SLAMPP 2.0 Linux Server on your PC in Minutes – Review and Screenshots

An Instant Home Server

SLAMPP 2.0 is a “simple solution for home server” based on Zenwalk 6.0 and using the Slackware package repository.  Slampp is released as a Live DVD that can also be installed on your hard drive.  Slampp claims to enable users to install an ‘instant home server’.  Slampp v.2.0 – (Kalinda) was released on July 28, 2009.

Slampp download mirrors –  The 1.9 GB download went rather smoothly.  Slampp currently has a handful of mirror sites, and I expect that will grow as the popularity of the distro increases.

Installation

The live DVD booted up but didn’t recognize my keyboard at first, and went to a default boot after 30 seconds. The installation is the same as Zenwalk, and if you are familiar with that distro, you will feel at home here.  The installation asks you if you need to install any proprietary software drivers.  I said No, and the computer hang.  I then rebooted, got to that screen again, and said Yes, and the installation continued with the X11 session manager.  After about 3 minutes, the Xfce desktop appeared.

First Impressions

desktop

Slampp looks alot like Zenwalk, which makes sense, since it’s based upon it.  The Xfce 4 desktop is clean and quite easy to navigate.  Slampp is loaded with many installed packages (see gallery screenshots) which adds to the bulk of the download.

The quick launch menu bar at the bottom center is user-friendly and there are quick luanch icons on the left bottom for network settings and file manager.  Slampp borrows much of its good looks from Zenwalk, and its power from Slackware – both of which are worthy bases from which to draw.

Who Needs This?  New users or webmasters?

Slampp’s website says this distro is intended for first-time Linux users to experience a non-Windows OS from the Live DVD.  However, the headline of the website is that Slampp is for an easy home server implementation.

Those two goals seem to collide.  Most Windows users looking for a Linux joy-ride would not also want to implement a server from a live-DVD.  It seems like they are trying to cater to two distinct user types.

I was initially turned on to the easy home server setup concept.  I was somewhat dismayed to realize  what that meant is there are server tools in the networking section.  I did not see the expected quick-link icon on the desktop telling first-time users to click on this button to  “Create a Home Server”.

Packages Installed

Slampp is like Zenwalk on steroids.  This is a 1.8GB download, and they’ve stuffed a whole bunch of packages into this distro that aren’t usually added due to size restrictions.  The networking section is loaded with server tools, such as SSH server, NX Session Admin, DHCP server, etc…  The application toolset it filled with goodies, including a full open office installation.

Gallery of Screenshots

Conclusion

As they say in the business world, deliver on your promises and the customers will follow.  Slampp promises to be an easy to use Live-DVD implementation of Zenwalk, and it accomplishes that promise convincingly.  However, Slampp’s unique product offering, “making a home server in minutes”, either assumes that the user is well-versed in how to set up a server, or since this is still a relatively young distro, that aspect hasn’t been fully worked out.

The tools to set up a basic server are there.  You’re on your own, since there are no guided tools to walk you through a server installation.  If you want to add LAMP (Apache, MySQL, PHP), you’ll have to work a bit harder. What would really set this ditro apart is if they work on a simple server installation guide or checklist that helps new Slampp users go from zero to fully working server. Ideally, that would an icon appearing on the desktop once you’ve loaded the Live-DVD “Click here to install your server”.

If you’re looking for a fast and easy to use distro based on Zenwalk, first check out Zenwalk 6.0, then see if the live-DVD Slampp 2.0 adds enough to merit being on its own.

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