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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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October 2015
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RSS Alien's Slackware packages

RSS Alien's unofficial KDE Slackware packages

RSS Alien's multilib packages


Handbrake 0.10.2 (but only for slackware-current)

handbrake_logo Nearly a year after my rant about Handbrake’s switch from GTK+2 to a bleeding edge version of GTK+3, I am about to give up on my attempts to build the required GTK+3 static libraries into the handbrake package. Unlike the situation with applications that use Qt or WxWidgets for their GUI, creating a private run-time for GTK is like wading through the pools of hell. GTK wants caches, configuration files and stuff all over the place. My handbrake with private GTK+3 crashes because it might still be trying to use the older GTK+3 libraries on my Slackware 14.1 computer.

So I said to myself: “fuck it” and build Handbrake 0.10.2 for Slackware-current exclusively. The development version of Slackware does have a GTK+3 which is contemporary enough and with some tweaks, I was able to compile a (hopefully) working handbrake GUI.


It is of course possible to compile the commandline version of Handbrake on Slackware 14.1 because that does not require GTK+3 as a dependency. Come to think of it, perhaps I should adapt the handbrake.SlackBuild with a switch parameter that will allow you to skip the “ghb” GUI program and only compile “HandBrakeCLI“.

I wonder if anyone will step up and write a Qt-based wrapper about the HandBrakeCLI program. That would be really welcome, because I do not think that the Handbrake developers will ever produce a Qt based GUI variant. They attempted that once if I remember correctly, but nothing good came from that.

When I have some spare time I will prod further at getting Handbrake to use a private GTK+3 run-time, but don’t hold your breath. I have a program that compiled with zero errors, but it crashes on the GTK component libraries. I am not sure if I ever find out how to overcome that… I am not aware of anyone else ever successfully creating a GTK+3 based GUI program on Linux that used its own private library versions.

Anyway, have fun with handbrake if you are running Slackware-current.

You can get the package from my “restricted” repository. The package contains software which is under patent dispute (the MP3 and AAC audio encoders) so I can not host the package on the Slackware server.


Update for VeraCrypt, new flaws in TrueCrypt

veraCrypt Recently TrueCrypt has been in the news again, because of a couple of new critical security issues that were found for its Windows version. You can read more in these articles at Engadget, Threatpost and  Extremetech. Windows computers with TrueCrypt installed can be taken over completely by a non-privileged user, and the computer does not even have to have mounted any TrueCrypt container.

These recently uncovered flaws were not found in last year’s code audit of TrueCrypt sources. Apparently this omission is due to the complexity of Windows drivers and “the kind of vulnerabilities that exist in many software on Windows and they are caused by lack of proper parameter validation in kernel mode code” according to Mounir Idrassi (VeraCrypt developer) in Threatpost.

Despite the fact that these new vulnerabilities are not affecting Linux, it is highly unwise to keep using TrueCrypt on Linux. The code is no longer maintained, it already has security issues and good alternatives exist.

The aforementioned VeraCrypt is a fork of the TrueCrypt code which is actively maintained, and the recent flaws found (to be disclosed next week) in TrueCrypt have already been patched in VeraCrypt 1.15 last weekend.

VeraCrypt is a drop-in replacement for TrueCrypt if you let it handle your encrypted container in “truecrypt mode”:

veracryptI have built new packages for VeraCrypt 1.15, updating it from the previous 1.13 which I had in my repository. You can get the packages (for Slackware versions 13.37 and newer) here: or at its primary mirror location

Users of slackpkg+ merely have to run “slackpkg update && slackpkg upgrade veracrypt“, assuming that the repository mirror you are using is up to date.

Cheers! Eric


Update for Chromium 45

chromium_iconGoogle updated their Chrome/Chromium with mention of some security fixes. I had to finish compiling LibreOffice first, and also it takes a while for the official chromium source tarball to appear on Google’s servers. But the weekend started uneventful so it was easy to build you some new packages for the chromium browser inbetween baking some tasty sourdough bread. Accompanied by packages for the widevine plugin (a closed-source non-free plugin which allows you to watch Netflix in particular).

