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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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March 2015
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KDE 5_15.02 release for Slackware-current

qt-kde-620x350I have released an incremental upgrade to my ‘ktown’ package set for KDE 5 aka Plasma 5. I have decided on a version tag for my packages, consisting of MajorRelease_Year.Month. Therefore, this package set carries version 5_15.02.

The KDE 5_15.02 increment contains the KDE Frameworks 5.7.0, Plasma 5.2.0 and Applications 14.12.2. Also present is a bunch of the “good old” KDE 4: most of kdebase, kdebindings and all those “extragear” packages like k3b and kdevelop which were missing in my 5_15.01 release.

This blog post will re-iterate some text of my previous Plasma 5 post, which I also encourage you to read, because it offers a lot more detail on the migration from KDE 4 to Plasma 5.

These KDE 5 packages of mine are going to be your only KDE desktop. There is no choosing between KDE 4 and Plasma 5 – KDE 4 will be mostly replaced. The “kde-workspace” package which provided the well-known KDE 4 workspace has been stripped down to the bare minimum, and has been replaced by “plasma-workspace”. The KDM graphical login manager has been retired and replaced with SDDM. While you will be presented with a pretty Plasma 5 workspace, most of the KDE applications you’ll be using are the familiar KDE 4 versions (with updates and bugfixes), nicely blending in to the new Breeze theme.

The highlights of this incremental release are:

  • KDE Frameworks have been updated to 5.7.0
  • KDE Applications have been updated to 14.12.2 (bugfix release, no new KF5 ports)
  • For two applications, kate and konsole, that have already been ported to KF5 (KDE Frameworks 5) it became apparent that the KDE 4 embeddable component (or “part” in KDE terminology) was still needed. So, a katepart4 package has been added so that kdevelop works again, and konsolepart4 was added to bring back the embedded terminal in dolphin. These two packages don’t share any files with their KF5 alternates.
  • The kde-workspace package has been re-added after stripping it so it no longer shares any files with plasma-workspace. The package is still needed by kget and kdeartwork.
  • The sddm-theme-breeze package has been removed because the Breeze theme files are actually part of the plasma-workspace package now… and the sddm-theme-breeze package was mostly empty already in the KDE 5_15.01 release.
  • In Applications 14.12.2, to date the only KF5 ports are still kate, konsole, analitza, gwenview, kalgebra, kanagram, khangman, kig, parley, kapptemplate and okteta. Apart from bugfixes to these and the KDE 4 based applications, the Applications 14.12.2 collection also contains updates for kde-workspace, kdelibs, kdepimlibs, kdepim and kdepim-runtime.

Testing Repository URL

I still consider KDE 4.14.3 the “latest stable” version for Slackware-current, and therefore the repository URLs (for 64-bit) and (for 32-bit) will keep pointing to KDE 4.14.3. You can use this repository URL for slackpkg+ or slapt-get or whatever package manager you use.

The URL (for 64-bit) and (for 32-bit) is pointing to my KDE 5 testing ground. I consider Plasma 5.2.0 a “testing” release, with potential to be your next stable desktop, but with some caveats and reservations. The URL itself will remain permanent, even when the versions of the software components get updated. Currently “testing” points to version “5” in the repository because versions of Frameworks, Plasma and Applications are not co-ordinated and package updates may appear in the next months for these sub-sets. The “5” is a good middle ground. You should use this “testing” URL when you configure slackpkg+ or slapt-get if you want to upgrade to Plasma 5.

You must use only one of these URLs!

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 at the command prompt (as root):

# init 4

Select “Plasma” from the SDDM session dropdown. Alternatively, if you prefer good old runlevel 3, you can type this at the command prompt (logged in under your own regular user account):

$ 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, Plasma 5 and Applications

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” “plasma”,  “plasma-extra” and “applications”.

Upgrading to this KDE 5 is non-trivial. You will have to remove old KDE packages manually. If you do not have KDE installed at all, you will have to install some of Slackware’s own KDE 4 packages manually. I can not guarantee that there will be no deal-breakers for you (missing functionality or persistent crashes).


If you are using slackpkg+, have already moved to KDE 5_15.01 and are adventurous, you can try upgrading using these four commands, this seemed to work (assuming in this example that you tagged my KDE 5 repository “ktown_testing”):
# slackpkg update
# slackpkg install ktown_testing
# slackpkg upgrade ktown_testing
# removepkg sddm-theme-breeze

If you are completely new to KDE 5 for Slackware, I urge you to also read my previous post about KDE 5_15.01 in its entirety. There was a follow-up article about the changes in system tray support in the Plasma 5 desktop which is mandatory reading material as well if you are using Dropbox, Skype and other non-Plasma 5 software that wants to dock an icon in the system tray.

