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Slackware 15


February 5 2022

I discuss Slackware’s new release and finish up going over the top five 1980s songs on You Tube.

==Slackware 15.0==

Slackware, the very first version of Linux I ever installed, is still around. Indeed, they have, this week, just released Slackware 15.0, which keeps a lot of the feel of classic Slackware around while updating the distribution for the 2020s.

I set up a virtual machine and installed Slackware. It feels, in many ways, more like a “real *NIX” than the newer versions of mainstream distributions like CentOS and Ubuntu. There is no Systemd here. Heck, there is not even GRUB: Slackware still uses LILO to boot the operating system.

My biggest surprise is how much disk space a full Slackware takes up. The days of being able to fit Slackware on a stack of floppies are long gone; a full install of Slackware is well over 15 gigabytes in size, and installing all of just the base and networking packages for a web server or what not is well over two gigabytes in size. At home, in an era of under $30 240 gigabyte internal SSD drives, this is a drop in the bucket, but the reason why CentOS and Ubuntu have much smaller base installs is because, when renting a low-cost virtual machine in a datacenter, $20 a year only gives you 10 gigabytes of storage, so having the underlying operating system only take up a gigabyte or so of space is still useful.

There are probably ways to make Slackware take up less space. /lib/firmware takes up hundreds of megabytes, and we can probably safely remove this in a KVM virtual machine where none of the virtual hardware should need a binary firmware blob.

==YouTube 1980s hits #1: Axel F==

This concludes a series last covered a month ago.

The most popular 1980s song is actually a 2009 cover of Harold Faltermeyer’s Axel F theme, with some 3,052,616,747 views as I type this.

Of all of the songs from the 1980s, it’s somewhat unusual that this one is the overall most popular one. While the original 1980s song was a major hit, it did not hit #1 in the US (it only hit #3 here), nor the UK (#2), or even the composer’s own West Germany (#2).

While some incorrectly consider Harold Faltermeyer a one hit wonder, he has helped make a lot more hits than this one. He helped make the music for the movie Midnight Express (the first electronic score to win an Oscar), arranging its hit The Chase. He also arranged Laura Branigan’s hit Self Control, composed and produced the hit Square Rooms, produced the album Behavior by the Pet Shop Boys, which includes their hit (and my favorite Pet Shop Boys song) So Hard (as an aside, there was a note with the album that So Hard told a true story, a linear note one would not make today), among many other credits.

My daughter immediately recognized the Crazy Frog version of Axel F and feels it’s superior to Faltermeyer’s original; I prefer the original myself.

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