SalixOS: Marketing and Support

Salix OS has done some pretty amazing stuff to bring Slackware Linux down to us mere mortals, ordinary desktop users. They were doing for Slackware what Ubuntu once did for Debian. Except for the installer, perhaps, SalixOS is incredibly simple and intuitive. Maintaining 32-bit support, Salix OS is systemd-free, equipped with cool tools like Slapt-get, Sourcery, and a codecs-installer, and the one-application-per-task simplicity that makes light and fast. I say they WERE doing for Slackware what Ubuntu once did for Debian, because it looks like no one is doing it anymore.

In this thread, Salix forum users talk about “marketing” and targeting “a larger user base.” It’s right that they should. Suggestions include promoting Salix on social media, but no one is doing that, apparently. Others suggest blogging about it, but on WordPress almost every reference to Salix is about Japanese groundskeeping, and SalixOS brings up next to nothing. I wonder if they don’t really want a larger user base after all, since newbies would appear in their forums with questions and “silliness” that the old hands would rather not be troubled with. The forums have very few recent threads or posts, and many go unanswered for days, weeks, months, or longer.

Perhaps part of it is that Slackware doesn’t have or use any Gnome stuff. Fine with me, I hate Gnome, and I think Gnome hates a lot of Linux users too, judging by the stupid choices they have made in the past couple of years. The funny thing is, you can get and use Gnome stuff in SalixOS if you want, though few people even know that. It’s not that easy to do, but with Sourcery, Salix’s wicked-kewl slack-building-from-source tool, you can!

There are other other Slackware derivatives that are more popular and gaining ground, but the most popular of those is no longer compatible with Slackware anymore! SalixOS remains fully compatible with it’s parent, so all the treasure trove of software available to “Slackers” (Slackware Linux users) is also available to “Lazy Slackers” (SalixOS users). Salix is an Xfce desktop distro. Other Slackware-based distros use different desktop environments. Slax, Slackel, etc. But it’s not like different “flavors” of the same familiar base, as in Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu, etc. These are entirely separate distros with entirely different developers, goals, communities, and users. It seems kinda fragmented to me, looking from the outside in, and I wonder if that isn’t part of the reason for the declining “market share.”

That, and the recent appeals for funding of Slackware, which for a time apparently was on the verge of going under. Slackware is the oldest surviving Linux distribution, but it’s still basically a one-man show. When he goes, so will Slackware and all her children. Unless there are others to pick it up and maintain it. This is a huge disadvantage as far as “market share” is concerned. By contrast, Debian is driven by a huge community and will never die. Red Hat and it’s family has a large, fat corporation backing it. Ubuntu is backed by a corporation as well, but not one that is profitable yet. All it’s derivatives are basically one-man-show distros, maybe with a few paid developers among the big ones like Mint.

The future of Linux may be in the hands of the Big Corporations after all, perhaps with a few exceptions like Debian, a truly community-driven project that forms a superb base for others to build on. Which others will continue to do as long as Debian needs to be “brought to the ordinary desktop user” instead of aimed at servers and technocrats.

What does the future hold for Linux? For your own favorite distribution? Feel free, comment below.

4 thoughts on “SalixOS: Marketing and Support

  1. Robin, the thing is that Slackware, Salix etc. are just too geeky for the beginners and hopefuls. When you write about “Salix’s wicked-kewl slack-building-from-source tool”, my brain assplodes. No idea what that even means, ffs. And I’m on Linux since 2012! Instead of asking why Salix won’t get a foot on deck, maybe you should look at the truly successful distros in DistroWatch’s Top Hits charts and see what they have in common: A fast and easy installer first and foremost, easy and simple to grasp desktop environments that don’t break with the old Windows user paradigm. Look what happened to Ubuntu since they started getting all wobbly with their desktop: Unity was shit, the decison to switch to Gnome3 made it even worse. In a couple years vanilla Ubuntu will be dead and gone while its offsprings Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu, and most important Ubuntu Mate, are doing great. And its fork Mint is a real crowd pleaser since years.

    Even formerly freaky and geeky distros, like Arch, are going stronger and stronger due to the efforts by Manjaro and Antergos. They are all doing great since they come equipped with proprietary drivers and all the codecs, and browsers and Thunderbird and Torrent downloaders and mediaplayers and LibreOffice and Gimp and all the stuff one needs to survive the day to day business … right out of the box.

    As long as no Slackware distro comes up with that easygoing, n00b-friendly attitude I don’t see a great future for it. It’s not appealing for me to install and test it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s it in a nutshell. Salix has the potential to be great! But it likely won’t, since that kind of effort takes a lot more work than create and maintain than the small team at Salix can handle. Like I said above, I’m not so sure they really actually want a larger share.


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