I was sent here by the guys at #vectorlinux channel in freenode.
I've tested VL64-7.1-STD-RC3.1, and have some feedback about the text-installer.
The installation utilized an USB-flash pen, a desktop pc with a BIOS, and a new server with UEFI.1) UEFI:
When trying to install VL on a system with new UEFI the installer get dropped to a root shell, see attached picture.
Ctrl-Alt-F1/F2/F3 gave 3 root shells, but no installer. I dont know if it is the intention to have 3 virtual consoles in the installer. Never the less, I did like the idea. The availability of virtual consoles is a good thing. They are power tools for experienced users who do not need an X-session. But what is the command to start the installer from a root shell?
In the end I did overcome the UEFI install issue by installing VL on my desktop pc which have a BIOS, and then put the disk back in the server. VL did then boot without problems on the server.2) BIOS:
With the BIOS, the installer start the installation process without any problem. The installer apparently run on the first virtual console. When testing the other 2 consoles, Ctrl-Alt-F2 and Ctrl-Alt-F3, I get 2 additional text-install processes. However the root shells are available by using the "back" button in the first page of the text-installer. I think there should be some information about the availability of 2 additional consoles in the text in the first page. Root consoles are a very useful feature for power users.3) SSD:
The desktop pc is using a SSD as a system disk, and the disk is set up for multibooting. That imply VectorLinux will share the SSD with other operating systems. However, I use GUID Partition Table (GPT), which is a better choice for for a SSD. The text-installer come with standard cfdisk (linux fdisk) as partition tool. Unfortunately cfdisk lack support for GPT. I think VectorLinux should add support for GPT, at least in the 64-bit version which I assume will also be used on newer hardware. A good tool, which operate in the same way as linux fdisk is GPT fdisk, http://sourceforge.net/projects/gptfdisk/
It would be nice if GPT fdisk was availale as an option in the "Disk Partition" page.4) Installing on RAID? - Some additional thoughts:
I did the test on quite new hardware, but sometimes I do install VL on old hardware. In my eyes, given the fact that VectorLinux run well on old hardware, and has a slower release cycle than compareable distros, make Vectorlinux a very good choice for a server OS. Old desktop pc's can get a second life as servers, and I avoid reinstall too often. However, running a server on old HW is a risk. Sooner or later the HW will fail. If I reuse old HW this way, I always use raid arrays. Mirrored raid give an extra layer of security when old mechanical disks fail. And they do fail.
The linux kernel do autodetect raid arrays, and raid arrays were available as an install option in the text-installer. However, when I did install VL on a mirrored raid array (md126), VL did fail to boot. LILO boot loader did show an option to boot md126, but booting md126 gave a kernel panic. Both LILO and GRUB2 can be configured to boot an OS installed on a raid array, and some distros offer this option "out of the box" in the installer. However, with slackware you need to chroot, do a mkinitrd and make sure the necessary kernel modules are loaded, configure and reinstall bootloader from the chroot environment, etc. This kind of hacking take time.
I think a working "out of the box" option to "install VL on raid" in the text-installer would be a great feature. This feature will save users a lot of time and kernel-woodoo. And if I don't remember wrong, with this feature VectroLinux will be the only Slack-based distro, and maybe one of the few non-systemd distros, which have this feature working "out of the box" in the installer. Maybe a feature worth considering for VectorLinux.