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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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What’s new for January? Plasma5 18.01, and more

When I sat down to write a new post I noticed that I had not written a single post since the previous Plasma 5 announcement. Well, I guess the past month was a busy one. Also I bought a new e-reader (the Kobo Aura H2O 2nd edition) to replace my ageing Sony PRS-T1. That made me spend a lot of time just reading books and enjoying a proper back-lit E-ink screen. What I read? The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams, A Shadow all of Light by Fred Chappell, Persepolis Rising and several of the short stories (Drive, The Butcher of Anderson Station, The Churn and Strange Dogs) by James SA Corey and finally Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. All very much worth your time.

And then work began in all earnest, and I tried to do the packaging activities for Slackware in the wee hours of the night:

  • wine got an update to 2.21 (the final one before the 3.0 release which I intend to package when the staging patches are also available)
  • chromium was updated to 63.0.3239.132 accompanied by the usual security fixes (these Google guys are pretty good at exposing vulnerabilities… think Meltdown and Spectre most recently)
  • Flash plugins for Mozilla and Chromium based browsers were updated to 28.0.0.137 – also accompanied by a security advisory
  • Lumina Desktop was updated to 1.4.0.p1 and I added two supporting packages as well: poppler-qt5 and acpilight.
  • Pale Moon got an update to 27.7.1

And most recently, I finished the January ’18 set of Plasma 5 packages for Slackware -current. My KDE-5_18.01 contains: KDE Frameworks 5.42.0, Plasma 5.11.5 and Applications 17.12.1. All based on Qt 5.9.3 and exclusive for Slackwarecurrent because as explained in the previous post, I stopped providing Plasma 5 updates for Slackware 14.2.
There’s again a choice of ‘latest‘ and ‘testing‘ where the ‘testing’ repository contains 17 recompiled packages that provide a Wayland compositor stack. This means you can have a working Plasma5 Wayland session if you use ‘testing‘ as opposed to ‘latest‘.
The ‘testing‘ repository is for… testing. Do not use those packages on a production environment unless you are familiar with Slackware, debugging graphical sessions and know your way around slackpkg/slackpkg+.

I will be short about the updates in this latest Plasma 5 package set: all the major components got stability fixes and it’s all not so exciting. In the ‘applications-extra’ division I updated most of the big boys: digikam, krita, partitionmanager, kstars, and the Kdevelop Suite. The kdevplatform package has been removed as it has been obsoleted.

The accompanying README file contains full installation & upgrade instructions. I have some further reading material in case you are interested in the Wayland functionality of the ‘testing’ repository: README.testing.

Package download locations are:

If you are interested in the development of KDE 5 for Slackware, you can peek at my git repository too.

A new Plasma5 Live ISO image (based on liveslak-1.1.9.5) has been uploaded to http://slackware.nl/slackware-live/latest/ , in case you want to try the new Plasma5 desktop out first in a non-destructive way. And for the curious: I sneakily added a VLC 3.0 preview package to the Plasma5 Live ISO (vlc-3.0.0.rc6 to be precise). Much improved compared to the vlc-2.2.x releases!

Have fun! Eric

December packages for Slackware’s Plasma 5 – focus shift

Jingle Bells galore! I have some goodies for you, right before Christmas. If your winter holiday starts today, there’s some nice new stuff to play with – especially if you have not dared touch slackware-current until now. Perhaps it’s time to free up a partition on your hard drive now?

The KDE Applications 17.12 have been released by the KDE community. This set of KDE applications is completely free of the legacy KDE4 stuff (kdelibs4). The KDE developers have removed everything from their regular release cycles that is still based on kdelibs4 and/or unmaintained or broken anyway.

This made me consider my strategy for future upgrades in my ‘ktown’ repository. I expect that users of Slackware 14.2 are typically still using all kinds of 3rd party applications that are dependent on KDE4. If I just went ahead and removed all KDE4 support from the ‘14.2‘ section of the repository, that would likely not be received well. On the other hand, I want to go forward with Plasma 5 and make sure that the scripts and sources are in good condition to transition to Slackware-current when Pat feels the time is right. Plus, a complete removal of old KDE4 stuff needs testing too. Perhaps (small) parts of the old KDE4 should be re-added to support older applications… what do I know. For that reason I have left the ‘kdelibs‘ package in its ‘kde4’ subdirectory.

I have decided to freeze the ‘ktown’ package repository for Slackware 14.2 (for 64bit; I had already ceased 32bit updates a while ago). It will stay as-is and will not get updates anymore (unless something serious happens and a need for updates is present). From this December ’17 release onward, I will focus exclusively on Slackware-current (both 32bit and 64bit) with my Plasma 5 packages in ‘ktown‘.
The remainder of this article is perhaps only relevant if you are (or want to start) running -current.

