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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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November 2014
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RSS Alien's Slackware packages

RSS Alien's unofficial KDE Slackware packages

RSS Alien's multilib packages


New Chromium now supports Netflix natively without Wine plugins


The latest update to my Chromium package is an interesting one. It took me many nights, all of last week, to find a solution for a crash that is mentioned in various bug reports and for which I could not find a working fix anywhere. In the end, I just removed the few lines of code which trigger the crash.

Dear Google: I think it is stupid to force a crash in my package just because my build is not an “official build”. If your developers want bug reports, fine, arrange something in your development or beta source code, but do not annoy users of your your stable releases by making your product unfit for Google searches.

Anyway, Chromium 37.0.2062.94 comes with a couple of critical bug fixes:

  • [$30000][386988] Critical CVE-2014-3176, CVE-2014-3177: A special reward to lokihardt@asrt for a combination of bugs in V8, IPC, sync, and extensions that can lead to remote code execution outside of the sandbox.
  • [$2000][369860] High CVE-2014-3168: Use-after-free in SVG. Credit to cloudfuzzer.
  • [$2000][387389] High CVE-2014-3169: Use-after-free in DOM. Credit to Andrzej Dyjak.
  • [$1000][390624] High CVE-2014-3170: Extension permission dialog spoofing. Credit to Rob Wu.
  • [$4000][390928] High CVE-2014-3171: Use-after-free in bindings. Credit to cloudfuzzer.
  • [$1500][367567] Medium CVE-2014-3172: Issue related to extension debugging. Credit to Eli Grey.
  • [$2000][376951] Medium CVE-2014-3173: Uninitialized memory read in WebGL. Credit to jmuizelaar.
  • [$500][389219] Medium CVE-2014-3174: Uninitialized memory read in Web Audio. Credit to Atte Kettunen from OUSPG.

New in Chromium 37:

Two nice things happened in Chromium 37 that I want to write about.

  • A separate PDF plugin is no longer needed. This release of Chromium finally has the PDF library included which in the past would only be released with the binary Chrome builds. PDF’s are now nicely rendered in the browser window without having to install the chromium-pdf-plugin package. In fact, I removed that plugin package from my repository. If anyone still wants or needs the SlackBuild for that, let me know and I will post it somewhere.
  • I have not tried it myself (no Netflix here) but reportedly Chrome 37.0.2062.94 can play Netflix natively in Linux, without the need for Wine plugins that add support for MS SilverLight. The new HTML5 player with DRM which Netflix optionally uses now, is supported thanks to co-operation between Chrome developers and Netflix. I assume that the Chromium package would provide the same support. In any case, newer (developer) versions of Chromium reportedly do support Netflix natively, just not sure of the exact version where this started working. Try it, and tell me what you found! I will release a “chromium-dev” package later this week to allow testing in Slackware of new functionality, that may help too.

How to make Netflix work with Chrome/Chromium?

These are instructions I took from a thread, again I am unable to verify their value.

  • Install Chromium (Chrome would work too of course)
  • Install a User Agent switcher (apparently Netflix keeps blocking Linux browsers even though they now support them…)
  • Add new User-Agent in User-Agent-plugin with following settings:
    • New User-Agent Name = Netflix
      New User-Agent String = Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.3; Win 64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/38.0.2125.24 Safari/537.36 (looks like 37.x.x.x version numberss do not work; use the latest Chrome (beta) version here).
      Group = Chrome
      Append = Replace
      Indicator Flag = NX (or whatever you want)
  • Add a new Permanent Spoof List
    • Domain =
      User-Agent String = Netflix
  • Make sure your mozilla-nss package has at least version 3.16.4 (Pat Volkerding upgraded all mozilla-nss packages in recent Slackware releases for this reason)
  • In Netflix Playback-settings chose HTML5

Have fun! Eric

LibreOffice 4.3.1 packages are ready

On August 28, The Document Foundation announced LibreOffice 4.3.1, the first minor release of LibreOffice 4.3 “fresh” family, with over 100 fixes (including patches for two CVEs). The CVEs that were patched in LibreOffice 4.3.1 (and also in LibreOffice 4.2.6) are CVE-2014-3524 “CSV Command Injection and DDE formulas” and CVE-2014-3575 “Arbitrary File Disclosure using crafted OLE objects“.

If you want to be reminded of the new features in LibreOffice 4.3 then I advise you to read the Release Notes. My previous post on LO 4.3.0 mentions some of these improvements as well.

Note that when I upgraded the LibreOffice packages in my Slackware 14.1/current repository from 4.2.5 to 4.3.0 last month, the result was that there is no 4.2 version to be found anymore  in the repository (I offer LibreOffice 4.1.6 in the Slackware 14.0 repository). I added a build script for LibreOffice 4.2.6 in the sources directory, in case you want to try building 4.2.6 yourself. The two aforementioned CVE’s have been applied to the latest source tarballs of LibreOffice 4.2.6, versioned “″.

Font compatibility:

With regard to MS Office compatibility, I have another remark. In the 4.2 releases I added copies of two open source TrueType fonts which are metric-compatible with two popular Microsoft fonts. Having these fonts available to LibreOffice means that the layout of MS Office documents when you open them in LibreOffice will be unaltered because the replacement fonts (Carlito for MS Calibri and Caladea for MS Cambria) have the same font metrics as the Microsoft ones. When updating the libreoffice.SlackBuild script I decided that I would rather have these two fonts available to the whole system, not just to LibreOffice. Therefore I created two separate packages for these fonts, and if you do not yet have the (non-free) Microsoft web core fonts installed I advise you strongly to install the open source Carlito and Caladea font packages.

Package availability:

LibreOffice 4.3.1 packages for Slackware 14.1 and -current are ready for download from the usual mirror locations:

A note about KDE integration:

If you are on KDE and simply “upgradepkg” the libreoffice packages, your application may suddenly look very out of style, having switched to a GTK look & feel. All you need to do is “installpkg” the new libreoffice-kde-integration package (I split the KDE support out of the big LO package and into its own separate package for LO 4.2.3, so it’s possible that you already have it). One thing is worth noting, despite the fact that this is called “KDE integration”: due to bugs in Qt4 which have not been patched in Slackware’s version of the Qt4 package, the KDE file picker has been disabled in this package. Here is the relevant piece of build output:

*WARNING: native KDE4 file pickers will be disabled at runtime, Qt4 fixes needed
*WARNING: (needed)
*WARNING: (needed)
*WARNING: (recommended)

If you have a lot of spare time available, you can hunt down those three Qt4 patches, apply them to the Slackware package source and then recompile the qt4 and libreoffice packages…


What you do when it rains


I had a great week in Bruges, Belgium. Visited the brewery “De Halve Maan” and had a tour of the new brewing hall as well as the museum with all the ages old brewing equipment. It ended with a free “Brugse Zot” blonde beer, unfiltered (you can get the unfiltered version only in the brewery’s own restaurant on-site). It really tasted great, more flavors than the bottled version.

I will try to post some of the pictures I took while roaming the city of Bruges (I nearly took 200) because it is a very pretty – Bruges is one of Unesco’s World Heritage sites. But anyway, we did not have rain during our stay (a few small showers perhaps). The rain started when we went back home. With that rain, I was less inclined to go out and walk for a bit, or work in the garden. Bread making is one of the things I am doing today (using my sourdough starter which survived a week in the fridge exceptionally well). But after a week of no computing, I wanted to do something again when I got home.

So I uploaded the KDE 4.14 packages and posted the blog article, all of which I had already prepared before traveling to Bruges. And then I looked at what else had been happening during my absence. Not much really :-) Some new systemd related threads on, which I am trying to stay out of (it’s a pretty hairy discussion in there), and some more talk about Skype 4.3 which needs PulseAudio now.

Perhaps I will pick up zerouno’s successful effort to package all the required 32-bit libraries along with the Skype binaries (he did not have to bother with PulseAudio then, so I think it will be more complex to make it work now)… if I find the time.

On Google+ I had attempted to find some answers to creating an OpenVZ container template for Slackware. I had hoped there would be updates during my holidays, but unfortunately the one guy (who also reads this blog of mine I believe) who has worked professionally with openvz and Slackware and whom I asked for advice did not answer. Probably too busy with his girl friend. Anyone who can help me out, please leave me a note. The G+ post contans a link to the script I wrote for the creation of that Slackware template.

kde44 I did have time this weekend to package KDE 4.13.3 for Slackware 14.1 – as promised when I wrote about KDE 414 for Slackware-current.

The KDE 4.13.3 packages for Slackware 14.1 are available at the usual location, Those of you who like (or need) to use a stable Slackware version will now have the opportunity to enjoy a much-improved KDE. It includes the latest Calligra office suite and also the kdeconnect package (to interface with your Android phone from within KDE)  has been upgraded and has a lot more functionality now.

calibreico I also looked at the weekly update of Kovid Goyal’s Calibre package.

To my surprise he has promoted his beta version of Calibre 2 to production sooner than I expected which creates a dilemma for me. The new version 2.0.0 is no longer based on Qt4 but instead Kovid uses Qt5 for Calibre now, which allowed him to eliminate several longstanding Qt4 related bugs. My dilemma is, how should I treat the transition to Qt5 ? Should I embed the Qt5 libraries into the Calibre 2 package like I used to do long ago for Qt4 (which will greatly increase the package size) or should I request of you (users of my Calibre package) to install my Qt5 package along with the new Calibre? I would like your feedback before I decide to start building a Calibre 2 package. In the meantime, the “old” calibre-1.48.0 package will remain available in my repository.

ARM_powered_300px There were two questions in my old blog pages about the status of my hardfloat ARM port. I must say, the economical crisis and the condition of our remaining parents have resulted in me having a lot less free time, and the ARM port was a victim of that. I am at a point with that port that I need to re-sync to the latest stable Slackware and then transfer the packages to a real machine… I am a bit scared of that last part. Stuart’s Slackwarearm is very successful at installing onto ARM devices, because he uses a (modified version of the) real Slackware installer for that. WIth my ARM port I am noy yet sure if I want a “Slackware-like” installation using the setup script, or create an image file which you just have to copy to your ARM device. Note that the hardware which I had in mind for my port, is the Chromebook, or tablets even, Unlike the older embedded Linux devices, those are typically equipped with a ready-made OS image instead of running an installer. But the ARM port is not dead! I just need to get my act together.

Have fun! Eric

KDE 4.14.0 – no big surprises

The new major release of KDE 4 has been made available. KDE Software Compilation 4.14.0 is the first of four iterations which will all see the light of day this year, 2014 (KDE 4.14.3 will be released on 11 November). A relatively short cycle, caused by the parallel development towards Frameworks 5 and Plasma 5. What’s still missing for Plasma 5 is the KDE Application ports to Qt5 and the Frameworks and this is where most of the action is nowadays. There is nothing really worthwhile to mention about KDE 4.14 if you look at its feature plan. Nevertheless KDEPIM is being worked on a lot and judging by the activities in the applications’ GIT repositories everybody is still alive and kicking out code. The previously mentioned announcement page has more details about the individual application improvements.

Anyway, like I said: even though this is a new major release, it is more a polishing update to the KDE Applications. That did not restrain me from building new KDE 4.14 packages on Slackware-current. I was out of the country this week (my son is glad about the freedom that gives him around the house …) so the release of my new packages was somewhat delayed, but now that I returned I am going to fulfill my promise and create KDE 4.13 packages for Slackware 14.1 somewhere during the next week.

Akonadi is the only dependency that was upgraded after my KDE 4.13 packages. The KDE 4.14 package-set uses two sources from previous major releases because no new tarball was made available for KDE 4.14. Those are: kactivities-4.13.3 and kde-workspace-4.11.11.

How to upgrade to KDE 4.14.0 ?

You will find all the installation/upgrade instructions that you need in the accompanying README file. That README also contains basic information for KDE recompilation using the provided SlackBuild script.

You are strongly advised to read and follow these installation/upgrade instructions!

Where to find packages for KDE 4.14.0 ?

Download locations are listed below (you will find the sources in ./source/4.14.0/ and packages in /current/4.14.0/ subdirectories). 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

On LKML: an open letter to the Linux World

I wish I were better with words. There’s thoughts that strike a note in your heart and mind,  but I would not be able to express these thoughts on paper so that they deliver the needed punch. That was my first thought when I read this open letter on the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML): . The text is written by a longtime Debian user who feels deeply betrayed by its board of leadership. The emotions he penned down are exactly mine. Thank you, Christopher Barry. This was of course not the first eloquently written rant, but I hope it sparks a discussion in Kernel Land about what is happening in User Land, and whether they can afford to keep looking the other way (with the public exception of Linus and some others).

One word. One demon. systemd.

What relation does Christopher’s rant have to Slackware? After all, it’s Debian that got the flak, and in the comments section people indicate they intend to switch to Gentoo… forgetting that Slackware is a good systemd-free alternative (but hey! this automatic dependency resolution thingie that makes life so comfortable in Gentoo is not part of Slackware either).

Last week I asked the SDDM developers to reconsider their decision no longer to support ConsoleKit because Slackware does not have systemd or logind and thus we need to keep using ConsoleKit. The answer could be expected: “answer is no because ConsoleKit is deprecated and is not maintained anymore” and therefore I had to patch it in myself.

Of course, the ConsoleKit successor systemd-logind, written by the same team that gave us all the *Kit crap, depends on PAM which we also do not have in Slackware. One of the fellow core developers in Slackware, who is intimately familiar with the KDE developers community, has heard from multiple sources that KDE is moving towards a hard dependency on systemd (probably because they are going to need the functionality of systemd-logind). We all know what that means, folks! It will be the day that I must stop delivering you new KDE package releases for Slackware. That’ll be the day.