Releasing Slax 9.7.0

Good news, a new and improved version of Slax has been just released as Slax 9.7.0. You can download Slax for free or purchase a cool USB drive with Slax preinstalled from the project's home page at www.slax.org

Most important changes are explained below:

1) usb-modeswitch was added to Slax

Some new USB devices have their proprietary Windows drivers onboard; when plugged in for the first time, they act like a flash storage and start installing the Windows driver from there, and if the driver is already installed, it makes the storage device disappear and a new device, mainly composite with modem ports, shows up. On Linux, in most cases the drivers are available as kernel modules. However, the device shows up as "usb-storage" by default. So usb_modeswitch is used to send a message to the device to initiate the mode switching, so it can be used for the intended purpose.

2) The 'slax activate' command now copies module to RAM only if necessary

Slax is a modular operating system, and it supports on-the-fly activation of modules (compressed files with .sb extension) by using 'slax activate' command. If the module is stored on a separate filesystem, it can be activated from there without any issue. But if the module is stored inside the current AUFS root filesystem, for example when user downloaded it from the internet to his Home directory while running Slax, such module needs to be copied outside of the AUFS filesystem before activation. Previous Slax version copied all activated modules to RAM or to the USB device it was started from, even if it was not really necessary. Starting with this Slax release, the copying is done only if it is needed.

3) Slax is now even smaller

Many years ago, a decision was made to use 512K blocks in Slax for all squashfs compressed filesystems (Slax core modules as well as other bundles). This saved some RAM, but led to somewhat inefficient compression. Since RAM is not so scarce nowadays, Slax now uses 1MB blocks to make the compression better, resulting in 10MB smaller overal size of the distribution (255 MB compared to 265 MB). There is still support for 512K block size too, so old modules created with 512k blocks will work just fine.

Happy Slaxing :)



Releasing Slax 9.6.6

Good news everybody, yet even better Slax has been released :) This version adds forgotten intel graphics drivers and introduces the possibility to disable automounting of disk drives by a boot parameter.

All the orders made during holidays were processed today, and they contain this new Slax version preinstalled. Thank you for your patience, it was worth it :)

Enjoy the new release, and happy new year!



Slax 9.6.5 released

Christmas is coming, so here is a gift for all fans - a new Slax release :)

Most importantly, this version adds long-requested feature - udev rules to automount plugged-in disk drives, so they appear in pcmanfm file manager without the need to mount them manually.

Furthermore, all packages were updated to their newest versions, and few small bugs were fixed.

Happy holidays :)



Slax 9.6.4

After a week of tweaking, I am happy to announce that a new Slax version has been released.
This new release contains many bug fixes and improvements.
List of changes include:

  • Implemented scrollbar indicator for xlunch, so user can see if there are more icons beyond current screen
  • X is now started on vt7 terminal as it is usually the case in all Linux distros (it was on vt2 before)
  • User can select text-mode boot by specifying 'text' boot parameter
  • Commands dir2sb and sb2dir were rewritten to act as conversion utilities (documentation)
  • Added b43 broadcom firmwares
  • Added genslaxiso command to create new ISO file, optionally adding new modules
  • Gateway address is now properly set on PXE clients when pxe server is started in Slax
  • xLunch launcher now starts GUI applications without unnecessary terminal window

I've also added a new documentation describing how to customize Slax

Enjoy! :-)



Fixing persistent changes

While I was repackaging ISO for 64bit version of Slax 9.6.1, I used midnight commander to extract the iso contents. Unfortunately I forgot that there is a bug in midnight commander and it does not see empty directories.

For that reason, Slax 9.6.2 ISO file did not contain /slax/changes directory, which is needed for storing persistent changes. You can fix that yourself easily by simply creating that directory. I've already pushed out version 9.6.3, which fixes this.

Lets hope I will avoidi such mistake next time. :)

You may notice that 32bit version 9.6.1 is the same as 9.6.2 and also the same as 9.6.3. Only 64bit version was affected and changed during these version bumps.



Slax 9.6.2 bugfix release

Maybe you noticed two version bumps yesterday, so I'd like to explain the reason behind them.

Slax 9.6.0 had two problems introduced in that version. Firstly, the advertised pxe script had a flaw, causing it to generate unbootable initramfs image. I am not sure how this happened since it was thoroughly tested before the release, perhaps it was not thorough enough :] Secondly, the newly installed dnsmasq daemon, which should be started only by the pxe script, was autostarted by systemd on every boot, even for users who never need pxe at all, that was not intentional. So I've fixed those two issues by releasing Slax version 9.6.1.

Unfortunately, while releasing that fix in a hurry, I forgot my custom build-module in 64bit version of 9.6.1, which made the ISO unusable. I am using this build-module to automate building of Slax, but it must never be included in the released ISO file. To fix that mistake, I've repackaged the 64bit ISO image and released it as Slax version 9.6.2.

To sum it up, you can consider 9.6.2 as a bugfix release fixing issues in 9.6.0. Next time, I should consider releasing -rc version first, to avoid such stupid mistakes :]



Slax 9.6.0 released

I am happy to announce that a new version of Slax Linux is available for download. It features updates for all included packages, and fixes PXE boot support, so it is now possible to boot Slax over network again. There is also a 'pxe' script included, which you can execute on a running Slax to start a pxe server (it will auto-assign a random IP address from range 10.0.0.x). In order to download Slax, visit the newly redesigned website at www.slax.org

Enjoy the new release! :)



Slax 9.5.0 released

I am happy to announce that a next version of Slax Linux has been released. Slax is a minimalistic, fully modular operating system. As usual, this version incorporates all upstream improvements from Debian stable, and fixes few small known bugs.

I am also happy to announce that it is now possible to purchase Slax preinstalled on an USB flash drive with hardware-based AES encryption. This device is universally usable because the encryption is performed directly by the drive itself, there is no software to install needed. Once disconnected, the USB drive automatically locks itself again. Payment is possible only with Bitcoin, because I truly wish to see PayPal and credit card companies to cease to exist soon.

You can download or purchase Slax from the project's home page.

Enjoy! :)



Slax 9.4 final released

After a short testing with no problems reported, I feel it is now the right time to release next version of Slax Linux - a minimalistic, fully modular operating system.

This version incorporates all upstream improvements from Debian stable, adds several default applications and fixes several known bugs. File manager now understands file types, so it is easier for users to open files like images, pdf documents, and so on.

On top of all that, Slax now includes one-click-to-install launchers, to offer additional software to users while keeping Slax size small. If the current approach proves useful, Slax could contain lots of icons for additional programs, which will be simply installed (automatically) when launched for the first time.

Check the full list of changes

You can download Slax from the project's home page.

Enjoy! :)



Slax 9.4 rc1

Hello everybody, you can download Slax 9.4 64bit rc1 here. For list of changes, see here. I do not expect any more changes in the final release, which should be available on 26th of March.

Most noticable change is addition of launchers for not-installed applications - the app will download and install on the first run. Feel free to suggest your preferred applications which you like to have included by default. You can see at the screenshot below icons for VLC (video player) and VoteCoin (anonymous crypto currency wallet), those apps are not included in Slax, but clicking the icons will auto-install them (before the first run).

By the way, VoteCoin is my other creation, if you are interested in getting more info, see https://www.votecoin.site