My thoughts on Slackware, life and everything

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.



  1. Didier Spaier

    Hi Eric,

    First I wholeheartedly hope that your depressed feeling will soon disappear.

    I don’t know if that would motivate you enough to feel invigorated again, but maybe removing all hurdles that prevent Slackware to be fully UTF8-ized by default could be like sweeping leaves?

    If you want to try, I’m eager to help.


  2. alienbob

    Hi Didier

    Unfortunately I am only a minion. I do not determine what goes into Slackware. UTF-8 support is something which used to have my attention during the time when I worked on adding CJK language support to the distro. I know Slackware has a big user base in places that would benefit from full UTF-8 support but I guess that the voices from those communities are not very loud.

  3. Deny Dias


    One thing I can say for sure: when you feel the way you feel right now, everything gets boring in the Slackware land. I come back and forth to Akregator twice a day, frustrated there is not so much activity in the interesting stuff from your feeds anymore.

    Besides that, I totally understand and support your mood. Things are kinda depressive nowadays. Slackware is somewhat stalled, many projects out there are making really bad design choices, world sucks.

    It’s up to you if you ‘stay or leave’. But there is an undeniable thing in all this: you are doing and have done one of the most amazing job of the entire open source community, well beyond Slackware itself.

    Despite your blues, I really appreciate your work and all you do and have done for us, Slackware users.

  4. alienbob

    Hi Deny Dias

    Yeah I let some of my intended blog posts slip. Looking at the screen and not feeling the urge to write.
    I’ll catch up on the recent package updates at least. so that people who are not subscribed to the repository RSS feed at least know about the updates. It’s not so much a “writer’s block”, there’s lots of stuff I would want to write about, it’s just that things have been building up and I don’t know what to grab and write about first.

    I realize that my post sounds a bit bleak. But I am not going to change the text – I still think it reflects my mood properly.

  5. Ellendhel


    I do not use handbrake, but I can understand what you’re experiencing: having some favorite software running on Slackware is not always as easy as we like (and most of the time, it’s because of libraries and additional needed software – developers, you’re not making our life easier! 🙂 )

    Also, it seems that you are mostly looking to some few, specific annoying points, but there is also a lot of good work that you have put there: the SlackDocs wiki, the LibreOffice packages, all the multi-lib stuff, and more. And your blog on the top of that. I wish that more people would be able to do the same (I try to do my part…).

    I’m a little bit too far right now, but if there is any future opportunity, I will buy you a beer. You deserve it 🙂

  6. Regnad Kcin

    Slackware enabled me to do some things this year in bioinformatics that I would not have been able to do otherwise (using conventional tools).

    The support I got from alien bob repositories and the blog has been a great something of a newbie in linux.

    Slackware gives me an appropriate measure or power and freedom. Slackware seems to have avoided fads and paths that entrap the user and reduce effectiveness rather than enhance it.
    Thanks for your work.(may you be better paid ).

  7. Gerald E. Morris

    Work on your ARM port! ARM devices are exploding into bei ng out there, and you can make a BIG impact there. ARMv7 will be with us for some time yet, and the vendors are tooling up 64 bit ARM devices. There is a LOT of creative elbow room in the ARMiverse.

    Since KDE5 will eventually get its act together, it might be good to press on with Qt5. LXQt would be a good bridge into that, and has its own merits anyhow. While the GNUniverse may be collapsing thanks to corporate bribery and promotion of that code shill and his abominable system init discharge, Slackware yet stands FREE of this toxic code. Having run to so-called “best” (Arch) of the distros featuring that filth for about 16 months now, I can assure you, Slack stands FAR above anything polluted by this excrescence.

    So, do your ARM port with LXQt! This will get folks heads turning. There are many deeply disaffected Debianites LOOKING TO SLACKWARE NOW. You can very possibly save GNU/Linux Eric. Not too many other folks occupy such a position.

    The apparent “Triumph of the Swill” over the GNUniverse may yet be short lived….. You live in a land which has seen fascist invaders seemingly conquer all in their grasp, only then to undo themselves by arrogance and stupidity. I see definite probabilities of this would be system-init Fuhrer meeting a fate not unlike that of his role model’s.

    Have a Guiness Eric!

  8. Giovanni

    Hi Eric,

    life is a continuous sequence of ups and downs. Don’t forget, after a down, there will be a up again. Just wait. Take a rest, while waiting.

    I really appreciate all of your work.

