Slack Off: GoblinX vs. Zenwalk

Posted by jun auza On 2/28/2008
Today, two Slackware-based Linux distributions from the lightweight division will square off to find out once and for all, who has the clear edge.

On the left corner, please welcome the Brazilian sensation, GoblinX. On the right corner, put your hands together for the Zenmaster, Zenwalk.

I will be the sole and fair (hopefully) judge of this Slack-off as I have recently tried and tested the latest versions of the two distros. I know that it is kind of unfair to compare the two as Zenwalk is bigger than GoblinX “Mini Edition” in terms of size and therefore has more pre-installed applications and features. And, I could have used the “Standard Edition” edition instead. But, we are all just having fun here so we shall push through. Who knows, this could somehow end up like the fight between David and Goliath.

Let the battle begin!

Distrowar Arena (Test Machine Specs):
Board: Intel Corporation D102GGC2
Processor: 3.40 GHz Intel Pentium D
Hard Drive: Samsung 80GB ATA with 8GB allocated to VM disk
Memory: 2GB DDR2 RAM with 256MB allocated to VM memory

Tale of the Tape:

Distro Name: GoblinX/ Weight: 153MB/ Country Origin:Brazil/ Distro Origin:Slackware/ Package Mgt.:TGZ/ Default Desktop:XFCE/ Distrowatch Rank:#36

Distro Name: Zenwalk/ Weight: 469MB/ Country Origin:France/ Distro Origin:Slackware/ Package Mgt.: TGZ/ Default Desktop:XFCE/ Distrowatch Rank:#14

Speed Test
Installation Time- Draw!
Boot/Start-up Time - Winner, Zenwalk!
Responsiveness- Draw!

Both GoblinX and Zenwalk were completely installed at almost the same speed, so I just gave a draw verdict on “Installation Time”. Zenwalk took about 41 seconds to boot (measured from Grub menu to the main desktop) compared to GoblinX’s 45 seconds. They were both very responsive since the two are using the same lightweight window manager which is XFCE.

Default Theme- Winner, GoblinX!
Extras- Winner, GoblinX!
Artwork- Winner, GoblinX!

GoblinX won the entire "Aesthetics" category because of its unique and artistic appeal. Zenwalk was just too plain and simple. Though for me, simplicity in design is not a disadvantage, I just thought that GoblinX has that X-factor in terms of looks.

Pre-installed Applications- Winner, Zenwalk!
Available Packages from Repo- Draw!
Ease of Use- Draw!

Being the bigger distro, Zenwalk has the obvious advantage against the smaller GoblinX for available “pre-installed applications”. But, they both have plenty of packages on hand from their software repositories. Also, they were both user-friendly and I had a hard time choosing which one is better so I'm giving a draw verdict for “Ease of Use”.

Hardware Detection- Winner, Zenwalk!
Software Management- Draw!
Error Handling- Winner, Zenwalk!

The minor predicament in GoblinX during installation is the reason why Zenwalk won “Hardware Detection” and “Error Handling”. Zenwalk was just too smooth and trouble-free during the set-up. Since both have the same package management system, it’s a tie for “Software Management”.

Final Score:
Zenwalk = 4
GoblinX = 3
*Winner, Zenwalk!

The older and more experienced Zenwalk Linux won, but by just a slim margin. Its stability and added features were just too much for the young GoblinX to take. Nonetheless, GoblinX didn’t just easily go down because it fought until the end. I think it has a huge potential to succeed, and perhaps, could someday become a distro to be reckoned with.

A well-deserved win by Zenwalk in my own view, but as always, I want more opinions from our dear readers.

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