To be honest, the compilation had already finished on tuesday but due to the hectic work circumstances moving toward the christmas break, I did not have time to install and test the new packages on my laptop. Today, that has changed, and here is the new batch. One small disappointment… the colorful icons used for the shutdown & logout widget are again replaced by the old colorless flat icons. A regression in my opinion. Die flat colorless icons die!
Anyway, don’t mind the ramblings of an old greybeard who yet has to pour his first drink of the holiday. On with the story.
What’s new in KDE 5_15.12?
Actually, I skipped a Plasma release! Starting with Plasma 5.5, the developers have adopted a more agile release schedule, meaning that after a point release (.0) there will be one or two fast bugfix updates (.1 and .2) followed by further updates with a slightly longer delay. I had built Plasma 5.5.0 and was about to apply the wrapping paper when several last-minute bugs were uncovered in the new Applications point release (15.12.0) which lead to delays in finalizing the repository because of all the patching and subsequent rebuilds. And by the time the Applications issues were resolved, I found the Plasma 5.5.1 sources ready so I archived my 5.5.0 packages and built 5.5.1 instead.
- Frameworks 5.17.0 is an enhancement release. See https://www.kde.org/announcements/kde-frameworks-5.17.0.php
- Plasma 5.5.1 is the first bugfix release of the 5.5 series. See https://www.kde.org/announcements/plasma-5.5.1.php . Plasma 5.5 ditched KDE’s own TrueType font “oxygen-icons” in favor of Google’s Noto font family. Another load of font bullshit dumped on Slackware, yay, just what we needed. I had to follow suite and added “noto-font-ttf” and “noto-cjk-font-ttf” packages to the “deps” department. Other noteworthy enhancements and improvements of Plasma 5.5:
- Support for legacy Xembed protocol is back – the blueman and HP systray icons are again visible without having to jump through hoops. The package “xembed-sni-proxy” which I added a few releases earlier, is gone from my repository because its code is now part of Plasma itself. Don’t forget to run “removepkg xembed-sni-proxy“!
- Network Manager applet supports WPA2 Enterprise now.
- A Breeze theme engine for GTK2+ applications was added.
- You should be able to run a Wayland session now without too much pain and grinding of teeth. I did not test this myself, but some of you may want to tell me your experiences. Wayland is still a grey area to me, if not a black box.
- Like the new Plasma, Applications 15.12.0 was also announced earlier this week. It is a step further in maturing the KDE Frameworks 5 (KF5) ports of the KDE application collection.
- Highlight is the retirement of good old KSnapshot and the introduction of a brand new screenshot tool, Spectacle which should also be capable of capturing application menus and pop-ups.
- Apart from KSnapshot, other packages have been removed as well in Applications 15.12: Amor, KTux (both unmaintained), and SuperKaramba (Plasma offers similar functionality).
- And several artwork collections are no longer shipped: kde-base-artwork, kde-wallpapers and kdeartwork. Apparently “their content had not changed for a long time”.
I am wondering if I should re-add these removed packages as part of the “kde4” subset, like I already did with some of the other old stuff. Give me your opinion about the value of Amor, KTux, kde-base-artwork, kde-wallpapers and kdeartwork! I will re-add them when the demand is high.
And then there are the dependencies. I upgraded OpenAL, PyQt5, lmdb, added an updated sip package (i.e. newer than Slackware’s own), added the two aforementioned noto font packages and also added yet another new dependency for KWin: libxkbcommon.
I am also working on a new release of the Plasma 5 version of my Slackware Live Edition. It depends on whether I can get UEFI boot to work properly. That milestone will also become the “Beta 3″ release of my liveslak scripts. A link to the Plasma 5 Live ISO will be added to KDE’s Plasma 5 Live testing page, so that more people can get a taste of Slackware-current topped with Plasma 5.
Installing or upgrading Frameworks 5, Plasma 5 and Applications
You can skip the remainder of the article if you already have my Plasma 5 installed and are familiar with the upgrade process. Otherwise, stay with me and read the rest.
As always, the accompanying README file contains full installation & upgrade instructions. Note that the packages are available in several subdirectories below “kde”, instead of directly in “kde”. This makes it easier for me to do partial updates of packages. The subdirectories are “kde4”, “kde4-extragear”, “frameworks”, “kdepim”, “plasma”, “plasma-extra”, “applications” and “telepathy”.
Upgrading to this KDE 5 is not difficult, especially if you already are running KDE 5_15.11. You will have to remove old KDE 4 packages manually. If you do not have KDE 4 installed at all, you will have to install some of Slackware’s own KDE 4 packages manually.
If you are using slackpkg+, have already moved to KDE 5_15.10 and are adventurous, you can try upgrading using the following set of commands. This should work but feel free to send me improved instructions if needed (assuming in this example that you tagged my KDE 5 repository with the name “ktown_testing” in the configuration file “/etc/slackpkg/slackpkgplus.conf“):
# slackpkg update
# slackpkg install ktown_testing (to get the newly added packages from my repo)
# slackpkg install-new (to get the new official Slackware packages that were part of my deps previously)
# slackpkg upgrade ktown_testing (upgrade all existing packages to their latest versions)
# removepkg xembed-sni-proxy ktux amor kde-base-artwork kde-wallpapers kdeartwork (they don’t exist in the repo anymore)
# slackpkg upgrade-all (upgrade the remaining dependencies that were part of my repo previously)
And doublecheck that you have not inadvertently blacklisted my packages in “/etc/slackpkg/blacklist“! Check for the existence of a line in that blacklist file that looks like “[0-9]+alien” and remove it if you find it!
Recommended reading material
There have been several posts now about KDE 5 for Slackware-current. All of them contain useful information, tips and gotchas that I do not want to repeat here, but if you want to read them, here they are: http://alien.slackbook.org/blog/tag/kde5/
A note on Frameworks
The KDE Frameworks are extensions on top of Qt 5.x and their usability is not limited to the KDE Software Collection. There are other projects such as LXQT which rely (in part) on the KDE Frameworks, and if you are looking for a proper Frameworks repository which is compatible with Slackware package managers such as slackpkg+, then you can use these URL’s to assure yourself of the latest Frameworks packages for Slackware-current (indeed, this is a sub-tree of my KDE 5 “testing” repository):
Where to get the new packages for Plasma 5
Download locations are listed below (you will find the sources in ./source/5/ and packages in /current/5/ subdirectories). If you are interested in the development of KDE 5 for Slackware, you can peek at my git repository too.
Using a mirror is preferred because you get more bandwidth from a mirror and it’s friendlier to the owners of the master server!
- http://alien.slackbook.org/ktown/ (the master repository), rsync URI: rsync://alien.slackbook.org/alien/ktown/
- http://taper.alienbase.nl/mirrors/alien-kde/ (my fast US mirror), rsync URI: rsync://taper.alienbase.nl/mirrors/alien-kde/
- http://repo.ukdw.ac.id/alien-kde/ (willysr’s Indonesian mirror), rsync URI: rsync://repo.ukdw.ac.id/alien-kde/
- http://slackware.uk/people/alien-kde/ (fast UK based mirror, run by Darren Austin – note that the hostname changed from “slackware.org.uk” to just “slackware.uk”), rsync URI: rsync://slackware.uk/people/alien-kde/
Have fun! Eric