Slackware Stable VS Current

Let’s figure out what the differences are between Slackware Stable Release and Current.
Which one you should pick ?

Stable Releases

Stable has a number in it, like Slackware13.37 / 14.1 / 14.2 are said Stable.

There is not that much to say about it, and it’s a very good thing. If you like stability and are not running after the latest and greatest packages version, here you are ! Stable branch is really rock stable.

You are also guaranteed that packages from slackbuilds.org will run out of the box as they are validated to work on the stable releases.

I didn’t had any problem installing Slackware old older devices like Thinkpad x201 laptop or Xeon D 1540 based workstation.

What about the Current ?

Current has no number in it, you will have only reference to Slackware-current. It’s the development branch that might eventually get to stable release at a certain time.

Evolution never stops on -current.

Since late 2016, I’m following on Current instead of the Stable branch. My first motivation was the kernel update. I needed a more up-to-date version of the open source driver for my workstation graphic card and didn’t know how to do it properly at that time.

The good thing is obviously that you have more recent version of packages. On the other hand, drawback comes is with all development branch, you can expect things to break here and there.

To be honest, I found the -current pretty stable over the year, got some glitches mostly with kernel updates and slackbuild scripts not building, but nothing that could not be done with minor fix or workaround.

Also, the fact that thing can break was a really good way for me to learn more about Slackware internals and Linux in general.

This is the reason why I stick with it. Eventually I switched also to Current on my laptop.

Slackpkg

Slackpkg is the utility tool to upgrade and update your distribution with official Slackware packages from mirrors.

Depending on the mirror and path you choose in /etc/slackpkg/mirrors you will either fetch from the Stable release or Current.

Of course, you are advised to use the closest mirror from you. As I’m in France, I personally use mirrors provided by OVH.com. At the date of that article, the OVH mirror addresses in the slackpkg shipped with Slackware and not up-to-date ( mirror list maintainer is aware of that 😉 ).

You can use the addresses below ( only HTTP is provided by OVH )

## Slackware64-14.2 ( stable )
http://slackware.mirrors.ovh.net/ftp.slackware.com/slackware64-14.2/

## Slackware64-current
http://slackware.mirrors.ovh.net/ftp.slackware.com/slackware64-current/

Though I didn’t have much trouble going from Stable to Current. Watch out when you go the reverse path Current back to Stable as it will ( most probably ) downgrade many packages.

Sources

Official Slackware website: http://www.slackware.com/

Official Slackware documentation: https://docs.slackware.com/

Slackware beginners guide, definitely worth the read for newcomers or as a reminder: https://docs.slackware.com/slackware:beginners_guide

LinuxQuestion Slackware forum, great resource for support and  information: https://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/slackware-14/