    Best regards,

  9. Josan Neves

    Hi Eric,

    I’m a Slackware user for some time, and I always use it as my desktop, and try to learn how to do better things with it, like build a server or something, and what you do here and with the rest of the team make our lives easy by letting us know different software to do different tasks while provide us with the packages to use them. That’s a great help because we are always getting in contact with other options to replace proprietary software with open source software, thanks to the tips that you, and many others, provide to us. So don’t doubt about what your work do to us, it’s a huge help and I’m sure that you have the appreciation of a lot of people around the globe.

    I try to help, by translating news about open source into my native language, the brazilian portuguese, and also some of your posts are translated in my blog too, of course with all the credits, helping the brazilian people that use Slackware to add more options into their computers, and many of them use your packages to this. You do an amazing work and I hope we can keep counting on you to help us.

    As a suggestion, since you asked and allowed us to, I would ask you to teach us to do what you do. I mean that this would change the focus of building packages that you appreciate, and as I said, that help a lot of us, to something different, that would show us how you do your magic. I think that many of us are interested in doing the things you do, for example how you get a source code and discover the things that are necessary to build a Slackware package. It would be good to learn these things from someone that we all know that produces high quality work.

    I don’t know if this would be interesting to you, but definitely would be a different thing to do, and maybe would help people with the same interest that I have to understand more deeply how things work and how can we help more.

    Maybe many of the things I said is just insane, and I hope that you and the other readers can forgive me for my bad english text, I’m not fluent in the english language. I just wanted to say that I’m a fan of your work as much as I’m a Slackware’s fan, so thank you very much for what you have being doing to help the whole community.

  10. Deny Dias


    This is pretty common with anyone running a blog. I’m facing the same lack of guts to sit down and write something at mine. Not that my article backlog doesn’t have quite interesting things to deserve my words, no. Au contraire. I’m just not in the mood right now.

    Life is that constant roller coaster of emotions. Sometimes we feel good, sometimes not at all. Personally, I think it’s just fine and even desirable to live both moments with the same intensity, as they are just opposite faces of the same coin: our life.

    Talking about your last updates, KDE 4.14.2 and 4.14.3 were, as usual, smooth! The dependency changes in 4.14.3 was pretty straightforward (for the ones curious enough to follow your great READMEs) and the new phonon-vlc is great. I’m using it since the release with no issues at all. Quite a great job you did.

    LibreOffice 4.3.4 and ffmpeg are pure success too, as well as most recent multilib updates. The annoyance left is that harfbuzz thing still in place. Aside from that, everything is rock solid.

  11. zbreaker

    Eric, I understand where you are coming from. While just a Linux user I see the same unfolding of events in the operating system of late. I have been a Slackware devotee since 12.2 and follow -current. Your hard work and excellent SlackBuilds have made my distro of choice a true delight to use. I can only hope that the issues and concerns you raised can be reconciled.

  12. Helios

    I have compiled successfully Handbrake-0.10.0.
    For this I had to update gtk+3 (version 3.12.2) and glib2 (2.43). I used for this the available slackbuilds (juste changing the version number for Handbrake). All the old GTK applications seem to work fine. But I admit that this is a very dirt solution.

  13. Ryan P.C. McQuen

    Hi Eric,

    I must say that it is sad to see you in this state. You are truly one of my heroes. A few years ago I was getting into Linux, using Ubuntu, and writing about open source for my school’s newspaper.

    Through a long binge of distro-hopping I came to appreciate Slackware (and now it is the ONLY operating system I use at home). You have truly been an inspiration to me. I went from having no future to now having a job I love writing website code, and it is all because people like you were willing to teach, and be generous … and help create the ecosystem of Slackware that treats the user like they are smart.

    Slackware is swelling up! Check out the LibreOffice hack-fest blog where they were surprised how alive Slackware still was! And think of it this way, we will most likely get to use the BEST KDE4 in the next stable Slackware, 4.14.3 is truly a pinnacle of desktop environments. And who made a pure KDE possible for Slackware … YOU.

    When I need to see how far shell scripting could go I only need to take a look at your INCREDIBLE scripts. You are an OPEN SOURCE HERO!

    Love from Seattle,

  14. rvdboom

    Hi, Eric,
    it’s certainly a good idea to take some “open-source vacation” at this point. Maybe it will rejuvenate your pleasure in working in it.
    And maybe thinking how to limit the load. After all, maybe people don’t need all the regular updates of so many packages?
    I build every week my own git packages of libdrm, mesa, glamor and the X11 ati driver, as well as multimedia packages. But in truth, I could probably do that just every other month, and would not see much difference.
    Just a thought, you know probably better.
    Cheers and good luck.

  15. alienbob

    OK, thanks for your thoughts, I see a couple of good ideas there.

    Writing some more about how I compile my packages (inspection of the sources, creating a fresh SlackBuild script and running QA on it, using virtual machines for a deterministic build environment etcetera) would indeed be nice to do.
    And the ARM port needs some affection. The idea of adding Qt5 and LXQt and deviating a bit from Slackware is not a bad idea. The relative calm in Slackware development would allow me to spend time on that, now that KDE won’t take anymore of mine.

    I also think I should write more about the bread recipes I try. I have a private blog where I document all my cooking but I could copy some of the good stuff over here.

    Three weeks from now, I will have a few weeks of no work. A lot of that time will go into care-taking. But it will clear my head for new ideas and motivation.

    And rest assured that I will keep using Slackware as my only Linux OS. I won’t drop off the face of the earth. Important packages like vlc, libreoffice, chromium, multilib are worth keeping updated.

  16. Jay

    Chin up, harden up. Without a lack of inspiration, inspiration would be normal in the world. I like the idea of you teaching how you do things. The world could use more alienbobs! I also vote for building your arm stuff.

    PS: I totally get the frustration thing. Sometimes the stability decisions further up in the slackware chain retard our growth for a time. I have felt the pain of gtk3 breakages so perhaps it is a wise choice.

  17. rbn

    Just wanted to drop a “thank you” for all the nice stuff you’ve created 🙂

    I can somehow relate to the feeling that gnu/linux / open source isn’t the same anymore.. Too much money involved, and most distributions are just copying fedoras/red hats decisions.. Thats why Slackware is important, not every new thing gets adopted just because it’s the new fancy stuff.

    Take care!

  18. p431i7o

    “OK, thanks for your thoughts, I see a couple of good ideas there.

    Writing some more about how I compile my packages (inspection of the sources, creating a fresh SlackBuild script and running QA on it, using virtual machines for a deterministic build environment etcetera) would indeed be nice to do.”

    THAT… I really… really like that…
    Perhaps we can follow your example and make more programs available for Slackware.

    That, and your recipes. 😀

  19. noryungi

    Hey, Eric…

    I don’t comment often on your blog, but it is definitely in my RSS feed… First of all, thanks a lot for all your hard work and support of Slackware. I have posted a couple of things on the a long time ago, but never got ther energy to stat posting again.

    Just wanted to say that i understand completely the tiredness. It’s kind of difficult to work on Slackware after going to work and taking care of your family. And it’s also a seasonal thing, when the weather turns grey and cold, it’s definitely tough to get motivated to do anything, let alone work on stupid packages that change their dependencies every other day.

    My (friendly) advice to you is simply to take a vacation, like many others have said. Post a note here saying the blog won’t be updated until a certain date, and take time off. Spend time with our family, have fun with the kids during Christmas, watch stupid cat videos for a while and come back feeling better and more motivated. Another good thing is to set aside a day or two a month to compile and package stuff, and enjoy life for the rest of the month.

    Anyway, just my 2 euros, thanks again for everything and i hope the coming vacation will do you a world of good!

  20. Eduardo

    All I want to say is thank you Eric! Your commitment to have a great Slackware system made a true difference.

  21. R.H.

    Down feelings are just a way to kick us in the pants. Some people let it kick them down, some don’t.

    In a previous article here mention was made of lack of wider adoption of Slackware. Does that contribute to your malaise?

    What do you attribute this lack to? I always found it curious that one person alone could maintain Slackware and the 100’s of pkgs it comprises. Maybe others view that as a concern.
    Maybe a little more transparency would help to relieve concerns. Just don’t let Slackware get compromised like debian and most of the rest have been.

  22. alienbob

    Hi R.H.

    Lack of a wider adoption of Slackware does not bother me. A dwindling audience would bother me, and that is why I maintain this blog. As a result of Slackware’s closed development model, often there is no other public feedback from the core team except for these articles and I know people tend to be curious.

    And it is correct that Pat is essentially Slackware, but he does not have to do all the work on his own. I do a lot of the footwork with regard to KDE for instance, and Robby tests newer releases of loads of packages ( for instance) and puts the updated scripts in a location accessible to Pat and the team. Likewise, others in the coreteam investigate new software, find and report bugs, and help people on the public forums. Pat is free to grab all that pre-work and wrap it into a -current update. He is ultimately responsible for what goes into the distro, and he manages the security updates.

    And on that core distro, other people continue to expand the ecosystem with their packages, documentation and scripts.

