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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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November 2014
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RSS Alien's Slackware packages

RSS Alien's unofficial KDE Slackware packages

RSS Alien's multilib packages


Flash plugins updated – second time in November

Chromium and Pepper Flash:

Yesterday, there waschromium_icon a new Flash from Adobe. The second time in November, and this time Google accompanies it with an update of their Chrome browser (version 39.0.2171.71) which contains the new PepperFlash plugin. I extracted that plugin from the Chrome binaries and put it into an updated chromium-pepperflash-plugin package for Slackware 14.1 and -current.. Because of the new Chrome release, there’s also a new release of Chromium’s “stable channel” meaning an updated Chromium package for Slackware is on its way as well. You can read more on Google’s Chrome blog.

The new version of the PepperFlash plugin is Test the success of your package upgrade on Adobe’s “About Flash” page (remember to close your Chromium browser before applying the upgrade).

Linux Flash:

adobe_flash_8s600x600_2 I also packaged the “legacy” Flash player pligin for Linux, aka the NPAPI plugin for Mozilla-compatible browsers. Adobe’s monthly security bulletin has all the information. The new version for my Linux flashplayer-plugin package is

As an aside, it is interesting to read that Google has delayed the “depreciation of NPAPI” from their Chrome/Chromium browser. In our Linux versions of Chrome/Chromium, all support for NPAPI has already been removed in the summer of this year, but despite Google’s claim with statistics showing that the usage of NPAPI has been on a steady decline, they seem to have enough opposition from the Windows camp that their original plan (eradicate NPAPI from Chrome at the end of 2014) is not coming to pass. All of that is irrelevant to us Linux users, so anyway, who cares?


Pipelight with Windows Flash:

pipelight-logoFor my pipelight package, you can easily update the Windows plugins it installed for you earlier (including the Windows Flash player if you use that) by running (as root) the script:

# pipelight-plugin --update

A new package is not required therefore.



Handbrake – lost for Slackware

handbrake_logo Yesterday, I read about the newest release of Handbrake, the powerful video transcoder. I have handbrake in my Slackware repository, so I decided to dissect the source tarball for the 0.10.0 release and see what was needed to compile it into a package.

Boo hoo.

Handbrake 0.10.0 switched from a GTK+2 to a GTK+3 graphical user interface. Not only that, but it requires a version of GTK+3 that is not even contained in Slackware-current. We have 3.8.2 while handbrake uses functionality which was introduced with 3.10. We’re out in the cold, folks!

You might debate whether Slackware’s GTK+3 is not too old anyway, but then again, GTK releases are notorious for breaking all kinds of stuff thanks to ABI incompabilities. Slackware does not contain GNOME, so there is little reason to stay uptodate on the GTK+3 front when running the risk to break dependent packages.

Anyway, it means that you will not be getting a new handbrake package from me anymore. Perhaps when Slackware-current adopts a newer GTK+3 stack, I can reconsider. But even in that case, Slackware 14.1 and older will have to stick with handbrake 0.9.9 as the last release which will compile.

If time permits I will investigate the possibility of statically compiling GTK+3 plus several of other GTK+3 dependendants into the handbrake package. But that needs time which I do not have. You might already have guessed that – this blog has been pretty silent during the past month. Work related frustrations augmented by family issues, resulting in shifting priorities. To me, Slackware essentially is a hobby, it does not have to make me any money (even though some of you donated, for which my eternal gratefulness) and real life sometimes takes over.

If all you wanted to know was about handbrake then you can leave now.

So I’ll rant on if you cared to stay. Handbrake – big disappointment yesterday I must confess. I really liked that program. There’s also this general feeling of depression I have over the state of GNU/Linux, the Open Source community. my work on Slackware, and whether I can still make a difference. The effort I have put into Slackware, promoting the distro and Open Source in general, I’ve always enjoyed doing that. But the fun is eroding away, and there is this sense of stagnation. Things are moving perpendicular to the direction I want to go in. I am going to need some time for reflection around the end of 2014 and find a way to get invigorated again. Suggestions on a direction to take are welcome. There is not so much action around the distro currently. KDE 4 is about frozen, and KDE 5 is not mature. No joy there. LXQt seems to have jumped from Qt4 to Qt5, another step i do not like. Chromium dropped support for compiling NaCL support into 32-bit package – precisely the reason why I hate it that I need to depend on binary toolchains that are impossible to compile on Slackware. And what to do with my ARM port – I am looking at the mountain of work required to revive it. The list of recent frustrations is much longer than that, but you get the point… it all feels so pointless.

Depressed, you say? You bet! It must be an autumn feeling. Where’s the exit? Going to grab me a beer.


October Flash Dance

Chromium and Pepper Flash:

chromium_iconChrome was updated last week (I failed to notice because of the crunch mode at work) with a new Flash from Adobe. I had just updated the Chromium package for Slackware last week, but I decided to apply the micro version upgrade anyway.

More detail on the Chrome releases blog for Chromium 38.0.2125.104 – some bugs were fixed but apart from the Flash upgrade in Chrome, not much exciting there. The real heavy lifting was done for last week’s release.

I took the binaries from that new Chrome RPM and used those to update my Slackware package for chromium-pepperflash-plugin. New version is

Linux Flash:

adobe_flash_8s600x600_2 Adobe releases its Flash updates for all platforms, one of them is the “legacy” Linux NPAPI plugin for Mozilla-compatible browsers. See Adobe’s monthly security bulletin for all the version numbers and vulnerabilities. The Linux flashplayer-plugin went up to



Pipelight with Windows Flash:

pipelight-logoFor my pipelight package, you can easily update the Windows plugins it installed for you earlier (including the Windows Flash player if you use that) by running (as root) the script:

# pipelight-plugin --update

A new package is not required therefore.



New OpenJDK 7: Update 71 with lots of fixes

icedtea Oracle’s patch & release cycle culminated in two updates of their Java (runtime and development kit) since the last release of OpenJDK for which I provided packages. Today, we can enjoy a new IcedTea and therefore an updated OpenJDK which synchronizes to Oracle’s October security patch release (which offers Java 7 Update 71).

IcedTea (my favourite build harness for a spiced-up OpenJDK) went up to version 2.5.3 and it builds OpenJDK 7 “Update 71 Build 14” (resulting in a package openjdk-7u71_b14).

The release announcement is conveniently posted to the release manager’s blog. Read all about it on GNU/Andrew’s site.

Noteworthy is that “alternate virtual machines (e.g. CACAO, JamVM) will be broken by this release, until such a time as they introduce support for JVM_FindClassFromCaller, a new virtual machine interface function added by S8015256” which is bad news for people who want to compile this on ARM. Those are the two which I enable to get some speed into Java on the ARM platform.

Also important to mention is the CVE’s which are addressed by this security update. A pretty bunch and therefore a speedy upgrade is recommended:


Note about usage:

Remember that I release packages for the JRE (runtime) and the JDK (development kit) simultaneously, but you only need to nstall one of the two. The JRE is sufficient if you only want to run Java programs (including Java web plugins). Only in case where you’d want to develop Java programs and need a Java compiler, you are in need of the JDK package.

The package has one dependency: rhino provides JavaScript support for OpenJDK.

If you want to compile this OpenJDK package yourself, you need to install apache-ant additionally. Note that the previous requirements of xalan & xerces packages have been dropped; ant will provide all required build functionality on its own now.

Have fun! Eric

My Linux Rig

An interview for “My Linux Rig” by Steven Ovadia. One of the site’s features is “The Linux Setup”interviews with people about their Linux setups.

Lots of interesting people have been interviewed there in the past, I feel grey and bland in comparison. I returned an email interview early August and it was posted today. I manage to keep quiet about systemd ;-)


Have fun! Eric