Slackware is one of the earliest distributions before any mainstream option was popular. You will be surprised to know that this year marks its 28th year. It is mostly suitable for experienced Linux users who want the stability and ease of use.
Slackware hasn’t seen a new release in years, the last release being in 2016. That left people guessing if the oldest maintained Linux distribution was on the verge of being discontinued.
The good news! It is not. Slackware 15 beta release has surfaced to quench the rumors.
Slackware 15.0 Beta Release: What’s New?
Slackware 15.0 beta changelog lists many package updates. Here, I will be highlighting the key changes that you might look out for.
It is also worth noting that Patrick Volkerding (Slackware Founder) mentioned a pending fix that is planned before the stable release:
I’m going to go ahead and call this a beta even though there’s still no fix for the illegal instruction issue with 32-bit mariadb. But there should be soon (thanks ponce!) No build regressions noted with the official gcc-10.3 release.
The Linux Kernel was upgraded to Linux kernel 5.10.29 LTS series and a stable 5.11.13 kernel is also available through the testing repository.
Along with the Linux Kernel upgrade, the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) was updated to version 10.3.0.
KDE desktop environment along with the applications also received updates. With Slackware 15.0, you will find KDE Plasma 5.21.4 and KDE Applications 5.81.0 as upgrades.
For Xfce desktop environment, it looks like it would include Xfce 4.16 as an upgrade, which should be exciting for users wanting to get a modern experience without compromising on the performance.
Some other packages like Mozilla Thunderbird has also been updated to 78.9.1 considering that it addresses a security issue.
In addition to these core changes, there are also some noticeable security and bug fixes.
If you are looking for the ISO, you are in for a disappointment. They do not provide any official images for the beta release. You may try an unofficial image built from the current development branch which should be updated daily for you to test.
Slackware is not something for every Linux user. I haven’t used it till date and I don’t think I am going to use it anytime soon. And yet, I am happy to see its beta release. It’s an indication that development is progressing and Slackware will continue to retain the crown of the oldest maintained Linux distribution.