Absolute 14.04 Released

by Ostatic Staff - Jan. 17, 2013

Paul Sherman announced the release of Absolute 14.0 last October following the Slackware 14.0 release. Since then it's been updated a few times, the latest two just this month. It's been far too long since I had a look-see at Absolute and now seems the perfect time to remedy that.

Absolute Linux aims to be a lightweight and easier version of Slackware. Back in the day they had included several original tools to make configuration easier, but their installation still looked (and was) very much Slackware. Today, the installer hasn't changed much and, in fact, it still offers to install LiLo. I don't know anyone that uses LiLo anymore. I kinda suspected as much, but it didn't offer to make a boot disk anymore (which was what I was hoping for). Beyond that, the Absolute installer is still a simplified version of Slackware's.

The Absolute default desktop is IceWM and looks quite traditional. A Menu button is in lower right-hand corner, few launchers next to Menu button, taskbar in the middle-bottom and clock to the left. A shortcut on the desktop open the file manager to your Downloads folder. The original wallpaper is tasteful and non-distracting. At first boot you're presented with this help file to guide new users around Absolute.

Absolute Linux today still offers configuration tools and houses most of them in their Control Panel. From there you can set or change all kinds of settings such as monitor resolution, install multimedia codecs, set up printer and other hardware, and manage software.

There is what one might describe as a graphical package installer/remover, but it's still a bit crude. It also appears to only offer the software found in Slackware repositories, so for some software you'll have to install tarballs or check with Slackbuilds.org.

Absolute doesn't ship with a ton of software, but there are ample enough to get going. Some include SMPlayer, Chromium, GIMP, Abiword, K3B, and more.  Under the hood is Linux 3.7.1, GCC 4.7.2, and Xorg X Server 1.12.3.

Basically, Absolute is a charming little distribution that, for better or worse, harkens back to a time when things were a bit simplier. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but it is very lightweight, usable, and stable. If you're of hearty stock, give it a try.