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Screenshot of Zenwalk Linux 6.0
Zenwalk 6.0
Developer Jean-Philippe Guillemin
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Source model Open source
Latest release 8.0[1] / July 2, 2016; 16 months ago (2016-07-02)
Update method netpkg (xnetpkg)
Package manager netpkg
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux)
Default user interface Xfce
License Various
Official website www.zenwalk.org

Zenwalk is a Desktop focused Linux distribution founded by Jean-Philippe Guillemin. It is based on Slackware with very few modifications at system level making it 100% compatible with it.[2] Zenwalk aims to be a modern and multi-purpose Linux distribution by focusing on Internet applications, multimedia and programming tools.[3] Additionally, Zenwalk comes with many specialized tools, designed for beginner through advanced users as it offers system configuration via both graphical and command-line operations.


Zenwalk was originally called Minislack up to version 1.1, taking its current name with version 1.2 released 2005-08-12. Originally using KDE as its desktop environment, Zenwalk now uses Xfce as of version 0.3, although GNOME and KDE packages have always been available separately.


The Zenwalk Project aims to create a lightweight Linux distribution (through using only one application per task on the release ISO image), optimization for a specific instruction set architecture to increase execution speed, and introduces a comprehensive package management system with dependency resolution.[4]


The Zenwalk Project has a forum that allows users and developers alike to post their issues, concerns and praise.

The newest official software packages are published in the -snapshot tree. When sufficient testing and debugging have been completed, a package is moved to the -current tree, where most users can download software to update their systems.

Zenpanel, a system configuration utility.

The community is also encouraged to take part in software package development, since the official software pool is considered limiting by some users. This allows third-party software to be made compatible with the Zenwalk directory structure, as well as improved interoperability with the rest of the distribution.

Package management[edit]

Zenwalk's netpkg in its GUI guise, xnetpkg.

Zenwalk uses the netpkg package management system. It is developed in-house, and it provides the main functionality of the apt-get variety of package managers. It uses Slackware's .tgz package format, but adds dependency resolution capabilities. The system uses meta files to provide dependency information, as well as package description during the install process. This convenience is only available to the official Zenwalk mirrors listed in the netpkg configuration file, netpkg.conf. In addition to the original netpkg command line interface, xnetpkg provides a GUI frontend with similar capabilities.

Additionally, Zenwalk is compatible with Slackware package management tools such as slapt-get and its frontends, and have similar functionality as that of netpkg.

As of Zenwalk 4.6, package compatibility with Slackware is still maintained. Slackware packages may be used to substitute Zenwalk packages where necessary. Additional package availability can be found at LinuxPackages.net.

Zenwalk release history[5]
version date
Minislack 0.1 May 21, 2004
Minislack 0.2 August 8, 2004
Minislack 0.3 February 17, 2005
Minislack 0.4 March 26, 2005
Minislack 1.0 April 24, 2005
Minislack 1.0.1 May 3, 2005
Minislack 1.1 June 10, 2005
Zenwalk 1.2 August 12, 2005
Zenwalk 1.3 October 15, 2005
Zenwalk 2.0 Core November 27, 2005
Zenwalk 2.0.1 December 4, 2005
Zenwalk 2.1 (Core) January 18, 2006
Zenwalk 2.2[6] February 16, 2006
Zenwalk 2.4[7] April 4, 2006
Zenwalk 2.6[8] May 23, 2006
Zenwalk 2.8[9] July 21, 2006
Zenwalk 3.0[10] September 8, 2006
Zenwalk 4.0[11] November 20, 2006
Zenwalk 4.2[12] January 6, 2007
Zenwalk 4.4[13] February 22, 2007
Zenwalk 4.4.1[14] February 24, 2007
Zenwalk 4.6[15] June 1, 2007
Zenwalk 4.6.1[16] June 6, 2007
Zenwalk 4.8[17] October 6, 2007
Zenwalk 5.0[18] January 18, 2008
Zenwalk 5.2[19] June 7, 2008
Zenwalk 6.0[20] March 7, 2009
Zenwalk 6.2[21] September 6, 2009
Zenwalk 6.4[22] May 27, 2010
Zenwalk 7.0[23] Mar 25, 2011
Zenwalk 7.2[24] Oct 11, 2012
Zenwalk 7.4[25] April 2014
Zenwalk 8.0[26] July 2016

Supported architectures[edit]

Starting with version 8.0, Zenwalk Linux is built and optimized primarily for the x86_64 architecture, the old 32 bits i486 architecture is no longer supported.

