Interview with Slax's author

I was just recently interviewed for Czech Republic's most famous linux website root.cz. Here is a shortened (and slightly modified) version translated into English. The text is free to use at your website, if you feel the need.

The live distribution called Slax is developed by Tomas Matejicek since the year 2002. The developmend has stopped few years ago, however an article at root.cz initiated a new discussions and lead to successful restart thanks to two sponsoring companies. Now, one year later, it looks like the development is stuck again. We've asked Tomas for the current status, and plans for the future.

Just one year ago, the development of Slax has been restarted, but now it looks like it's stuck again. What happened?

I have to admit that the development is now slowed down. The reason for that is simple - the software used in Slax (mostly the KDE desktop) doesn't show any significant progress towards better usage. I'd say the opposite is rather true - with every new bugfix release of KDE, I'm finding it more and more difficult to integrate it into Slax properly. As an example, the device notifier appears on strange places during KDE startup, the task bar is not properly resized to full screen width sometimes, and so on. Furthermore I am concerned about the startup time of KDE, which is significantly faster in Slax than anywhere else, but still too slow in my opinion.

In general, KDE desktop or KDE SC (software compilation) is no longer looking like a good candidate for fast, simple and elegant desktop. It's the best time to choose something else, smaller, faster and nicer. Unfortunately I'm not a desktop programmer, I'm just putting existing things together to make Slax, things which were made by other programmers, so I'm reliant to waiting and trying, until something suitable is found. Fortunately Slax investors are not forcing me to make any hasty decisions.

How are you fulfilling the financial plan? Does Slax make any income?

The investors got already more than a half of their investment in return, so I think it's safe to assume that their investment will be fully repaid in a long term, which was the primary goal. I'd like to introduce the paid-wallpaper business model I was talking about few times, but before this is done, I prefer to rebuild Slax once more again and replace KDE by something else. Slax uses Slackware as a base, which is a great advantage on one hand (the system is clean), but may be a night mare on the other hand, since there's nothing like package pool in debian, so if you need to make any software for Slackware/Slax, you usually have to compile it from scratch by hand, while you also have to find all the dependencies, which usually depend on other dependencies, which is sometimes even recursive. Yet I'm sticking with Slackware and I have no plans to switch to any other distro. I think it makes my life a bit harder, but I'm gaining a feeling of uniqueness, since there are not much Slackware-based distributions out there. At least not as much as of those *buntu clones.

What could replace KDE in Slax?

That's a good question, but I don't have any answer for that yet. There are lots of Desktop environments, but many of those "innovative" or "progressive" ones are somehow tied to the distribution they're running on. I thought for a short time that a good replacement for KDE could be Cinnamon (Gnome's fork from Linux Mint). It was available only for Mint, but just got separated recently, however I think I don't like it any longer.

Another possible candidate for KDE replacement is Pantheon desktop, which is officially released only for Elementary OS (Ubuntu's fork). If I could make Pantheon work on Slackware with minimum of dependencies, it could be it. First attempt of integration to Slax has failed though. Today it's probably the best option to wait for Ubuntu's LTS version release, which is scheduled to April 2014, since new Elementary OS version should be released after it. The new Pantheon could have most of the components enhanced for easier integration in other Linux distributions.

What's your ideal desktop environment?

Ideal desktop environment starts within few seconds (I mean TWO) and gives the user a simple way to run programs and switch between them. That's it, it's nothing special at all. The old well known start menu can be replaced by a bubble with icons (as like slingshot in Elementary OS), taskbar doesn't necessarily have to show all the long window names (plank, used in Elementary OS, is mac-ish but otherwise very elegant), system tray at the top black line as we know it from Gnome or Ubuntu looks like a good idea as well.

In general, the technologies used in Elementary OS look inspiring. I'm convinced that the end user doesn't need anything else at all. I'm not any big fan of Activities in KDE, similarly I don't understand why whould anybody need gadgets or similar things in the base Slax.

It is essential that all the desktop components are well designed. And here, by Design, I mean the design how things work, what appears where and how, and such (for example the feature that two running terminal windows can be recognized by two dots under the terminal icon), yet it has of course have a nice design (in the meaning of "nice look" - those two dots in our example have to be "nice" somehow). Desktop effects like cube desktop or wobbly windows are awesome, but as we could see, they are not widely used anywhere, because the added value is not so significant. Sometimes less means more.

Why don't you use Xfce, Enlightenment or OpenBox?

