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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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KDE 5_16.07 for Slackware 14.2 and -current

plasma5_startupI released a Slackware Live ISO containing Plasma 5.7.0 a few weeks ago, but did not make a fuss out of it – in other words, I did not write any communication about it on this blog. The Live ISO was made upon request of the KDE developers who wanted to show off the new Plasma 5.7 on Live Editions of as many distro’s as possible.

And now that all major KDE components have had new releases, it is time to package them up and create my habitual “KDE of the month release” for Slackware along with a proper announcement.

KDE 5_16.07 is the July release of the combined KDE Frameworks 5.24.0, Plasma 5.7.2 and Applications 16.04.3 for Slackware, built on top of Qt 5.6.1. You can enjoy the latest KDE 5 on Slackware 14.2 and -current.

 

plasma5_about_distro_jul16

As promised, I have used the release of Slackware 14.2 to re-arrange stuff in the ‘ktown’ repository. I consider Plasma 5 to be a stable and enjoyable desktop experience, so the packages have moved from “testing” to “latest” for both Slackware 14.2 and slackware-current (there is no difference between the two at the moment, I built the packages on Slackware 14.2 but they are usable on -current as well). The Plasma5 repository on http://alien.slackbook.org/ktown/ still has a “current/testing” section but with the use of symlinks, it is pointing to the “14.2/latest” package set which is where you will get your stable releases in future.

If you use a package manager that supports 3rd party repositories (slackpkg+, slapt-get) you may want to change the string “testing” to “latest” in the ‘ktown’ repository URL!

I may wait until Pat adopts Plasma 5 into slackware-current but if that takes too long, I may just start diverging the two repositories because I want to investigate Wayland support in Plasma 5. This means, dear reader, if you want a pleasant and stable Plasma 5, stick with the “14.2/latest” and “current/latest” URLs. And if you want to be surprised some day, track the “testing” repository instead, where things may break without warning. You have been warned 🙂

What’s new in KDE 5_16.07?

  • Frameworks 5.24.0 is an enhancement release with no new frameworks this time. See https://www.kde.org/announcements/kde-frameworks-5.24.0.php
  • Plasma 5.7.2 is an incremental bugfix release of the 5.7 series. See https://www.kde.org/announcements/plasma-5.7.2.php . The Plasma 5.7 series has some long-anticipated highlights that improve the user experience: “agenda view” is back in the calendar, and the volume control applet is way more functional, amongst others.
  • Applications 16.04.3 is also a maintenance release. See https://www.kde.org/announcements/announce-applications-16.04.3.php . Nothing exciting to report.
  • After the updates of Qt5 and Qt5-webkit packages in the “deps” directory last month, several other “deps” packages were still in need of an update or rebuild so I took care of that. The rebuilt/upgraded packages are: ‘sni-qt’, ‘qca-qt5’, ‘PyQt5’, ‘polkit-qt5-1’, ‘phonon’, ‘grantlee’ and ‘qt-gstreamer’. The ‘sip‘ package has been removed from “deps” because Slackware 14.2 now has a proper version of that.
  • There’s a new KF5 port of ‘skanlite’ in the “kde/applications-extra” directory along with the previously added KF5 port of ‘ktorrent’.  And ‘kjots’, previously contained in KDE PIM, has been separated into its own package in the “kde/applications” directory.
  • The ‘noto-font-ttf‘ package was rebuilt because the VERSION number contained dashes, which created an illegal package name. You will have to remove the old package manually with “removepkg /var/log/packages/noto-font-ttf-2015-09-29-noarch-1alien“.

This upgrade should be straightforward if you already have Plasma 5 installed. See below for install/upgrade instructions. And if you want to check it out before installing, I will be generating new Live ISO’s soon: for all variants, PLASMA5 included. They will become available at http://bear.alienbase.nl/mirrors/slackware-live/latest/ soon. Check the timestamp of the “slackware64-live-plasma5-current.iso” ISO.

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

Upgrading to this KDE 5 is not difficult, especially if you already are running KDE 5_16.06. 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.

What I usually do is: download all the ‘ktown’ packages for the new release to a local disk. Then run “upgrade –install-new” on all these packages. Then I check the status of my Slackware-current, upgrading the stock packages where needed. The slackpkg tool is invaluable during this process of syncing the package installation status to the releases.

