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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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March 2017
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For your Slackware-current: KDE 5_17.03 with lots of goodies

Those of you who follow my repository RSS feeds have already noticed, but many people rely on the announcements I make on this blog (plus, I can give a lot more detail here).
I uploaded the packages for the March 2017 release of my ‘ktown’ repository: KDE 5_17.03. Actually, there is a lot of interesting stuff going on in this release, because I decided to do some things that were on my TODO for a long while. Read more about that below in the “NEWS” section.
What you get in this new release is: KDE Frameworks 5.32.0, Plasma 5.9.3 and Applications 16.12.3. All of this is still built on top of Qt 5.7.1.
This Plasma 5 release targets only Slackware-current for the moment, because of the PLASMA5 Live that I release in parallel. But packages for Slackware 14.2 (only 64bit) are already being compiled at the moment, so updates will be visible in my 14.2 repository in a couple of days at most.
NOTE: I will no longer be releasing Plasma 5 packages for 32bit Slackware 14.2.

What’s new in KDE 5_17.03?

  • Let’s start with the ‘deps’ section this time as there are some interesting updates to be checked out. You will find two upgraded packages: phonon-vlc and qca-qt5. Also six entirely new ones to support digikam and kdenlive: lensfun, opencv, frei0r-plugins, vid.stab, dvdauthor and mlt. You may already have one or more of these installed from SBo, so make sure to upgrade to my ‘ktown‘ versions to prevent breakage in digikam and kdenlive. Notably, the SBo version of my ‘frei0r-plugins‘ package is called ‘frei0r‘.
    The two packages that required the addition of these new dependencies: ‘digikam‘ (in kde/applications-extra) and ‘kdenlive‘ (in kde/applications) were on my TODO for a long time, but they depended on ffmpeg (amongst others) and although I have been adding many dependency packages to ‘ktown’, a ffmpeg package was one bridge too far. Now that Slackware (in the -current development tree) finally has its own ‘ffmpeg’ package, I decided to go ahead and investigate what else was required to finally add digikam/kdenlive.
  • Frameworks 5.32.0 is an enhancement release. See
  • Plasma 5.9.3 is the third iteration of the 5.9 series with small fixes only. See . I am not sticking with the long term support (LTS) releases of Plasma 5.8, as I think LTS should be targeting stable Slackware. If you want to know more about the long term support plans, go read: .
    My observations about Plasma 5.9:

    • Along with Plasma 5.9 a new network configurator was added to System Settings. The NetworkManager-openvpn plugin package I added to my regular repository and which I also added to the PLASMA5 Live Edition, allows you to define new OpenVPN connections in this Plasma network configurator. Unfortunately, when choosing “import existing vpn configuration” the editor always crashes the very moment I click on a openvpn configuration file. I can however create the desired VPN configuration using the GTK based “nm-connection-editor” instead. Afterwards, this new VPN definition is visible and usable in the Plasma 5. But I really would like the Plasma editor to work too. A bug report which I opened could not be confirmed  by the developer because he can not reproduce it – apparently the cause is something in Slackware, or in my packages.
  • Applications 16.12.3 is an incremental fix-release in the 16.12 series. See . I was finally able to compile the ‘libkface‘ and ‘kdenlive‘ packages now that their dependencies have been fulfilled. Kdenlive is a (free and powerful) non-linear video editor and having this in Slackware’s Plasma 5 is an exciting enhancement.
  • Applications-extra contains two new packages: ‘digikam‘ and ‘krusader‘. Krusader is a KF5-based advanced twin panel (commander style) file manager with lots of data manipulation tools. I added this one on request of one of my readers. And Digikam is the well-known photo management suite for KDE. Its KF5 port needed some dependencies which I finally fulfilled so I could add it to my repository. And glad about that, too. Years ago I ranted about how the digikam developers made it impossible for packagers to fulfill the program’s dependencies on a stable platform like Slackware and at that time I made the decision to stop making packages for it out of sheer frustration at the lack of answers.
    I have also added a beta release of k3b (now finally a KF5 port) which will see its first new official release as part of Applications 17.04 next month. Lastly I upgraded the kdevelop related packages.
  • In plasma-extra I rebuilt the sddm-qt5 package, enabling the dutch translation and making sure that SDDM picks up your $LANG settings.
  • Also worth mentioning: with every release of Plasma and Applications, the Qt4 legacy becomes smaller. Only a limited amount of qt4/kdelibs4 packages remains. And KF5 ports of k3b, calligra, krita, ktorrent, partitionmanager, skanlite and the KDE Development Suite can be found in the “kde/applications-extra” subdirectory.

