The oldest Linux distro just got a major update

Slackware 15.0 emerges with a new KDE Plasma 5 desktop experience.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

The makers of Slackware Linux, the oldest Linux distribution still maintained, have just released version 15.0 of the Linux distribution.

Slackware Linux emerged in 1993 and founder Patrick Volderding continues to maintain the distribution today but hadn't released a new version since 2016's 14.2. 

As The Register notes, development of version 15 has been slow with the stable release arriving a year after Volderding unveiled the beta.

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Volderding says his focus for this release was to modernize Slackware without alienating fans at a time when Linux development is moving away from its Unix-like structure. 

"The challenge this time around was to adopt as much of the good stuff out there as we could without changing the character of the operating system. Keep it familiar, but make it modern," he says in the announcement

Prior to releasing the stable release, Slackware's maintainers built over 400 different Linux kernel versions before settling on kernel version 5.15.19, which has long-term support until at least October 2023. It tested just 34 kernel versions while working on Slackware 14.2, according to Volderding. 

There's a new desktop experience thanks to Slackware 15.0's inclusion of KDE Plasma 5, version 5.23.5, and Xfce 4.16. KDE also supports running under Wayland or X11. As Linux news site Phoronix notes, Zenwalk has also released a new version of its desktop environment built on top of Slackware 15 and based on Xfce 4.16. 

On the packages front, version 15 also brought on programming languages Rust and Python version 3 while dropping Qt4 for Qt5. 

Also, Sendmail has moved to the /extra directory and now the default mail handler is Postfix. And it's dropped imapd and ipop3d for Dovecot IMAP and POP3 server. Slackware developers have warned users against Chromium over the Chrome Sync issue that bothered several Linux distributions last year. This release includes an updated version of Firefox. 

The Slackware 15.0 x86_64 edition has support for systems running UEFI firmware. 

Volderding says that for this release "software was the priority this time, not swag". As such "there are no are no CDs or DVDs to purchase, and no new stickers, hats, pins, or T-shirts." 

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