Releasing Slax 9.7.0

written by Tomas M. 17 days ago

Good news, a new and improved version of Slax has been just released as Slax 9.7.0. You can download Slax for free or purchase a cool USB drive with Slax preinstalled from the project's home page at www.slax.org

Most important changes are explained below:

1) usb-modeswitch was added to Slax

Some new USB devices have their proprietary Windows drivers onboard; when plugged in for the first time, they act like a flash storage and start installing the Windows driver from there, and if the driver is already installed, it makes the storage device disappear and a new device, mainly composite with modem ports, shows up. On Linux, in most cases the drivers are available as kernel modules. However, the device shows up as "usb-storage" by default. So usb_modeswitch is used to send a message to the device to initiate the mode switching, so it can be used for the intended purpose.

2) The 'slax activate' command now copies module to RAM only if necessary

Slax is a modular operating system, and it supports on-the-fly activation of modules (compressed files with .sb extension) by using 'slax activate' command. If the module is stored on a separate filesystem, it can be activated from there without any issue. But if the module is stored inside the current AUFS root filesystem, for example when user downloaded it from the internet to his Home directory while running Slax, such module needs to be copied outside of the AUFS filesystem before activation. Previous Slax version copied all activated modules to RAM or to the USB device it was started from, even if it was not really necessary. Starting with this Slax release, the copying is done only if it is needed.

3) Slax is now even smaller

Many years ago, a decision was made to use 512K blocks in Slax for all squashfs compressed filesystems (Slax core modules as well as other bundles). This saved some RAM, but led to somewhat inefficient compression. Since RAM is not so scarce nowadays, Slax now uses 1MB blocks to make the compression better, resulting in 10MB smaller overal size of the distribution (255 MB compared to 265 MB). There is still support for 512K block size too, so old modules created with 512k blocks will work just fine.

Happy Slaxing :)

Tomas M.

(c) 2019, Tomas M; rss