Questionnaire results

After getting over 1250 responses to the Questionnaire published month ago, I should be able to make some conclusions. I'll describe them here.

1. Slax language translations

More than 65% of users prefer to use Slax in English only. Some users reported they voted for non-english support only because of their need to use non-US keyboard layout, which seems reasonable. So as a conclusion, taking into consideration the fact that creating and distributing 40 language mutations is a headache, I've decided that if there is a new Slax release, it will support non-US keyboard layouts, but will not provide localized translations - those should be available only as modules.

2. Slax base - keeping Slackware?

Almost 84% of all respondents do not care if Slax is based on Slackware. This means that I can do practically anything when selecting the base for Slax. To be honest I didn't decide yet if I want to switch. The problem with Slackware is that there is no way to get extra software easily. I am considering Debian and Gentoo at the moment.

3. Slax size

Only 5% of users prefer Slax to keep <200MB size. And 63% of users can accept size over 500MB. So I think targetting to ~500MB or ~700MB (to fit a regular CD) may be the best decision. I think 700MB is not such a deal nowadays. If I can put more data on file, it will mean less work for me optimizing the size.

4. Graphical desktop

Only 4% of Slax users prefer console-only OS, so graphical desktop will remain included. Only 10% of users would appreciate Gnome3. The rest of users is divided almost equally to three groups, one requesting very lightweight desktop like OpenBox, another one liking KDE, and third one appreciating desktop like XFCE. This basically mean that whatever I do, I'll piss of most users :) and it also means I can do whatever I like :) I did not decide yet. So I think that I'll select something lightweight which looks like KDE :)

5. Slax Architecture

Keeping Slax in several architectures is lots of work. I suggested a solution in one of the previous blog posts, I was thinking about the possibility to include both 32bit and 64bit kernels (appropriate kernel would load automatically) while providing only 32bit userspace binaries. This looks to me like the easiest way to make Slax working on all x86 architectures without any drawbacks. So for now I like this idea.

6. Applications in Slax and Download Format

Those questions were mostly informative for me, so I could see what's most important for users.

7. Modules

Modules are core of Slax. Only 17% of users do not care about modules, other users need them, either to create their own stuff or to (at least) download stuff built by others. I think the number would decrease if Slax was built on, say, Debian, since people could apt-get instead of downloading modules from the repository. In all cases, I see I have to keep the modularity.

User comments
Viktor Benevski 2016-06-07 20:44

I'm using default EN version of slax. When I need to use bulgarian layout just typing this command:
setxkbmap -layout us,bg,bg -variant ,phonetic,bds -option grp:alt_shift_toggle
Only KDE preventing this to take effect, but there is another layout manager

Ads20000 2016-06-08 10:31

I would strongly recommending rebasing on Debian (maybe Unstable, because then you can get up-to-date packages and work on stabilising it yourself, or use Stable but try to get Slax released based on Stable ASAP after Stable is released, Stable usually uses packages which are rather old by the time it's released). However, people want up-to-date front-end applications, you could adopt Ubuntu's Snap system for this (which I think is the only long-term solution to the rolling release vs cadence release conundrum), but it's not really ready yet and maybe a simpler system would be to try and make regular, but stable, releases and perhaps provide newer front-end applications as backports to older releases (but as an optional repository) but you (with the community) would need to test these backports first to make sure they work well with an older back-end system.

Ads20000 2016-06-08 10:36

Anyway, I imagine that this will be a lot of work, so I don't envy you for it, but a Debian-based distribution which runs fully off USB sticks (and CDs) would be absolutely awesome.

As an Ubuntu user, I personally think that it would be even more awesome if you simply made an Ubuntu flavour which ran off USB sticks with persistent changes (so that if you installed an application onto the USB stick it would remain), which I don't think the LiveCD image currently does? And you'll want to do your optimization to cut down the image size. Then you could try to get official flavour status and get on their website, but just basing on Debian would work great too.

Sam 2016-06-09 08:07

Any cinnamon fans around?
It is both eye catching and yet lightweight.

Maxim Kurnosenko 2016-06-11 15:02

> Slax Architecture

You can try to create dual architecture image, which contains one side with 32bit kernel and apps, and another side with 64bit kernel and apps.
That's made in ArchLinux install image.

