My thoughts on Slackware, life and everything

First preview for Slackware of Plasma 5

qt-kde-620x350Today is my son’s 16th birthday, and I do have a gift for all of you, not just for him. I present to you a first preview for Slackware, of the KDE Frameworks 5.1.0 libraries, combined with Plasma 5.0.1, the next-generation desktop workspace from KDE.

I wrote about this in my previous post, but now you can experience it first-hand: Plasma 5.0 improves support for high-DPI displays and comes with a “converged shell”, i.e. one Plasma codebase for different target devices like desktop computers, laptops, tablet, phones etc. Plasma 5 uses a new fully hardware-accelerated OpenGL(ES) graphics stack. Plasma 5 is built using Qt 5 and Frameworks 5.

And with the Breeze themed artwork and its own Oxygen font, this desktop looks clean and modern.

If you want to start an application quickly, use the new KRunner (usually hidden behind Alt-F2) which will now be activated directly when you start typing when your desktop has the focus.

 What to expect from these Slackware packages

I think it worked out very well that I waited with my packages until after the first bugfix release of both the Frameworks libraries and the Plasma programs. The latest sources provide a much stabler desktop with more functionality. Still, we are only at the beginning of KDE 5 (or whatever the name for the software compilation will end up being). KDE 4 will be here for a while and developers are busy porting their applications away from Qt4 and kdelibs, to the new Frameworks libraries based on Qt5 and QML. Give it a year to mature and then we will be able to leave KDE 4 behind, is my guess.

These new packages are only going to be useful if installed on top of Slackware -current and my KDE 4.13 packages (plus dependencies). KDE 5 is still very much  a work in progress and needs the KDE4 applications and artwork to provide you with a fully functional desktop.

Testing Repository URL

I created a repository URL that you can use for slackpkg+ or slapt-get or whatever package manager you use.

The URL (for 64-bit) and (for 32-bit) will remain permanent, even when the versions of the software gets updated. Currently “testing” points to “5.0.1” in the repository because that is the current version of Plasma 5.

Enabling SDDM in runlevel 4 instead of KDM

Runlevel 4

If you want to see the new graphical session (login) manager SDDM in action, add the following lines to the Slackware file “/etc/rc.d/rc.4” right after the line: echo “Starting up X11 session manager…”

# — 8< ————————————–
if [ -x /usr/bin/sddm ]; then
exec /usr/bin/sddm
# — 8< ————————————–

… and then switch to runlevel 4 by typing:

# init 4

Select “KDE Plasma 5” from the SDDM session dropdown. Alternatively, if you prefer good old runlevel 3, you can type:

$ xwmconfig

… and select “xinitrc.plasma” as your default window manager for X11. Then run:

$ startx

To enter your desktop session.

Installing or upgrading Frameworks 5 and Plasma 5

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

Note that the new Plasma5 packages do not upgrade any package from my KDE 4.13 set, although they will upgrade several Slackware original packages. Be careful when upgrading Slackware packages afterwards. Slackpkg+ will help you, if you add the above repository URL to the slackpkgplus.conf file and give these packages higher priority than the Slackware originals.

If you decide to remove the Plasma 5 packages but not KDE 4.13 (or whatever latest version of KDE I have in my ktown repository), be sure to re-install two packages at least: akonadi from my ktown repository and harfbuzz from the Slackware-current repository.

Separated configuration files

I have taken great care to ensure that the configurations for the new KDE5 are not overwriting your old configuration files for KDE4. New configurations will be written to ~/.local5 , ~/.cache5 , ~/.config5 and ~/.kde5 . That way, you should be able to go back to your stable KDE4 desktop without ill effects after having played with KDE5.

One “issue” you will notice, is that some non-KDE applications will forget their configuration and will start as if you are using them for the first time. Chrome/Chromium is such an example. If you want to use the old configuration in Plasma 5 as well, simply create a symlink, This is how I did it for my Chromium after I found out (first remove the new chromium directory that was created by starting Chromium in Plasma 5):

$ rm -r ~/.config5/chromium
$  ln -s ../.config/chromium ~/.config5/

Where to get the new packages for Plasma 5

Download locations are listed below (you will find the sources in ./source/5.0.1/ and packages in /current/5.0.1/ subdirectories). Using a mirror is preferred because you get more bandwidth from a mirror and it’s friendlier to the owners of the master server!