Note:

If you are using slackpkg+, have already moved to KDE 5_16.06 and are adventurous, you can try upgrading using the following set of commands. This should “mostly” work but you still need to check the package lists displayed by slackpkg to verify that you are upgrading all the right packages. Feel free to send me improved instructions if needed. In below example I am assuming that you tagged my KDE 5 repository with the name “ktown” in the configuration file “/etc/slackpkg/slackpkgplus.conf“):
# slackpkg update
# slackpkg install ktown (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 (upgrade all existing packages to their latest versions)
# 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 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!

Have fun! Eric

July ’16 security fixes for Adobe Flash

adobe_flash_8s600x600_2Due to a holiday stay in Brittany (France) last week, the monthly updates for Adobe’s Flash player plugins took a little longer to reach my Slackware repository. Read the Flash player  security update of July 12th if you want to know more about all the CVE entries the update is addressing.

Good news by the way: it is no longer required to extract the PepperFlash library from a Google Chrome RPM. Adobe hosts the PPAPI plugins on their own web server now. This has another (positive) consequence: there is a 32bit pepperflash plugin again!

The updated plugin for the Chromium browser (chromium-pepperflash-plugin) has the version number 22.0.0.209 while the plugin for Mozilla browsers (flashplayer-plugin) is now at version 11.2.202.632.

Slackware packages for these Flash plugins are available for download & install in the following locations:

If you are using the slackpkg+ extension for slackpkg, then you just run “slackpkg update && slackpkg upgrade flash”. Alternatively, you can subscribe to my repository RSS feed to stay informed of any updates.

Eric

LibreOffice 5.1.4 (bugfix release)

libreoffce_logoThe Document Foundation released Libreoffice 5.1.4 on June 23, but I was kept busy with preparing my own packaging and scripting stuff for the release of Slackware 14.2. In addition, a new release of Plasma (5.7) is near, for which I promised a Live ISO to be available on July 5.
Still, I thought new packages were needed after someone pointed out that there is a CVE associated with the 5.1.4 release because it fixes a security bug:  CVE-2016-4324. Therefore I am pleased to announce the immediate availability of Slackware (14.2 and -current) packages for LibreOffice 5.1.4.
According to the announcement this LO release is “targeted at individual users and enterprise deployments. Users of previous LibreOffice releases should start planning the update to the new version“.

 

lo514_about

LibreOffice 5.1.4 is otherwise a minor update, focusing on bug fixes.

Packages can be obtained from these mirror sites and probably others too:

Cheers! Eric

PS: for those who had not noticed: the LibreOffice browser plugin (NPAPI based) has been removed in 4.4.0: https://skyfromme.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/killing-the-npapi-plugin/

Bear is working for its money

graph-daily_bandwidth-206076

This is the bandwidth graph of the last 24 hours for my “bear” server, which I could rent thanks to donations made after the old “taper” server kept buckling under the load of serving Slackware Live ISO images.

Since I made the new Slackware 14.2 data available 24 hours ago, the server has been pushing out 1.67 Terabytes of data, at an average of 155 MBytes/sec. Needless to say that this server was a good investment, I could never have managed this on my old platform.
Thanks for the public interest and have a lot of fun with your shiny new Slackware 14.2 ISO (Live edition or regular installer)!

Eric

Slackware 14.2 released

Yep

Slackware 14.2 has been released today, July 1st of 2016. Don’t fall off your chairs.
More than two and a half years have passed since the previous stable release 14.1 but the long wait was definitely worth it. Actually, the timestamp for 14.2 finalization is “Thu Jun 30 20:26:57 UTC 2016” but Pat needs time to prepare ISO images, torrent trackers, set up mirrors, write the announcement blurb etcetera… plus the team is spread over several timezones which makes it hard to pick a time to raise the glass.
This is a stellar release, go read the release announcement, and start preparing your upgrades. People whose computers have been in sync with slackware-current are in fact already running 14.2 at this moment. CD and DVD masters have been sent to the replicators and official ISOs can be expected to show up on mirrors soon.

No doubt there will be another festive thread on LinuxQuestions.org, I am sorry there was no “guess the release date” contest this time around. It would have been a hard one to win anyway, considering the fact that Slackware’s first Beta release for 14.2 happened on January 13th… five and a half months ago, which is about the length of a typical release cycle for some other software projects out there.