So here we are. The December ’17 set of Plasma 5 packages for Slackware -current. My KDE-5_17.12 contains: KDE Frameworks 5.41.0, Plasma 5.11.4 and Applications 17.12.0. All based on Qt 5.9.3 and exclusive for Slackware-current.
There’s again a choice of ‘latest‘ and ‘testing‘ where the ‘testing’ repository contains 17 recompiled packages that provide a Wayland compositor stack. This means you can have a working Plasma5 Wayland session if you use ‘testing‘ as opposed to ‘latest‘.
The ‘testing‘ repository is for… testing. Do not use those packages on a production environment unless you are familiar with Slackware, debugging graphical sessions and know your way around slackpkg/slackpkg+.

What’s new in the December release

  •  Several recompiled/upgraded ‘deps’: OpenAL, PyQt5, cfitsio, ddcutil, gpgme, json-glib, libburn, libpwquality, libxkbcommon, lmdb and poppler.
  • The telepathy section of the ‘deps’ also saw several upgrades: libaccounts-glib, libaccounts-qt5, libnice, libsignon-glib, signon, signon-plugin-oauth2, signon-ui, telegram-qt, telepathy-gabble, telepathy-glib, telepathy-logger-qt5, telepathy-mission-control, telepathy-morse and telepathy-qt5.
  • The Frameworks update is a stability release, see: https://www.kde.org/announcements/kde-frameworks-5.41.0.php .
  • The Plasma updates are also a meant to be a stability update, see https://www.kde.org/announcements/plasma-5.11.4.php .
    I compiled plasma5-nm against openconnect so that it picks up support for it. However I did not add a ‘openconnect‘ package to the ‘deps’ section, you need to install it separately if you need it.
  • Applications 17.12.0 is where the hammer hits. KDE Applications 17.12 is the first release that sheds its KDE4 legacy. Any program which was not yet ported to KDE Frameworks 5 has been removed. This means that we say goodbye to the following packages:
    libkface (unmaintained), blogilo (unmaintained and broken), jovie (replaced by Qt Speech), kaccessible (superseded by Qt5 functionality), ksaneplugin (no one used it), kde-runtime (split up), kremotecontrol, kppp, kfilereplace, klinkstatus, kopete and kscd (I did not have a package for kscd anyway).
    New to the stage is ‘ksmtp’ which belongs to the KDEPIM suite (also part of Applications).
    And ‘kstars’ has moved out of Applications and into applications-extra because it no longer follows the regular release schedule. See https://www.kde.org/announcements/announce-applications-17.12.0.php .
  • In applications-extra I have added kstars (hm, I already said that). I rebuilt calligra and krita. Upgraded to a newer version are kile, kpmcore and partitionmanager. Removed is kuser because that was still KDE4 based and no longer works now.
  • I have emptied the kde/kde4 and kde/kde4-extragear subdirectories except for the ‘kdelibs’ package. The ‘oxygen-gtk2’ package has moved to ‘applications-extra’ because it may still be needed for Mozilla-based browsers (like Pale Moon).
    If you have a KDE4-based application that needs library support on this Plasma 5 desktop, let me know which of the removed packages needs to return in ‘kde/kde4’! Use the ‘ldd’ command to find what libraries you are missing.
  • The ‘kdei’ subdirectory which used to contain the localization packages, is gone. The Plasma 5 localizations are contained in the packages themselves now. This means that you can no longer selectively install just one language, or even none at all. This will increase the disk space requirements a bit.

Installing or upgrading Frameworks 5, Plasma 5 and Applications

As always, the accompanying README file contains full installation & upgrade instructions. I have some further reading material in case you are interested in the Wayland functionality of the ‘testing’ repository: README.testing.

Recommended reading material

There have been several posts now about KDE 5 for Slackware-current. All of them contain useful information, tips and gotchas. If you want to read them, here they are: http://alien.slackbook.org/blog/tag/kde5/

Where to get the new packages for Plasma 5

Package download locations are listed below (you will find the sources in ./source/latest/ and packages in /current/latest/ and /current/testing/ subdirectories). Only “bear” has the packages for now, the mirrors should follow within 24 hours. If you are interested in the development of KDE 5 for Slackware, you can peek at my git repository too.

Live ISO of PLASMA5

A new Plasma5 Live ISO image (based on liveslak-1.1.9.4) has been uploaded to http://slackware.nl/slackware-live/latest/ , in case you want to try the new Plasma5 desktop out first in a non-destructive way. Note that this ISO (contrary to last month’s ISO) does not contain Wayland support.

Have fun! Eric

Attn: bear’s Slackware 14.2 mirror (32bit) will be removed due to space constraints

I have been maintaining a mirror for the Slackware 14.2 (32bit) distribution on my ‘bear‘ server. Its URL is http://bear.alienbase.nl/mirrors/slackware/slackware-14.2/ .

