New Slax - Key Features and Enhancements

It's my birthday today (turning 44) and I am thrilled to introduce the newest version of Slax, your only pocket operating system. This update is available for both of its bases: one that's built on Debian (version 12.1) and the other one on Slackware (version 15.0.2-current). In this blog post, we'll delve into the significant changes and improvements that this release brings to the table.

1. Enhanced Session Management for Writable Devices

One of the most notable enhancements of this release is the improved session handling, especially when running Slax from writable devices like USB drives or hard disks.

In the past, Slax didn't offer an easy method to manage multiple sessions. All modifications were simply stored in the /slax/changes directory, providing just one session in general. However, with this update, you can now maintain multiple sessions. Each session is neatly saved in its own subdirectory within /slax/changes/. At boot time, you are presented with options: you can either start a new session, resume a previous one, or select a session of your choice from a menu.

2. Adjustable storage size for sessions

For quite some time, Slax has utilized dynfilefs to store session changes. This unique auto-growing filesystem is designed to store vast amounts of data, even on non-linux filesystems like FAT32. While dynfilefs received significant performance boosts in earlier Slax versions, it still has a limitation: the maximum size of its storage must be set beforehand. By default, every new session in Slax has a 16GB size limit.

Starting today, if you need more space for a specific session, you can adjust the maximum size manually using the boot parameter perchsize=X. For instance, setting perchsize=32G would set the limit to 32GB for the current session. This way, you are no longer limited by the default maximum size. The good news is that this adjustment is a one-time process. Once set, Slax remembers the maximum size for that session, eliminating the need for reconfiguration during subsequent boots.

3. Enhanced Boot Parameter Options

Earlier Slax versions already supported special boot parameter, from=..., which enables loading of Slax data from a specified location. This could be a directory format like from=/myslax/ or even an URL to an ISO image, like from=http://domain.com/myslax.iso.

The latest release now expands on this flexibility. Users can now direct Slax to load data from a specific directory on a specified disk using from=/dev/device/path (e.g., from=/dev/sda1/slax). Alternatively, the from=ask option is supported as well, to prompt you with a menu during boot, to choose the device from which Slax should fetch its data from the list.

4. Bug Fix: Module File Deletion

A previously identified bug in Slax prevented modules from deleting files. For instance, if you removed certain filesystem files from Slax and then used the 'savechanges' command to capture these changes in a module, the deleted files would still be present after a reboot. This issue has been addressed in the new release. The technical solution involves Slax mounting and adding them to the AUFS union with the readonly+whiteouts flag. This approach ensures that erased files on a mounted aufs branch are correctly handled.

5. Improved Xorg Graphical User Interface Initialization

Last but not least, the way Slax starts the Xorg graphical user interface has been refined. While earlier versions of Slax assumed that X could initiate without a configuration file (which is true in many scenarios), there are instances where this did not work at all. To address potential issues, the new Slax version uses autoconfiguration which is built into the X server itself, to create a better configuration file. This method provides a more accurate setup than running without any config file at all. This enhancement aims to resolve the rare instances where Slax couldn't launch the graphical user interface.

In conclusion, the newest Slax release is packed with features and improvements that promise a smoother and more efficient user experience. Whether you're a long-time Slax user or just getting started, this update is sure to enhance your Slax journey.

Download Slax today, visit www.slax.org

Enjoy! :)

User comments
Stan 2023-10-05 02:03

Happy birthday! And thanks for Slax!

F.Manuel 2023-10-05 08:12

Happy birthday, Tomas.

parrothead 2023-10-05 09:49

Yes, Happy Birthday indeed! Looking forward to trying the new version. Is md5 info available for the ISOs?


Tomas M 2023-10-05 09:58

Thanks guys.

MD5 checksums are following:

slax-32bit-slackware-15.0.2.iso 940f1a72b9155faa09ab7cb71499179a
slax-32bit-debian-12.1.0.iso 29182acdbd0d12f72a06728bc46b2300
slax-64bit-slackware-15.0.2.iso ac5c6db8dfaa6d7288c7a4ba25536e5b
slax-64bit-debian-12.1.0.iso f74982492b5bef116dfb725b1c3f707c

Bernt 2023-10-05 11:25

Hello, enjoy your birthday! I got a Problem with the new Slax. The XServer does not work. No Display. Xinit: Server error. Couldnt connect to XServer -Connection refused. The older Slax-Version work fine. Greetings from Austria

Bernt 2023-10-05 11:27

Oh forgot: Its the new Debian-Slax.

The first Linux I experienced 2023-10-05 12:52

Happy Birthday

crims0n 2023-10-05 15:45

Happy birthday, Tomas! Too bad you didn't bother to include my edits:(

parrothead 2023-10-05 16:34

I got Slax 12.1 to boot on my old laptop successfully. It had the same acpi errors as 11.6 and I thought it was hung, but set the computer aside and when I came back some time later, it was booted up.

However, X was not quite right. Fluxbox was running but in a minimalist black and white mode. No Slax wallpaper, icons, etc. I could start a bash shell and got connmand working and connected to wifi. I launched Chromium and that seemed to work fine.

I just don't know enough about X to figure out what to change to get the Slax window manager, icons, wallpaper, etc.


godane 2023-10-05 18:16

libbfd-2.41-slack151.so is missing. Its needed for pcmanfm to work in the slackware iso.

Tomas M 2023-10-05 21:47

Thank you very much for pointing out. I didn't catch the last moment change which caused this. Releasing Slax 15.0.3 based on Slackware promptly, both 32bit and 64bit versions are affected.

