- Supported Hardware.
- LiveCD Flavors.
- Network startup (gPXE).
- Linux Kernel.
- Software Packages.
- Graphical Desktops.
- Support and Documentation.
- From 1.0 to 2.0.
- People of the Project.
SliTaz GNU/Linux Version 2.0 was released on April 16 2009 after a year of hard work. Based on Version 1.0 (published 22 March 2008), SliTaz comprises of 1400 (up 900) software packages easily installable via the “Tazpkg” package manager. The LiveCD can be fully configured to taste, to easily create a custom distribution specifically for tasks such as multimedia, graphics or development. Some of the new features in this release include:
- Better hardware support for wifi, windows drivers, NTFS and low memory systems (through flavors)
- Easier customization to roll your own distro
- Web Boot support
- Openbox replaces JWM as the window manager
- More tiny graphical utilities for administration, setting preferences, system upgrade, etc
Technical support is provided to users via the mailing list and the official forum. The “SliTaz Handbook” is an instructive manual on how to use and finely configure the system. SliTaz can be updated easily via the graphic installer or by using the simple and fast text installer. SliTaz can also be installed to your hard drive, or used with USB media - with “TazUSB” or the GUI “TazUSBbox” you are only a few simple commands away from a fully formatted and configured USB device, ready to boot.
The system is now configurable via a graphical control center and packages can be managed with the “Tazpkgbox” GUI package manager. The project has also created several different GUIs to command line tools to facilitate the use of the system.
The distribution is available in English, German, French and Portuguese - in all 26 keymappings are available. The project website and documentation are also available in different languages and other language packs (locale) can be installed via the package manager.
SliTaz is published as a LiveCD or bootable cdrom, all software packages are available via a direct download or DVD image. SliTaz 2.0 offers a fast, simple, elegant desktop respecting the standards of Freedesktop.org. The system was built from the GNU toolchain: glibc-2.7, gcc-4.2.3, binutils-2.17.50 and offers the Linux 18.104.22.168 kernel. The core of the LiveCD proposes replacing PHP with Perl as the programming language. Hardinfo system tools and LXTask provide knowledge and monitoring equipment. NTFS support is also included on the cdrom and Windows drives can be easily browsed through the file manager.
SliTaz GNU/Linux supports all machines based on i486 or x86 Intel compatible processors. A minimum 256MB of memory is recommended to use the main LiveCD. 64MB is needed for the “slitaz-loram” flavor and 16MB for the “slitaz-loram-cdrom” flavor.
With the slitaz-loram flavor, the system is less responsive, but allows you to graphically install SliTaz on very old machines. Once installed, SliTaz works well with a minimum of 16MB memory, but forget about using Firefox to surf the web - you'll have to use the text based ‘links’ for example.
SliTaz 2.0 provides partial support for wireless network cards (WiFi), some cards work directly with a kernel module and others need non-free firmware and additional drivers. These can easily be automatically installed using a GUI created for the distribution.
Most network and sound card drivers are supported in the Kernel. Presently, power management is enabled by default with ACPI and support for laptops is enabled with the “ac” and “battery” modules (“thermal”, “processor” and “dock” are built into the kernel; “fan” and “button” are also available as modules).
SliTaz GNU/Linux is distributed as a bootable LiveCD allowing you to graphically install to the hard drive and retain the use of your previous system including all settings, applications, documents, etc.
The project distributes an ISO image called “core”, which is the body of the system, providing a selection of multi-use packages for surfing the web, listening to music, audio editing, image manipulation, developing (including PHP/SQL), editing ISOs or burning to optical media. It's just one click in the application menu to find software installed by category.
The official flavors of SliTaz can be directly downloaded from the mirrors of the project. The base flavor (~6MB) provides a minimal system in text mode and the JustX flavor (~14 MB) offers a minimal graphical desktop respecting standard drag and drop with GTK2 libraries and tools for installing additional applications with a few clicks of the mouse.
The “core” LiveCD can also be customised and rebuilt both graphically or from the command line. Install your own custom set of packages, or simply use one of the preset flavors on the mirror. Then simply generate your distribution with the “Tazlito” tool.
Network startup (gPXE)
SliTaz is able to boot from the internet, launching the system into RAM during system startup. This feature allows you to boot computers with no hard drive as a thin client. Full instructions for using this service are available at: http://boot.slitaz.org
The installation is fully automated and can be done graphically or in text mode. The prerequisite material and other useful information can be found in the Manual and Handbook.
If you want to partition a disk before installation, you can quickly use Gparted in LiveCD mode or use a flavor containing the partitioning tool. At the end of the installation it is possible to setup the “GRUB” bootloader which is capable of starting almost all operating systems. This allows SliTaz to co-exist with a previously installed operating system, such as Windows.
SliTaz GNU/Linux 2.0 is distributed with the Linux Kernel 22.214.171.124, patched for LZMA compression support and display correction for the virtual console. The support for IDE and SCSI is integrated, as are the filesystems ext2 and ext3. The kernel in SliTaz 2.0 is split into several different packages, this allows you to install only the specific modules required for the machine on which SliTaz operates. All packages can be installed via the package manager and dependancies are handled automatically.
