KDE Plasma 5 – Slackware October release

I had already finished compiling KDE-5_19.10 and was waiting for the Plasma 5.17 public release announcement, when Pat upgraded libdvdread in slackware-current. That could mean trouble because of the dreaded ‘Shared library .so-version bump‘ message.
But he added the older libdvdread.so.4 library to aaa_elflibs so that the k3b program in Plasma5 does not break, and hopefully it remains in there until after I recompile k3b (which ultimately happens for the Plasma5 November release).

Unfortunately the earlier update of the ‘icu4c’ package broke some other stuff in Plasma5 as well. Be sure to install my ‘icu4c-compat‘ package, which contains the libraries from several older icu4c packages. Read my older article on ‘shared library .so version bumps‘ if you have not already done so, to understand the causes for this breakage.

The packages for KDE-5_19.10 are available for download from 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.

What’s new in the October 2019 release

This month’s KDE Plasma5 for Slackware contains the KDE Frameworks 5.63.0, Plasma 5.17.0 and Applications 19.08.2. All this on top of Qt 5.13.1.

The ‘cracklib’ package got a version bump, and the latest ‘phonon’ and ‘phonon-vlc’ releases have been packaged.
The telepathy dependencies have been removed completely. Indeed, the feedback on my question in the README for last month’s ‘ktown’ release made clear that no one uses KDE Telepathy. For me it never worked anyway, so this month we say good-bye to KDE Telepathy and its dependencies.
Note that ‘qt5’ and ‘qt5-webkit’ should really be recompiled to fix the icu4c broken dependency, but I do not have the time right now, and the icu4c-compat package will take care of this anyway. Soon, though.

Frameworks 5.63.0 is a regular update release. See: https://www.kde.org/announcements/kde-frameworks-5.63.0.php, but there is something worth mentioning still: the packages ‘kcalcore’ and ‘kcontacts’ which were part of KDE Applications and which you would find in the kde/kdepim section of my ‘ktown’ repository, have moved to the KDE Frameworks. As part of this move, ‘kcalcore’ was also renamed to ‘kcalendarcore’.

Plasma 5.17.0 is the start of a new release cycle of the Desktop part of KDE. See https://www.kde.org/announcements/plasma-5.17.0.php. Some take-aways from the release notes: the Plasma startup script (/usr/bin/startkde) which was traditionally a bash script has been replaced with a C++ program which is faster than the interpreted shell script code, and also starts the various services in parallel. The devs claim that Plasma5 desktop starts up a lot faster as a result. Do you feel the same?
Chrome/Chromium should blend in more with the Breeze theme and GTK applications should have the KDE color scheme applied. There’s more to read, just follow the above link.

I updated ‘latte-dock’ which is my default application launcher here on the laptop for a couple of months now.
Note that ‘sddm-qt5’ should really be recompiled against the new icu4c in slackware-current, but like with qt5, my ‘icu4c-compat’ package will fix the breakage for now. This one is on my TODO list for next week.

Applications 19.08.2 is a stability and bug-fix update for the 19.08 cycle. For more information, see https://www.kde.org/announcements/announce-applications-19.08.2.php and you may still want to visit the original release notes for 19.08.0 as well.

I upgraded ‘digikam’, ‘libktorrent’, ‘ktorrent’, ‘alkimia’, ‘kmymoney’, ‘kpmcore’, ‘krita’, ‘okteta’, and the development suite ‘kdevelop’, ‘kdev-php’ and and ‘kdev-python’ to their latest releases.

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

Where to get it

Download the KDE-5_19.10 from the usual location at https://slackware.nl/alien-kde/current/latest/ . 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 has been uploaded and you will find it at https://slackware.nl/slackware-live/latest/ (rsync://slackware.nl/mirrors/slackware-live/latest/)

Have fun! Eric

LibreOffice 6.2.7 packages available for Slackware 14.2

There was a recent update in my repository of LibreOffice packages, but that libreoffice-6.3.2 was just for slackware-current.

There’s a recent release in the LibreOffice 6.2 stable series as well (ok… five weeks ago, not that recent…), and so I decided to use my build box’s free weekend to come up with packages for LibreOffice 6.2.7.
This release has a security improvement over previous versions, in that it will popup a warning to the user if a document tries to run an embedded script (similar to existing warning mechanism for embedded macros).

As you may know, the Document Foundation advises the 6.2.x series for use in production environments while the 6.3.x series is targeted at technology enthousiasts. Precisely why I have 6.3.x in the repository for -current and 6.2.x will be available for users of our stable Slackware 14.2.