OpenBox is mostly just a window manager, not a desktop. XFce was nice few years ago, when the last version has been released, but it's too outdated for today. (Well the whole KDE4 look a bit outdated already). Gnome 3 brought a new way of managing multiple desktops and applications, I was really excited by that, but there were some other problems, such us ugly icon of current application in top black bar, really big window decorations, or the entirely reworked app switching through the Activities menu.

Anyway, regardless of which desktop could be choosen for Slax, it will mean putting it there instead of KDE, which will also mean getting rid of most of the other KDE SC applicastions which are used in Slax today. At least of those parts from KDE SC - software compilation. Those would have to be replaced too, by some simpler and smaller equivalents using GTK.

I think it will need some time, but I believe that sooner or later something usable for Slax could be found. When that happens, it will be the best to release that as Slax version 8. Any similarity with Windows versions is purely coincidental :)

User comments
Prcek 2014-04-03 03:57

I still like KDE. It has all the programs you need, all of them have the same look. The downside maybe is that it is a bit larger than other lightweight desktop environments. On the other hand KDE has large developer community and I think it will be here for a long time - I don't know if you can say this about the other desktop environments. But that is just my opinion :-).

Mark De Silva 2014-04-03 04:46

Sad to hear you don't like Cinnamon anymore, I thought it was rather good and visually appeasing too.

How about development for the linuxlive for Debian systems like Ubuntu you were talking about months ago? Any development on that?

Willy Sudiarto Raharjo 2014-04-03 04:46

Hi Tomas,

Do you have plans to try to use MATE?
You can use the SlackBuilds available on https://github.com/mateslackbuilds/msb

please read the GIT_BRANCHES for more information about which branch should be used for compiling a stable releases

Tomas M 2014-04-03 04:47

Prcek: Thank you very much for your opinion, I agree, KDE life may be much longer than the life of those smaller projects, and if KDE makes significant changes then it may be included in Slax again :)

Pavel Spajk Matějíček 2014-04-03 04:48

Hi, i read about Budgie Desktop from Evolve-OS, but its based on GTK3 libraries. Looks like ChromeOS - minimal and clean design. More info is here: https://github.com/evolve-os/budgie-desktop

Tomas M 2014-04-03 04:50

Mark De Silva: Debian-based live Linux has been produced and delivered to the company which ordered it. Finally there were no changes necessary to linux-live-kit to make it work, only few which were project-specific for the need of that particular distro. I thought that I'll be able to modify livekit to work with debian based distros with debian based kernels (adding the right modules to initrd, and so on) but finally I had to reuse Slax's kernel config for the project since it showed to be problematic to cherry pick all modules by hand.

Tomas M 2014-04-03 04:56

Willy Sudiarto Raharjo:
Thanks for the hint about MATE, I'll consider it as well.

Pavel Spajk Matějíček:
Budgie looks OK too, thank you for the suggestion!

lecho 2014-04-03 04:57

I agree with all points, T.

The main goal must be simplicity and speed (the main reasons why iOS is so triumphant...) Slax has always been with me on my keys because of its easy and speedy design.

Microsoft has learned (except of their "multi-color-design") and focusses on speed with Windows 8. Android has always been a fast system (but allows too many processes automatically active in the backround...)

I tried Linux several times and always come back to other OS's (except the interesting small distros - Slax, SliTaz, DSL, Puppy, Tiny Core etc. for backup :)

Please hold up your work - Slax will inspire more and more people!

William Wong 2014-04-03 04:59

I personally love KDE more than any other DE. It's elegant and easy-to-use, designed in UNIX programming philosophy.

Well. If it's kind of overhead for pocket operating system, then maybe we should give other lightweight DE a try. But I still recommend some Qt-based DE such as Razor-qt and the next version of LXDE.

Sachin p 2014-04-03 05:11

No other distro has KDE running as fast as in Slax.

Mihai 2014-04-03 05:26

As a SLAX user myself I'm wondering why forks like Porteus (www.porteus.org) manage to have a full working KDE4 environment booting in less than 20 seconds while SLAX experiences so many problems with it (task bar size, placement, etc.)?

