I got tired of my mom’s box only running Windoze XP and having to ssh into dustpuppy to do any linux stuff. So I installed Slackware. It’s working great. I can’t say I’m thrilled with KDE4, although it’s very pretty. Slackware is a no-nonsense distro. The installer requires you to have created the disk partitions beforehand using cfdisk or fdisk. It gives you “best practices” like “you should have at least one linux partition and one swap partition.” The installer is ncurses-based (i.e. menu-driven). It is very easy to use – I’d say as easy or even easier than any graphical installer I’ve used. All the hardware was detected and installed properly. The only hiccup I had was that the lilo.conf builder included with the setup utility couldn’t tell the difference between my boot= and root= options. It set them both to my /boot partition and the kernel panicked on first boot. I knew right away what the problem was from the kernel boot messages and it was easy to boot with the correct options (root=/dev/hda5) and then edit /etc/lilo.conf and rerun /sbin/lilo. Oh and it dual-boots with Windoze with no problems. I even have the windoze partition mounted r/w (r/w for root, ro for everyone else) as /ntfs-c.
Slackware, in setup and operation, reminds me more of FreeBSD than any linux distro. In fact, many of the shell commands and utilities (especially in the networking area) are BSD commands rather than GNU. If you’ve ever used a BSD operating system (FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD), you’d be right at home using Slackware Linux.
So far, I haven’t encountered any other usability issues after playing with it for almost 2 hours now.