The release of Slackware 96(tm) and the flood of problems that appeared in
it have underscored a significant difference between it and the other Linux
This most recent version was an extreme case. In case no one noticed, the
majority of the files in the distribution are dated late June and early
July. This suggests that Patrick had completed the distribution around
that time, in fact the ChangeLog states the "release" date as 3 July. In
their effort to be first to market, Walnut Creek kept it off the net until
early August. Unfortunately this meant that no one had an opportunity to
test it at all until Walnut Creek started shipping CD's and it was finally
released to the world.
The number of fixes recorded in the changelog suggests it was "not quite
ready" for release. Both Red Hat and Debian avoid these problems by making
a development or beta version available while they still support (and often
strongly recommend) a stable version.
The references that have appeared recently to "Slackware Labs" suggest that
there is now a more formal structure surrounding the development of
Slackware than used to be the case when it was just Patrick slaving over
each release. If that is the case, isn't it reasonable to expect a more
formal system of testing, or a pre-release program that would let the "net"
do the testing ?
As a publisher of Linux CD's (who offer support) we are obviously directly
affected by the problems that appear in all of the distributions that we
include on our discs. We appreciate the efforts of both Debian and Red Hat
to address these issues and have good relationships with both groups. The
folks at Red Hat are very helpful to us and we always check with them prior
to release to insure that we include only the distributions they approve.
Due to Patrick's affiliation with a competing publisher it is difficult for
us to maintain the same kind of relationship with him. Whether Pat's
relationship is good or bad for Slackware would seem to be an open topic at
Joel Goldberger Phone: 520-526-9565
InfoMagic, Inc. FAX: 520-526-9573
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