    Transparency? The ChangeLog.txt of Slackware-current is quite transparent. There’s trends to be spotted if you go through past releases’ ChangeLog files. I am pretty certain that stuff like PAM or systemd will only get added if there is a sane way to implement it. For PAM, that should not be too hard these days, but with systemd there is of course more at play than just the software. The implications are so much wider than of something straight-forward as PAM. If there is one prime example of pending vendor lockin in an open source world, it is systemd.

  23. Deny Dias


    You last comment was just awesome! Thanks for sharing some words about how things happens in Slackware’s core and your thoughts on some hot topics.

  24. R.H.

    I guess by transparency I could have easily been more specific. The closed development model is what I am talking about. And maybe it’s enough just to say that it’s closed. I’ve never known anything at all about Slackware behind-the-scenes. And most people also do not understand as much as you’ve said. I think the model’s fine but that that info should be prominent.

    Changelogs and patches too, right? Or is there a repository to browse commits, etc.?

    I have the feeling that a lot of work in other distros assumes that systems are really multi user but I wonder what ratio of *nix out there are one user versus multi user. For example systemd seems ridiculous to me but even past ridiculous for a one-user laptop.

    I propose a new *nix called Oneuser. Stripped down and simple, oh wait we have it now, it’s called Slackware and it lets you do what you want.

    Working toward simplicity is a good goal in life and the *nix world is getting pushed the other way. It’s more of the same grab for control that is seen all throughout the world now.

  25. fabio

    It’s ready when it’s ready. Slackware way. Take your time and thank you very much for your work so far. As a suggestion, update what can be update, like ffmpeg, kde, libreoffice and other packages if you feel like doing it.
    As for handbrake, ffmpeg can do the same stuff, and we always can stick with the previous version. And putting away all of my dignity : please man!!! don’t let us KDE users out in the cold!!!

  26. luvr

    About UTF-8 support: It’s a pity that it’s incomplete in Slackware.
    If only I knew what causes this lack of full UTF-8 support, and what it would take to improve it, then I would even try and figure out if I could lend a hand here.
    Is there any information available anywhere about what would actually be required to implement UTF-8 support, and what pieces are missing in Slackware?

  27. Jen

    Sorry to hear about your doldrums. This time of year is just strange, you know? Halfway between the dark and light, and feels like a lot of things are in flux, anyway.

    I find that (at least in composing) when I’ve got a ton of ideas but no motivation it means I need a new project. I’m one of those people who has to have at least 2-3 things going at once. If I only have one thing, I find I get bored and it stalls. So I get to a point where I’ve got some good ideas going on the one project, then switch to something else. I bounce around so that each project feels fresh. I find if I get too critical in the early stages, it’ll stall a project, too. Of course, this is all very different from the FOSS/computer world.

    And caregiving saps energy. Got some time for yourself, too?

  28. Brad R

    I hope a well deserved holiday break will help you rediscover the fun in Slackware and your blog!

    It does seem that Slackware is falling behind in several areas. Calibre has left us behind as well with it now requiring Qt 5.3.

    I hope you have a happy holiday season and the new year brings you a much happiness!

  29. Barnabyh

    Hi Eric,

    late to the party but I’ld really appreciate a KDE5 build for Slackware one day next year – no rush but it would be interesting to demo and I’m not likely to use any other KDE distro until then. Slack is it, even more with the bad design choices others here, incl. yourself, have mentioned. We all know what that is. I just hope that Slack will be able to hold out and stick to its guns. Maybe get together with the grml folks who have figured out how to run a Debian Jessie base without systemd.

    I know, all a bit demotivating, but there’s always BSD. Maybe one day we’ll all end up there.

    Een gelukkig nieuwjaar!

  30. alienbob

    I already have a KDE package set in my ‘ktown’ repository for those who are interested. It does not offer the latest releases of Plasma and the Frameworks, but they are versions stamped “stable” by their developers.

    While grml is a live CD basing directly on Debian without forking it (much like Salix or Porteus) – there is now also which *is* going to be a fork of Debian without systemd.
    They will do their stuff, and we will do ours, like always.

  31. Barnabyh

    Looks like I have another project to donate to.

  32. Black sail

    Men , upgrade gtk enviroment is easy

    I have now

    gtk+3 –>> 3.12.2
    glib2-2.40.2 (no update to 2.41 broken too many compilation packets)
    gdk-pixbuf –>> 2.30.8
    pango –>> 1.26.8
    atk –>> 2.12
    gobject-introspection –>> 1.40

    I use de slackware-current source scripts , ..and very little modifications needed

    im not sure now , but i think i enable gtk+3 -enable-gobject

    is the only importante change i made on compilations.

