Damnthing on Slackware: Computer Like Rock. Rock Is Solid, Like Computer
A friend of mine suggested I try Slackware. I knew nothing of Slackware at the time, so I figured “what the hell”, and installed Slackware 9.1 on Damnthing.
And I was amazed.
Gone was the flakiness. Gone were the constant reboots. Gone were the re-installs. Gone were the constant questions of “what exactly does this tool do?” and “where is my desktop environment?” and “why do I keep feeling like William Shatner?”.
Instead, I had a solid system that appeared to be perfectly content to run for LITERALLY MONTHS AT A TIME.
I’m not kidding. Before Slackware 9.1, the longest (and I had paid scrupulous attention to this) uptime it had ever experienced was literally 3 days. This was on Mandrake 9.
On Slackware the uptime extended to six MONTHS. Then seven months. Then I had a power outage. And then Damnthing stayed up for three MORE months. Then I moved it to a different spot. And then Damnthing stayed running for six MORE months.
You get the picture.
I honestly have no idea what the flying hell is wrong with Damnthing. I don’t use it anymore, but a part of me is reluctant to get rid of it. I eventually replaced the hard drive with a larger model and Damnthing continued to chug along just great as a Slackware system. I eventually ended up with Slackware 11-point-something on it and it still worked great. It was a bit slow, and started to really show its age, but it never gave up as long as it had its Slack.
I contemplated several times changing Damnthing’s name… under Slackware there was significantly less swearing at it. I thought of changing it to “Darnthing”, or maybe even “Dangthing”, but it didn’t have the same ring to it. So it retired under its infamous moniker, and is sleeping quietly in its cabinet at home, having gone out as a rock solid machine, name be… well, damned.
The Moral Of The Story
Everyone encounters their Damnthing if they spend enough time with computers. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, nothing you can do will get a particular computer to work, no matter what kind of troubleshooting you do or what kind of replacement hardware you throw at it.
In my own Damnthing’s case, apparently all it needed was the right operating system. Hell, not even the right operating system… the right distribution of that operating system.
Slackware, as a result, has been my main Linux distro ever since those days of Damnthing frustration. When I look back on it, I realize that I learned almost nothing about Linux using Red Hat or Mandrake, even though I spent several months using them as my main desktop OS. It wasn’t until I started using Slackware that I felt like I was getting a handle on how things really worked in Linux.
There’s a saying in the Linux world about that.
“If you use Red Hat, you learn Red Hat. If you use SuSE, you learn SuSE. If you use Ubuntu, you learn Ubuntu. But if you use Slackware, you learn Linux.”
Truer words were never spoken.