Maxim Kurnosenko 2016-06-11 15:14

And I recommend Arch Linux, because it gets packages up-to-date, pretty stable even if it Rolling Release, have fast package manager (pacman) and don't require much resources.

Karol Stopinski 2016-06-28 16:59

I loved SLAX. The zip image was a blessing. I`m so fed up with fighting with other distro iso. They sometimes work, sometimes not.

I only wished there would be more modules of common software and drivers. With the modules everything worked great. With the debian apt-get it rarely ended with just entering one line of command. And you needed to know what to enter so installing software always began with searching the web for the right command. And usually the command listed is for a different version and will not work for your. Its chaos. I like the modules.

And the system was really fast. Like just working instead of loading and configuring.

So i`d say keep it the way it is and add more modules!!

Sponge Bob 2016-07-02 00:15

As much as I like .deb, apt-get might not fit well into the slax' modules picture. Think dependencies and lib point-point-versions.

Flatpak, as a done-right alternative to Ubuntus snappy, could be a good way for up-to-date software over a nice, configurable slack base.

Jack 2016-07-03 16:34

I don't need a lot of programs as long as you can what you want. I like Mate over Gnome. I need it to support wireless, bluetooth and printer. And as long it stay under 300Mb

Guilherme Mendes 2016-07-04 21:43

Hi Tomas, I'm glad you're looking to revive slax.
What do you think about Appimage for the modules? Instead of creating a specific modules framework for slax just point to the appimages repository and all users can contribute or make an slax specific with apps proven to work in slax http://appimage.org/

tome 2016-07-06 20:20

Debian stores its package database in /var/lib/dpkg/available and /var/lib/dpkg/status, so for every module it would be needed concatenate these files from modules. Gentoo based Slax could be quite interesting.

Martin Koleček 2016-07-09 21:54

Make method slax modules this type:
salix-slapt-get script must do
*- automatic download txz and repair dependencies
*- convert to *.sb modules
graphical front end have to >
*- use slackware mirrors around the world
Installation will be on harddisk as main system in RAM

Maxim 2016-07-12 20:53

(Sorry for offtopic). Is it possible to upgrade linux kernel in SLAX 7.0.8? Now the version of kernel is 3.8.2 and I need to install kernel 3.10.102 or later. I successfully compiled and installed linux kernel 4.6.4, but SLAX didn't start with it. My questions - is it possible to upgrade linux kernel in SLAX, and how to do it? Thank you.

boslad 2016-07-13 02:43

@Maxim SLAX is very good, and it is simple to update kenel.I have updated kernel 3.8.2 to 4.1.22. You can update it with linux-live as follwing.
1.compile kernel 4.1.22 with .config(kernel 3.8.2)
2.make initramfs with script initramfs_create
3.replace initramfs with new initramfs in ISO.
Good luck to you!

boslad 2016-07-13 02:55

Another Question: can overlayfs replace AUFS in SLAX? In my opinion, overlayfs is smaller and simpler than AUFS.Maybe we should try it?

Maxim 2016-07-14 21:37

@boslad Thank you. There were 5 stages:
1. to compile kernel 4.1.27 with "make O=/usr/src/linux-4.1.27 oldconfig" (using .config from kernel-devel 3.8.2) and "make O=/usr/src/linux-4.1.27"
2. to copy new kernel vmlinuz in /boot (or to rename bzimage in vmlinuz and to copy vmlinuz in /boot)
3. to start initramfs_create (I had an error there - "gzip: stdin: unexpected end of file", but initramfs was created in /tmp)
4. to boot other linux system, to copy new vmlinuz in /slax/boot and to start bootinst.sh
5. to start SLAX. SLAX bootes with errors and stops. There are some errors (not all):
Setting dynamic RAM compression using ZRAM
sh: can't open '/sys/block/zram0/disksize': No such file or directory
mkswap: can't open '/dev/zram0': No such file or directory
swapon: can't open '/dev/zram0': No such file or directory
Looking for slax data in /slax

Then SLAX tries to add 01-core.sb and stops. Something wrong.

boslad 2016-07-15 00:18

@Maxim Sorry, I should have rememberd to remind you to modify the file initramfs_create.You know the kernel tree in 3.8.2 is different form 4.1.X. You can modify it as following:
line 71: copy_including_deps /$LMK/kernel/mm # needed by zram
line 72: copy_including_deps /$LMK/kernel/drivers/block/zram