This upgrade should be relatively straightforward if you already have Plasma 5 installed. See below for install/upgrade instructions. For users who are running slackware-current, the most crucial part is making sure that you end up with Slackware’s packages for ‘libinput‘ and ‘libwacom‘. I had those two packages in the ‘current’ section of my repository for a while (they are still part of the ‘14.2’ section) but Slackware added them to the core OS. Failing to install the correct (i.e. Slackware) packages, may render your input devices (mouse and keyboard) inoperative in X.Org.

You may want to check out the new Plasma 5 before installing. For this purpose, I have generated a new Live ISO for the PLASMA5 variant. Look for that ISO on .

Non-ktown packages you probably want anyway

There are a couple of *runtime* dependencies that I did not add to the ‘ktown’ repository, but you may want to consider installing them yourself because they enable functionality in Plasma 5 that you would otherwise miss:

  • vlc – will give phonon another backend to select from.
  • python-twisted – required by kajongg to start & run.
  • freerdp: access RDP servers through krdc.

All of the above can be found in my regular package repository.

In order for kdenlive to reach its full potential, you might want to consider replacing Slackware’s ‘ffmpeg‘ package by my version with extended functionality: more supported codecs including AAC, MP3 and H.264 encoders.

Multilib considerations

If you install a 32bit program on a 64bit Slackware computer with multilib and that program needs legacy system tray support (think of Skype for instance), you will have to grab the 32-bit version of Slackware’s ‘libdbusmenu-qt’ and my ktown-deps package ‘sni-qt’, and run the ‘convertpkg-compat32 -i‘ command on them to create ‘compat32’ versions of these packages. Then install both ‘libdbusmenu-qt-compat32‘ and ‘sni-qt-compat32‘.
Those two are mandatory addons for displaying system tray icons of 32bit binaries in 64bit multilib Plasma5.

Installing or upgrading Frameworks 5, Plasma 5 and Applications

You can skip the remainder of the article if you already have my Plasma 5 installed and are familiar with the upgrade process. Otherwise, stay with me and read the rest.

As always, the accompanying README file contains full installation & upgrade instructions. Note that the packages are available in several subdirectories below “kde”, instead of directly in “kde”. This makes it easier for me to do partial updates of packages. The subdirectories are “kde4“, “kde4-extragear“, “frameworks“, “kdepim“, “plasma“, “plasma-extra“, “applications“, “applications-extra” and “telepathy“.

Upgrading to this KDE 5 is not difficult, especially if you already are running KDE 5_17.02. You will have to remove old KDE 4 packages manually. If you do not have KDE 4 installed at all, you will have to install some of Slackware’s own KDE 4 packages manually.

What I usually do is: download all the ‘ktown’ packages for the new release to a local disk. Then run “upgrade –install-new” on all these packages. Then I check the status of my Slackware-current, upgrading the stock packages where needed. The slackpkg tool is invaluable during this process of syncing the package installation status to the releases.


If you are using slackpkg+, have already moved to KDE 5_17.02 and are adventurous, you can try upgrading using the following set of commands. This should “mostly” work but you still need to check the package lists displayed by slackpkg to verify that you are upgrading all the right packages. Feel free to send me improved instructions if needed. In below example I am assuming that you tagged my KDE 5 repository with the name “ktown” in the configuration file “/etc/slackpkg/slackpkgplus.conf“):
# slackpkg update
# slackpkg install ktown (to get the newly added packages from my repo)
# slackpkg install-new (to get the new official Slackware packages that were part of my deps previously)
# slackpkg upgrade ktown (upgrade all existing packages to their latest versions)
# slackpkg upgrade-all (upgrade the remaining dependencies that were part of my repo previously)

And doublecheck that you have not inadvertently blacklisted my packages in “/etc/slackpkg/blacklist“! Check for the existence of a line in that blacklist file that looks like “[0-9]+alien” and remove it if you find it!

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:

A note on Frameworks

The KDE Frameworks are extensions on top of Qt 5.x and their usability is not limited to the KDE Software Collection. There are other projects such as LXQT which rely (in part) on the KDE Frameworks, and if you are looking for a proper Frameworks repository which is compatible with Slackware package managers such as slackpkg+, then you can use these URL’s to assure yourself of the latest Frameworks packages for Slackware-current (indeed, this is a sub-tree of my KDE 5 repository):

The same goes for Frameworks for Slackware 14.2 (change ‘current’ to ‘14.2’ in the above URLs).

Where to get the new packages for Plasma 5

Download locations are listed below (you will find the sources in ./source/5/ and packages in /current/5/ and  /14.2/5/ subdirectories). If you are interested in the development of KDE 5 for Slackware, you can peek at my git repository too.

Using a mirror is preferred because you get more bandwidth from a mirror and it’s friendlier to the owners of the master server!

Have fun! Eric

Last week’s package harvest and more

Last week I made my build server at home churn through a lot of packages, let me summarize what became available recently in my slackbuilds repository:

  • I added ‘NetworkManager-openvpn‘ which is a plugin for NM adding support for OpenVPN connections. I needed this for myself since I recently started using the services of Private Internet Access (PIA). All I needed in addition was the ZIP file with OpenVPN configurations. If you need more instructions about how to setup the PIA VPN let me know and I will wrote some more about that. I also added this plugin to my PLASMA5 Live Edition.
  • I upgraded ‘Handbrake‘ to 1.0.3 which also fixed the libvpx library error on -current.
  • I updated the Flash Player plugins for Mozilla and Chromium browsers to (this is a security update).
  • I updated Chromium and its Widevine plugin to 57.0.2987.98. There is a slightly newer release out already but that will have to wait a bit.
  • I updated LibreOffice to 5.3.1 (packages for -current only but I will build them for 14.2 too).

I did more than that; I also updated the front page of my ‘bear’ server with the information that you can access it over secure HTTP (https), and added a link to my post about the CACert issue with Mozilla and Google browsers. Furthermore I added more detail about the dynamically generated ISOs for Slackware-current (the installation DVD and the Live Edition).

I will spend my next post writing about the new KDE 5_17.03 edition which I uploaded to my ‘ktown’ repository, but let me mention here that I already uploaded a new PLASMA5 variant of the Slackware Live Edition which contains a “work in progress” version of this new Plasma 5 release (work in progress because I decided to add more packages later). I did not mention that in any previous post.
Along with that Plasma 5 Live ISO I also uploaded a variant containing the very fresh MATE 1.18 (thanks to Willy for providing me with the tried & tested packages). So there is enough to play with 🙂
I am actually considering a new spin of the PLASMA5 Live ISO because it allows me to offer the complete KDE-5_17.03 including the Kdenlive non-linear video editor in the Live OS, along with the latest LibreOffice.

Enough for now, check out my follow-up post for the news about my new Plasma 5 ‘ktown’ release.

Have fun! Eric

Adding CACert root certificates to your Slackware

Long before the “letsencrypt” initiative, we already had another free and open Certificate Authority, called CACert is community driven, and uses ‘assurers’ who personally verify users’ identities, thereby building a “web of trust”. Unfortunately, the big players on the Internet (Google, Mozilla, Microsoft) have always refused to accept and incorporate the CACert root certificate into their browsers. Instead, after many years of imploring these companies to add CACert as a trusted Certificate Authority without any success, they spat in the face of the community and launched their own alternative for free SSL certificates: letsencrypt.

And therefore, even today, a site that uses a CACert-issued SSL certificate is flagged by browsers as untrustworthy. In my opinion. this refusal to accept a community-driven security initiative is nothing short of bullying.

My own server,, uses a CACert-issued certificate. Folks, it is secure to use https on it! Even when Chrome or Firefox says it is not. So, how to fix that bogus warning message?
For Firefox, just add an exception for the SSL certificate. For Chrome and for the OS in general: import the CACert certificates as follows:

Add the CACert root and class3 certificates to your Linux system. As the root user you download the two .crt files, copy them to /etc/ssl/certs and generate openssl hashes (I used backslashes to indicate that some lines are wrapping because the text would otherwise not be visible on this page):

# cd /tmp
# mkdir CACert
# cd CACert/
# wget -O cacert-root.crt
# wget -O cacert-class3.crt
# cp -ia cacert-*.crt /etc/ssl/certs/
# cd /etc/ssl/certs/
# ln -s cacert-root.crt \
   `openssl x509 -noout -hash -in cacert-root.crt`.0
# ln -s cacert-class3.crt \
   `openssl x509 -noout -hash -in cacert-class3.crt`.0

Then add the CACert root certificate to your Chromium browser. Do the following as your regular user account in addition to the steps you just took under the root account (see also

$ cd /tmp/CACert/
$ certutil -d sql:$HOME/.pki/nssdb \
   -A -t TC -n "" -i cacert-root.crt
$ certutil -d sql:$HOME/.pki/nssdb \
   -A -t TC -n " Class 3" -i cacert-class3.crt

And you’ll end up with a trusted site next time you visit my ‘bear’ server:

I added Chromium 56 for Slackware 14.1 with a caveat

chromium_iconA while ago, Chromium 56 ‘stable’ was released. It took a while for me to release Slackware 14.1 packages because of a crash bug in XFCE (and probably other non-KDE desktops too). I have been trying to find ways around the crash and been looking for patches, but there does not seem to be a solution for Slackware 14.1 other than working around it and losing some functionality.

So, what’s the issue?

Chrome/Chromium can optionally store credentials (user accounts, passwords) that you type in to access online secure web sites. The Password Store is a sqlite database. On Linux, its location is “~/.config/chromium/Default/Login Data” for Chromium and  “~/.config/google-chrome/Default/Login Data” for Chrome.
Chromium/Chrome on Linux wants to store your online credentials in a safe way, but it does not have the code itself to encrypt its own Password Store. Instead, it tries to rely on the availability of an external encryption provider. On KDE desktop environment, it will use the KDE Wallet system, while on other desktops it will try to use Gnome Keyring. If none of these are found, then Chrome/Chromium will fall back to storing unencrypted passwords in the above sqlite file.

Coming back to Slackware 14.1: there is a bug in it – probably in glib2 because that is where the segmentation faults are reported – which prevents recent versions of Chromium from using the Gnome Keyring. Within seconds of accessing the first web page in Chromium on Slackware 14.1, the browser will crash if you are running XFCE or some other non-KDE desktop. Note that you can use Chromium just fine in KDE on Slackware 14.1!

This issue does not exist in Slackware 14.2 or -current, probably because all the package updates between 14.1 and 14.2 solved the underlying issue. Therefore this bug is not something that will be solved in the chromium code by reporting it to Google… it is a OS related bug.

This means, if you are running XFCE you have to prevent Chromium from trying to use gnome-keyring. I tried to enforce the use of kwallet when running XFCE but that did not work, so you need to entirely disable the use of an encryption provider by adding the parameter “–password-store=basic” to the chromium commandline. The consequence will be that your online passwords will be stored unencrypted and anyone who gets hold of a copy of that sqlite file, will be able to extract all your credentials.

So here are some strategies for working with Chromium and not get bitten by the gnome-keyring induced crashes and keep your passwords safely encrypted:

  1. Encrypt your homedirectory or even your complete filesystem. With your files encrypted (using a password only you know) you reduce the risk of having Chromium store your credentials in plain-text in a sqlite file.
    Disk encryption using LUKS is something which Slackware supports during the installation. Full disk encryption is always recommended if you are using a laptop.
    If you did not opt for disk encryption during installation, but you still have more free disk space available than your /home directory tree is currently using, then you can create a new – encrypted – /home and move your existing data in there. This is an exercise that requires knowledge about cryptsetup and goes beyond the scope of this blog post.
  2. Switch to KDE. The kwallet storage is encrypted and it will not crash chromium like gnome-keyring does.
  3. Upgrade to Slackware 14.2. The gnome-keyring of this version of Slackware (and newer) will not crash chromium , so you can encrypt your online credentials in XFCE too.

And here is a chromium configuration file for Slackware 14.1 which will detect your Desktop Environment and will automatically add the parameter “–password-store=basic” to Chromium’s commandline for you if you are not using KDE. Copy the text below into a file called (for instance): “/etc/chromium/10-passwordstore.conf”:

# Use the basic (un-encrypted) password store,
# unless we are running KDE:
if [ ! "$XDG_SESSION_DESKTOP" = "KDE" ]; then
 CHROMIUM_FLAGS="$CHROMIUM_FLAGS --password-store=basic"

Encrypting the passwords of your online identities will not make you 100% safe of course… even when your passwords are encrypted, Chrome/Chromium will make them plainly visible inside a browser window, by visiting the URL chrome://settings/passwords .

Note 1: The Windows version of Chrome encrypts the passwords it stores in “%UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Login Data” because it makes use of a Windows API which requires the logged-in user’s password for the decryption.

Note 2: When you use the browser’s sync feature to store a copy of your online credentials in your Google Account, then those copies will be encrypted with your sync password, that only you know.


Download the Chromium packages for Slackware 14.1 (they were already available for 14.2 and -current for some time) from a mirror like these:

Have fun! Eric

New Slackware PLASMA5 Live ISO (with Plasma 5.9)

blueSW-64pxTo conclude this week’s batch of updates in my repositories I have re-generated the ISO for PLASMA5 Slackware Live Edition – it is based on liveslak and using Slackware-current dated “Mon Feb 13 06:21:22 UTC 2017“.