Godfrey Harrison 2014-04-03 05:47

This is the comment of somebody who doesn't know lots about linux or desktops but is confident that versions of Linux that "work out of the box" (adapt to "off the memory stick" for SLAX) --- I'd say Xandros Desktop OS V3 was the first I tried that did so--- are those that attract huge numbers of users. Evidence? Mint becoming the equal or superior (in usage) of the longer established Ubuntu and (similarly) having the edge on Debian: (for me, a great, even historic, version of Linux but still not wholly free of the reputation it got from the many folks' experience of installing early versions--- the first I used was 2.2. which was interesting--- as in the Chinese near curse, "May you live in interesting times.")
Most of all, think of Chromebooks: bought ready to use & with updates, from their users' points of view, just happening. Mac enthusiasts, others too, make less than nice comments about Chromebooks but a lot of people are buying despite some, say Google's own Chromebook, plain pricey. It's that kind of Mint and Chromebook polished offering that makes me believe Tomas is right about KDE which I found clumsy in the (admittedly) not many times I tried it for more than an hour or two. (I had a version of Suse with KDE and couldn't get command line operations to do what I knew they should (and had done often before--- thus umount instructions got me nowhere; they'd worked when I was runing Debian; they still do in the jazzier SparkyLinux; it's rooted in Debian.) SparkyLinux 3.3 xfce I find fine; its lxde counterpart froze and I couldn't thaw it.
SLAX is such a lovely start and offers such opportunites it deserves to go galactic so getting its desktop and its convenience of use both top grade is worth taking time over. Debian's, in paraphrase: release the next version when it's right (even with other versions of "right") is, well, right.

Apologies for length of this "comment."

Bidinou 2014-04-03 06:06

Hi ! Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts about the future of Slack !

I would like to bring a different point though.

* you refer to startup time. Sure, KDE's the longest DE in those terms. Some KDE apps are "heavier". BUT, runtime is even more important. In my experience, many components of KDE are heavier, but much faster AND features-rich than supposedly lightweight DEs ! (kwin, dolphin, okular, gwenview). In the end, I really prefer to wait a couple more seconds than being hampered / slowed down / restrained in my work !

* you refer to clean & minimalist designes like Elementary. It definitely looks great and is well though (kudos to the devs & designers). But... When you have to get some work done, isn't it more efficient to be able to instantly click on the right window in a taskbar ? What is the benefit of using the same dock or having crippled on screen information when it makes you lose time ?

I have ALL OF THOSE DEs a lot of runs, and never really managed to give up on any of them... But, I really have the feeling that if you use your computer for serious stuff, KDE is unbeatable. I wish Cinnamon could get more features, but it's so far away ; it doesn't have a giant community for of subprojects etc.

Just my opinion of course !

I really hope you could talk to the KDE community about it : with the work spent on Plasma active, which runs on really slow hardware, it would be surprising the situation cannot be improved on the desktop...

Bidinou 2014-04-03 06:08

... I agree though that a couple of longstanding bugs are a bit irritating in KDE... However, I you really consider each DE, you'll notice there are even more serious ones in DE which are far from being on par, feature wise.

Era Scarecrow 2014-04-03 07:09

Regarding KDE and being slower, this just reminds me of when I had RedHat 6 and was upgrading to RedHat 7 on my 400Mhz system, I found it so much slower I had to depreciate to the previous version to keep it running at a decent speed for me. Course this was back in 2002...

Still the pros and cons have to be weighed...

Mario 2014-04-03 07:18

Good interview and good job with Slax over the years. Since Slax is a Slackware-Based GNU/Linux distribution maybe the first place to search for a new DE is in the Slackware itself. I vote for XFCE because it is fully customizable and well documented. But I trust you will do a good choice and the community will surely help you in this task.

src abiz 2014-04-03 07:46

Hi Tomas
I think kde good for DE, I think more slax excess packaging to its software very user friendly, to be honest, I liked from slax, "one click to go" :D

Trisno Pamuji 2014-04-03 07:51

i like mate, i think it's nice to have slax with mate (will it be slaxmate? haha :D).

Trisno Pamuji 2014-04-03 07:57

i try to go to 'Requests' tab on the top of this site, but seems its under construction.
actually, i have a request for Slax, i want Slax Indonesian, and Indonesian for this site indeed.

Kevin Paulus 2014-04-03 08:01

A lot of the lightweight distro's seem to go for LXDE. You can also
try Enlightment. Both are present in the sbopkg repositories.

mitchell delaney 2014-04-03 08:22

Why not just take a DE from the suggestions above and make it your own? Change it up then see if it is up to your expectations for speed, simplicity and whatever else drives you (widgets support, taskbar plugins, design and the like).

Oliver A 2014-04-03 08:59

I really care about the appearance and usability of slax and I would love to see the slax with window maker or fvwm, but that was only a dream. I think the slax can continue with kde it's great, you can also use lxde, but if you want to impress see the sun microsystems project looking glass.

Ryan McQuen 2014-04-03 09:23

Another vote for MATE. The best complete environment there is. Period. Plus time-tested and STABLE.