Maxim 2016-07-15 12:07

@boslad I just modified line 71 & line 72 but the errors were still the same. For example:
setting up union using AUFS 3
mount : mounting aufs on /memory/union failed: No such device
Adding bundles to union
mount: can't setup loop device: No space left on device
mount: mounting aufs on /memory/union failed: Invalid argument

Geek 2016-07-18 14:01

1. is possible to add esperanto version?
meybe tatoeba help this and other language.
translate to rare language meybe will be a good idea to popularity distro
2. where i can add translation web page?

Jonathan Chapman 2016-07-20 20:24

Came by to check for updates and filled out the questionnaire. If you haven't tried Slackware 14.2, you may want to download/install before you make a decision on Slackware being too out-of-date for the average user. Pat and the rest of the Slackware crew have done an excellent job keeping it up-to-date, especially if you're used to stock Debian or CentOS installs.

I would think that the long-term stability of Slackware's base, combined with automated SlackBuilds, would make maintenance a little easier on keeping a derivative distro up and going, but then again I don't manage custom distros for general public consumption. I/my company does use Slackware as a base for custom embedded distros, and we chose it for the aforementioned reasons.

I personally like the small size of Slax, even though I usually use it on memory sticks rather than mini-CDs nowadays.

Константин Назаров 2016-07-27 08:17

Could you please add a WHDD in modules?


jcsoh 2016-07-27 16:33

@ Константин Назаров

"They have slackware support already so it should be doable."
Just down load the slackware.tgz
Then open a terminal where you save the tgz

tgz2sb whdd-2.1-i486-1rzk.tgz whdd-2.1-i486-1rzk.sb

Wait until it's done and don't close the terminal prematurely.

Coenraad Loubser 2016-08-06 17:22

The most powerful part of Slax is it's modular configurability. That allows it to be small.

If you are going to go 500 - 700MB, I have 300 distros to choose from and I won't choose Slax because at that size I can just use Debian, Genoo, Arch or one of their derivatives.

If you can keep it small (<200MB) it is still the best of only 10.

Ivan 2016-08-07 22:49

Helou Tomáši,

už jsem tu dlouho nebyl, ale ta angličtina mě vždy odradí. Nemohl bys těch pár řádků napsat také v češtině? Doufám, že umíš česky! :-) Pokud né, tak si to budeš muset přeložit. Jenže strojový překlad není to pravé ořechové.

Možná když nechceš psát česky, tak bys třeba mohl Slovensky. Nebo nějakým českomoravským nářečím. Pěkné by to bylo třeba Hanácky. Toš, co? Babička byla z Hané dělala perfektní hanácké koláče, které se mohli jíst i druhý den. Byly pak dokonce vláčnější, jelikož uvnitř byl tvaroh.

Jinak to je velmi pěkný prográmek.


Кирилл Слесарёнок 2016-08-16 20:38

I keep waiting for the new update because KDE plasma is really terrible :( It is very unstable, always changes an elements that cause total destructon of my nerves. But in other lines this distro is perfect! Thank you, Tomas!

Alessandro Medici 2016-08-20 08:51

Hello everyone my name is ale and I am new in slax .
I bluethoot an external device I connected it to the computer using the " lsusb " command is visible
I downloaded with a control terminal " slax activate bluez " but I have no way to interact with the software ..
I do not see icon
I would like to connect my bluethoot headset to listen to music

thanks and congratulations for the work

Matthias Schuster Scharmer 2016-08-22 22:59

KaOS can change your view about Plasma 5.


Hyeonjin Oh 2016-08-26 08:01

Hello Tomas, First of all, Thanks a lot for this fantastic linux.

1. Can we download modules as ftp? Currently it is manual work for selection so takes long time to download modules what I want.

2. If you are in making next version Slax, would you please support 32bit UEFI booting because many win 8 tablet with baytrail process cannot use or so difficult to use linux.
Please help me and them to use linux as Slax.

