Slack Off: GoblinX vs. Zenwalk

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.


  1. LOL! If Zenwalk didn't won I would have protested. Nice article and blog dude. Keep it up!

  2. GoblinX is better.
    Zenwalk has a big team of development and GoblinX is a single man distribution, the main difference between them.
    I think they have about the same age.
    Both Slackware based full of desktop features.

    I'd like to read an article from you about differences between distribution running as livecd, livecd features, without install or use the harddisk. I don't read anymore reviews about the livecd power.

  3. I think if you had used GoblinX Standard the outcome might have gone differently and it would have been a draw across the board. (Note: I am not a GoblinX user. I have 5 distros installed and my distro of choice is Mint.)

    I say this because I recently tested their Standard edition, newly released, and when I saw all the software included, plus the 5 desktops/window managers, I asked myself, "How on earth did they achieve all of this in just 317megs?" What's fascinating is it's not a stripped-down KDE desktop! Amazing.

    So my advice? Re-run this with the Standard 2.6. ;) Excellent review though! Nice writing style!


  4. The GoblinX Standard newly released has a bug in the installer, but it's very nice. I'm waiting the new Zenwalk livecd to test it.

  5. @Steve: Thank you for the comment and for those kind words.

    @Anonymous: I know that GoblinX is developed by a single man but it's quite good already and it could still improve.

    @Eyes-only: Thanks a lot.
    As I've said, I could have used the Standard Ed instead. Sad to say, my time is very limited to fully try and test GoblinX again. I've already written a review of Mini Ed and that's what I just based for this slack-off.

    @Anonymous2: Thanks for the comment. I know there's a bug in the installer. I hope it will be fixed by the next release.

    @Anonymous3(unpublished comment): I know that you are using Windows XP and I already got your IP address. If you don't want your full information to be published here and let Linux users/readers hacked into your crappy system, YOU BETTER MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

  6. and Wolvix 1.1.0 Hunter?

    eg: installing CrossOver and OfficeXP is best handled by Wolvix. Worth mentioning, I think.

  7. I don't know why my favorite Slack wasn't in this fight. Put up Vector Linux and make this a real battle royal.

    Also another category that should be mentioned and graded is documentation and community support.