Unfortunately this server runs off a SSD disk which is just 120 GB in size. It has its limits with regard to what I can store there. Lack of disk space is forcing me to remove this mirror copy of the 32bit Slackware 14.2 today. My own repositories are growing and are hungrily looking at that occupied space.
If you were mirroring from my server, you can switch to one of the other highly esteemed mirrors:

The 64bit mirror is not going to go away, I like to have a mirror of the latest stable release on ‘bear‘ (ok… only 64bit from now on). When a future Slackware 15.0 gets released, its mirror will then take the place of the 14.2 mirror on ‘bear‘.

Eric

Updates for LibreOffice and multilib, more to come

libreoffce_logoBecause of recent updates in slackware-current (in this case, the boost package) the LibreOffice in my own repository stopped working. Library conflict. Don’t you love the life on the bleeding edge 😉

By coïncidence, the Document Foundation had just released a new version of their LibreOffice sources, so instead of recompiling the old 5.4.3 packages I could grab the new 5.4.4 release and turn those sources into Slackware packages (Slackware 14.2 and -current). The next major release 6.0 is just around the corner but I am not going to wait for that.
You can get the new packages from my repository – like https://slackware.nl/people/alien/slackbuilds/libreoffice/ .

Also, I updated the multilib repository with the latest updates in slackware-current (the new l/Mako, a/lzlib and a/plzip are now also available in a “compat32” version).
Remember to also install the new packages, not just upgrade the existing ones! If you have a local mirror, that means using “upgradepkg –install-new” and if you use slackpkg with slackpkg+, you need to do “slackpkg update; slackpkg install multilib ; slackpkg upgrade-all”. That “slackpkg install multilib” takes care of installing any package you are still missing.

Work on a new Plasma5 package set is also well underway. The 64bit -current bit is done so I know I have my sources and scripts in order, and I am generating a new PLASMA5 Live ISO for testing. Stay tuned.

Hello Chromium 63 – goodbye NaCl

December usually is a busy month, with the focus at work to wrap up as much of the ongoing projects as possible and prepare for the christmas holidays. And when there’s a lot of (paid) work to do, the voluntary work gets second place. That’s why there was not really a lot of time to churn out a Chromium 63 SlackBuild script. Two weeks ago the first sources for release 63 appeared online and fixed a lot of (security) bugs. Last week saw an update and this is what I grabbed and packaged, because you can’t wait too long with addressing security issues.

Those of you who had examined my chromium-dev.SlackBuild a while ago will already know that the SlackBuild for versions beyond 63 needed a bit of re-work to cope with changes at the source level. I am glad I did that in November, as it made the transition for the stable browser much easier.

Starting with this package, I am no longer compiling (P)NaCL by default. NaCL, or the Native Client, is a way to run applications in a sandboxed browser process at near-native speed. The PNaCL binaries are platform-independent which means one executable (.pexe) can run in Chrome/Chromium browsers on all supported platforms/architectures. Google announced in May 2017 that it would stop supporting NaCL in the first quarter of 2018 in favor of WebAssembly which is a new cross-platform cross-browser solution to run high-performance applications. Both Mozilla’s and Google’s browsers already support WebAssembly, Microsoft and Apple are getting there too. You can experience an impressive WebAssembly demo here: The Zen Garden based on Epic’s Unreal Engine.

You can of course recompile the chromium package if you need NaCL. The chromium.SlackBuild script defines a variable “USE_NACL” which used to be set to “1” and now defaults to “0”. If you set it back to “1” and run the SlackBuild script, you will get your NaCL support back.

The reason that I stopped compiling NaCL support is pretty basic.
Last month it became clear to me that many Google developers are not caring about anything else than their own ecosystem. Call me naïve. The compilation issues I was experiencing with the GCC compiler were dissed with a remark that internally, Google uses a patched version of Clang which does what they need and standards-based code is not really at the top of their list. Any issues I had with gcc (along with packagers of other distros), they were not going to fix. The anticipated but unhelpful answer was to just download and use Google’s Clang binaries. But that goes completely against the idea behind my own chromium package… do not rely on the Google binaries (aka Chrome) and instead build natively on Slackware.
It forced me to find a way to compile the Chromium sources using their ‘Google hack’ of the Clang compiler.
So when helpful people at Google (they too exist of course… not all of them are so single-minded) showed me how to download the Google Clang sources, compile that first and then use those binaries to compile Chromium in turn, it dawned on me.
All this time I had been downloading and using Google binaries anyway: the (P)NaCl code is compiled using a pnacl binary toolchain which gets downloaded from Google during the compilation of the Chromium sources. That was the moment where I took the decision to stop with providing NaCL support in my package, and make sure that all the binaries I need for the chromium package are compiled natively on Slackware.

Get chromium 63 packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current: