Everybody who wanted to support Slackware after it became clear that the Slackware Store had not been paying Patrick and family for a long time, but was not prepared to create a PayPal account in order to donate money: there is now an alternative. Patreon is a community site where “Patrons support the creators they love in exchange for exclusive membership benefits“.
I don’t know whether Pat will do stuff like “exclusive benefits” considering the fact that he already gives away Slackware Linux for free since 26 years… anyway, he created a page there where you can setup a monthly recurring payment of one dollar or more – whatever you can spare. Payment methods are either PayPal or credit cards.
New Chromium browser for you!
The release earlier this week of Chromium 76 came with a total of 43 security fixes but this new major version of course also sports some real usability changes.
Most notably: Flash is now disabled by default. It’s no longer sufficient to click an “allow Flash on this page” popup but you need to go into the Chromium settings and override the default. And click in on the Flash element to make it start playing. Even then, the changes you make will not survive the restart of the browser. Google is apparently stepping up its efforts in convincing website developers to switch to HTML5 instead. In 2020 Adobe will stop with Flash anyway, so remaining Flash-powered sites will not survive long.
Another big behavioral change is that it is no longer possible for web sites to detect that you are browsing in ‘anonymous mode‘. This will make it a lot harder for sites with a ‘pay-wall‘ to block you from accessing their paid content though trial subscriptions.
And another positive change is that hitting the ‘Esc‘ key to stop a page from loading, is no longer treated as user activation. Meaning that malicious web sites will have more trouble messing with your browser because your ‘Esc‘ keypress is no longer passed to the remote web site.
I uploaded packages for the new Chromium 76.0.3809.87 today. That should have happened days earlier, but unfortunately I had to spend several nights to track down the cause of an inability to compile a 32bit package for the new version.
You may (or may not) know that my chromium.SlackBuild downloads and compiles a custom version of the clang compiler which is then used to compile Chromium. Compiling Chromium with gcc is not fully supported by Google, and Slackware’s own version of clang is too old to be used for Chromium.
So what happened…. some developer determined that no one should run 32bit Linux software anymore and hard-coded a 64bit architecture in the clang build script that is part of the Chromium source. Attempts at compiling a 64bit clang on 32bit Slackware results in weird errors, and of course compiling the Chromium sources was out of the question then. That fuck-up took me a while to find dammit!
After I wrote a patch to fix this for my Slackware package, I inspected the Chromium source repository and was happy to find that this ‘improvement’ had been applied nine weeks ago and that other people had already felt the resulting pain – and that the offending commit has already been reverted.
The next release of Chromium should again compile without issues… fingers crossed.
Wait no more and grab that package (for Slackware 14.2 and -current) from my site or any mirror.
Now that all major components of the KDE software stack have fresh new releases, I bundled them for Slackware-current and voila: KDE-5_19.07.
I have uploaded KDE-5_19.07 to my ‘ktown‘ repository. As always, these packages are meant to be installed on a full installation of Slackware-current which has had its KDE4 removed first. These packages will not work on Slackware 14.2.
Deps: Obviously, the ‘qt5’ package had a major upgrade, from 5.12 to 5.13. It demanded a recompile or update of some of the other deps packages: ‘qt5-speech’ and ‘qt5-webkit’, ‘sip’ and ‘PyQt5’, and ‘gpgme’. Two new packages, ‘brotli’ and ‘woff2’, were needed to compile the newest version of ‘qt5-webkit’.
I also updated ‘opencv’ so that its version matches that on SBo: 4.1.0. Unfortunately the new face detection code in opencv4 is incompatible with ‘frei0r-plugins’, so I had to disable the face effects in frei0r when rebuilding that.
The new opencv also warranted an update of the ‘mlt’ package.
Earlier this week, the Document Foundation released version 6.2.5 of their office suite LibreOffice. I have built and uploaded sets of packages for Slackware 14.2 and also for -current, 32bits and 64bits.
The Document Foundation themselves finally think that 6.2.x is production ready: “… Users in production environments can start evaluating LibreOffice 6.2.5…“. I was already happy with 6.2.4 and I find the capability to open and work with MS Office documents improving all the time.
Note if you are a KDE Plasma5 user:
The toolbars and menus look ugly in the default UI configuration. There’s a setting in LibreOffice that you need to change so that the Breeze theming for GTK+3 applications does not mess it up anymore. Go to “Tools > Options > Libreoffice > View > Icon Style” and change the “Automatic (Breeze)” to eg. “Elementary”. That will give you back a working toolbar with visible icons.
Sometimes, stuff just works without getting into kinks. That’s how I would like to describe the June release of Plasma5 for Slackware, KDE-5_19.06.
I built new Plasma5 packages in less than two days. I did not run into build issues, there was no need for a bug hunt. The Ryzen compiled and compiled, and then the power went out in the building today… but still, moments ago I uploaded KDE-5_19.06 to my ‘ktown‘ repository. As always, these packages are meant to be installed on a full installation of Slackware-current which has had its KDE4 removed first. These packages will not work on Slackware 14.2.
Plasma 5.16.0 is the start of a new development cycle for the Desktop part of KDE. See https://www.kde.org/announcements/plasma-5.16.0.php. In creating the 5.16 release, the focus has been to make Plasma smoother, as well as more intuitive and consistent to use.
A few highlights: the Networks widget is now faster and more reliable to refresh Wi-Fi networks; the Desktop notification system has been completely rewritten; and there’s initial support for using Wayland with proprietary Nvidia drivers.
Once I upgrade the Qt5 package to 5.13 (not released yet) I want to create a new ‘testing’ repository focusing on Wayland support.