1.2 What is Slackware?

Slackware, started by Patrick Volkerding in late 1992, and initially released to the world on July 17, 1993, was the first Linux distribution to achieve widespread use. Volkerding first learned of Linux when he needed an inexpensive LISP interpreter for a project. One of the few distributions available at the time was SLS Linux from Soft Landing Systems. Volkerding used SLS Linux, fixing bugs as he found them. Eventually, he decided to merge all of these bugfixes into his own private distribution that he and his friends could use. This private distribution quickly gained popularity, so Volkerding decided to name it Slackware and make it publicly available. Along the way, Patrick added new things to Slackware; a user friendly installation program based on a menuing system, as well as the concept of package management, which allows users to easily add, remove, or upgrade software packages on their systems.

There are many reasons why Slackware is Linux's oldest living distribution. It does not try to emulate Windows, it tries to be as Unix-like as possible. It does not try to cover up processes with fancy, point-and-click GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces). Instead, it puts users in control by letting them see exactly what's going on. Its development is not rushed to meet deadlines-each version comes out when it is ready.

Slackware is for people who enjoy learning and tweaking their system to do exactly what they want. Slackware's stability and simplicity are why people will continue to use it for years to come. Slackware currently enjoys a reputation as a solid server and a no-nonsense workstation. You can find Slackware desktops running nearly any window manager or desktop environment, or none at all. Slackware servers power businesses, acting in every capacity that a server can be used in. Slackware users are among the most satisfied Linux users. Of course, we'd say that. :^)