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!


  • First, read all of the Notes at the end of the previous KDE 5 article, they still apply.
  • If you want your shutdown/reboot options back:
    • Solution: a simple patch which removes the use of “kwrapper5″ to start the KDE services will bring back both options. Kwrapper is meant to speed up the start of the Desktop Workspace and be a bit friendlier on resource usage but if you really do need shutdown and reboot options present, then apply the following patch to “/usr/bin/startkde”:
      --- /usr/bin/startkde.orig     Notes  2015-01-31 18:09:25.744173291 +0000
      +++ /usr/bin/startkde    2015-01-31 17:49:18.938578280 +0000
      @@ -380,7 +380,7 @@
       # lock now and do the rest of the KDE startup underneath the locker.
       test -n "$dl" && KSMSERVEROPTIONS=" --lockscreen"
      -kwrapper5 ksmserver $KDEWM $KSMSERVEROPTIONS
       if test $? -eq 255; then
         # Startup error
         echo 'startkde: Could not start ksmserver. Check your installation.'  1>&2
  • I can not find how to bring back the “Suspend” option for my laptop. Any help on this is more than welcome!
  • Please report any other issue you encounter and I will add it here if it is serious enough.

Have fun! Eric

Forgot to tell you about the new LibreOffice 4.4.0 packages

I won’t bother you with the week in hell we are experiencing at the IT Helpdesk. It’s not over yet, and it leaves me exhausted every evening when I get home after long hours. I need to recharge my battered but faithful old Nokia work phone twice a day to be able to do all the emergency calls during office hours. Oh, but now I did bother you ;-)

Rather than writing blog articles and helping people, I decided to wind down during the evenings by baking bread. The kneading process relaxes the mind while it exercises the muscles (and relieves back pains). My son does not mind… he eats all I bake anyway. Sourdough in the weekend and regular yeasted breads during the working week. The aromas coming from the oven right now are making me feel hungry again at 10:30 PM.

And so I forgot to write about the LibreOffice packages that I released a couple of days ago. I started working on 4.4.0 when it was released on 29 January, and I really had high hopes for fixing the harbbuzz issue which has plagued me and my LibreOffice package since the packages were released for my first KDE preview. The Plasma 5 needs a newer harfbuzz library than the version in Slackware. but LibreOffice chokes on the new package with a symbol error. Downgrading harfbuzz to the Slackware original fixes LibreOffice… and to be honest, I have not yet encountered issues in KDE Plasma 5 due to the downgrade, so that is a a fairly safe workaround when you are running Slackware with Plasma 5 and need LibreOFfice.

What I have been trying – but without success – was to compile the harbuzz library statically into the LibreOffice programs. That is a supported option, there is a configure switch for it, but regardless of what I tried, some of the other libraries would eventually pick up the Slackware harfbuzz as a dependency again… resulting in ICU related symbol errors. I talked to Pat about upgrading both harfbuzz and icu4c in slackware-current but he considers that a non-trivial upgrade with potential breakage of lots of programs. So, this upgrade will happen at a point where other programs in slackware-current need an upgrade or rebuild anyway. I put my money on a new KDE 4 ;-)

After a week of trying long and hard, and letting the virtual machine compile new packages during the day, I finally gave up and released LibreOffice 4.4.0 packages that work on Slackware 14.1 and -current, for as long as you do not upgrade your hardfbuzz package.

No, I can not just forget about a newer harfbuzz because it is required during compilation of Plasma 5.

Some news for LibreOffice 4.4.0 so that you know it is a good idea to upgrade (all the details are in the release notes of course): enhancements in the visual department should be mentioned (aka a User Interface redesign), as well as an improved Track Changes functionality, and better interoperability with the OOXML file formats of the big competitor.

My LibreOffice 4.4.0 packages for Slackware 14.1 and -current are ready for download from the usual mirror locations:

Have fun! Eric

Update for Chromium and another Flash security fix

Chromium (and Widevine):

chromium_iconI built new Slackware Chromium packages for the latest update in the Chrome Stable Channel.  The new version is 40.0.2214.111  and comes with several security fixes (among which, a Flash Player update, see below) Both chromium and chromium-widevine-plugin have version 40.0.2214.111 actually – use the matching version numbers as a sign that they will work together. The Widevine plugin reports itself as version “” in chrome://plugins .