Bagz 2014-04-03 10:10

Have seen SLAX for years. The final outcome is we hope you are rewarded for all your work. Thank you. ( I supported you 4 yrs ago when you asked us to.)

stephane Lentz 2014-04-03 10:10

Quite interesting! Out of curiosity why do you not like Cinnamon anylonger ?
Did you face stability issues or is it just you're not confident for it's future ?

Paul G 2014-04-03 10:16

Mate is worth taking a look at.
Plus, Willy S. has maybe already done some of the work for you:)

Sergey "Shnatsel" Davidoff 2014-04-03 11:51

elementary's OS guy here :)

I'll be bringing Pantheon to Debian as a Google Summer of Code project - if it's accepted, that is: https://wiki.debian.org/SummerOfCode2014/ProjectProposals/PackageElementarySoftware
That should help work out some kinks that may be related to targeting Ubuntu exclusively so far - although Pantheon was successfully ported to Gentoo and in to degree Arch already.

I was also meaning to provide documentation on building and packaging our apps all along but never got to it - I always had something more high-priority to do. Maybe I'll make a series of blog posts on the Debian porting process that might aid with integration.

The only thing I don't intend to port is Wingpanel which (at present) is dependent on Ubuntu/Ayatana indicators. We'll most likely have to ditch them after the 14.04-based release but it's not clear what could we replace them with...

Also, I'd be glad to answer any questions you have regarding integrating Pantheon. I'm sure other devs will too. You can find us in #elementary-dev on FreeNode or on "elementary-dev-community" mailing list on Launchpad.

Mariusz Grzegorz Tondos 2014-04-03 11:55

cinnamon is nic but is very slow, maybe you use Lxde or Razorqr or something nic and speed desktop.

Tomas M 2014-04-03 13:08

Sergey "Shnatsel" Davidoff: Thanks for getting in touch! :-) I'll join the IRC as soon as I figure out how to do that :)

Victor Mayevski 2014-04-03 15:30

Hello Tomas,
I don't want to make my post super long so I will go straight to my point:

1. There is still interest in Slax and it still has momentum, but it will not last forever. I really think it has a great potential. Especially when comparing other "Live" super slow CD distros to Slax. Slax wins hands down.

2. You should really focus almost 100% on the "live" feature of Slax, not it's desktop. Build it up in modules -- core, headless, extra small module(s) first, then add any extra modules needed. Don't focus on the desktop, it is distracting, one size does not fit all, Slax can have more than one desktop, let the users chose what they want (and help creating it).

3. I understand your attachment to Slackware, but you cannot afford the time you have to spend to do all that manual work. You need a complete, dependable repository of packages, and as you know it, nothing can beat Ubuntu repositories, including the launchpad PPA repositories. Those alone have saved me huge amounts of time and headaches. You don't need to use Ubuntu but you sure should use it's repositories. Automating Slax module creation/updating from the repositories would be a huge benefit. One big shortcoming of Slax (to me) was that it did not have a video driver for my netbook, but Ubuntu did. Slax would have been a perfect fit for my netbook. None of the best live distros had the driver and they, IMHO, lost big time.

4. The main attraction of Slax (to me) is it's ability to run completely from RAM. RAM is cheap and getting cheaper. Linux has an advantage of having much smaller footprint than Windows and virtually all of the modern PC can easily afford to run Linux from RAM. Slax needs to capitalize on that full force. That's the future. (TinyCoreLinux (TCL) runs completely from initramfs. Why shouldn't Slax?).

5. Slax should have the ability to run in VM containers aka LXC. (this is the "take over the world" dream :) ). Slax as a server (another dream :) ).

6. You NEED to capitalize on the help of Slax users to create modules (ie, KDE Desktop :) )

7. I realize that if some of those ideas are implemented, Slax would no longer qualify to be named "Slax", a new name might be needed.

8. Distros to learn from:

daryl kuchay 2014-04-03 15:41

Call me an old timer but Slax was also designed to run well on old hardware. Slax 6 boot in little time on my old target at the time. Switching to version 7 left me with 5 minute boot times. KDE4 was the culprit. Not everyone has the same hardware. Having flexibility is huge. Again call me an old timer but if you load TDE or the fork of KDE3 its still quite usable but lacks a few things to be usable in a daily capacity. Yes many apps are old but KDE3 was and still is fast. The only DE I like better is E17. Its not rich with applications and cross connecting things can be cumbersome but it runs fast on everything and is very featured. Slackware still represents vanilla linux and while some things need to be scripted I do not agree with changing the base. Slackware is faster and leaner. In complete agreement that KDE4 is worthless kludged together resource hog. Would love to see a modular active community like with version 6 and below. Lets move on.

Anthony Braculj 2014-04-03 18:05

Hello Tomas , Hello Mark, Slax 7.0 has replaced WinTv reliablyy (except, sox has to reboot to slax in order to work.