If you already use PLASMA5 Live on a USB stick that you do not want to re-format, you should use the “-r” parameter to the “” script. The “-r” or refresh parameter allows you to refresh the liveslak files on your USB stick without touching your custom content.

What to expect from the PLASMA5 ISO


This ISO is a showcase for the latest Plasma 5 release “KDE-5_17.02” as found in my ktown repository and in particular the new Plasma 5.9 with lots of improvements – plainly visible as well as under the hood. Read my previous post about the new Plasma 5 if you are interested. Now that I have Plasma 5.9 I was able to move the Slackware entry on significantly upwards.
The recently released LibreOffice 5.3.0 was added to this ISO as well. See my recent post about this 5.3.0 release.
A ffmpeg package with version 3.2.4 from my restricted repository (i.e. including mp3 and aac encoders) is also bundled with the ISO. It replaces the ffmpeg-3.2.3 package which is part of the Slackware core. This should not cause issues but please let me know if some Slackware program stopped working because of it.
The rest of my bunch of packages from my regular repository is again present: chromium (with the latest flash and widevine plugins), vlc, veracrypt, qbittorrent, openjdk, handbrake, dropbox-client, calibre and more.
This ISO also contains the LXQT and Lumina Desktop Environments. Both are light-weight DE’s based on Qt5 so they look nice & shiny.
This PLASMA5 Slackware Live OS is 64bit multilib. By default, no 32bit programs are loaded into the Live environment but if you want to load Wine or Skype into PLASMA5 Slackware Live, all you need to do is add a parameter to the boot commandline in Grub or syslinux. Add “load=wine” to make Wine available. Add “load=skype” to make Skype available in the Live OS. Of course to get them both, you add “load=wine,skype”. Also check out the paragraph below called “Multilib considerations“.

The changes between liveslak scripts 1.1.6 and

Not much has changed really – the “” tag is primarily meant to differentiate the new PLASMA5 ISO from older versions. The boot screen of Slackware Live Edition mentions the version of liveslak it was based on which is useful for bug reports.

  • Fixed the “sed” logic in ‘‘ script to get rid of hardcoded ‘/mnt‘ paths in the modified Slackware installer files which are used by ‘setup2hd’. I tested harddisk installation onto an UEFI computer and that went fine.
  • Danish is a new language choice in the boot menu (Grub and syslinux).
  • unrar is added to the PLASMA5 variant.

Multilib considerations

I added a live module to enable multilib support out of the box in the PLASMA5 variant of Slackware Live. Inside the ISO that module-file is called “/liveslak/system/0020-slackware_multilib-current-x86_64.sxz”.
I host a copy of that module online as “0050-multilib-current-x86_64.sxz” so that you can download it and add it to the ‘addons‘ or ‘optional‘ subdirectory of your non-Plasma5 Live OS.
Multilib is something would not need except for running stuff like Wine or Skype, so I also added live modules for Wine (including the 32bit OpenAL libraries) and Skype as separate modules in the ‘optional‘ subdirectory of the PLASMA5 ISO and made copies of these available in the aforementioned ‘bonus’ directory online.
This is how I created that live module for wine: by installing the 32bit OpenAL libraries on top of my 64bit wine package for Slackware (which contains both 32bit and 64bit wine), and then using the “makemod” script which is part of liveslak:

# SCRATCHDIR=$(mktemp -t -d makesxz.XXXXXX)
# installpkg --root $SCRATCHDIR wine-1.9.23-x86_64-1alien.txz
# installpkg --root $SCRATCHDIR OpenAL-compat32-1.17.1-x86_64-1aliencompat32.txz 
# ./makemod $SCRATCHDIR ./optional/0060-wine-1.9.23-current-x86_64.sxz 

Remember, the modules in the ‘optional‘ subdirectory of liveslak are not loaded into the live OS on boot unless you use the “load=” boot parameter in syslinux or grub. Loading the optional wine module for instance, needs this as additional boot parameter: “load=wine” and if you would be using a non-plasma5 based Live OS and have added the multilib module in the ‘optional‘ subdirectory also, then the boot parameter needs to load both multilib and wine: “load=multilib,wine”.
Of course, if you place these live modules in the ‘addons‘ subdirectory instead, they will always be loaded on boot unless you want to prohibit that using the “noload=multilib,wine” boot parameter in syslinux or grub.

Download the ISO

Download liveslak sources

The liveslak project can be found in my git repository: . That’s all you need to create a Slackware Live ISO from scratch. Documentation for end users and for Live OS developers is available in the Slack Docs Wiki.

Have fun! Eric