Review: SalixOS 13.1.2 KDE
Ever heard of SalixOS? Well, it’s only the best (hands-down?) Slackware based Operating System! There are other competitors; Zenwalk, Vector Linux, and my own nFluxOS Slackware -current build. However; only SalixOS is 100% compatible with Slackware 13.1, all the other’s differ in many respects, as both Vector and Zenwalk have drifted a bit to their own identities, which is why SalixOS was created in the first place. Quoted from Wikipedia SalixOS article, “Salix OS was originally initiated by some ex-members/contributors/developer of Zenwalk project who wanted to come back to a closer compatibility with Slackware as well as to the FOSS truly cooperative & open philosophy.”
SalixOS now distributes three live versions, LXDE, XFCE4, and KDE along with install-only iso’s, sources, and some older releases too. I chose to install the KDE 13.1.2 live version, which is arguably the “heaviest” Desktop in linux, but it’s also probably the most full-featured also, with Gnome as it’s only real competitor. Being an avid Slacker, I have been using SalixOS since it’s initial release in 2009, and have found it to be everything it claims to be; an easy-to-use, customized, user-friendly Slackware derivative. New to linux user’s should understand that SalixOS is not a “better” Slackware, it simply has more GUI tools and apps and a little less command-line duties.
There are many such derivatives in the linux world; Ubuntu is a further enhanced Debian, made to be more user-friendly, etc. Zenwalk and Vector are customizations of Slackware. Basically, it’s similar to what Carol Shelby did with the late 60′s Mustangs; take a stock, known-to-be-good base and add some hot customizations, Wala! 1969 Ford Mustang converted to 1969 Shelby GT500! That’s what SalixOS and other derivatives are trying to achieve; it’s their “vision” of creating the “perfect” OS. Remember the car “Eleanor” from the movie “Gone in 60sec”? That’s what SalixOS aspires to. OK, on with the install…
The installer is simple, straight-forward, and has many idiot-proof features. Notice that you should make any partitions with Gparted before running the installer.
So, as you can see it’s very informative and easy to use installer. One issue I did have was when I chose to install Lilo, the pic above illustrates the Lilo install configuration setup. It gives a choice of either installing Lilo or another Boot manager like Grub(2), but, it doesn’t say whether the installer would quit if I chose to install a different bootloader. This was probably my mistake, but I didn’t want the installer to quit and the way the question box posed the question it seemed like if I answered “No, I want to install another boot loader”, the installer would either quit, or goto a different (grub2?) bootloader install menu. Anyway, I chose Lilo and it installed correctly.
My post-install experience has been pleasent in most regards. Besides the boot-loader setup issue above, the only other complaints I have are due to the new KDE layout, which I don’t like, but that has nothing to do with SalixOS. The toolbar right-click menu is terrible and difficult to figure out in some ways; as I also coud not figure out how to change the toolbar colr, etc. The KDE menu layout is horrible too compared to 3.5.10, as I am more familiar with KDE 3.5.10 which is my fav KDE. Those are just my opinions, as I’m sure many love the new KDE. One more complaint, or request, would be to have a remaster app similar to Vector Linux’s, allowing the user to recreate their hard drive install into a installable livecd/usb. Live-Clone, SalixOS’ remastering app can only create a livecd from a running livecd session, not a hard-drive install. It would be nice to have a app that could do both, like Remastersys.
Let me also state something else, Slackware, IMHO, is the most stable linux distro I have ever used, and that stability is also apparent in SalixOS. The team strives to make a simple, easy-to-use enhanced Slackware based OS and they have over-achieved I think. Not one app crashed, nor was there any glitches, gremlins, or any of the sluggishness like with Ubuntu 10.10. They have a helpful forum and their own repository full of many useful apps not found anywhere else. Another positive is that Slackware generally has a slower release cycle than other distributions, and SalixOS is just a tad behind them, so all the software is proven and version upgrades are usually a breeze compared to Ubuntu or Fedora. I give it a 9.9 out of 10.
- Easy to use installer
- Full-featured KDE Desktop
- Rock stable underlying system
- Large software repository
- Beautiful Desktops (XFCE4, LXDE, KDE)
- Good support and helpful forum
- Ever improving
- Boot loader questions/choices should be simplified for dummies (give a side-by-side choice between lilo or other in one pop-up) (could be my fault)
- LiveClone only operates during livecd/usb session, not for hard-drive remastering.
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