Rohitasch 2014-04-04 02:15

How about Trinity? Its a KDE 3.5 fork.

Kevin Paulus 2014-04-04 02:58

Victor Shut Up !

When slax turns away from slackware so will a large portion of its userbase, me included. Thomas knows slackware, forcing him to go to debian will be forcing him to learning the "Debian" way. Init symlink hell and all.

If you like tinycore, good use tinycore but don't try to perturbate slax into a crappy clone of it.

Ivan Novák 2014-04-04 05:23

Slax is an amazing system for repairs WIN OS. Does your community of interest, but the general expansion probably will not. Given that more and more ordinary users only works with the Internet as its cloud-based applications, it would be worth considering modifying Slax classic way to Chrome OS. Reliable fast boot with Wifi connectivity with basic applications Chrome browser.

Viktor Benevski 2014-04-04 07:21

I am agree with the opinions for saving the useful software packages from KDE4 and use other lite DE as default.

Also I'm a old-timer. With slax 6 booting was slower and then everything was fast.

Now with slax 7 is more complicated:
1. automount is off

2. when i click on drive from dolphin to mount it it's name is /media/some_hackers_nick instead of /mnt/sda1

3. when i put executable script on hard drive no permission to run from there even to change it's permissions to executable

4. cannot run appropriated radeon drivers even with boot options vga=normal and nomodeset - crashing on startx.

Is it possible zram compression to be optional as a cheatcode from boot line?

Kevin Paulus 2014-04-04 07:33

<blockquote><strong>1. automount is off</strong>
</blockquote>As it should imho, I use slax regularly for data recovery.
I don't want it automounting broken disks.

<blockquote><strong>2. when i click on drive from dolphin to mount it it's name is /media/some_hackers_nick instead of /mnt/sda1</strong></blockquote>
some_hackers_nick is filesystem label IIRC

<blockquote><strong>3. when i put executable script on hard drive no permission to run from there even to change it's permissions to executable</strong></blockquote>
FAT filesystems don't support unix permissions or filesystem is mounted with noexec

<blockquote><strong>4. cannot run appropriated radeon drivers even with boot options vga=normal and nomodeset - crashing on startx.</strong></blockquote>
Start without x. select it from the syslinux boot menu and/or edit
/slax/boot/syslinux.cfg to reflect this preference

Kevin Paulus 2014-04-04 07:35

Repost because of broken html.

1. automount is off
As it should imho, I use slax regularly for data recovery.
I don't want it automounting broken disks.

2. when i click on drive from dolphin to mount it it's name is /media/some_hackers_nick instead of /mnt/sda1
some_hackers_nick is filesystem label IIRC

3. when i put executable script on hard drive no permission to run from there even to change it's permissions to executable
FAT filesystems don't support unix permissions or filesystem is mounted with noexec

4. cannot run appropriated radeon drivers even with boot options vga=normal and nomodeset - crashing on startx.
Start without x. select it from the syslinux boot menu and/or edit
/slax/boot/syslinux.cfg to reflect this preference

Viktor Benevski 2014-04-04 07:59

Kevin, about boot menu I never running with selected x. These boot options take effect - I,m checking out with lsmode command. The problem is when no kernel module x running only in vesa mode after editing Xorg.conf. Even now appropriated drivers crashing system and I have to reboot. In other words no kernel module leads to no appropriated drivers plus no mesa3d gallium driver (I rebuilt complete mesa3d).

Shnatsel 2014-04-04 08:39

Tomas: http://elementaryos.org/developer/chat - this is the dev webchat. Not stellar as a long-term solution, but great for making first contact ;)

Canis Ferrumium 2014-04-04 12:11

Tomas, as you mentioned, the development has been slowed down. Nevertheless, you got 40 replies to a new post within 2 days. People are still excited to here something new about Slax!

Matthias Schuster Scharmer 2014-04-05 03:58

Since KaOS boots up quciker than Archbang and runs more stable then each other Distro, that i try since 2 Years, its maybe not the fault from KDE, especially the upcoming Baloo, which replace Nepomuk, is one more major fix. kaosx.us

Matthias Schuster Scharmer 2014-04-05 03:58

Since KaOS boots up quciker than Archbang and runs more stable then each other Distro, that i try since 2 Years, its maybe not the fault from KDE, especially the upcoming Baloo, which replace Nepomuk, is one more major fix. kaosx.us

Fixit Mann 2014-04-05 23:14

I, too, am particular to XFCE, I kind of LIKE the "outdated" menu system, however. I do agree, it's one of the most customizable DE's out there!
Plus, it comes with a full old-school taskbar that is entirely useful, and a side bar for "quick launch" type items, and none of this universal menu, or whatever you want to call it.
Unfortunately, things DO break in it with every "update," and it takes forever to fix.