Known issues

The “known issues” section ends this article, and I will keep it updated with the feedback I receive in the comments section below, direct email,, Google+ etc. Be sure to visit here regularly! For the first batch, I simply used the information that Willy had already gathered on his own blog:

  •  When you switch back to KDE 4, in some cases, all the icons in the Applications tab in the KDE  Menu will change to a blue folder icon.
    • Solution: reinstall KDE 4.13.3 packages, log out and login again. That will fix it.
  • Adding a new entry to the KDE Menu using the Menu Editor sometimes does not seem to work.
    • Solution: Logout/login and the changes you made will appear. This happened to me and Willy -but only the first time we tried it. After that first time, all seems to work normally.
  • HPlip shows an error message about not finding a system tray area. The reason is because the Plasma 5 workspace does not implement the X11 “Xembed” protocol. The system tray area works differently now. Not just HPlip, but all other applications that are not part of  Plasma  5, will have this issue, but only HPlip shows an error. You will not see any icons for Dropbox, SCIM etc… as they don’t have a place to dock.
    • Solution: There is a short-term solution which is not elegant, but it gives you back your old systray ocins. Use third-party Xembed system tray implementations like stalonetray or wmsystemtray . I have stalonetray in my own repository, and both are also available at SBo.
  • There are now two SystemSettings programs. One is part of Plasma 5 and the other is the one from KDE 4. The Plasma 5 version is found in the “Favorites” tab of the K-Menu, while the one from KDE 4 (which is more complete) is available in the menu as “Applications > Settings > System Settings“. The Plasma 5 version is not yet feature-complete.
  • Certain conditions may crash your Plasma Shell. E.g. typing in the  Search field in the K-Menu “Favorites” tab and then removing that text will crash plasmashell (your desktop goes black), fortunately it will restart automatically.
  • KRunner (Alt-F2) will not save your command history.
  • Public holidays are not yet shown in the System Tray clock. See this URL for more information.
  • Resource usage of this new desktop is currently rather high due to a design limitations in KWin, The cause is known and this will be fixed in future releases.
  • In some cases, if your desktop becomes unresponsive, you might want to take a look at “top”. You may find that kded5 runs at 100%, eating all CPU resources available.
    • Solution: Killing the kded5 process or logout/login will fix this.
  • The updated harfbuzz package breaks the library’s ABI. As a result, LibreOffice 4.3.0 will no longer work (error looks like “symbol lookup error: undefined symbol: hb_icu_script_to_script“).
    • Solution: Downgrading to the original Slackware harfbuzz package solves it, which is a pity because I thought I had taken care of the ABI breakage by applying a patch which re-adds that missing symbol.
  • The hardware keys for altering volume and mute do not work on a global level. They seem to work for some applications – VLC is one of them. Sound is working fine though.

Have fun! Eric


  1. Willy Sudiarto Raharjo

    Another known issue:
    – In some cases, if your desktop becomes unresponsive, you might want to take a look on top. On my desktop, kded5 runs at 100%, eating all CPU resources available. Killing kded5 or logout/login is suffice to make the desktop becomes responsive again.

  2. Lasie

    Thanks gents; I am gonna try it out tonight and provide feedback. 😉

  3. Marcelo

    Waiting Patrick put on the tree

  4. alienbob

    In that case I think you are going to wait for a very long time…

  5. lems


    I really want to try it, but my current machine is too weak for QEMU (my faster machine has been overheating lately, so I can’t really use it). Anyway, congratulations! And thanks for doing this for us. KDE 5 really looks great from what I’ve seen so far, it’s aesthetically a step forward, in my opinion.


    PS: Off-topic: can someone explain to me what the ‘8<' means (in the comment regarding the code to start sddm)? I've seen it before. Is this for/from some unix tool? It's probably a dumb questions, but as much as I'd like to be one, I'm no unix guru, unfortunately.

  6. alienbob

    It’s an ascii depiction of scissors. Aka “cut here”…

  7. lems

    Hi Alien BOB,

    thanks. Now that you explained it … (Personally, I also had a hard time figuring out what <3 should depict …)


  8. Eduardo

    I see also KDE4 apps without configuration. This is rather difficult. Otherwise, this is a solid release. Thanks Eric!

  9. Eduardo

    Unfortunately it seems like KDE5 and libreoffice are incompatible for the time being.

    libreoffice 4.3 does not start after installing KDE5. The reason seems to be the harfbuzz library:

    Effectively, downgrading harfbuzz to the stock library provided by Slack current fixes the issue with libreoffice.

  10. Robin

    I seem to be having problems with my graphics card. I’m using the nouveau driver on an Intel i5 sandy bridge. (HD graphics 3000). SDDM loads, I select DM, user and type password and I get a black screen with a ‘native’ Xorg cursor.