Tomas M 2023-10-05 23:40

For reasons I'm not entirely sure of, numerous Slackware programs rely on utilities from the devel series. For instance, pcmanfm needs a library from binutils, while galculator requires libraries from GCC, among others. Consequently, I've chosen to incorporate the entire devel module into the Slackware versions of Slax. This increases Slax's size by about 80MB, but it should address any missing library issues. Additionally, this allows Slackware-based Slax to compile software out of the box, which is undoubtedly beneficial.

You can download Slax 15.0.3 based on Slackware current from www.slax.org, as soon as the mirror catches the change.

ebd90a8075360a961d67a93216544fbb slax-32bit-slackware-15.0.3.iso
8fcf7ad317899490f1974ac80c173082 slax-64bit-slackware-15.0.3.iso

shevy 2023-10-06 04:38

Good to see Tomas keeping the slax spirit alive. I loved the "easy-remixing" of modules to fine-tune and adjust to different environments (well, mostly my own ones, but there are use cases where one may need this or that module but not other modules).

As for the dev-package size of 80 MB: I think that is perfectly fine. Slax does not cater to the same 1:1 audience like puppy linux, and people could re-mix their Slax variant just fine; having the dev toolset available by default is convenient for when one has to compile or install something. I had that on slackware by default which I loved. I hate that I have to install this on many other linux distributions or some components; that always requires a working internet connection and sometimes I don't have that available (such as on WLAN when I can't recall the password or otherwise can't access the internet).

parrothead 2023-10-06 22:53

Tried 12.1 again with the same results - booted but for some reason I was in a plain vanilla black and white fluxbox. Since X was working, I figured the problem must be with fluxbox somehow. When I looked in /root/.fluxbox, I noticed most (all?) files had today's date. /root/.fluxbox/startup for instance was much shorter than the version in the 12.1 bundle.

I exited the running fluxbox, then moved aside /root/.fluxbox and copied the entire directory from the mounted /run/initramfs/memory/bundles/03-desktop.sb bundle, then typed startx and was now in the familiar Slax desktop.

I'll do further testing as time permits. Since others seem to be fine, it's puzzling. I'm not using changes.


oceantrl 2023-10-07 01:42

Thanks Tomas for continuing to provide the community with SLAX. I've been having trouble with the these two releases going back to the previous release. For this release neither version worked for me. They both boot but then nothing happens, just a blank screen, no cursor, no errors just blank screen. I let 'run' for a while to see if it was just taking longer than ususal to load. Still nothing. I've tried different usb drives, this did not solve the problem. Fingers X'd for the next iteration.

Bernt 2023-10-07 11:09

Hello again. Tried to get the XServer run. No Chance. When loading the new debian-slax64 from usb-stick it started long time correct. But after it tries to load libc6 the Xserver crashed - because of "Segmentation fault".

Ig 2023-10-07 11:44


Did the same thing as you.
When unpacking the iso file, for some reason all the "sb" files ended up in the "modules" directory.
I moved them to the "slax" directory
And after the actions that "parrothead" wrote, I commanded
"savechanges" created a file "sb" and placed it in the ""modules" directory.
After loading into "toram" it went fine.
I am writing through a translator. Sorry.

parrothead 2023-10-07 15:21


That worked! I moved the modules from /slax/modules to just /slax on the flash drive but that had no effect. Not sure if the modules were intentionally put there or if it was a mistake. But then I did as you said, removing the .fluxbox directory and copying the /run/initramfs/memory/bundles/03-desktop.sb/root/.fluxbox to /root, then doing savechanges. I don't normally use changes but in this case for testing, it worked. I could then shutdown and boot up directly into the correct fluxbox configuration.

I did try something different that did NOT work:

mkdir -p /tmp/dot_fluxbox.sb/root
cp -a /run/initramfs/memory/bundles/03-desktop.sb/root/.fluxbox /tmp/dot_fluxbox.sb/root
dir2sb /tmp/dot_fluxbox.sb
cp /tmp/dot_fluxbox.sb /media/sdb1/slax/modules
eject /dev/sdb
init 0

On bootup, I could see the message that the dot_fluxbox module was loaded but it went into the plain fluxbox. Only the savechanges worked for me.



Ig 2023-10-07 19:03


Removed the module "05-chromium.sb"
Correct fluxbox configuration.
Unpacked "05-chromium.sb" (sb2dir 05-chromium.sb)
Deleted the "root" directory
after (dir2sb 05-chromium.sb)
After that everything worked.
Correct fluxbox configuration
chromium works.

parrothead 2023-10-07 19:25


You are very good at troubleshooting! I have not tried booting this yet, but I'm sure you have found the problem. There is a whiteout file for the .fluxbox directory under /root in the chromium bundle. Thank you very much!


root@slax:/media/sdb1/slax# ls
01-core.sb 01-firmware.sb 02-xorg.sb 03-desktop.sb 04-apps.sb 05-chromium.sb boot changes modules rootcopy
root@slax:/media/sdb1/slax# sb2dir 05-chromium.sb
root@slax:/media/sdb1/slax# find 05-chromium.sb/root -ls
20 0 drwxrwxr-x 2 root root 60 Sep 30 10:41 05-chromium.sb/root
21 0 -r--r--r-- 1 root root 0 Sep 30 12:20 05-chromium.sb/root/.wh..fluxbox

Tomas M 2023-10-09 09:59

I can see the fail is entirely on my side.
Debian 12.2 was released, so I will update to this base and push a fix in new release.

Radek H 2023-10-31 17:57

Hi, im trying create Slax (Debian 12.2 64bit) USB on Windows. It was formated FAT32, run bootinst.bat under cmd with admin privillegues. It create EFI directory in root folder, but in BIOS isnt posible boot.
I was trying 4 USB sticks, two of them isnt visible in boot manager, two is visible and try start, but notebook boot to windows as usual.

Redhead_eNOT 2023-11-14 14:35

I have some problem like RadekH.