Adnan 2014-04-06 00:28

KDE is beautiful. I like its window decorations and the gadgets. Its taskbar feels natural. It makes the desktop feel not "cheap" as the other DEs out there. I have used other DEs - Unity, Gnome, XFCE, LXDE etc. KDE has the most innovative of features/options. Its more evolved to be used in everyday tasks. Plus, using it in a 200mb distro is awesome. Please keep KDE.

Kevin Paulus 2014-04-06 03:10

I took a look at libkitlive, and you mount each drive and look for a data directory, using the first one you can find. I think these things should be tweakable in a future version.

This would allow me to have 2 dirs on a usb key: slax32bit and slax64bit and boot them for example linux /slax32bit/boot/vmlinuz slax.slaxpath=/slax32bit seperatly. Or allow liblivekit to search for a data dir first on the root device. This would make for the same result if you had 2 partitions: 1 for 64 and the other for 32bit slax.

Also: do you have some special invocation to rebuild your initramfs, whatever I do I can't get mine to work (find . | cpio -o -H newc | xz -c >> initrfs_new.img).

lettry 2014-04-07 06:33

Maybe we should prepare some different DE . People can select it .
Make independent modules .

By the way , How to rebuild 02-xorg.sb . My video card driver need Xserver1.13, but Slax-7.0.8 is Xserver1.12 .
Someone can tell me how to complete it ? Thanks .

Ben Mendis 2014-04-07 13:05

To give you one more data point. I have made heavy use of Slax both at work and at home, however I don't use Slax as a desktop. I typically strip it down to just core and devel, then build up from there.

However, I do intend to migrate Project Byzantium over to Slax (from Porteus), and Byzantium does boot to the desktop. We're not picky about what that Desktop is, so long as it works and is reasonably intuitive to a typical user.

Enlightenment is an option you might want to consider.

Since some of my project rely (or will soon rely) on Slax, I have a vested interest in its continued success. So let me know if you need the help of another Linux developer/admin.

Trenten Brown 2014-04-07 13:34

vixta looks pretty cool,

John C. Gage 2014-04-07 19:26

I would like to add MATE as a favorite in concerns to quick load times and stability. The fact that it doesn't require cross-dependencies has always been a factor in my choice for MATE with my systems.

Ronaldo 2014-04-09 08:09

It seems that the site old.slax.org and your forum do not exist more. I went changed for slax.org. A blog is too different of a forum! It is very personal (all in yours hands)! A forum give much work! And the requests place stand in contruction. In old days, was a Slax version with only a basic command line and a sise of about 50MB. Where i find a cd image of slax7.x.x like this concept (if exist!)? If kde11.x.x run fine in Slackware, why do not in Slax? I'm supposing, becouse i do not get a download of a slax7 (2G mobile phone, lanhouse not exist for here!) and slack too! My reverences!

Sponge Bob 2014-04-10 01:47

Old.slax is still there, at http://old.slax.org

Mark De Silva 2014-04-18 14:11

Tomas thanks for the info. So I take it I should be able to install a full debian like Ubuntu and run the current linux-live on it and have it create a live debian distro?

Victor Mayevski 2014-04-19 17:42

@Kevin Paulus
RE: Victor Shut Up !

Kevin, lighten up :). It is completely up to Tomas what to do. It was just my opinion.

I believe that the beauty of open source is that you can "borrow" code from different projects. Slackware did not come out of a vacuum. It is one of the oldest and best, other projects borrowed from it, but Slackware borrowed from other projects too. Once a project tries to become "the only one true way", it will stagnate and die (and if I was talking to a crowd of Slackware users, I would whisper very quietly and carefully -- "... which is what is happening to Slackware". Than I would run away as fast as I could, screaming "don't kill me, I am just a messenger"). :)

I am joking but there is some truth to it.

And, the reason why I don't switch to tinycore is that, for some weird reason, I like Slax more. Probably for the same reason that people like Slackware more. ;)

Victor Mayevski 2014-04-19 17:45

@Mark De Silva
I have tried the linux-live on Ubuntu recently and it didn't work for me. I've done it in the past though and the only way I was able to do it is by using the kernel from Slackware.

Era Scarecrow 2014-04-20 01:54

A question is coming to mind. I've got myself a Raspberry Pi, which uses the ARM architecture (probably 32bit). Is there a compiled version of modules or the base that can run on it? I'd love to see it run Slax honestly, vs the versions it default comes with.