    Jumping to a virtual tty, htop reveals that no services are blocking or anything that looks like a race condition.

    Any idea what I can try to resolve this?

  11. Deny Dias


    Indeed, the know issues covers almost every issue I had after install the new packages. Only two have left behind:

    1. As @Eduardo stated, the new harfbuzz library makes LibreOffice 4.3.0 stop to work. Downgrading solves it, as you already told me in a previous LibreOffice comment.

    2. People with a notebook and external monitor used together with the internal one or dual screen desktops with different resolutions set on each display should avoid using the second one for now before logging in to Plasma5. This appears to have bug already filled for both plasmashell and SDDM:

    As a feedback on the Slackpkg+ part, adding the new testing repo to slackpkgplus.conf works perfectly. I’m using this method here.

    Má nem se o Eduardo Campos ressuscitar e a Marina Silva virar ateia, simultaneamente, o Patrick vai colocar esses pacotes no -current pelos próximos (meu chute) dois anos! 😛

  12. alienbob

    Please only english on this blog. If I do not understand what is being said, I am going to delete posts.

  13. Robin

    Further investigation yields nothing to my inexperienced eyes. Checked dmesg and found nothing. Also my google-fu is coming up short.

    I do have the dreaded Nvidia graphics card, that Mr. Torvalds so eloquently shared his thoughts on. I forget the name, the one that bumblebee is supposed to be a workaround for. I never kept bumblebee on my system and always used the Intel GPU instead.

    Just thought I’d add this information.

  14. Deny Dias

    Oops, sorry Eric. Translating:

    Even if Eduardo Campos [1] come back to life and Marina Silva [2] becomes an atheist, simultaneously, Patrick is going to add these packages to -current (my guess) in the next two years.’

    [1] Eduardo Campos is a Brazilian presidential running for elections that has passed away today in a plane crash.
    [2] Marin Silva is her vice-presidential, now the main one, which is know to be gospel.

  15. Robin

    I got it working by creating a new user and logging in as this user.

    What can I do to get it working on my regular user?

  16. Deny Dias


    I forgot to mention the Akonadi agents issues from the other post. Any advice or know issues with that?

  17. Robin

    OK. I just copied all the my main users .kde/.local/.cache/.config dirs to .kde5/.local5 etc..

    Seems to work now.

  18. Eduardo

    A quick question: can anyone suggest good configs for stalonetray? Right now it takes a good 16 px section at the top of the screen. Thanks in advance!

  19. Willy Sudiarto Raharjo

    i simply added a top panel and load stalonetray
    no other changes

  20. Robin

    OK. So after some testing, I am extremely impressed by how well Plasma 5 performs. My laptop has been plagued with high temperatures prior to installing these packages, but now it never feels warm even after hours of playing flash videos.

    1. SDDM was very buggy and unpleasant for me. As described above, I got a black screen when I first tried starting a Plasma 5 session. I found an initial fix, but the problem returned once I rebooted my laptop and started up in runlevel 4. I got a black screen despite having all the necessary ~/.*5 files. I discovered that I could work around the problem by just logging into a virtual TTY and create a new user. When I hit ctrl-alt-f7 and tried to log on with my ordinary user, the Plasma 5 session started correctly.

    2. Several SDDM buttons doesn’t work. The one’s that look like a power button and reload button doesn’t respond at all.

    3. It’s also a bit annoying that the password textbox isn’t focused by default, so you have to use your mouse to click on it. I know it’s a small detail, but I find such details very important. I am under the impression that I also have to report such bugs here, since you have taken it upon yourself to get SDDM working with Slackware. Until these problems are fixed, I’ll be using GDM..

    4. I am unable to find a global sound setting and the hardware keys for altering volume and mute does not respond. Sound is working fine though and I can always regulate the volume with alsamixer.

    Thanks for making these packages available to us Eric.

  21. alienbob

    Hi Robin

    Issues with my packages and experiences with the new Plasma 5 can be discussed here, but bugs in the software should be reported to the developers. I do not write this software and I can not fix your problems if those have their origin in the source.

    The non-working shutdown and reboot buttons in SDDM just require a reboot, or else try “/etc/rc.d/rc.nesagebus restart” to get them working.
    I have not “taken it upon myself to get SDDM working with Slackware”. It’s just that KDM will not appear in KDE 5 and SDDM is the likely candidate for its replacement. It’s only logical that I test its capabilities. Last year, it did not even work in Slackware due to a hard PAM dependency, but the developers were friendly and added shadow support upon request. They are not evil – they are pragmatic. I just hope that they do not make systemd a hard dep – that would be the end of its journey in Slackware land.

