but to my surprise everything worked fine. (It was the
first time I changed something since I've switched to Linux). Would this
work as flawlessly with a Debian/etc. distro? Would I be able to configure
a Debian/Slackware/.. system myself without too steep a learning curve?

So, basically, I'm quite interested in having a really free distro, but
these questions are still bothering me. If anyone enlightened me
on these things that'd be great.


By Mike at Fri, 2004/01/02 - 6:00am

I installed KDE 3.2 BETA2 on three machines with SuSE 8.2: works fine, no glitches. So, no need to worry.


By Stonki at Fri, 2004/01/02 - 6:00am

Huh? Are you referring to my question?

By Mike at Fri, 2004/01/02 - 6:00am

The point of these distro's is not user friendlyness.
They are quite easy to setup and config ... once you know where everything
is and once you know every piece of hardware in your box.
But it's still editing text files.
Pretty simple and straightforward once you've figured it out.
My guess is a learning curve of a couple of months. But after
those months, you'll know what is what and why it is used, etc.
Automatic hardware recognition is close to zero :)
Slack sets up your NIC and that's about it :)
The main goal of these distro's is stability, security, ...
for the people who know how to handle them.
Adding gui config tools would just mess up the simplicity.
Definately worth a try though :) But expect a lot of hair loss in
the learning process.


By Diederik at Fri, 2004/01/02 - 6:00am

"Automatic hardware recognition is close to zero :)
Slack sets up your NIC and that's about it :)"

Are you using Slackware 9.1 or something older ?
With 9.1 the only thing I had to add manually was modprobe es1371 for my soundcard, all the rest (nic, usb printer, scanner, palm, via chipset) worked out of the box.


By aleXXX at Sat, 2004/01/03 - 6:00am

Yeah right.

The information is not in any one place so you must waste the best years of your life scouring the net for fragmentary arcane items of information just to get it installed & working.

It's the year twenty o four and eliteist geek rationalisations are still being re hashed.


By garbage at Sat, 2004/01/10 - 6:00am


if you e.g. saved your XF86Config file, you likely can get any Linux distribution to just use that. Including but not limited to Debian.

Speaking of Debian, try it. When you manage to install it (use Woody, not Sarge yet unless you are prepaired that it's not stable), you can track testing like I do since 2000. This install has been updated from KDE as in Potato (was that 1.x) at least KDE 2.0 beta 3 all the way to KDE 3.1.4 and I can easily try the betas with Konstruct.

In my opinion Debian testing is a very friendly distribution for compiling yourself, because if you can so easily just apt-get install whatever-dev and the compile will work.

The best feature of Debian is that you have the choice to follow a community Linux which is updated daily via the Internet. You can see the progress, if you choose unstable, even day by day, with testing not that much later.

Yours, Kay

By Debian User at Fri, 2004/01/02 - 6:00am

Debian VS Slackware

The biggest difference here is the way packages are installed. I believe most Slackware users will download tars and then either compile them, or unpack binaries directly into their system. Debian uses a highly advanced package management system that does all the work for you.

dpkg and apt-get are respectively the left and right hands of a Debian system. They have been ported to other distros, but they were born Debian!

I'd believe Debian to have a higher learning curve than most other distro's, but the end result IMO is so worth learning it. Debian does not currently have any hardware detection in the installer, which is curses based. I have heard of a project to revamp it to include hardware detection.

Many people have complained about how "Bad" the installer is, but I have always loved it. It is incredibly flexible. It's easy to boot, and you can install different parts from different sources. In fact, if I need to do a new install, I'll use my 2 (!!) year old install cd to boot up, install the base system, and then just apt-get upgrade from there (Really a testament to the power of apt-get and dpkg.)

Personally, the only hardware detection I need is lspci and cat /proc/bus/usb/*

I swear by Debian as much as you or I swear by linux. Perhaps more ;)

By John Hughes at Mon, 2004/01/05 - 6:00am

Want an easier-to-install Debian? Check out what the folks at MEPIS are doing (mepis.org). They offer a Live CD based on DEBIAN and KDE that can also be installed to disc. Hardware detection is superb, and the MEPIS folks have really made a fine distro. Check it out!

By Michael Barrett at Wed, 2004/01/07 - 6:00am

Yes I wholeheartedly agree.

Mepis can be installed & running in about 10 minutes.

You can go ahead and geek yourself to death with it after that but it's OPTIONAL not MANDATORY.

A truly excellent effort.

By garbage at Sat, 2004/01/10 - 6:00am

Mandrake has just released ISO's (not Live) that include the very latest of everything.

By Claus at Fri, 2004/01/02 - 6:00am

Yeah, too bad they are not even considering making a MandrakeMove-snapshot version... :-(

By Nobody at Fri, 2004/01/02 - 6:00am

The first 10.0 snapshot spent 5 minutes on my harddrive. KDE crashed once. Then it would crash systematicaly on start.
I guess finiding the bug would have been the better thing to do but since I actually did this on my main machine (I felt like reinstalling everything...)
I didi not play with it much longer.
I think a live CD is much better suited for this kind of testing. I'm gonna try to start filling some bug reports to get 3.2 out quick and strong....

By ybouan at Fri, 2004/01/02 - 6:00am

Really cool stuff.
Judging the screenshots, it seems pretty slick too.

By OI at Fri, 2004/01/02 - 6:00am

Just wondering. Why did you use rdesktop in the screenshots? Our beloved KDE Remote Desktop Client can do exactly the same (using rdesktop code).

By Arend jr. at Fri, 2004/01/02 - 6:00am

They're Slackware users, what would you expect?