    Try it , its easy , i have handbrake 0.10 running slackware-current + this little updates.

  33. theM

    Wow. Hate to see packages broken because of GTK dependencies. Were necessary features for Handbrake 0.10 not provided by legacy GTK calls? Really, Handbrake developers? Open source programming just isn’t what it used to be. What happened to systems which are “useful?” I say someone patch the Handbrake 0.10 code with legacy GTK usage. That’s the way *I* like to fix stuff! Then again, I’m the kind of guy who wrote a daemon that calls wmctrl every second just so my background image will change when I switch workspaces in XFCE. To Hell with KDE!

  34. Gerard Lally

    Hi Eric,
    life gets in the way for all of us, but that’s life! Keep the chin up. The next few years could be a great time for Slackware, what with all the migrants coming from the “contaminated” distros.
    On the other hand I also expect to see more “trolls” infesting the Slackware community, which would indicate to me that someone is not very happy we are rejecting their pet project. This is the very time to stand strong and not wilt.
    I don’t know where you get the prodigious energy to do all the things you do, but they are mightily appreciated.
    Best regards.

  35. paco

    hello todos¡ I believe would have to work less,
    updated every six months or every year and charging for its trabajo¡ and devote more to the family, his wife will thank you more than us all together. a greeting.

  36. Morgan

    Hi Eric,

    Late to this message thread but I hate that you’re going through this. Not to diminish your struggles, but this time of year can be hard on a lot of people, with increasing family commitments, workplace issues that have to be done before a winter break, and so on. But never, ever feel that what you do for the Slackware community is in vain or unappreciated! Slackware wouldn’t be as amazing as it is if not for yours and Robby’s efforts, as well as all the other contributors. And I say that as someone who doesn’t like KDE; just because I don’t use it doesn’t mean others aren’t benefiting from it, and from all your other work as well.

    Purely anecdotal, but the computer I’m typing this on, I just built from hand-picked parts that I researched to be fully Slackware compatible. I used to alternate between Slackware and Crunchbang as my main OSes, but after researching the coming changes to Debian I’ve decided that I want the sanity of Slackware only from here on out.

    I’d also like to offer another voice in support for the ARM ports. I have a Raspberry Pi that runs Slackware quite nicely, and future ARM devices (especially the coming wave of 64 bit boards) will need a sane, stable, drama-free OS to really shine. It seems all the rest of the ARM-friendly distros, with the exception of Gentoo, are going down a dark road. Arch Linux post-systemd slowed down my Raspberry Pi to the point of being unusable, where before it was the fastest distro on that device. If that’s a harbinger of things to come, I’m perfectly happy staying in Slackware land for good, and it would be nice to know you’ll be around as well.

    In any case, take care, and take care of yourself.

  37. Silvio Arnone

    Hi Eric,
    If I was not so far away from your city I would drink more than a beer with you and feeling honored for that.
    I should like if all Slackers were like you, is not like that unfortunately.
    I am a very simple user and I love Slackware (I wonder why, sometime); you are right, is not only that one the problem of the Linux world and to “stay in touch” with it and moreover with Slackware needing really a great passion.
    I hope you going to feel better soon and if you can still follow Slackware is great because peoples like you are unique.
    My best regards and take a lot of care of yourself
    Silvio Arnone

  38. Niki Kovacs

    Hi Eric,

    I’ll join you in that computer-induced depression, though I usually get my mind back on track by going hiking or climbing in our splendid south French landscapes. I’ve spent the last month and a half buried in the LFS and BLFS documentation, playing with some minimal core system configurations and checking out Linux-PAM. Then, sometime last week, I wished all that stuff to hell and back, and decided to move to CentOS, everything, servers and desktops. CentOS also has its shortcomings, of course, but some I can live with. Plus, it’s one of those distributions that I know really well. I guess I’ll still use Slackware for teaching, but all my other stuff will be based on various highly customized CentOS configurations.

    I raise my glass and drink a Hoegaarden to your health. Cheers from the windy South of France,


  39. alienbob

    “Niets zo veranderlijk als het weer”. Seems that the autumn season and pending doom of winter brought the worst out in you, Niki. Back to CentOS across the complete range? A whole year laid to waste? What was it your customers demanded that you could not fulfill (or were unable to hold off)?