    The hardware audio buttons indeed do not work and I added that to the “known issues” list above.

  22. Willy Sudiarto Raharjo

    KMix is now ported to Framework 5, even though some functionality are not yet complete and still requires more efforts

  23. Regnad Kcin

    The install process for kde5 worked exactly as advertised. Thanks, Bob.

    i had no problems at all getting libre office-latest going on on kde5 after a full new upgrade to 64 -current.

    kde4 and kde5 do co-exist peacefully but there is some influence on kde4.

    one nice feature of kde5 is that one can turn off the bouncing icon that is cute but irritating if you just want to show some one something at work. I really like some of the kde tools and some of the bells and whistles that kde brings with it like the ease of multiple display management but I also like the raw simplicity of xfce so it is useful for me to have both.

  24. Regnad Kcin

    Ok, I have seen KDE5. Now I want to remove it from my machine. How to go about killing KDE5 without bollocksing up everything?

  25. Eduardo

    Besides what’s written in the corresponding README, I’d suggest to uninstall everything from the kde5 release, and then reinstall everything from KDE 4.x series.

  26. David

    Is it possible to add application’s icon to a panel?

  27. Michelino

    First of all: great job, as usual!

    Just a question: it’s possible you’re going to insert qt5keychain package in next release?

    …’couse software like mirall doesn’t compile against qt5 without it.

    Thanks for all

  28. alienbob

    Hi Michelino

    Mirall is not part of Slackware, so qtkeychain is not a requirement. Into my ktown repository I only add packages of which I am certain that they will end up in Slackware.

    I will have to add qt5keychain to my own slackbuilds repository once I start building mirall packages with Qt5 support.

  29. Michelino

    Perfect….I’ve just to wait for your mirall 1.6.x package!

  30. Davide

    I installed packages for the x86_64 current, I have a collision from kactivities package, is it correct?

    tar tvf alien-kde/current/5.0.1/x86_64/kde/frameworks/kactivities-framework-5.1.0-x86_64-1alien.txz | grep “usr/bin” && tar tvf alien-kde/current/4.14.0/x86_64/kde/kactivities-4.13.3-x86_64-2alien.txz | grep “usr/bin”
    drwxr-xr-x root/root 0 2014-08-10 23:26 usr/bin/
    -rwxr-xr-x root/root 200960 2014-08-10 23:26 usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    drwxr-xr-x root/root 0 2014-08-14 14:19 usr/bin/
    -rwxr-xr-x root/root 142304 2014-08-14 14:19 usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd

  31. alienbob

    Hi Davide

    Yes, same binary, does not matter which one is present, they will both support KDE 4 and Plasma 5. There was no clean way of separating this except for renaming binaries and splitting packages into sub-packages. Some distros do that but the author stated that one could be overwritten by the other without consequence.

  32. Robin

    Are anybody here able to use the spell feature in krunner? I find this to be what I miss the most from stable KDE. That and the fact that I have two kwallet instances. One for wifi passwords and one for the firefox kwallet plugin, which uses kwallet from KDE4.

    Does anybody know when the next release of the new KDE packages are to be released?

  33. alienbob

    See here:

  34. Cosmin

    Hey, just tested your build on KDE5… It looks very nice but they do have a long way to go… Thanks however for the builds…

    Ohh, and just a heads-up for the few attempting to install this on a stable 14.1 release of Slackware.. The versions of xcb and libxcb* packages from current are needed..

    Unfortunatly, on my system this started breaking the xfce-panel which seems to close for no reason ever since I upgraded those libraries from current (it could be something else, but I don’t really belive in coincidences).

  35. Willy Sudiarto Raharjo

    As noted, this is intended to be installed on -current, not in 14.1 or any previous stable releases

    as of xfce-panel, in most cases, you can simply fix it by recompiling it

  36. susu

    Hi… sddm not working in my slack: segfault at b53393c8 ip b53393c8 sp bfffdf00 error 15
    Any help?

    PS: thanks a lot!

  37. alienbob

    Hi susu

    The SDDM developers are a very Slackware-unfriendly bunch. I have not updated it for a while, partly because newer versions stopped working for me and partly because the developers think that people rejecting systemd (like we with Slackware) are stupids.

    I’d rather stick with runlevel 3 and console login than keep trying to fix their crippled software.

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