Before I get into any more details and reasoning, I apologise for discontinuing the project so abruptly. I know quite a few people liked this distribution, but I have reasons for discontinuing the project. And therefore, I announce that the project will be in a 'fully discontinued' state as of September 15, 2021, and no new versions will be released. Any new patches to the existing systems won't be released, and there won't be any updates of any type — In fact, there has been none for some time.
The first version of BackSlash Linux – Anna was initially released in November 2016, and this was a project that I had been working on for a long time. I was then a student of Computer Science, and I was just too much excited to build something. The earlier versions were no different than the Cinnamon and the Pantheon default desktops. It was the third version – Olaf, in which the BackSlash Shell brought some serious look and feel changes, and the community was also optimistic about it, for the most part. As BackSlash Linux evolved, the last release, Kristoff, was one of the most beautiful looking Linux distributions out there for a while. BackSlash has enjoyed its days for sure, and now is the time to say goodbye.
As a lot of you might know that BackSlash Linux used to run on the Linux kernel, just like all other Linux based operating systems, and that is the main reason for discontinuing this project. The big "obsolete" monolithic kernel is one of the major facts. Microkernels are all the rage right now because of speed and security. This is the reason Google is replacing Android with Fuschia. This is why Huawei is developing its Operating System for phones called Harmony/Hongmeng on a microkernel architecture. Linux, on the other hand, is a monolithic kernel. It suffers from the same problem every monolithic suffers from – the risk of the entire system crashing due to a bug in a device driver, the reason being it is running in the same area with the kernel and other drivers, so, if something fails every other driver and program will be affected.
So are microkernels the way? Well, the answer is somewhat tricky. As I said earlier, a microkernel system is "theoretically" more stable since a failure in one part of the system won't bring the whole thing down. But failures usually occur because of poorly written code or someone not following best practices in their programming. Microkernels tend to be hard to debug too. So, as incredible as they might sound, in practice, they perform horribly (mostly due to programming errors).
This rarely happens in Linux unless you're intentionally running pre-release or untested software. You don't get bad kernel-level code in Linux because Linus won't stand for it. Part of the reason why the Linux kernel has been so successful is because Linus Torvalds is a dictator when it comes to its development. If you do things right from the start, it doesn't matter what type of kernel you're running. Linux and its "obsolete" monolithic kernel are so stable that 85 per cent of the servers in the world use it. Doing things the right way is always more important than being dogmatic about methods or design choices. Linus uses his horse-and-buggy C programming language and his monolithic kernel, and they just work.
Wait, if monolithic kernels also work, then why is the project being discontinued? The fact that the Linux kernel gets somewhere in the neighbourhood of 2+ million lines of code merged every year, and all the rest have also to be maintained. There will come a time when the project becomes too hard to maintain and considered unmaintainable. At that point, almost every future release of every Linux based operating system will break and will have to migrate to an alternative choice. BackSlash Linux is just one of the first to do so.
As I just mentioned, BackSlash Linux is one of the first distributions to migrate from the Linux kernel — this might make you think that BackSlash Linux will continue to be developed, but with some other kernel! And the answer to that is Yes and also No - which together makes Yo! Okay, bad joke! I am working on a new project with a team where we will create an entirely new operating system that will be much more stable and secure while being beginner-friendly and modern looking. The new project will be based on the forefather of all projects — the mighty UNIX. We would be utilising the BSD kernel for this. We will probably make it hybrid instead of monolithic — as most new operating systems like macOS, Windows, iOS and DragonFly BSD have done. The project is in the ideation phase right now, and I will update this website and all social media platforms once we have a working product ready. Like all great things — this would also take some time to be done.
Well, there are no new updates for you, unfortunately. This website will continue to function as usual, and you will be able to download the older releases of BackSlash Linux. But I probably, won't advise using BackSlash Linux as your primary system too. No support options would be available — support has been too limited for some time too. Social media handles of BackSlash Linux would be kept intact, and you are free to show some love by tagging BackSlash Linux in a post and/or posting on the timeline of the project page.
As I said, there's a transition happening now, and most operating systems have already switched to Hybrid kernels. Linux is the only one lagging and will probably remain so for a long time. I'm not going to try and read the tea leaves and figure out what the future looks like in that regard. The question for BackSlash Linux is, "Do we try to survive through that transition?" A few months ago, I thought the answer was obvious and that we would, but now I'm convinced of the opposite.
If you're ever looking for a great alternative and you wish to use a Linux distribution made in India, Garuda Linux is one of the best choices right now — which I can recommend. The system is also optimised for gaming and also looks pretty.
I am putting up a Wall, where you can post your thoughts and memories about BackSlash Linux. I hope I will see you guys soon.
— Kumar Priyansh
Former Developer and Maintainer