  40. Niki Kovacs

    Nah, not laid to waste. Since a significant part of my work is training, I have to be proficient at least with RHEL/CentOS and Debian. CentOS is one of those rare hassle-free distributions where everything JustWorks(tm). I’ve been using version 5.x for about two or three years, and my Linux book is based upon it. CentOS 6.x is nice for all those folks who liked Ubuntu 10.04 and want to get that feeling back. Supported until March 2020, along with a shipload of intelligent backports (drivers, Firefox, LO, …). During the last training session, I was asked to do a course about FreeIPA, and I had to decline it. Which is a pity, since this is something I’d really really like to use for my work. Well, now I can. Maybe you can finally convince Pat to implement PAM, because the absence of it is, in my not so humble opinion, a nuisance and a waste. It has been discussed to death on LQ, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no hope of it being included one day, so I switched. A pity, I know, but I weighed the pros and the cons, and this time, CentOS won.

  41. Amit Ugol

    Enough time have passed from the beginning of this thread and I hope your feelings are less raw by now. I share them BTW and a quick jump to ##slackware-offtopic and ‘@karma Linux’ is a testament to the general feeling about it.
    But hey! the sun is up (at least in my corner of the planet) and IMHO you need some perspective (as suggested above) but in a whole different way.
    What I would suggest is a nice vacation in a primitive place with no computers and little to no electricity (sorry Niki, France’s network coverage is too good even outsides the cities…)
    What you might want to do is visit this place: for a couple of weeks. Doing nothing. Flat brainwave activity… I miss that place…


  42. alienbob

    My summer holidays are usually spent without computers – that is why we go to rural France… Internet connectivity sucks big time there.

    But, I have vented enough steam and feel more positive.I am looking forward to a few weeks of holiday and writing blog articles.

  43. Niki Kovacs

    Internet connectivity has much improved since september 2013, when we got a new DSL central in the village. Now I have a steady 22 Mbit/s. Before that, it was 512 kbps, and before 2007, we only had 56 kbps phone modem access. The French have finally gotten their act together, but it took some time.

    Regarding PAM. I know very well that Pat has the final word on it, but I wonder if he could be persuaded if you, Robbie and the others weighed in a little. I admit I was surprised – and vaguely disappointed – not to read any statement from Pat on the subject under the PAM petition I launched on LQ.

  44. alienbob

    Pat will be very careful not to make public statements that are going to affect his work schedule, his decision-making and release plans, let alone create idle expectations…

  45. Niki Kovacs

    I don’t know if I totally agree with you on that. While nobody expects a press release or something, a cautious word on the subject would have been more than appropriate, given the echo the subject has raised in the forum. Something in the line of a) No, I don’t have any plans to implement PAM in a foreseeable future, or b) I’ll look into it but cannot promise anything. The currently applied communication policy (total radio silence on the subject) only reminds me of my father on Christmas Day when I was a kid. The tree was decorated in total secret, and nobody was allowed to enter the room under threat of death penalty. :o)

  46. Onebuck


    Eric, I can understand how you have been feeling the past few weeks. Some of the LQ vagrant threads of lately have been depressing to me as well.

    Please realize that you are much appreciated for the Slackware contribution that you provide. Benefits for Slackwares’ growth can be directly attributed to your contributions. Just because some vagrants submit FUD to a thread in order to inflate their egos, you must remember there are fellow Slackers who appreciate the work done. We do not want the best UNIX-like Gnu/Linux to be down played by vagrants who really do not know what they a spewing.

    Relax and enjoy the holidays. Best to you & family in this joyous season!

    You are appreciated!

    Gary aka onebuck

  47. Moxy

    Hi Eric,

    I can understand your frustration if you are. I personally think GTK development is getting way out of hand, the constant new versions coming out and breaking things, reminds of Firefox and all the constand release…

    But if that isn’t bad enough, GTK3 has to lock us into ATK/Gnome Accessibility…

    The GTK team can’t even come up with a option to disable ATK at compile time, no instead all GTK users who have no need for this dependency have to be stuck with it. So count this as something small or large in the Linux users eyes, either way, I don’t like seeing this.

    There’s a report out there in hopes of getting the GTK team to change their mind on this;

    Also Slackware has been asked to consider creating a patch for the source, if someone wants to compile GTK3, as well as offering two versions of GTK3, with and without the ATK…

    So all I can say, is I don’t like being locked into Gnome since Slackware dropped it, GTK3 I really believe needs to change at least in this manner of speaking for the future of Slackware as one direction we take.

    Thank you Eric for your hardwork and dedication to Slack, I really love what you’ve contributed, so don’t let this get you down…

    Hmm maybe time for QT? LOL…


  48. furrymonster

    Dear Eric,
    I can very well understand where you’re coming from. I just want to say thank you for all the work you do – as I’m sure it is for others, it’s invaluable to me!
    As a student, I can’t well make much of a donation, but I hope the little I sent you can be put to a healthy beery use.