Joe 2016-08-27 22:03

SLAX is my go to live distribution, because it is based on Slackware, where I feel at home. Slackware is special for its up to date vanilla packages (instead of broken ancient ones with non-trustworthy patches), while adhering strictly to the KISS and no-BS principle (which also means avoiding participating in the holy war of free software licenses, so useful stuff like cdrtools is still available instead of broken replacements).

Another plus is CLI-only option and the very easy customization. It's also small enough to be booted using PXE, where size still matters (TFTP is not that fast and every unneeded MB adds to the boot time).

Carlos Lopez 2016-08-30 04:25

LXQT is a good option for a light kde-like desktop environment, and Arch a good system to start.

Little Goose 2016-08-31 06:38

Can you provide checksum for the slax iso files or some other way to verify it?

John Shellhouse 2016-09-08 17:35

Overall, Slax is very good. I'm having a good time with it. I just have 2 small problems:

1) I really need to have a choice at boot time for VESA video mode ()like Slax 6 had), for my ancient Dell C840 laptop.

2) Support for printing through the network to my Canon MG2520 printer, which is attached to my wife's machine

I don't really expect that anything much can be done about my printer issue, but, VESA video at startup should be fairly easy for someone who knows how to package an operating system :)

Thank You !!!

Le Hoang Long 2016-09-25 08:49

I started to use slax from slax 6
I've read your announcement, I'd like to have some opinions

1. Slax language translations :
I agree with you, IT community prefers using English to their native language.

2. Slax base - keeping Slackware? :
I think you have got right reason to switch to Debian or Ubuntu ect ... I personally prefer Slackware and hate these apt-get. I just need to plug the module into the file system and it runs well. It's the way of Slackware and Slax, we know what we do clearly, there isn't any place for bloating or oversize system

3. Slax size:
Yeah, it's great when it's small, it will become a normal and less attractive distro when it grows up, there are too many oversized live linux distro out there, I hope that you don't really want to joint them. like drowning in the sea

7. Modules
I think we shouldn't use apt-get style it look silly

Le Hoang Long 2016-09-25 08:49

I started to use slax from slax 6
I've read your announcement, I'd like to have some opinions

1. Slax language translations :
I agree with you, IT community prefers using English to their native language.

2. Slax base - keeping Slackware? :
I think you have got right reason to switch to Debian or Ubuntu ect ... I personally prefer Slackware and hate these apt-get. I just need to plug the module into the file system and it runs well. It's the way of Slackware and Slax, we know what we do clearly, there isn't any place for bloating or oversize system

3. Slax size:
Yeah, it's great when it's small, it will become a normal and less attractive distro when it grows up, there are too many oversized live linux distro out there, I hope that you don't really want to joint them. like drowning in the sea

7. Modules
I think we shouldn't use apt-get style it look silly

nick 2016-10-03 23:59

It'd be great if you added checksum files for each download

Mansoor Ismail 2016-10-05 20:24

Thank you for registering me on your website. As you ask me to send you a feedback message I have the great pleasure in informing you that I have been using Slax for over a year and I find it a best system. It has many wonderful KDE features all built in a very small system that can be used with all necessary modules in less than 1 GB. My old Dell PC and Asus Laptop are limited in space so Slax is a wonderful companion. I congratulate for doing an excellent work in devising the modules and making them available for free. I think all operating systems should be small and under 300mb. They should enable users to select and install their own software according to their profession and recreational use.

user 2016-10-12 21:55

The last version of SLAX I tried was 6.1.2 and it worked on the computers that booted it. Recently, I found your newest version 7.0.8 and tried it on 2 laptops (older one runs Windows Vista, newer one runs Windows 7). It hanged on both -- just a mouse-pointer on a black screen (after the turning-gear graphic). Pressing the power button made the line of text come back on screen for shutdown. Just above the forced shutdown text was this from the boot-up:

Setting default ALSA mixer settings
amixer: error while loading shared libraries: /usr/lib/libasound.so.2: cannot read file data: Input / output error

Any idea what happened?

user 2016-10-13 14:41

Never mind. After testing earlier versions, which all worked, I re-downloaded this latest version and it worked without error. Must've been a download glitch (which I always thought was impossible) or a CD-burn glitch (I always verify so that should be impossible).

Spiralofhope 2016-10-13 17:30

If you abandon Slackware, I will not use Slax. I will absolutely not use systemd.