Note: I am no longer including support for KDE4. The “libreoffice-kde-integration” package is no longer available for the 6.2.x releases in my repository and you should “removepkg” the older version if you have that installed. The KDE4 support in LibreOffice 6 has been broken for a while and your Office applications will run great on KDE4 without that “KDE integration”. The LibreOffice UI will be based on GTK3 widgets instead and KDE4’s theming engine will make that its User Interface blends in properly.
For the libreoffice-6.3 series and onwards, I will again build ‘libreoffice-kde-integration’ sub-packages but then targeting Qt5 and KDE5. That works really well.

Enjoy! Eric

Chromium updated

Here is yet another update for Chromium 77.

The latest release fixes 8 vulnerabilities, several of them high-risk. You can read all about it in the Google announcement.

The packages (for Slackware 14.2 and -current) can be found on my site or any mirror (e.g. http://slackware.uk/people/alien/slackbuilds/chromium/). It’s highly advised to upgrade.

And remember to upgrade to my latest Chromium Widevine plugin package if you want to enjoy Amazon Prime, Hulu and Netflix movie streaming in your favorite browser.

Enjoy! Eric

LibreOffice 6.3.2 for Slackware-current – and how to deal with “Shared library .so-version bump”

The recent update in slackware-current of the icu4c and boost packages caused some 3rd-party package breakage. The new versions of icu4c and boost come with incompatible library ABI changes.

Let me first elaborate a bit on the strategies that are available to a Slackware user on how to deal with incompatible library updates in -current.

One of the reasons people are wary of installing and running Slackware-current is the fact that at any given moment, distro updates can break 3rd-party packages (i.e. packages you have installed that are not part of the Slackware distribution itself). Slackware-current is in constant flux, it is our development environment, and software versions can make sudden jumps with unexpected consequences.

Big tip: before running any update on a slackware-current system, first check the ChangeLog.txt and scan the updates since your previous upgrade for the text “Shared library .so-version bump.” which is another way of saying “incompatible ABI change”.
If this text accompanies a package update you can be pretty certain that some 3rd-party packages that depend on it will stop working. And if that particular package is boost, icu4c or poppler, expect massive breakage. The safest approach in a case like this, is: wait with upgrading your Slackware-current; check for packages that have a dependency on the package with the ABI breakage: and track the 3rd-party repositories for updates that address the ABI breakage.

There is another strategy- one which allows you to upgrade to the latest -current while avoiding broken packages. That is to keep the older libraries on your system – the libraries your 3rd-party packages are depending on. You can simply extract these older libraries from the previous version(s) of the upgraded Slackware package. Darren Austen and I worked together to create a package repository containing historical Slackware-current packages (32bit, 64bit official packages and my own multilib archive). See https://slackware.uk/cumulative/ if you are in need of older package versions.

And in the special case of incompatible icu4c, boost and poppler updates, the easiest (short-term) workaround is to install my icu4c-compat, boost-compat and poppler-compat packages. Essentially, these convenience packages wrap the libraries of several older (original Slackware) icu4c, boost and poppler packages.
Applications that depend on these older libraries will keep on running and in the meantime you can wait for the 3rd-party packager to recompile the affected packages (or recompile yourself at your leisure). I update these packages immediately after updates to their Slackware originals. The process takes almost no time, compared with recompiling all the broken stuff.
NOTE: These ‘compat’ packages do not replace Slackware’s own icu4c, boost and poppler packages! They should be installed in parallel.


The most obvious package breakage in my own repository is of course LibreOffice. It is a big package and many people do not want to recompile this themselves. A good decision, because the LibreOffice package would not compile against the new icu4c 65.1 and I needed to find the cause and create a patch first.

Since I had to compile new packages anyway, I went for the latest 6.3.2 release of LibreOffice which was announced two weeks ago.

Note that the new packages for LibreOffice 6.3.2 in my repository, do contain “libreoffice-kde-integration”, containing Qt5 and KDE5 (aka Plasma5) support.
If you 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.

If you want to compile Libreoffice 6.3.2 packages yourself using my SlackBuild, then be aware that by default the KDE5 support is disabled. You will have to set the value of the script parameter “ADD_KDE5” to “YES”. 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 them can be  found in my ‘ktown’ repository: https://slackware.nl/alien-kde/current/latest/

Enjoy! Eric

Chromium critical security update

Earlier this week I already provided a Chromium update in my Slackware repository. That update addressed a critical security issue in the media playback plugin whereby an attacker was able to take over your computer remotely, simply by letting you load an infected page.

But then another critical vulnerability was discovered and two days ago a new Chromium source was released to take care of this security hole in the User Interface code. The new version of Chromium is 77.0.3865.90 and of the four mentioned vulnerabilities on the website, one is a remote-takeover issue.

The packages (for Slackware 14.2 and -current) can be found on my site or any mirror (e.g. http://slackware.uk/people/alien/slackbuilds/chromium/). Please update at your earliest convenience.

Enjoy! Eric