Most network cards are supported either directly or as loadable modules with ‘modprobe’. Video capture, if needed, requires the ieee1394, raw1394 and ohci1394 modules installed. The management of the sound card drivers is obtained with ‘soundconf’.
The configuration of startup modules is located in /etc/rcS.conf. In LiveCD/LiveUSB mode you can use ‘modprobe=mod1, mod2’ to load various modules at boot time.
The Linux Kernel configuration of SliTaz is available in the compressed file /proc/config.gz and also in the Mercurial repositories.
The management of software packages is done with the custom package manager “Tazpkg”. It's simple, fast, stable and offers an interactive mode. Among the 1400 packages available you will find anything you need to transform your machine to a complete graphical desktop (e17), a graphics studio with The Gimp or Inkscape, or to a video editor with Kino. You can experience the world wide web with instant messaging, VOIP, email and of course through a web browser.
SliTaz is also designed to function as a powerful web server, using the stable LightTPD/PHP package (not installed by default), supporting CGI, Perl and Python. Apache and Squid are also available.
Rsync is used for incremental backup and iptables functions as the firewall. SliTaz can of course also provide a complete development environment with the GCC 4.2.3 compiler, Geany IDE, Mercurial Repostitories and all development libraries. Packages can be found through the search function of Tazpkg or via the website: www.slitaz.org/en/packages/
The binary packages on the mirror can all be compiled by using the “wok” or “Tazwok” to cook. All of the developer documentation is contained in the “SliTaz Cookbook” and is available online.
By default, the SliTaz LiveCD uses the very light and stable Openbox window manager. Openbox is widely themeable and configurable using the ObConf utility. The integration of the taskbar “LXpanel” makes it possible to dynamically provide a menu based on the Freedesktop standards. The principle is to have a small menu accessible via a screen click with the favorites, windows effects, LiveCD and LiveUSB tools, Openbox configuration and system actions made available. Applications can also be accessed through the menu supplied by LXpanel. The managment of the Desktop and icons are entrusted to the file manager PCmanFM.
Through the support of a LiveCD flavor or an installed system you can install the Enlightenment (e17) desktop environment or the window managers JWM and DWM . The different sessions can be selected via the F1 key when using the “Slim” login window. To change the default session you can use ‘tazx’ or manually edit the ~/.Xinitrc file.
Support and Documentation
The SliTaz project offers various means of help and support to users of the system, using the mailing list, forum or IRC channel. User documentation is contained in the SliTaz Handbook, making it possible to configure SliTaz to some degree. The Handbook is also available on the web site. The manuals of the standard tools are installed on the system and are available through the documentation menu - they describe all the various commands made possible by the tools. The development of the operating system and the use of the wok and receipts are described in the “SliTaz Cookbook”. The books, manuals and release notes are all available online: www.slitaz.org/en/doc/
The stable versions enjoy security updates, for the benefit of a safe and secure system it's important to recharge and update packages regularly. The Firewall is provided by iptables, and the LightTPD and Apache servers support authentication by encrypted passwords and Dropbear provides a secure SSH client and server. The passwords for the users of the system are encrypted and only the root administrator can modify system files. For information about how to configure the firewall, you can refer to the Handbook. The packages related to security are all classified under the topic: Security.
From 1.0 to 2.0
The SliTaz GNU/linux installer offers an update function allowing you to upgrade from a ‘1.0’ to ‘2.0’ version. To upgrade the system you first need to boot the ‘Stable’ LiveCD, launch the installer, select upgrade and then specify the partition containing the system that you want to update. The installer will then clean out the system and reinstall all the packages not present on the CD from the mirror. When this has finished you can reboot with your new version of SliTaz. Note that this method can also be used to rebuild an already installed system, while retaining the selection of packages already installed.
Note that the installer will keep a copy of the list of packages and a complete archive of the /etc directory (etc.tar.gz) in /var/lib/slitaz-install.
To upgrade a 1.0 to 2.0 it is also possible to use the package manager “Tazpkg” via the ‘set-release’ function, but beware this is not yet proven and may require some manual intervention.
People of the Project
SliTaz is proud to be an international community project. The people of the project are the ones who develop the distribution, correct the website, develop the HG repositories and write the official documentation. Passing through Switzerland, France, Brazil, Quebec, China, Russia, England, and the U.S.
- Christophe Lincoln
- Pascal Bellard
- Eric Joseph-Alexandre
- Paul Issott
- Julien Rabier
- Pierre-Jean Fichet
- Dominique Corbex
- Mallory Mollo
- Mike D. Smith
- Claudinei Pereira
- Allan Pinto
- Alice Ayanami
- F. Steiner
- Chen Yufei
- Bill Nagel
- Michael Dupont
- Franco Azzano
- Fabrice Thiroux
- Eduardo Suarez-Santana
- Tom Frankland
- Sandeep Srinivasa
- David Ozura
- Pierre Romillon
- Rohit Joshi
The project also wishes to thank all the reviewers, testers, hackers and users who have taken the time to help advance the distribution.