I like Remote Desktop Connection, I use it for VNC. Its the first VNC viewer for Linux that I've actually liked.

By Ian Monroe at Fri, 2004/01/02 - 6:00am

What is the difference between your live-CD and the one from Slackare ?
A part that you updated the kde packages ?

I'm updating my Slack CD with the Slackware packages found on kde's ftp and I have a working live CD.

By JC at Fri, 2004/01/02 - 6:00am

What Live-CD "from Slackware"? "Slackware-LIVE CD" was renamed to SLAX, so perhaps we are speaking about the same?

By Anonymous at Sat, 2004/01/03 - 6:00am

Well, I don't know :)
Slackware has a CD to install the complete distro on HD as usual, but also another CD called "Ready to boot" that is a live CD as Knoppix.
SLAX is probably a fork from that disk. I will check what new on it.

By JC at Sat, 2004/01/03 - 6:00am

DC++ on the screenshot 7 - is it a win-apllication ported with wineLib or does it rune with Wine.

By Andre at Sat, 2004/01/03 - 6:00am

I'm the creator of SLAX, so perhaps I am the right one to answer your questions :)

Before some time, SLAX was called Slackware-Live CD. It was confusing a little bit, because Slackware.com had own LiveCD, also called Slackware Live. I tried Patrick's official Slackware Live CD and I found it useless and ugly. So I made own one.

I wanted to be a part of Slackware team, because I felt that my LiveCD could be a good replacement for the official one. But Patrick told me that he doesn't want me to join their team, and also that I am violating their "Slackware" trademark by using the name "Slackware Live CD".

So I've renamed my LiveCD to SLAX and I am no longer interested in working for them :)

Now some answers:

DC++ is running by using wine.

I'm using rdesktop because I thought that KDE's remote desktop can be used _only_ for VNC. If it's able to conntect to windows remote terminal server then it's great news for me and I don't need to use rdesktop anymore :) I'll try it.

By Tomas Matejicek at Sun, 2004/01/04 - 6:00am


Thanks for your SLAX distro!!!
I finally got the chance to look at the next generation KDE3.2!!
It worked great on both PCs I tried it on.
While it won't replace my Knoppic/MandrakeMove/PCLinuxOS Live CDs due to it's limited SW range (understandable for only 177 MB), it IS a great way to get a look at KDE and KOffice.

Thanks again!

PS: sorry to hear the Slack people treated you like dirt...

By UglyMike at Mon, 2004/01/05 - 6:00am

>sorry to hear the Slack people treated you like dirt...


I have to react here. Linus Torvalds has many many times explained the trademark issue. If you do not actively defend your trademark and let people use it without authorization, you loose your trademark.

Slackware people paid and did administrative paperwork to buy this trademark, they do not want to loose the money they invested. It's simple. There is nothing bad or mean in this. They are obliged to.

By oliv at Mon, 2004/01/05 - 6:00am

Lol, I first taught that you were confusing between Patrick and Linus :)

Yes if I was working hard on a distro, software, or whatever I would protect my trademark. There are too many companies that want have a blue logo with at least a I or B or M in there name ... They will never have the strength of the original one :)

By JC at Mon, 2004/01/05 - 6:00am

Sorry, but I was not referring to Patrick et al's protection of the Slackware brand, which I can understand and agree with. I was more referring to the fact that a volunteer stood up to help them offer a better product and they turned him down (protesting his use of the term Slackware-Live CD is just a logical consequence of this...) After all, he clearly demonstrated his mastery of Slackware and wanted to come aboard with a (to me) good product.
Maybe I'm reading the "But Patrick told me that he doesn't want me to join their team" wrong and Patrick has a perfectly sensible reason to turn down offers of help like these.

By UglyMike at Tue, 2004/01/06 - 6:00am

Probably one good reason is the time to maintain it.
If Slax becomes an offical CD, then Slackware have to update, fix, support it.

For example, if one day Thomas doesn't have time to maintain his project, who can handle this new amount of work. Slackware... the team already working hard. They probably don't have much spare time. They can hire, but now it's a financial problem. I don't know about their financial strength.

I guess there are many others reasons.

By JC at Tue, 2004/01/06 - 6:00am

"I wanted to be a part of Slackware team, because I felt that my LiveCD could be a good replacement for the official one. But Patrick told me that he doesn't want me to join their team, and also that I am violating their "Slackware" trademark by using the name "Slackware Live CD"."

Is'nt this just so typical.
Everyday I see scarce resources being diluted by this attitude in the Linux world.

It's not unique to Linux though Look at BSD, forking & forking (check out dragon fly BSD).

I'm all for innovation but sick of seeing good code being shunned for ego reasons.

Windows succeeded whilst Unix vendors fragmented the OS & fought amongst themselves.

History repeating tiself?

By garbage at Sat, 2004/01/10 - 6:00am

There is a new LIVE CD available which has fixed USB mouse detection, kdepim added and language support for German and French.

By Anonymous at Wed, 2004/01/07 - 6:00am

Just a notice:
the official URL is http://slax.linux-live.org

By Tomas at Fri, 2004/02/06 - 6:00am

This is my first experience with KDE 3.2 and I'm truly impressed! Even though it was running from a liveCD, it was pretty fast and it looks very cool and clean!

I didn't play that much with it though since it didn't detect my Logitech Cordless Mouse :(

By Joergen Ramskov at Wed, 2004/01/07 - 6:00am

When can we expect KDE 3.2 in Debian Sid ? I installed Slackware on a machine just to test KDE 3.2-Beta2 and i'm impressed by the progress, can't wait to update the 10 debian-machines i'm maintaining.

By anynomous at Mon, 2004/01/19 - 6:00am