VPM 2014-04-22 02:49

Me gusta el LXDE porque es ligero pero en Lubuntu no va bien, en Fedora no me ha dado ningún fallo de momento, lo tengo en un pendrive pero esta como un LiveCD y por ello no deja agregar programas, lo utilizo cuando alguien me dice que se le a colgado el Windows, le dejo el pendrive y se pone a navegar, antes dejaba el Slax pero todos me han dicho que va mas lento por ello les dejo el pendrive con el Fedora. No me importa que escritorio ponga al Slax siempre que funcione bien y no baya lento en PC de pocos recursos.

Jyotirmoy Mukherjee 2014-04-25 09:14

im not a software person. i started using linux a year ago. and amazed that there are so many types. all are some or the other way very good. i didnt know some 2 years back that computer can be ran without windows at all. what interested me in linux is its drivers. they are like universal kind of...
Two thinks are bad in linux- 1) people, developers in other platforms, and also persons linked with distros always talks negatively about their OS.
2) New software installation is difficult than in windows.
3) cant see apps like in android on cell (though its same ). apps like android on linux-PC would be nice and new thing. some corporate apps are really helpfull... like news papers, banking apps, soo many that i can get on android market for smartphones.
4) many companies (not closely related to software business) in India use their small application softare for their devices ( such as monitoring applications, scada like thing and etc) which can only run on windows. why not on linux? Linux marketing is very poor.
share brokers release their trading software only for windows. atleast for my case from a leading company. usb modem manufacturer dnt bother much abt linux. if it runs then 'well..', if not then "change your OS". Actually those runs somehow, but manufacturers dnt care abt linux.

Jyotirmoy Mukherjee 2014-04-25 09:20

well 3 and 4 are suggestion and complaint. and i know android is some kind of linux and it can also run on PCs but poorly.

Ronaldo Brandao Mafra 2014-05-06 09:16

Dear Tomas,
my mobile-phone 2G have had difficulty to sign-in on the blog and on the register in the forum (in the site old.slax.org). This become of in all blogs. Strange is that, in some time, no problem occur, in another time, is impossible to do! It is only a report!
Thanks to Sponge Bob: the site old.slax stand there! I think that this site will never be aparted of the slax.org. But, done is done!

Ricky Lachman 2014-05-10 04:32

Alienbob just put out LXQt. Maybe worth a look.


braboar 2014-05-11 14:22

First of all, Thomas, thanks for your work!
If you think on KDE replacement, my vote is for Enlightenment. It's small and functional. I use it on my desktop.

Ronaldo Brandao Mafra 2014-05-17 13:18

the forum (in old.slax.org) are very big and in line. Is hour of create folders to put it in order!
Other mater, if i knew the task bar is the button writed "kde" in it, situated at left of panel. This is no problem in the slax 6.1.2! Were i find the slax 7.x.x Frodo?

Nathan Long 2014-05-20 05:40

You can make your own desktop or you can use LXDE. Download it from here http://www.lxde.org/download

Nathan Long 2014-05-20 05:42

I have a live cd of a os called EDU-NIX and when i found out that it was based on Slax i

Ivan Krylov 2014-05-23 07:46

Hi! I'm sorry to post off-topic, but I couldn't find a better place to report bugs.

Some of the Slax packages (notably, libreoffice and ones generated with txz2sb, AFAIK) overwrite /usr/share/mime/mime.cache (or some other database which I couldn't figure out), so installing them causes all file associacions to behave funny (Okular refuses to open PDFs, other applications still work, but are not associated with their files). Running update-mime-database fixes this, and I created an empty package which is plugged in last in row and runs this command.

I'm still not completely sure of the cause of the problem, but will continue my experiments after I find some free time.

Thiago Silvino 2014-05-27 09:22

Hello Tomas,

You could try LXQT, Ponce have built packages for the latest release. You can find them in this link - http://slackware.ponce.cc/blog/2014/04/30/the-first-release-of-lxqt-is-approaching/

You could also try the packages from AlienBob :)

Olexandr Zhabenko 2014-06-17 02:54

Have a nice day, Tomas!

I see the OpenSSL library has a security heartbleed bug, the version 1.0.1c on the Slax site is affected. This makes the using of the bundle insecure for losing personal data. Can you fix the security risk as quick as possible?

Additional information is here:

Ronaldo Brandao Mafra 2014-06-19 06:59

Hi, for all!
The question is: the task bar are working well? The change of it place is a mad screen saver? No problem! Move it, with the mouse, to the right place! My screen saver is a black sreen! More one, for while!

