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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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March 2017
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RSS Alien's Slackware packages

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RSS Slackware64-current


KDE 5_17.02 for Slackware-current is available

I am happy to announce my February 2017 release of the ‘ktown’ packages: KDE 5_17.02. What you get in this new release is: KDE Frameworks 5.31.0, Plasma 5.9.2 and Applications 16.12.2. All built on top of Qt 5.7.1.
Soon, I will compile this version of Plasma 5 on Slackware 14.2 (only 64bit) as well, but I gave priority last few days to the new LibreOffice packages and a new PLASMA5 Live image. The packages that I am releasing today are for Slackware-current only (both 32bit and 64bit). As stated in my previous post, I will no longer be releasing Plasma 5 packages for 32bit Slackware 14.2.

What you also need to know is that I removed all packages and sources from my ‘ktown‘ repository that it still contained for Slackware 13.37 and 14.1. These were using up disk space that I needed on my ‘bear’ server. People who want the latest & greatest in KDE should upgrade to Slackware 14.2 or -current.

I also emptied the ‘testing’ area of the ‘ktown‘ repository. The packages in there were outdated and no longer gave you a working desktop environment. I plan to re-add some packages for testing there, once I have rebuilt the mesa / xorg-server / qt5 stack against Wayland so I can again check out the status on Slackware of the Wayland compositor in the Plasma Window Manager (kwin). But that is for another time.

What’s new in KDE 5_17.02?

  • Frameworks 5.31.0 is an enhancement release. See
  • Plasma 5.9.2 is the second iteration of the 5.9 series with small fixes only. See . I am not sticking with the long term support (LTS) releases of Plasma 5.8, as I think LTS should be targeting stable Slackware. If you want to know more about the long term support plans, go read: .
    This is my first release with Plasma 5.9 so it is worth mentioning some of the changes:

    • You will experience various visual and usability improvements all across the board.
    • A new network configurator was added to System Settings.
    • Global menus have finally been implemented in Plasma. This means that the application menus can be separated from the application windows: the menu can now be shown either in a Plasma widget or via a handle tucked into the window bar.
  • Applications 16.12.2 is an incremental fix-release in the 16.12 series. See .
  • The ‘deps’ section has four updated packages: OpenAL, libxkbcommon, phonon, wayland; and one recompiled package: qt5. I will not upgrade qt5 to 5.8.0 until the KWin developer gives it the green light.
  • Also worth mentioning: the KF5 ports of calligra, krita, ktorrent, partitionmanager, skanlite and the KDE Development Suite can be found in “kde/applications-extra” subdirectory. Packages for kjots (previously contained in KDEPIM) and kuser (which has been orphaned) have been moved into “kde/applications-extra” as well.

This upgrade should be relatively straightforward if you already have Plasma 5 installed. See below for install/upgrade instructions. For users who are running slackware-current, the most crucial part is making sure that you end up with Slackware’s packages for ‘libinput‘ and ‘libwacom‘. Failing to do so, may render your input devices (mouse and keyboard) inoperative in X.Org.

You may want to check out the new Plasma 5 before installing. For this purpose, I have generated a new Live ISO for the PLASMA5 variant based on an intermediate liveslak- release. Look for that ISO on . The timestamp of the “slackware64-live-plasma5-current.iso” file should be Feb 26 16, 2017.

Multilib considerations

If you install a 32bit program on a 64bit Slackware computer with multilib and that program needs legacy system tray support (think of Skype for instance), you will have to grab the 32-bit version of Slackware’s ‘libdbusmenu-qt’ and my ktown-deps package ‘sni-qt’, and run the ‘convertpkg-compat32 -i‘ command on them to create ‘compat32’ versions of these packages. Then install both ‘libdbusmenu-qt-compat32‘ and ‘sni-qt-compat32‘.
Those two are mandatory addons for displaying system tray icons of 32bit binaries in 64bit multilib Plasma5.

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_17.01. 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.


If you are using slackpkg+, have already moved to KDE 5_17.01 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. If you want to read them, here they are:

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):

The same goes for Frameworks for Slackware 14.2 (change ‘current’ to ‘14.2’ in the above URLs).

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/ and  /14.2/5/ 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

LibreOffice 5.3.0 for slackware-current

libreoffce_logoIn a previous post I mentioned that  LibreOffice 5.3 was released the first of February. At that time, I provided you with a LibreOffice 5.2.5 package instead, because I was rebuilding the 5.2 packages anyway and usually I need a bit of research time to make new releases compile.

And indeed… I hit a snag along the road which initially prevented me from compiling 5.3.0 packages, but a patch was shared by orbea on the blog which pointed the way to solving my issue with harfbuzz. For your information, the Slackware version of harfbuzz is not compiled with graphite support (because Slackware does not have a package for graphite) and the new LibreOffice requires this – so my libreoffice package has to compile an internal version of harfbuzz.

As said previously on the blog, the new LibreOffice 5.3 series introduces Collaborative editing which to me is the major highlight. A Docker image is available if you want to experience LibreOffice Online on your own private server.
Better text rendering is another highlight, hence the new requirements for harfbuzz (which is used as the rendering engine).
A detailed description of new features was made available as a web page:

Get my fresh libreoffice packages for Slackware-current from a mirror like this one:

Note: the LibreOffice browser plugin (NPAPI based) has been removed in LibreOffice 4.4.0:

I also added LibreOffice 5.3.0 to a re-spin of my PLASMA5 Live ISO which I uploaded last night, so if you want to play with the new features in a safe environment, try it on Slackware Live Edition. I will write more about the new PLASMA5 ISO in another post.