  49. alienbob

    Cheers all, and thanks.

    Moxy, the developer said ion that page, Accessibility (atk) is part of the public API for GTK+-3 and therefore can not be separately disabled.

  50. storkus

    Wow, Eric, you’ve expressed pretty much exactly how I’ve been feeling the last few years, not just with Slackware, but with all software (FOSS or not) in general. It’s maddening. I wish I could offer you advice, but I honestly don’t know myself other than there are just some software packages (mainly in multimedia, but lately in other areas as well) that are far more trouble to get working in Slack (despite the name, right?) than in more modern distros; that said, to this day Slackware is still the ONLY distro I *KNOW* will work out of the box when I install it!

    I’m depressed about the state of life in general right now, and I really wish Slackware wasn’t a source of part of that, but it is–but what to do about it? I just don’t know…

    Sorry for rambling…

  51. Niki Kovacs

    On a side note, my stint with CentOS lasted a bit more than a week. Solved some problems but created a whole lot of new and unexpected problems. I may rant at Slackware, but at the end of the day, it’s still the best Linux ever. My first Linux distro back in 2001, and probably my last. Feeling slightly silly, but that’s life. :o)

  52. Moxy

    Hi Eric,

    I was able to disable it with a patch I made;

    diff -Naur gtk+-3.8.2.orig/ gtk+-3.8.2/
    — gtk+-3.8.2.orig/ 2013-05-13 00:26:28.000000000 -1000
    +++ gtk+-3.8.2/ 2014-12-15 15:39:55.241809676 -1000
    @@ -18,6 +18,9 @@
    /* Define the location where the catalogs will be installed */
    #undef GTK_LOCALEDIR

    +/* Define if we’re using atk-bridge-2.0 */
    +#undef HAVE_ATK_BRIDGE
    /* Define to 1 if you have the `bind_textdomain_codeset’ function. */

    diff -Naur gtk+-3.8.2.orig/configure gtk+-3.8.2/configure
    — gtk+-3.8.2.orig/configure 2013-05-13 00:26:27.000000000 -1000
    +++ gtk+-3.8.2/configure 2014-12-15 16:20:02.034647253 -1000
    @@ -1024,6 +1024,7 @@
    @@ -1767,6 +1768,7 @@
    build the specified input methods into gtk
    –with-x use the X Window System
    + –without-atk-bridge Do not use atk-bridge-2.0
    –with-html-dir=PATH path to installed docs
    path to xml catalog to use
    @@ -24084,13 +24086,23 @@
    # Check for Accessibility Toolkit flags

    -if test x$enable_x11_backend = xyes; then
    +# Check whether –with-atk-bridge was given.
    +if test “${with_atk_bridge+set}” = set; then :
    + withval=$with_atk_bridge; :
    + with_atk_bridge=$enable_x11_backend
    +if test x$with_atk_bridge != xno; then
    ATK_PACKAGES=”atk atk-bridge-2.0″
    +$as_echo “#define HAVE_ATK_BRIDGE 1″ >>confdefs.h

    { $as_echo “$as_me:${as_lineno-$LINENO}: checking for ATK” >&5
    $as_echo_n “checking for ATK… ” >&6; }
    diff -Naur gtk+-3.8.2.orig/ gtk+-3.8.2/
    — gtk+-3.8.2.orig/ 2013-05-13 00:23:51.000000000 -1000
    +++ gtk+-3.8.2/ 2014-12-15 15:32:51.614838264 -1000
    @@ -1303,8 +1303,13 @@
    # Check for Accessibility Toolkit flags

    -if test x$enable_x11_backend = xyes; then
    + AS_HELP_STRING([–without-atk-bridge], [Do not use atk-bridge-2.0]),
    + :, with_atk_bridge=$enable_x11_backend)
    +if test x$with_atk_bridge != xno; then
    ATK_PACKAGES=”atk atk-bridge-2.0″
    + AC_DEFINE([HAVE_ATK_BRIDGE], [1], [Define if we’re using atk-bridge-2.0])
    diff -Naur gtk+-3.8.2.orig/gtk/a11y/gtkaccessibility.c gtk+-3.8.2/gtk/a11y/gtkaccessibility.c
    — gtk+-3.8.2.orig/gtk/a11y/gtkaccessibility.c 2013-05-05 08:01:07.000000000 -1000
    +++ gtk+-3.8.2/gtk/a11y/gtkaccessibility.c 2014-12-15 15:59:04.773732099 -1000
    @@ -37,9 +37,6 @@

