.. Praise for Slackware and Slackbuilds

Slackbuilds make it easy to maintain and update computer software without too much problem solving. They tend to make every effort possible to rely on the base Slackware install for dependencies (for that reason a full installation is recommended). Where that is not possible, other Slackbuilds are pulled in, but their quality ensures that this is a safe fallback. With so many available, written with sane defaults, users will rarely need to mess around with manual editing and compiling.

The 'Full' Slackware install is recommended, as it includes many of the development files and libraries needed for building and installing software from Slackbuilds. On the rare occasion where no Slackbuild is available, src2pkg helps make Slackware packages from any source.

sbopkg makes installing Slackbuilds easy. It detects user modifications to the scripts, and offers a choice between using the original or edited version. This prompt helps to remind the user of any previous changes they made. Furthermore, as any enabled options only apply to that Slackbuild, it is easy to keep track of exactly what behaviour has changed on the system.

Slackbuilds use simple, but well documented shell scripts. This is a refreshing change from the confusing syntactic sugar and complex layers of abstraction found in the installation scripts of many build systems. Flags listed at the start of the script make it easy for the user to discover and set the interesting features of software.

The combination of queue files and Slackbuilds means users only have to intervene with program installation on rare occasions. sbopkg can use queue files to find the right Slackbuilds and install them as dependencies in the correct order. sqg tool is used to keep an up-to-date list of queue files for all Slackbuilds.

When updating a Slackware installation following the stable branch, security patches and newer versions of programs are installed, but there are never any drastic changes between releases. The base system mostly remains the same, and by sticking to Slackbuilds, or well vetted third-party packages (such as those from the Alien BOB repos), breakage is unlikely.

Furthermore, the amount of third-party tools available for converting to Slackware packages is impressive (.deb, .rpm, Perl, Python, Node.js, Ruby, etc).

So for a stable system that you can rely on for daily work and play, take a look at Slackware.