They say that "Variety is the Spice of Life", and I would certainly extend that to say that Variety is the Spice of Linux. One excellent example of this variety is Zenwalk Linux, which recently started their 6.4 distribution series. Note that last word, "series". Zenwalk is based on Slackware, and shortly after the Slackware 13.1 release came out, the Zenwalk 6.4 Standard Edition followed. But that wasn't all... the Standard Edition is Xfce (6.4.2) based; it was followed by a Zenwalk Gnome (2.28.2) edition. Then came Zenwalk 6.4 Core Edition, which does not include any X Windows applications. It is intended to be used as a base for building a custom desktop, or servers which don't need or want windowing support, or for systems with limited disk space. Most recently, Zenwalk OpenBox, intended for users who want to build their own custom desktop. All in all, a nice selection. Here is the default desktop after installing the Standard Edition 6.4 distribution:
I've said many times before that I really like the Xfce desktop, and Zenwalk is a particularly good example of it. I'd love to see Zenwalk make a netbook-oriented distribution, it could quickly become my favorite... pehaps I'll start putting something together myself. Hmmm.
The details of the release can be found in the Release Notes. A quick summary of major packages: Linux kernel 126.96.36.199, Xfce 4.6.2, Xorg 7.5 (X Server 1.7.7), OpenOffice.org 3.2, Icecat 3.6 (based on Firefox), Icedove 3.0 (based on Thunderbird), GIMP 2.6.8 and lots more.
The Standard Edition distribution installed with no problems on my HP Pavillion dv2-1010ez, which has an AMD cpu, ATI graphics and Atheros WiFi, and everything works just fine. I have not loaded it on my HP 2133 yet, but I just checked and it does include the openchrome driver in the base distribution (hooray!), so I am hopeful it will load on that system easily as well. I will try to get that done, as well as my "plain vanilla" Lifebook Intel-based system, over the weekend and post an update about it next week.
If you read my short post about Slackware 13.1 yesterday, and perhaps were a bit put off by the "minimalist" installation booting to a text login prompt and such (or if you are just lazy like me), then Zenwalk is an excellent way to get started with a complete ready-to-run Slackware-based distribution.