    -#ifdef GDK_WINDOWING_X11

    static gboolean gail_focus_watcher (GSignalInvocationHint *ihint,
    guint n_param_values,
    @@ -989,9 +986,6 @@

    g_clear_object (&atk_misc_instance);

    -#ifdef GDK_WINDOWING_X11
    – atk_bridge_adaptor_cleanup ();

    undo_window_event_initialization ();
    @@ -1011,9 +1005,6 @@
    _gtk_accessibility_override_atk_util ();
    do_window_event_initialization ();

    -#ifdef GDK_WINDOWING_X11
    – atk_bridge_adaptor_init (NULL, NULL);

    atk_misc_instance = g_object_new (GTK_TYPE_MISC_IMPL, NULL);

  53. Moxy

    Sorry Eric,

    I shouldn’t of pasted the patch like that, so if you can, you can delete that last post of mine.

    Here’s the patch; (Click the DOWNLOAD NOW) button;

  54. alienbob

    I really don’t like zippyshare or any of the other file sharing sites – so I copied that patch here:

    I’ll see how it works.

  55. alienbob

    Moxy, your patch is not useable because it requires a rebuild of a Slackware package (gtk+-3). I would need a patch for the Handbrake sources instead.

  56. Moxy

    Hi Eric,

    I was only showing a patch that works and removes the ATK support is all, since from what you mentioned before, thinking it can’t be removed and it can, that’s all…

    For Handbrake, that seems to be a different issue, needing a different version of GTK 3x 3.10 I believe you mentioned.

    Keep up the Good Fight & Happy Holidays!

  57. alienbob

    Moxy, yeah I had confused myself.

  58. Johan Linnér

    I’ve made a CLI-version for 14.1…

  59. alienbob

    The Handbrake commandline binary is not the problem when compiling handbrake-0.10.0.
    It is the “ghb” GUI program which requires a version of GTK3 which is newer than what Slackware ships with.

  60. Johan

    Yes, that was my point. The CLI is working and I’ve made a package for Slackware 14.1 (64-bits) if anyone wants to try it…

  61. ????? ?????????

    [quote]Writing some more about how I compile my packages (inspection of the sources, creating a fresh SlackBuild script and running QA on it, using virtual machines for a deterministic build environment etcetera) would indeed be nice to do.[/quote]

    That would really be useful/interesting.

    I’m using Slackware (linux, really. Started with Slackware outright) from around 02-10-13 (LQ registration date :D), but I feel like I’ve been using GNU/Linux forever!
    I swear I feel like I’ve matured with Slackware (23y). LOL

    Happy holidays and thanks for your dedication to Slackware! You are a big part of what makes Slackware so beautiful.

  62. WiiBii

    Please update your multilib I noticed there are broken symlinks in some packages, this might be a nice time to get that cleaned up.

    Thanks Mate! & Cheers!

  63. joe


    I have been faced with a similar problem running eclipse on slackware where older gtks with cause eclipse to crash randomly only when interfacing with the GUI.

    The problem seems gone now after an eclipse update. The bug was documented on eclipse buglist with gtk < 3.10.9 so maybe they implemented a workaround.

    Anyway, here is what I was thinking of:
    Just build gtk and the required package in some folder then start your program with export LD_LIBRARY_PATH to that folder.

    This way only specific programs would use the newer gtk so no risk to break anything on the slackware system.

    I can even see some package doing and managing this transparently for users. Kind of multilib like 😉


  64. alienbob

    Hi Joe

    That was exactly the approach I have been taking with the handbrake.SlackBuild. After I wrote the article I have expanded the script to compile newer versions of atk, gdkpixbuf, glib, gtk+3 and pango, but the compilation picks up system dependencies anyway because other libraries that are required by Handbrake are compiled against the system gtk+-3.
    Errors like:
    gthread-posix.c:(.text+0x1c): undefined reference to `pthread_mutexattr_init’
    gdk-pixbuf-io.c:(.text+0x599): undefined reference to `g_input_stream_read’
    gdk-pixbuf-scale.c:(.text+0x12d): undefined reference to `floor’
    gclosure.c:(.text+0x303): undefined reference to `ffi_type_uint64′

    I.e. too many errors in too many places. After a week of trying all night, I finally gave up.
    That was

  65. joe

    Wow, this makes me worry if the eclipse bug shows up again.

    Another solution that might work, I have done this before:
    Install a trimmed down version of another distro in some folder and chroot to that folder before executing handbrake. You never boot that other distro.

    There is only of waste of space consideration. You still use a single kernel and slackware OS. You can access your files in the chroot folder from your slackware environment as well.


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