J.s. Garrison 2014-07-01 22:59

The Slax 7.0.8 Distro is the first I'm aware of that can fairly easily be installed to a hard drive. An included batch file lets Slax create the boot stuff needed with just a double-click. This is something I wanted to have happen in Slax for a long time.

Slax can, because of it's beauty, (except for the non-working SMPlayer for my DVDs), knock Puppy off my first-choice list as THE distro to run on older low-resource computers.

The heart-ache is that 7.0.8 might be abandoned because of issues with KDE. It's desktop is far more professional-looking than Puppy's. But, Que Sera.

J.s. Garrison 2014-07-02 09:51

Although oddly not included in Slax 7.0.8, I learned (from the K3b app no less) that I needed to retrieve libdvd.css. That allowed SM Player to "see" and play my DVDs. It also allows ripping capabilities in K3b.

Weird oversight, no?

rw 2014-07-10 14:51


i'm rather new to slax, just taking my first steps, but i'm really impressed about the ease of use.

I'd like slax to boot with the "toram"-flag by default without the need for manuel input, but till now i was not successfull.
I modified line 32 of the syslinux.cfg, but slax still boots with perch & xmode, but not toram.

Any suggention is really appreciated.

Kind regards

peter hodges 2014-07-10 19:38


Mengchang WANG 2014-07-13 22:01

Hi, Tomas,

Is there any plan to bring mono back to Slax?

Jane Quarixa 2014-07-17 03:11

Hi Slax community,

I know a bit about this nice Slax OS working totally in RAM, on pendrives. My friends and I decided to try it. But after downloading main OS file we faced a problem: we were told by programmers on the job that we should have so-called checksums of everything first: Otherwise, hello spyware, malwar etc
So, we would like to have your suggestion: how we can check & compare main SlaxOS executable file, plus other MODULES for SlaxOS (the checksums, like sha256, md etc are absent on your official site).Where are all those checksums?

I hope I don't bother you too much :)

pistal 2014-07-22 02:05

try ask on forum http://old.slax.org/forum.php; BTW iso's md5sums are here: http://ftp.linux.cz/pub/linux/slax/Slax-7.x/7.0.8/md5.txt

jess olazo 2014-08-25 12:59

+1 to Cinnamon.

Bridger Reif Hammond 2014-09-28 00:05


I've been using Slax on and off for years but never considered it one of my go to distros until recently. I've been going back and forth with arch installs, Slitaz and Slax. I'm going to try TinyCore tonight or tomorrow.

I've got an IBM/Lenovo TP x41 I'm using right now, also have a desktop that runs W8 and Slackware or Arch sometimes.

I really like the KDE team and the QT base. It might be a bit bulky at times, but if you look at LXDE-qt it's super light. Maybe check out what they have done on their side?

I would love to see a Slax WM/DE. Keep the QT base and see what you can manage. I would say Xfce because I love it but that means changing the entire base from qt to gtk. Stay loyal to QT!

http://www.2014monclerjackets.co.uk 2014-10-30 04:41


Ferenc Kurucz 2014-11-07 04:54

Hi Tomas,
Is the project dead? There was no update since April.

Maxiride 2014-11-08 10:59

I'm interested in the project too, any news?
Till now it's the fastes OS to use while on LIVE, even Lubuntu get bulky and laggy when the persistent file get a couple of GBs.

hehui 2014-11-24 03:11

I personally love KDE.
It's beautiful and easy to use.

John 2014-12-04 04:46

Hi All,

JWM (Joe's Window Manager) is a nice, light widows manager that easily configured through a single XML file and for those who enjoy it Conky can e easily added.

Klaatu von Schlacker 2014-12-15 15:34

Not knowing how difficult it is to get KDE to work with Slax, should you find it necessary to migrate away, then I would second Willy's proposal of MATE (and add Cinnamon as a candidate). Both seem to be ported with some degree of ease and both are quite nice and functional, and yet also "modern".

I generally prefer KDE but with Slax, as long as the desktop has a small memory footprint and works, I figure that's good enough. (XFCE frankly seems like a good option, but your interview addresses your feelings on that).

Whatever you decide, thanks for Slax. It is truly life changing!

Carlos Fernandez 2015-03-17 15:35

I was trying to install it into a USB memory but it gives me an "Error installing boot loader" What can cause it?

Madis-siim Kull 2015-10-30 06:55

is ther a Arduino ide for Slax

Andrea Flori 2016-03-08 05:37

Hi Tomas, how can I help you with the translation to italian/spanish/germany language ?

I talk about the text exposed in this website and eventually in the support docs of Slax.