Let’s mention some more Slackware goodness. Check out the Wiki of the Slackware Documentation Project where content is being added all the time. The Wiki’s virtual server had some serious stability issues last year, so it was replaced with a real-iron one with lots of CPU and bandwidth to spare. Thanks to all for the donations which allowed me to rent it for years to come. Another project that saw the light last year was Slackware Live Edition. This new approach to creating a live version for Slackware allows you to take the distro out for a test drive (in a virtual machine, or using bootable DVD or USB media) without having to install it first. Slackware Live Edition comes in several variants, containing desktop environments not found by default in Slackware: Plasma 5 (the cutting edge of KDE) and Mate (an enjoyable Gnome 2 fork). An ISO image for Slackware Live 14.2 is here: http://bear.alienbase.nl/mirrors/slackware/slackware-live/slackware64-14.2-live/ .
And don’t forget the SlackBuilds.org project. It contains a wealth of package build scripts for just about any software you can think of.

If you are the owner of an ARM computer like the Raspberry Pi or a BeagleBoard or such, the latest Slackware ARM 14.2 created by Stuart Winter will become available soon. Stuart announced that this release will be his last, but you never know.

What’s new in Slackware 14.2?

The new stable release of Slackware contains X11R7.7 (X.Org server 1.18.3), KDE 4.14.21 (KDE 4.14.3 with kdelibs-4.14.21 and modularized i.e. many more – but smaller – packages), XFCE 4.12, the Linux 4.4.14 kernel as default, but with sample kernel configs for newer 4.6 kernels included as well. Slackware now uses PulseAudio in order to support bluetooth audio devices properly. ALSA is also still supported. And tonnes of other upgrades can be found too.
Time for some statistics: in the 970 days since Slackware 14.1 was released, only 259 packages out of a total of 1332 (not counting /extra and /testing) have remained untouched. The other 1073 packages were either added , upgraded or recompiled.

And what’s not…

We still do not include systemd – we are quite happy  with Slackware’s init system. In order to remain competitive, Slackware’s udev was replaced with eudev and ConsoleKit was replaced with ConsoleKit2. That should keep the distro fit for the future.
During the next development cycle I am going to look into elogind (another component of systemd which was forked and made independent just like eudev). It is needed for KDE Plasma’s Wayland support. Indeed, Wayland is not part of Slackware 14.2, as we think X.Org is doing a good job.

Upgrading

People upgrading from Slackware 14.1 have multiple options. You should definitely read the CHANGES_AND_HINTS file to get a good picture of the many package additions and removals. The UPGRADE.TXT file is an invaluable source if you want to perform a manual upgrade. The Slackware Documentation Project contains an article called “upgrading Slackware to a new release“. It describes how to use the slackpkg tool (which is part of Slackware) to perform the upgrade with a large degree of automation.

Get Slack

Download your official ISO images from any of the Slackware mirrors. We use mirrorbrain to ensure that a visit to mirrors.slackware.com will lead you to a server that is near to you. In light of previous load issues with Slackware’s primary server at slackware.com, Akamai have generously provided Slackware Inc. with extensive global content caching and Internet routing performance enhancements, allowing us to keep the site up, even at peak times.

You can use bittorrent too if that allows you to download at larger speeds. Our tracker is ready on http://www.slackware.com/getslack/torrents.php.
Torrent files for the Slackware Live Edition are available too: http://bear.alienbase.nl/mirrors/slackware/torrents/slackware64-14.2/slackware64-14.2-live.torrent (64bit edition) and http://bear.alienbase.nl/mirrors/slackware/torrents/slackware-14.2/slackware-14.2-live.torrent (32bit edition).

Or you create the ISO image yourself: our buddy alphageek created a set of “sligdo” templates which is a fast way to recreate a bit-for-bit copy of the official Slackware DVD ISO using the “jigdo” tool and a full copy of a Slackware release directory structure. The MD5 and GPG signatures will check out OK for an ISO created with sligdo. I have copies of all the sligdo files in case alphageek’s computer is offline.

And please consider buying a subscription at the Slackware Store – it will help keeping the distribution alive. You must understand that Pat is the only one in the core team who is financially dependent on the sales of Slackware DVD’s and other merchandise. I do not think anyone who ever used Slackware wants to see this great distribution die through lack of funding. The rest of the team does this for fun, not for profit – we buy our own subscriptions from the Store, just like you do.

Have fun! Eric