If you use Debian or Gentoo, make sure you rename your project so distrowatch can call Slax dead.

slpkg (slackbuilds.org) is a VERY easy way to install software on Slackware. If it were straightforward for a developer to use that, and build a Slax module, then I would build the modules for, and support all the software I use.

Maybe some modules will be default for Slax (openbox, spacefm, geany, claws-mail, keepassx, btrfs, ecryptfs), making it easier for you to develop the rest of Slax.

Alexey 2016-10-26 15:29

I'm very glad to use slax, but I want some development instruments such as ruby, ror, sublime and etc. Solving it problem is assembly my own module from slackware package. Any ideas will be avaliabilities to execute programms directly after extracting from archive? Deb-based slax is very good idea, but will be slax so faster as now?
PS. KDE 4.10 is forever but it's imho

Adam Eveleigh 2016-10-31 03:08

Guilherme Mendes the problem with AppImage is that you can't add a repository to update automatically from (yet). As a Snappy advocate I'm much more open to using Flatpak than to using AppImage.

Maxim Kurnosenko no, not Arch. You may find it stable because you know how to fix things when things break, but it's just not possible to get the same stability (read: doesn't break leaving newbies clueless as to what to do to fix their system) without cadence testing. Better to have some sort of stable core (any non-rolling distribution) and then have a format that allows applications to update on top of that, bundling its own dependencies if necessary - like Snappy or Flatpak.

Jessika 2016-11-17 16:54

Maybe new SLAX will be modern and effective operating system. But what's about this SLAX, I mean 7.0.8? It's really dead? :( I like this OS and I think (and hope) I'm not alone. The sad truth is in fact that core of SLAX is not so new as we want to see. That's why I propose to reanimate it and start with it's kernel's update.
So, my question is: maybe someone knows how to update kernel in SLAX (please, explain how to do it!) or want to upload compiled files from "boot" directory with kernel 4?

oscar 2016-12-29 09:11

I really love slax because of its small size and usb portable. I use it for many years from slax 6 to slax 7. However, I met more and more problems during change of hardware including wireless mouse not responding, no display for TV... Some problems was solved on a specific version with another problem found. As a normal user I am, it is hardly to rely on Slax for productivity application.

Rajnish kumar 2017-05-05 06:36

I'm dancing with joy because my favourite linux distro is going to be updated. I can't express how glad I'm to see its newer look. When I switched from windows to linux, Slax was the first distro I met with. After that, I met others too but Slax was the best for me. #Lightweight #Faster #Every essential package #Such a good Graphics #portable #The installation and management of the packages are very feasiable.
But, all other distros had updates (the latest required packages).
Now, I can't just wait more to see the new slax.

Piyush Raj 2017-05-10 19:34

I'm really exited. My favourite linux distro is being update. Fast....Fast.....Fast... I wanna see smart slax with new tools.!!!!!!!!!!!!

Toderel Adrian-Aurel 2017-05-22 21:57

Regarding the size target that cd size target is so pase'! And old. And irrelevant so on ... Who will use today, anno 2017, cd and dvd units to read real cd for linux live sessions when we can use usb flash pendisk which is much more speedy and with generous size!? Size can be a concern only for server bandwidth usage today of the hosting solution used by slax distro not the target medium of live slax iso.

I think that the target for slax physical environment storage should be usb flash with as much loaded in memory for fast execution not the old cd/dvd mediums. Persistence should be easy achieved using more that one partition on usb flash, one for initial system, read-only, and another distinct partition for user documents and slax modules. With cheap usb flash pendisk a simple 1gb/7gb partition schema can be a good solution

Stipan Rogic 2017-08-02 09:48

Good morning .
I found "Slax" recently and I like it very much , except that I couldn't find a way how to install it onto my HDD , anyone keen to help me with that problem , please ?
Many thanks in advance :)

kgbme 2017-11-15 13:45

Hi!..:) The KDE environment won't function properly, in many instances; for example, with the Oracle VirtualBox 5.2.0 r118431 (Qt5.6.2), current version, on Windows 10 LTSB:

Sorry - Plasma Desktop Shell
KDEInit could not launch '/usr/bin/konsole'


Virtualizing on an old Amilo Li 1818, but with upgraded RAM 2x2GB (667) and T7200 CPU, Mobile Intel 945GM.