Repeat message: Widevine is a Content Decryption Module (CDM) used by Netflix to stream video to your computer in a Chromium browser window. With my chromium and chromium-widevine-plugin packages you no longer need Chrome, or Firefox with Pipelight, to watch Netflix. The chrome-widevine-plugin is optional. If you don’t need it, then don’t install it. It is closed-source which for some is enough reason to stay away from it. The Chromium package on the other hand, is built from open source software only.

Flash browser plugins:

adobe_flash_8s600x600_2 With Flash it seems to be like my central heating. Last year I needed to connect the waterhose once a month and regulate the pressure in the pipes… it got worse to the point that I needed to re-pressurize every day. Until I called the maintenance guy who fixed a leak permanently. There is yet another leak in the Flash from Adobe and security updates have been added to my repository yesterday: the plugins for chromium (PPAPI) and for mozilla-compatible browsers (NPAPI).

The new Slackware package for chromium-pepperflash-plugin has version The new Slackware package for flashplayer-plugin has version

The update for pipelight can be done manually. As root, run the script:

# pipelight-plugin --update

Next time the pipelight plugin is loaded in your browser, it will update your Windows plugins to their latest versions where needed.


Support for old-school XEmbed system tray icons in Plasma 5

Plasma 5 has abandoned the old xembed-based system tray support. I mentioned that in my announcement post for the Plasma 5 packages for Slackware-current, and also mentioned that there are solutions for that in Plasma 5. This means that a lot of applications (meaning: all non-Plasma 5 applications) will fail to display an icon in the system tray of your new Plasma 5 Workspace. No more Skype, no more Dropbox, no more Steamclient, etcetera. The applications will be running of course, but you can not interact with them through their system tray icon.

For some applications (Qt 4 and GTK+ 2 and 3 based in particular), I already added support to my set of Plasma 5 packages, but some applications still stubbornly refuse or are still unable to display a systray icon in your Plasma 5 Workspace.

For these applications, the best solution is to run an application like wmsystemtray which implements the XEmbed protocol and thereby allows applications to dock their systray icon in the wmsystemtray application’s window.

It is a bit of a clumsy solution because wmsystemtray itself is unable to dock into the Plasma 5 system tray, and therefore you will have a permanently visible window somewhere on your desktop which displays the systray icons for applications like dropbox, blueman, scim etc. But it is better than nothing at all.

Instructions about how to work with wmsystemtray so that it looks best and impacts your workspace the least, are contained in the “README.kwin” file inside the build directory in my repository, but that file is a bit hidden. Therefore, here are the instructions:

First of course, install the wmsystemtray package from my repository.

Start the application as follows. Type it in KRunner (Alt-F2) or in an X terminal:

wmsystemtray --non-wmaker --bgcolor white

The window will appear in the upper left corner of your workspace, obscuring the Plasma 5 workspace control icon. Grab the window and drag it to the upper right corner – I think it has a better placing there. The window will probably already show some applications that had been waiting all that time to show their systray icon.

Add the following content to a new file called “wmsystemtray.kwinrule” somewhere in your fiilesystem. The filename is not important, but the “.kwinrule” extension will make it easier to find later:

[Application settings for wmsystemtray] 
Description=Application settings for wmsystemtray 
wmclass=wmsystemtray0 wmsystemtray 

Then, open System Settings and go to”Window Management > Window Rules“. Click on the “Import” buton and point to the “wmsystemtray.kwinrule” you just created. Click “Apply” and immediately you will see the wmsystemtray window change: the border disappears and the window placeholder in the taskbar is gone too. Its place on the desktop is immutable now.


Next time you login to Plasma 5, its session manager will run the wmsystemtray again, so there is nothing more to do than the above.


Another Flash player plugin this week

adobe_flash_8s600x600_2 I failed to mention this earlier because of the time I spent on KDE 5, but there was a new Flash from Adobe. following closely on last week’s security fix.

I have packaged the usual suspects: the plugin for chromium (PPAPI) and for mozilla-compatible browsers (NPAPI). If you have pipelight installed, you should run “pipelight-plugin –update” as root to get the latest Flash installed automatically the next time the browser loads the Windows plugin.

The new Slackware package for chromium-pepperflash-plugin has version The updated flashplayer-plugin has version

Download locations have not changed: