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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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October 2016
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RSS Alien's Slackware packages

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New packages for LibreOffice and Chromium

libreoffce_logoThere’s a new LibreOffice release with a lot of improvements: 5.2.0. The announcement on the Document Foundation blog shows quite a lot of extensive information this time because of the version number jump and the changes implied by it. I’ll mention just a couple of semi-random facts here:
Document classification has been added as a major feature. Two-factor authentication for Google Docs storage finally works in Writer. Interoperability (with the MS Office file formats of course) has been improved and an import filter for Word for DOS was added. In Calc, new functions were added along with tooltips showing context information about functions. Source code quality has been measurably improved again.

I’ll share a picture from that blog post. It is a timeline detailing the roadmap of the last 5 years (2011 – 2016) on how LibreOffice has matured after it was forked off of OpenOffice. From the onset, the developers have focused on code cleaning and refactoring; the codebase was old, originating in StarOffice with tens of thousands of lines of german comments that had to be translated to english, and the ancient build system was switched to GNU make. With the codebase at an acceptible quality level and ready for collaborative development using git and gerrit, the focus for the 5.x releases has been to improve the user experience through a better and more fuctional UI:

Michael Meeks wrote a presentation several years ago which offers more insight into this re-factoring process.
A series of short videos have been created to showcase the new and improved User Interface functionality.

Packages for the new LibreOffice 5.2.0 are now ready on mirror servers for Slackware 14.2 and -current. Note that according to the announcement this LO release is “targeted to early adopters and power users“. For better stability, the 5.1.x releases are worth considering, but I will gladly welcome any feedback about (lack of) issues you are encountering with this new version 5.2.0 if you decide to go with it.

Get the packages here:

PS: for those who had not noticed: the LibreOffice browser plugin (NPAPI based) has been removed in 4.4.0:

chromium_iconLet’s not forget that there was also a new release of the Chromium browser. This event is a lot more common than LibreOffice releases but since chromium is the single most used program on my computer apart from konsole, vlc and vim, it is worth mentioning… if just for my own sake.

The Google Chrome Releases blog mentions a list of vulnerabilities that were addressed with this release. Here are the ones that were contributed by external researchers as well as the Google team:

  • [$4000][629542] High CVE-2016-5141 Address bar spoofing. Credit to anonymous
  • [$4000][626948] High CVE-2016-5142 Use-after-free in Blink. Credit to anonymous
  • [$3000][625541] High CVE-2016-5139 Heap overflow in pdfium. Credit to GiWan Go of Stealien
  • [$3500][619405] High CVE-2016-5140 Heap overflow in pdfium. Credit to Ke Liu of Tencent’s Xuanwu LAB
  • [$4000][623406] Medium CVE-2016-5145 Same origin bypass for images in Blink. Credit to anonymous
  • [$1000][619414] Medium CVE-2016-5143 Parameter sanitization failure in DevTools. Credit to Gregory Panakkal
  • [$1000][618333] Medium CVE-2016-5144 Parameter sanitization failure in DevTools. Credit to Gregory Panakkal
  • [633486] CVE-2016-5146: Various fixes from internal audits, fuzzing and other initiatives.

Packages for Slackware 14.1, 14.2 and -current are now available from my repository. Be sure to upgrade!

Have fun! Eric

Pipelight update

pipelight-logoI decided to do an update of my “pipelight” package. I had not looked at it for a long time, basically because I do not use it anymore, but after I upgraded my “wine” package someone asked if I could please write up what could be done for wine-pipelight.

As you know, pipelight is a Linux plugin wrapper for Mozilla-compatible browsers which lets you install and use Windows plugins on Linux. This configuration enables you to access online services which would otherwise be unavailable to you on a Linux platform. The pipelight plugin wrapper uses wine to load the Windows software.
The pipelight developers created a series of patches for Wine which made all of this possible. They called this patch set “wine-compholio” which was later renamed to “wine-staging” and eventually was absorbed into the Wine developer community. Nowadays, wine-staging is the testing ground for Wine – stuff which has not yet been approved for inclusion into the main repository but looks promising.
Together with my “pipelight” package I offered a “wine-pipelight” package which contained a version of wine that had been patched with the “wine-staging” patch set and installed into a non-standard location so that only the pipelight plugin would find it.

Since then, my regular “wine” package has also been enhanced with the wine-staging patch set. In addition, I am applying the d3d9 (wine-nine) patch set which uses the gallium-nine state tracker in Mesa for added performance on some graphics cards.

Therefore a separate “wine-pipelight” is no longer required. I have reconfigured and rebuilt my pipelight packages (for Slackware 14.1 and newer) so that you can remove the old “wine-pipelight” package. Pipelight uses my regular wine package now. The “wine-pipelight” packages (for Slackware 14.1 and newer) have been removed from my repository.

That simplifies things a lot. I used to have a warning that you should not try to run programs simultaneously that use the wine and wine-pipelight programs – the two would interfere. That warning has become obsolete now that there is only one version of wine left on your system.

If you want to use someone else’s wine package instead of mine, you need to ensure that that wine package applies the wine-staging patches or else your pipelight will not work!

Good to know: you can always get the latest Windows plugin releases (an important feature in case of security fixes) without having to wait for me creating a new package. Just run the command “pipelight-plugin –update” as root. After doing that, the next time your browser loads the pipelight plugin, it will automatically download the newest version of your installed Windows plugin(s).
This feature depends on the pipelight developers updating their “install-dependency” script, so if they forget or are too busy, the above command will not give you the latest Windows plugin releases unfortunately…


In my original post about pipelight, you will find full installation and configuration instructions, as well as a troubleshooting section. That blog article is also referred to on the support page. Let me remind you that you need to go multilib if you want to use pipelight on 64-bit Slackware.

Packages can be downloaded from these locations:

Have fun! Eric


July ’16 security fixes for Java 8

icedteaOn the heels of Oracle’s July 2016 security updates for Java 8, the icedtea folks have released version 3.1.0 of their build framework so that I could create packages for OpenJDK 8u101_b13 or “Java 8 Update 101 Build 13”  (and the JRE too of course).

Here is the list of security fixes and CVE‘s as taken from the announcement on Andrew Hughes’s blog:

Download locations:

If your applications are not yet ready for Java 8, I still maintain the Java 7 packages under new names:”openjdk7″ and “openjre7”. Note that my Java 7 and Java 8 packages (e.g. openjdk7 and openjdk) can not co-exist on your computer because they use the same installation directory.

There is no more need for a separate “rhino” package (implementation of the JavaScript engine used by OpenJDK) because in OpenJDK 8, this functionality is provided natively using the internal “nashorn” library.

Note about usage:

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. While Oracle’s JDK contains a browser plugin, that one is closed-source and therefore Icedtea offers an open source variant which does a decent job. Note that icedtea-web is a NPAPI plugin – this prevents 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.

Have fun! Eric

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.



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 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
  • Plasma 5.7.2 is an incremental bugfix release of the 5.7 series. See . 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 . 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 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.


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:

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 while the plugin for Mozilla browsers (flashplayer-plugin) is now at version

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.