Elitist roots oppose change

After some seemingly intractable hard drive partitioning problem (occasioned by the stubborn refusal of the GRUB-2 loader to accept partition changes), I finally managed to install and configure Slackware linux on this older Dell laptop. That's in addition to Ubuntu -- so now that I have straightened out the GRUB loader (with which Slackware has "issues," as it uses the LILO bootloader) I am now capable of triple booting Windows XP, Ubuntu 10.04, and the all-spanking new Slackware 13.1.

is often called "the anti-Ubuntu" as it is notoriously newbie-unfriendly. If you don't like working in a terminal and entering endless lines of code, then Slackware might not be for you. It appeals to the hacker ethos, though, and Slackware users think of themselves as a community. I learned Linux on Slackware in the 1990s, and I thought it was the best. But since then, I haven't really kept up with the times.

And the times they are a changin!

These days (in no small part because of Ubuntu), Linux is just about ready for prime time. It is so easily configurable now that anyone who can use Windows can install and use Ubuntu. It is Linux for the masses.

Predictably, this has resulted in longtime Linux geeks getting snarky, and no group more epitomizes the longtime Linux culture than the Slackware geeks (aka Slackers). They're not even nice to newcomers to Slackware, as evidenced by this reply to a perfectly innocent question about a software packet manager application:

I wonder if anybody has ever tried it on Slackware
> and what your opinion is.

My opinion is that only a n00b would be wondering about that for
Slackware. We don't need no stupid package manager like that for Slack,
and a real Slacker would know that.

Bugger off and go bother the n00b distro newsgroups, n00b.

"Ubuntu" -- an African word, meaning "Slackware is too hard for me".


Such racist elitism is so shocking that I'm feeling guilty about returning to my "roots" and wondering whether I should ever have installed the time-consuming (but for some strange reason emotionally satisfying) Slackware.

As someone who resolutely opposes culture wars in their various manifestations, I would hate to be seen as an elitist Slacker!

DISCLOSURE: This is my first blog post from Slackware.

posted by Eric on 05.08.10 at 11:18 AM


Totally silly to argue about Ubuntu v. Slackware and similar matters.

Few men shave with straight razors. But such razors can do an excellent job. And for the rather specialized task of severing an ear they are much more efficient than a Gillette Fusion.

Graphic interfaces are simply better for 99+% of work. But a graphic interface can lack a feature that someone needs or thinks they need.

There is no moral or intellectual superiority or inferiority involved in an interface.

KTWO   ·  May 8, 2010 1:30 PM

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