Project versions[edit]

There are five main versions of Zenwalk :

  • Zenwalk Standard is a distribution aimed at mainstream desktop and development use. Designed to be a stand-alone operating system, it installs to the hard drive by way of a ncurses-based installer. It includes all of the officially released software packages that are deemed most useful by the Zenwalk community. The default install also includes development packages like gcc, and some proprietary media packages (such as Adobe Flash Player) and drivers in order to provide a full featured default install. The default desktop environment is Xfce.
  • Zenwalk Core is a Zenwalk system built with customization in mind. Released with no X Window System binaries, its aim is to allow a skilled user to build a system fit for his or her needs. The project's lead developer is Emmanuel Bailleul.
  • ZenLive (discontinued) is a Zenwalk system built on a Live CD design. ZenLive follows the progress made by the full Zenwalk system closely, thus mirroring the version number, and attempts to stay true to the original distribution's goals. In addition, it includes all of the necessary libraries and applications to develop and compile software, a particularly rare feature in Live CD distributions. The original ZenLive team left the project after version 6.0 was released but ZenwalkLive project has been revived by an enthusiastic user and is now developed as a one-man-project. Since version 6.4 the live-framework has been changed from deprecated linux-live-scripts to slackware-live-scripts.
  • Zenwalk Gnome (discontinued) has GNOME as the default desktop environment.
  • Zenwalk Openbox (discontinued) is supplied with Openbox as stand-alone window manager. It is a very lightweight version of the operating system. It does not follow LXDE in its choice of software. It still uses Thunar File Manager over PCManFM which is standard on LXDE-based systems such as Lubuntu.


There are currently three known Zenwalk-based distributions:

  • Arudius,[27] a live CD distribution for information assurance with tools for penetration testing and vulnerability analysis. Discontinued.
  • SLAMPP,[28] intended to be used as a home server.
  • Zencafe,[29] an Indonesian distribution designed for internet cafes.

Live USB[edit]

A Live USB of Zenwalk Linux for versions up to 5.2 can be created manually or with UNetbootin.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Zenwalk Linux". distrowatch.org. Retrieved 2 July 2016. 
  2. ^ JP Guillemin (2016-02-10). "Now Zenwalk 8.0 BETA 2". 
  3. ^ Claus Futtrup (2005-09-19). "An introduction to Zenwalk 1.2". 
  4. ^ Mayank Sharma (2008-02-14). "Tiny Zenwalk 5.0 packs a big punch". 
  5. ^ Zenwalk Releases Announcements on Distrowatch Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Zenwalk 2.2 Release Announcement Archived June 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Zenwalk 2.4 Release Announcement Archived October 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Zenwalk 2.6 Release Announcement Archived June 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Zenwalk 2.8 Release Announcement Archived October 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Zenwalk 3.0 Release Announcement Archived February 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Zenwalk 4.0 Release Announcement Archived February 19, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Zenwalk 4.2 Release Announcement Archived February 19, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ Zenwalk 4.4 Release Announcement Archived March 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ Zenwalk 4.4.1 Release Announcement Archived August 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ Zenwalk 4.6 Release Announcement Archived June 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ Zenwalk 4.6.1 Release Announcement Archived July 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ Zenwalk 4.8 Release Announcement Archived October 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ Zenwalk 5.0 Release Announcement Archived January 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ Zenwalk 5.2 Release Announcement Archived June 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ Zenwalk 6.0 Release Announcement Archived March 11, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ Zenwalk 6.2 Release Announcement Archived December 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ Zenwalk 6.4 is ready ! Archived October 23, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ Zenwalk 7.0 is available ! Archived April 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  24. ^ Zenwalk 7.2 has been launched Archived October 17, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  25. ^ http://support.zenwalk.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=934746
  26. ^ http://support.zenwalk.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=992732
  27. ^ http://www.tdisecurity.com/tdi-labs/arudius.htm
  28. ^ http://slampp.abangadek.com/
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 28, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  30. ^ UNetbootin - Homepage and Downloads

External links[edit]