Happy birthday Audacity: 20 years

Here is a next update for my ‘Digital Audio Workstation’ (DAW) software collection.

Today, 28th of May 2020, the Audacity multi-track audio recorder turns 20 years old! This is a nice moment to also release the Slackware packages (only targeting -current, sorry) for their latest and greatest, Audacity 2.4.1 which was released a week ago as a quick bug-fix to the long-awaited 2.4.0.

Along with this new Audacity release, I also have new packages for wxGTK3 (3.0.5.1) which you’ll need for Audacity to show its graphical user interface:

Get the packages here and note that you will also need to install jack2, ladspa_sdk and vamp-plugin-sdk packages: http://www.slackware.com/~alien/slackbuilds/(rsync://slackware.nl/mirrors/people/alien/slackbuilds/)

Have fun! Eric

Plasma5 for Slackware: KDE 5_20.05. Also, new Ardour 6.0

Some updates to share with you regarding Slackware software packages.

A new batch of Plasma5 packages for Slackware-current is available now. The KDE-5_20.05 release is also the last monthly update you’ll see from me for a while in my ‘ktown‘ repository. I expect Pat to add Plasma5 to Slackware-current, but I am done waiting and have an urgent need to dedicate my spare time to other matters. With PAM finally added to the core distro, there should no longer be a showstopper for getting rid of KDE4 and replacing it with Plasma5.

And remember, these packages will not work on Slackware 14.2. Along with adding the May batch for -current, I have removed the old (KDE 5_17.11) Plasma5 packages that were still in my ‘ktown’ repository for Slackware 14.2. They have been un-maintained for two and a half years, who knows what security issues they cause. If you really want or need Plasma5, migrate to Slackware-current please.

This May ktown release contains the KDE Frameworks 5.70.0, Plasma 5.18.5 and Applications 20.04.1. All this on top of Qt 5.13.2 that is in Slackware-current. Check the README for installation & upgrade instructions if you are new to this.

Deps:
I added the package libqalculate which enables interactive graph plotting capability in krunner, and recompiled speech-dispatcher to properly install the info files.

Frameworks:
Frameworks 5.70.0 is an incremental stability release, see: https://www.kde.org/announcements/kde-frameworks-5.70.0.php.

Plasma:
Plasma 5.18.5 is the final incremental release of 5.18 LTS (Long Term Support) before 5.19.x becomes available. I do not know if Pat wants to stick with 5.18 for a while or go ahead with 5.19, I hope he will leave the LTS release behind. See https://www.kde.org/announcements/plasma-5.18.0.php for the full announcement including several video’s portraying the strong points of KDE’s desktop environment and https://www.kde.org/announcements/plasma-5.18.5.php for information on these latest updates.

Plasma-extra;
In plasma-extra I recompiled sddm-qt5 to give it an updated set of PAM configurations. Root can now login to SDDM, some people thought that should be allowed, and so be it.

Applications;
Applications 20.04.1 is an incremental bug fix release, see also https://kde.org/announcements/releases/2020-05-apps-update/

Applications-extra:
In applications-extra I recompiled krita against the new boost libraries, updated calligra, kdevelop, kdev-php, kdev-python and kstars, okteta and added a new package: kid3, which is an audio file tagger.

Telepathy:
KDE Telepathy is no longer part of my ‘ktown’ distribution of KDE Plasma5.

Where to get KDE Plasma5 for Slackware

Download the KDE-5_20.05 from the usual location at https://slackware.nl/alien-kde/current/ or one of its mirrors like http://slackware.uk/people/alien-kde/current/ .
Check out the README file in the root of the repository for detailed installation or upgrade instructions.

Development of Plasma5 is tracked in git: https://git.slackware.nl/ktown/ .

A new Plasma5 Live ISO will be available soon at https://slackware.nl/slackware-live/latest/ (rsync://slackware.nl/mirrors/slackware-live/latest/) with user/pass being “live/live” as always.