The security fixes in chromium 45.0.2454.101 have CVE numbers:

  • [$TBD][530301] High CVE-2015-1303: Cross-origin bypass in DOM. Credit to Mariusz Mlynski.
  • [$TBD][531891] High CVE-2015-1304: Cross-origin bypass in V8. Credit to Mariusz Mlynski.

Get my chromium (and widevine plugin) packages in one of the usual locations:

Have fun! Eric

LibreOffice 5.0.2 and Calibre 2.39.0 packaged

libreoffce_logoThe Document Foundation announced version 5.0.2 of their free Office Suite a few days ago. LibreOffice 5.0.2 is the second update to the “5” major release. Again this is a bugfix release for Linux, no new functionality has been added. According to the Document Foundation “LibreOffice 5.0.2 is targeted to technology enthusiasts, early adopters and power users. For more conservative users, and for enterprise deployments, TDF suggests the “still” version: LibreOffice 4.4.5“.

The new LibreOffice 5.0.2 packages have been compiled for users of Slackware-current only – after all, you are the power users of Slackware. I offer 4.4.5 packages for Slackware 14.1 where a wee bit more conservatism is a good thing. The 4.4.5 packages should also work on -current, but I have not tested that.


There was a bug report in the comments section of my previous LibreOffice blog post: audio and video files embedded in presentations suffer from delays when opened. This appears to happen in all builds of LibreOffice that use gstreamer-1.x (like my LibreOffice 5 packages) whereas the bug does not appear when LibreOffice has been configured to use gstreamer-0.x (like my LibreOffice 4 packages). The bug has been reported over a year ago, but it does not show a lot of movement.

I decided to stick with gstreamer-1.x, to see if the new release is still affected. Let me know! If the bug still shows, I will compile LO 5.0.3 against gstreamer-0.x again.

For download locations, see below.

calibreicoAlso, I released packages for the latest version of Calibre. I quit following the weekly Calibre update cycle, and at some point noticed that the Calibre developer himself also switched from weekly updates to bi-weeklies.

Calibre 2.x uses Qt5 for its GUI so you’ll have to install a couple of dependencies as well: qt5 of course, and podofo. The remainder of the dependencies (several python libraries) has been built into the package so that they do not have to be installed separately. Available for both Slackware 14.1 and Slackware-current, you can grab the calibre package off  the Slackware server or any other mirror that carries my repository:

Cheers! Eric

New cats in the house

Sometimes you just need to take action. P1010520_medium

We have two new cats in the house. More than four months after our last cat died at a respectable age of almost 19 years, the family decided that the house was too empty and cats had to be part of our life.
Our options were: getting two kittens from the animal shelter; or obtaining older cats from people who could no longer keep theirs.
P1010524_mediumEventually, we found two half-brothers, Holy Birmans just like the two we have had for such a long time.

What a difference between our slender girls of old, and these two massive males!

They will have to socialize for a couple of weeks, getting used to their new home after having lived with their original owners for 8 years. One of the two (Levi) has made the mental switch already. He purrs, eats and drinks, and comes to us for attention. The other one (the dominant male, Shinzo) is still hiding beneath the couch or behind the curtains, refuses to eat and drink (at least as far as we can observe… at night he does probably eat). Or else he hides on a window sill where he is meowing at the chickens outside, and all the birds visiting our bird-food station. But I fear that we will never see him back if he escapes to the garden. It will take time to let him get used to the new house and the new humans. He is a shrewd cat though… my son left the livingroom door to the rest of the house open for only a short while and the cat took that opportunity to disappear into the house. It took us nearly an hour to locate him and draw him out of hiding… in the attic below a pile of furniture parts.

They are adorable though, and sweet. All will be fine in the end.