Slax author's Blog (RSS)
New Slax released
New version of Slax is available, and I take the opportunity to use ChatGPT to let AI generate an announcement about it. Here it is! :-)
The world of Linux distributions is constantly evolving, and I am excited to announce the release of Slax's latest versions: Slax version 15.0.1 based on Slackware-current, and Slax version 11.6.0 based on Debian 11.6. Both versions are available for both 32-bit and 64-bit processor architectures.
In this short announcement, I will take a closer look at the new features and improvements in the latest Slax versions, and why it's worth considering for your next Linux experience.
All-New Packages and DynFileFS
One of the biggest improvements in Slax 15.0.1 and 11.6.0 is the updated packages to the latest versions. This ensures that you have access to the latest software and tools, making your experience with Slax even better.
Another key feature of the new Slax versions is the use of newest DynFileFS, which implements how "persistent changes" are stored on writable media. This means that when you run Slax from an USB device, for example, all the changes you make to the system will be stored to a special file (actually, a set of 4 files) on the USB disk, making it possible to use Slax on-the-go. In the past, this feature was limited to a total size of 4GB, but with the newest DynFileFS, you can store up to 16GB of data, providing you with much better performance and capabilities.
A Guide to Help You Choose
To make the selection process easier for you, the users, I have created a guide that will help you choose the right version of Slax for your needs. There are no longer direct download links available on the website, but the simple guide will help you decide what version is best for you.
The new Slax versions are a step forward in the world of Linux distributions, offering improved performance and capabilities, as well as access to the latest software and tools. Whether you're a seasoned Linux user or a newcomer, Slax is definitely worth considering for your next Linux experience.
I can't wait for you to try it out and experience the power of Slax! Visit slax.org today.
ChatGPT is simply awesome, isn't it?
Persistent changes 10x faster in Slax
Slax is using DynFileFS for storing persistent changes if you boot from a FAT32 drive. DynFileFS is a fuse-based filesystem which I wrote 10 years ago as a quick hack, and to be honest, it was sometimes a bit slow, especially after storing several gigabytes of data.
If you noticed "changes.dat" file in Slax's /changes/ directory, this is the default storage for persistent changes, which are created by using DynFileFS.
I decided to review the code and as a result I rewrote the filesystem's internal logic completely. New DynFileFS version 3.0 is now available at github. It uses different file format on disk, so it is not backward compatible, but I believe it is worth it.
How does it work? Simply said, it provides a virtual file called "virtual.dat" after mounting it to some directory. This file can be of any specified size, like 30GB, but it does not need to pre-allocate this huge amount of disk space on mount. All changes made to this virtual file are stored in an indexed storage in a different file on disk, for example called changes.dat, and this file grows in time as your changes are made. As a result, it stores only the changes on disk, and not the free space between them.
The same effect could be achieved by using sparse file for storing changes, but unfortunately FAT32 does not support sparse files, and it is still the mostly used filesystem on USB devices.
The overhead of DynFileFS is around 2MB for each 1GB of virtual storage capacity, and each read/write operation requires only one additional seek+read in the storage file, so it is extremely fast.
I will use DynFileFS 3.0 in the next Slax release. Stay tuned. Have a nice day :)
Releasing Slax 15.0 (based on Slackware again after 9 years) and 11.4 (based on Debian)
I am happy to announce new Slax release based on Slackware 15! Previous Slackware-based version dates back to 2013, I am sorry for the delay :)
Slax version 11.4.0 is a new incremental update of Slax based on Debian,
Slax version 15.0.0 is now a new initial release of Slax based on Slackware again.
These Slax releases were made possible by generous supporters at Patreon. If you like to see more releases in the future or if you like to become a part of the growing community of people who are interested in supporting Slax regularly, feel free to join us there.
Both releases provide the same desktop with mostly the same installed packages.
Download at www.slax.org
Slax based on Slackware 15.0
I had nothing better to do so I decided to give Slackware 15.0 a try. Slax is no more a KDE-based distro with full applications, so it shouldn't be hard to make a fluxbox-based version from Slackware, right? Well yeah :) I managed to build a working prototype.
For a limited time, it is available only for supporters at patreon.com/slax/
If you wish to test it out, feel free to join the community of supporters with any monthly plan you can afford. You can find the download link to the prototype of Slackware-based version of Slax there.
- It boots into text mode, so login as root and use 'startx' to start the X desktop.
- It supports 'slackpkg' with 'slackpkg+' plugin. This means you should be able to install software from various repositories (preconfigured is official Slackware repository and a SlackOnly repo, which contains most packages from slackbuilds.org).
- As usual with Slackware, dependencies are not tracked, this is something you need to resolve manually. Use slackpkg this way:
slackpkg update slackpkg install YOUR_DESIRED_PACKAGE
Releasing Slax 11.3
I am happy to announce that an incremental update of Slax, labeled as version 11.3.0, is now available for download.
Current release updates packages to the newest versions available in latest Debian 11.3, and fixes a minor issue in application launcher.
This Slax version was made possible by generous supporters at Patreon. If you like to see more releases in the future
and you like to become a part of the growing community of people who are interested in supporting Slax regularly,
I would kindly encourage you to join us there. You will help to ensure I can continue releasing new versions and
improve Slax in the future. Your financial contribution also accelerates development of certain milestones, which
would not be possible without you. Your help is truly appreciated. Visit www.patreon.com/slax, thank you very much for becoming one of Slax's patrons!
Download links are, as usual, at www.slax.org main page
Releasing Slax 11.2.1
Bugfix release of Slax, labeled as version 11.2.1, is now available for download.
More info can be found in Changelog.
Download links are, as usual, at www.slax.org main page
Releasing final Slax 11.2.0
More than two years since the previous update, I am happy to announce the immediate availability of final Slax version 11.2.0.
It has been an interesting journey, thanks everyone for your suggestions, help and testing.
This release features EFI support for USB booting and complete update of all packages to the versions
available in Debian Bullseye. Furthermore, it provides full AUFS support, so you can continue working
with additional modules as like in previous Slax versions, add and/or remove modules on the fly. Changelog here
The core of Slax remains similar like always, network connection can be now managed using connman, and most importantly,
chrome is no longer a part of Slax, but you can still install it with a single click or two, as well as VLC video player.
Download links at www.slax.org main page
AUFS is a must
Thanks everybody for your suggestions for improvements, I really appreciate them. I've added connman as a network manager and scite as a text editor, and things start to look pretty decent now.
I realized that overlayfs is completely unsuitable for a distro such as Slax. It does not provide the necessary functionality at all, it is not possible to work with modules on the fly. So the only way to go forward is to recompile Linux Kernel and add AUFS from sources, which is exactly what I did for this 2nd release candidate.
As like before, you can provide feedback and report bugs, preferably through the slax-users Google group
Thank you for testing and as always, have a nice day :)
pcmanfm back to Slax
I was sad that pcmanfm is no longer available in Debian (I was wrong) and that I had to replace it with tuxcmd. It was great surprise to find out that this is not the case (Thanks Bernd W!). It seems like when I tried to install it, I had my setup broken somehow, so it was not found at that time and I made an incorrect conclusion that it is no longer available in Bullseye, but it is still there indeed.
I am happy about this because I liked pcmanfm a lot. So I will remove tuxcmd and add pcmanfm back again. I need to say that I like tuxcmd as well, there is nothing wrong with it, it is just a personal preference where I find pcmanfm somewhat more suitable for Slax.
Testing Slax 11.2 based on Debian Bullseye
I made my first attempt to build Slax based on Debian Bullseye (version 11.2). Here is a work in progress (well, it is mostly finished I guess so lets call it RC1). Some of the applications are no longer available, such as leafpad, wicd, and I replaced pcmanfm with tuxCommander.
Please feel free to suggest a small simple GUI app (GTK-based) for network configuration.
This version does not include chromium browser due to its size, but if you click the icon, it will install automatically before first use.
Debian also no longer supports aufs, so it has been replaced by overlayfs in Slax. This is internal change which affects the use of 'slax activate' command (it will no longer work). I am investigating possibilities to make it work again but as far as I can see, there is no way to modify the existing overlay filesystem on the fly as it was possible with AUFS, this means it is no longer possible to add new modules on the fly while running Slax. You can of course still add modules to your ISO (or USB directory tree). Suggestions welcome.
You can provide feedback preferably through the slax-users Google group
If you wish to test next Slax 11.2.0, I have prepared ISO images. The 32bit version is the first draft, 64bit version is little less buggy. UPDATE: download is now removed in favor of final version.
Thank you for testing and have a nice day :)