DAW

I am regularly updating packages that are part of my ‘Digital Audio Workstation’ (DAW) collection.
And today I was able to add a new release of Ardour . After a long development process, there’s finally a jump from version 5 to 6!
Ardour is a professional-grade cross-platform DAW, and among the new features in version 6 are:

  • Full latency compensation
  • New high quality resampling engine at its core
  • Cue monitoring
  • Much better MIDI workflow
  • Improved plugin management
  • Pulseaudio output (useful for mixing/arranging using bluetooth speakers/headset)
  • ARM (Raspberry Pi) binaries available
  • A virtual MIDI keyboard was added

Let me know what you think of this new Ardour and its Slackware package. Is anything missing? Are you happy?

Have fun! Eric

Libre Office 6.4.4 packages available for slackware-current

The Document Foundation released the latest version of LibreOffice (6.4.4) yesterday, and I compiled a set of packages for Slackware -current. Unfortunately Slackware 14.2 is stuck at LibreOffice 6.2.x because newer source releases can not compile against the old libraries of our stable platform anymore).
Get the packages – as usual – from my own server or one of its mirrors; https://slackware.nl/people/alien/slackbuilds/libreoffice/ (rsync://slackware.nl/mirrors/people/alien/slackbuilds/libreoffice/) or https://slackware.uk/people/alien/slackbuilds/libreoffice/ (rsync://slackware.uk/people/alien/slackbuilds/libreoffice/)

I will repeat my message from earlier posts about using my LibreOffice on Slackware: among the packages for LibreOffice that are targeting Slackware-current, you will find a “libreoffice-kde-integration” package which adds Qt5 and KDE5 (aka Plasma5) support to the LibreOffice suite.
If you run Slackware-current but do not have KDE5 packages installed at all, don’t worry. LibreOffice will work great – the KDE integration package just will not add anything useful for you. On the other hand, if you have Plasma5 installed you will benefit from native file selection dialog windows and other integration features. And even if you do not have Plasma5 but you do have Qt5 installed, then you will be able to run LibreOffice with Qt5 User Interface elements instead of defaulting to GTK3.
Note that the libreoffice package installs a profile script for bash and csh compatible shells into /etc/profile.d/ which you can edit to force a particular widget set for the LibreOffice User Interface if you are not happy with the default choice LibreOffice makes.

If you want to compile LibreOffice 6.4.4 packages yourself using my SlackBuild script, then be aware that by default the KDE5 support is disabled. This will of course change when KDE Plasma5 becomes part of Slackware. You will have to set the value of the script parameter “ADD_KDE5” to “YES” for now. Additionally you will have to install the packages that this functionality depends on otherwise the compilation will fail.
Read the ‘README.kde5‘ file in the source directory for the list of packages you’ll need. All of the required packages can be  found in my ‘ktown’ repository: https://slackware.nl/alien-kde/current/latest/

Enjoy! Eric

Chromium 83 – packages for Slackware, news about Widevine plugin

chromium_iconThe COVID-19 crisis caused Google to change its release calendar for the Chromium browser sources, and they decided to skip the 82 release altogether, in order to focus on keeping the 81.x versions as safe as possible while working on their upcoming 83 release.
And so this week, Chromium 83.0.4103.61 was introduced to the “Stable Channel” with lots of bugs fixed, of which 38 are security fixes. There’s also a lot of new and improved features which are introduced in this release but it seems that many of those are only available in Google’s official Chrome binaries.
One of the notable changes for Chromium users (as opposed to Google Chrome users for which it has always worked this way) is that the Widevine content decryption module is now an official component of the browser. Like with Mozilla Firefox, the Chromium browser will now automatically download the Widevine library into your personal profile and enable access to DRM-protected content. In the URL “chrome://components/” you’ll see Widevine listed as a component, displaying its current version and a “Check for update” button.

Slackware packages for Chromium 83.0.4103.61 are in my package repository already. They are available as 32bit and 64bit versions for both Slackware 14.2 and -current.

Note that because of the changed status of Widevine, a separate “chromium-widevine-plugin” package containing the Widevine DRM library is no longer required. However…
It seems that there is an issue with the online availability of a 32bit Widevine library of the version that Chromium tries to download. As long as that is not fixed and only if you are using the 32bit Chromium browser, keep using my “chromium-widevine-plugin” please.

