Re: Benefits of Slackware
"...I don't mean just install and blindly use it (ala Ubuntu), but to actually learn the gritty details of how Linux works."
It's been a while for you then. With 14.2, you literally do just install and use it. The most I have to do after "setup" is copy over my database, www root, /etc, then chown the dirs/files. Start SQL, *done*
The thing I always loved and still love about Slackware is it's the only distribution out there where an "install everything" leaves you not only with a complete system, but, no unnecessary services running, no giant clusterfuck of broken or misconfigured packages, and no missing dependencies. It just works.
Ya, from version 7.1 to 13 I always had to configure, compile, change permissions in /dev, *something*. With 14.x, everything works out of the box.
Lord knows I don't miss trying to find the horizontal and vertical synch ranges for every monitor I booted on.
I still manually configure the X server for extended functionality, but, the dynamic on-the-fly automagic configuration of X has not let me down yet. ...it just can't figure out my "extra hardware" and that's not it's fault.
The thing that still impresses me the most is how Slackware manages RAM ans Swap. After an "install everything" and bringing up Apache, SSHD, MySQL, and KDE I'm running inside 670MB of RAM and 0 swap.
I've only seen Slackware swap one time, a whole 1MB. ...and that was when I wrote some bad code. Once the program was killed, system instantly freed all memory and cleared the swap.
My swap partition is never more than 512MB. I don't suspend to disk, and if Slackware needs to swap, a larger swapfile isn't the solution. I used to swapoff -a in rc.local, but, no need. Unlike Windows and "windows like" linux as well as some highly respected distros, Slackware doesn't need to swap, and it doesn't want to swap. Swapping BAD!