As a closing remark, I advise you to read the statement issued by the Document Foundation on the intentions of the Munich City Counsel to replace their version of Linux (LiMux) and LibreOffice with MS Windows 10 and MS Office by 2021. A sad example of how behind-the-scene lobbying of Microsoft and its partners is threatening to overturn one of the most well-known Open Source success stories in Western Europe.

Cheers! Eric

OpenJDK 7 security update Jan ’17

icedteaAndrew Hughes (aka GNU/Andrew) has created a new release for IcedTea 2.6.x (which is the series targeting Java7) to allow the creation of an OpenJDK 7 package with the Java security fixes for January 2017 included.

I do realize that Java8 is the more popular version currently but as long as there are security updates for OpenJDK 7, I will try to put those into Slackware packages. So today, here’s OpenJDK 7u131_b00 – or “Java 7 Update 131 Build 00” for you. In fact two packages as always: the JRE and the JDK (which includes the JRE).

As is customary, Andrew provides release notes on his blog that list the vulnerabilities (CVE’s) which are being plugged with the new release. I used to paste those into my own blog articles but I rather give Andrew the credits, so please visit his latest post dubbed “[SECURITY] IcedTea 2.6.9 for OpenJDK 7 Released!“.

If you are still in need of Java 7 and have my older package installed, please upgrade your OpenJDK 7 to this new release. Here is where you can download the Slackware packages:

The “rhino” package (implementation of the JavaScript engine used by OpenJDK) is an external dependency for OpenJDK 7, you can find a package in my repository.

Note about usage:

My Java 7 and Java 8 packages (e.g. openjdk7 and openjdk… or openjre7 and openjre) can not co-exist on your computer because they use the same installation directory. You must install either Java 7 or Java 8.

Remember that I release packages for the JRE (runtime environment) and the JDK (development kit) simultaneously, but you only need to install one of the two. The JRE is sufficient if you only want to run Java programs (including Java web plugins). Only in case where you’d want to develop Java programs and need a Java compiler, you are in need of the JDK package.

Optionally: If you want to use Java in a web browser then you’ll have to install my icedtea-web package too. Oracle’s JDK contains a browser plugin, but that one is closed-source. Therefore Icedtea offers an open source variant which does a decent job.

Plugin support in Web Browsers:

Note that icedtea-web is a NPAPI plugin – this prevents the use of Java in Chrome & Chromium because those browsers only support PPAPI plugins, but you’ll be OK with all Mozilla [-compatible] browsers of course. For how long, I do not know. Mozilla have announced they will deprecate NPAPI in their browsers back in 2015.
And even though the plugins are still supported (but require manual activation now) there’s a very recent post on the blog of Firefox software engineer Mike Kaply where he mentions that Firefox 52 will be the first release that will no longer support NPAPI plugins at all (except for Flash but only for a few more releases to come). Remember, we are currently at Firefox version 51. Mike Kaply also mentions that the ESR releases of Firefox (i.e. the Extended Support Releases) will continue to support the NPAPI plugins!
So: Firefox 52: no more plugins. And Firefox ESR 52: plugins still supported.

Have fun! Eric

Adobe Flash security update Feb’17

adobe_flash_8s600x600_2Adobe has released security updates for their Flash Player plugin today.
Version is now available for both the PPAPI (Google Chrome and friends) and the NPAPI (Mozilla Firefox and friends) based plugins. Note that these 24.x Flashplayer releases do not support DRM or hardware acceleration as Adobe first wants to focus on security.

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

Have fun.

Chromium 56, LibreOffice 5.2.5

libreoffce_logoI had rebuilt the libreoffice-5.2.4 packages for Slackware -current last week, because library updates in Slackware had broken the spreadsheet application ‘localc‘. And voila… not long afterwards the Document Foundation blog announced 5.2.5: “all users are invited to update to LibreOffice 5.2.5 from LibreOffice 5.1.6 or previous versions“. Today on the first of february, we can even witness the 5.3 release.

A list of the most significant new features of LibreOffice 5.3 has been published in a separate document ( and you are invited to watch a series of short videos ( if you want to get a taste of what’s on the plate. Collaborative editing is the major highlight I guess. A detailed description of these new features is also available as a web page:

I am definitely not building packages right away for 5.3 but I did compile packages for 5.2.5 – albeit only for Slackware -current. I may or may not create these packages for Slackware 14.2 as well and then upgrade the -current package to 5.3. Depends on the other stuff I need to do.

These libreoffice packages are huge in size so please use a mirror for download, and take into account that only the master site and ‘bear’ will have the packages during the first 24 hours.

Note: the LibreOffice browser plugin (NPAPI based) has been removed in LibreOffice 4.4.0:

chromium_iconOn another note, Chromium (and Chrome) 56 ‘stable’ was released. It’s nice to test the HTML5 feature set on a site like HTML5test and see that it is at the top of all the browsers up there (517 points, only Chrome 56 for Windows scores better because it supports speech synthesis).

Packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current are now available from my repository. No ETA for Slackware 14.1 packages, and perhaps it is time for people still using Chromium on 14.1 to upgrade to 14.2?

As always, here are some common download sites:

Have fun! Eric