You can test whether Widevine works on https://bitmovin.com/demos/drm and validating that the page says “Detected using Widevine” and not “Detected NO DRM“). If you can not immediately get Widevine to work with your 32-bit browser, check that the content of the file in your Chromium profile “${HOME}/ .config/chromium/WidevineCdm/latest-component-updated-widevine-cdm” points to the installed location of the chromium-widevine package, like this:

alien@darkstar:~/.config/chromium/WidevineCdm$ cat latest-component-updated-widevine-cdm 
{"Path":"/usr/lib/chromium/WidevineCdm"}

In the profile of a 64-bit browser you will see instead something like this:

alien@darkstar:~/.config/chromium/WidevineCdm$ cat latest-component-updated-widevine-cdm 
{"Path":"/home/alien/.config/chromium/WidevineCdm/4.10.1610.0"}

For newcomers: Widevine is a Content Decryption Module (CDM) used by companies like Netflix and Disney+ to stream video to your computer in a Chromium browser window.

Also note (to the purists among you): even though support for Widevine CDM plugin has been built into my chromium package, that package is still built from Open Source software only. If you do not want theWidevine DRM library to be downloaded at all, you will have to recompile the chromium package after setting “USE_CDM=0” in the chromium.SlackBuild script. This can not be disabled at run-time.

Chromium packages: https://slackware.nl/people/alien/slackbuilds/chromium/ (rsync://slackware.nl/mirrors/people/alien/slackbuilds/chromium/)
Widevine packages: https://slackware.nl/people/alien/slackbuilds/chromium-widevine-plugin/ (rsync://slackware.nl/mirrors/people/alien/slackbuilds/chromium-widevine-plugin/)

Slackware introduces PAM into its core

Remember the date! On May 18th of 2020, PAM got added to the Slackware-current core. In case that makes you worry, wonder or causes you to ponder leaving Slackware behind, don’t let this change scare you. PAM has come a long way, it is safe and in Slackware, it is not getting in your way. You won’t have to change a single thing to your computer except installing three new packages (slackpkg install-new) before you reboot. Adding PAM should finally remove the self-imposed writer’s block in Patrick’s mind and open the path to long-awaited renewals in the KDE and XFCE areas.
Ever since these packages were added to /testing, I have been using PAM on my own desktop and laptop, both running Slackware64-current with KDE Plasma5 on top, and the desktop computer also running on Nvidia’s binary drivers. Not a single issue was found here.
Read the announcement:

Mon May 18 19:17:21 UTC 2020
Greetings! After three months in /testing, the PAM merge into the main tree
is now complete. When updating, be sure to install the new pam, cracklib, and
libpwquality packages or you may find yourself locked out of your machine.
Otherwise, these changes should be completely transparent and you shouldn’t
notice any obvious operational differences. Be careful if you make any changes
in /etc/pam.d/ – leaving an extra console logged in while testing PAM config
changes is a recommended standard procedure. Thanks again to Robby Workman,
Vincent Batts, Phantom X, and ivandi for help implementing this. It’s not
done yet and there will be more fine-tuning of the config files, but now we
can move on to build some other updates. Enjoy!

I have already updated my own repositories that are touched by PAM:

  • KTOWN
    The ‘latest’ and ‘testing’ repositories are now identical and contain the PAM-ified packages.
    It won’t matter which of the two you had configured, you’ll get the PAM-fied packages regardless. If you already were using the PAM from Slackware’s testing combined with my ktown ‘testing’ repository, then there’s nothing you have to change.
    If you did not use PAM before, you will have to do a reinstall of the following ‘ktown’ packages which are the only ones that want to use PAM: kscreenlocker, plasma-workspace and sddm-qt5. And don’t forget to install the new kwallet-pam package.
  • MULTILIB
    I have added ‘compat32’ versions of cracklib, libpwquality and pam, the three packages that got added to Slackware-current today.

And for completeness’ sake, I have also updated the “icu4c-compat” package in my regular repository, just like I did for “boost-compat” last week. Note that these two “compat” packages have no relation to the multilib “compat32” packages!
The boost-compat, icu4c-compat and poppler-compat packages in my regular repository contain older versions of the boost/icu4c/poppler libraries and some of your 3rd party packages (libreoffice!!!) may still need them until their packager does a recompile.

Enjoy! Eric