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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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July 2015
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Sourdough Kaiser rolls

I am enjoying a long weekend at home – Ascension day is a national holiday and both my employer (IBM) and my customer (ASML) closed their offices on the friday following it.

So I decided to experiment a bit with the bread I bake. The usual routine is that I bake three breads (two sourdough and one with commercial yeast) to get us through the week without having to rely on factory bread from the supermarket. This weekend, I wanted to have a go at Kaiser rolls, also known in Austria as Kaisersemmel or Handsemmel. A piece of traditional artisanal baking skill in Austria, but here you only get the factory made stuff.

I wanted to hand-make these traditional rolls according to the old ways. Traditionally, the leaven (natural yeast) would be provided to the baker by the local brewery, but that is not a viable solution nowadays. But we have sourdough, which should have some semblance to the old sour mash from the brewery.

So I set out to compare recipes and shaping techniques. There’s lots of recipes to be found actually, and the conclusion with all these white bun recipes is – you just add what you like. In my case, I wanted to go easy on the butter and sugar so that my wife would not have any reservations in sampling the finished product. But afterwards she admitted she would have eaten them whatever the content, they were that tasty.

Here is the recipe I ended up with. It was enough to create 11 rolls of roughly 75g each.

The evening preceding the day you want to eat the rolls, you mix the following ingredients into a rough mass:

  • 100g sourdough starter (100% hydration meaning it’s 50g flour, 50g water)
  • 450g AP flour (of which 200g was Type 00 strong flour)
  • 5g sugar
  • 60g full-fat milk
  • 200g water (cold)

Leave the rough dough to rest for 25 minutes (the flour is allowed to absorb the moisture, this is called “autolyse”) and then add:

  • 20g butter (soft, hand-warm)
  • 7g salt

Knead the dough by hand during 6 minutes until it is silky smooth. Then return the dough ball to a container and cover with clingfilm.
Leave the container on the kitchen counter for a bulk fermentation during the night. Do not place the container in the fridge. In 8 hours, the dough will double or almost triple in size.

Next morning, dump the dough onto your work area and gently push the air out with your flattened hands.
Using a dough cutter divide the mass into pieces of 75 – 80 grams and shape them into balls, creating surface tension. Leave these to rest for 15 minutes.
Gently flatten the balls of dough, creating circular disks. Dip them into some rye flour so that they are coated with a thin layer. This will prevent them sticking together. Leave to rest for another 15 minutes.

Now, shape the Kaiser rolls. There are several techniques for doing this, but I used what I assume is the traditional way. Here is a nice video of shaping a Kaiser roll. No rubber stamp, no knots in the dough. The real stuff!
Place the shaped rolls face-down on an oven tray which has been dusted with rye flour. This is needed so that the folds do not disappear while the dough is proofing. Cover them with a linen cloth or clingfilm. Leave them there for a second proofing, until doubled in size (will take something like 2 hours).
Heat up your oven in time, set the temperature to 200C. Place a low metal baking tray on the oven floor.
Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes. Introduce steam during the first 10 minutes by pouring a cup of cold water into the tray on the oven floor and quickly closing the oven door, and vent the oven after 10 minutes.
They are ready when the edges are golden brown. When you tap the bottom of a roll with your fingers it should give a “hollow” sound. Leave them to cool for a bit before you cut into them. If you started early in the morning, the rolls will be ready for lunch.

This is how mine came out of the oven:


There’s no doubt to it: these sourdough rolls are the best I ever tasted. They have a nice crispy crust and the folds opened up nicely while baking.

You’ll also note that there is one roll that does not look like a Kaiser roll. I also tried my luck at a braiding a knot and that was easier than shaping a Kaiser roll. I need to practice the shaping process. It was a lot of fun, but 9 rolls does not give you a lot of experience. Definitely something I will do again shortly!


New chromium-dev package and plugins

chromium_iconI have been working on some changes for the chromium package, and what’s better than to first test those changes on a Chromium Development release?

I have not really been happy with the choice I made to have a single configuration file (/etc/default/chromium) which would then have to be re-written by any plugins that you would install. For instance, the PepperFlash plugin modifies that file so that Chromium learns of the pathname and version of that plugin when it starts. Unfortunately, some people would accidentally wipe those modifications with every update to the Chromium main package (the “/etc/default/” file would overwrite the “/etc/default/chromium” file if you were not paying attention).

So what I did was change the single configuration file into a configuration directory, which is “/etc/chromium-dev/” for the Chromium Dev package. Each package (Chromium as well as any plugin or extension) can add its own configuration file to that directory. As an example of how that works, I have created packages for chromium-dev, chromium-dev-pepperflash-plugin and chromium-dev-widevine-plugin that use this new setup. Those are Slackware packages  for -current only by the way – when a new version of Chromium Stable is released  I will also add this new configuration setup and then the packages will be released for Slackware 14.1 as well.

What else is there to say about my chromium-dev packages? Chromium-dev is the development release of the browser (there’s also a “beta” channel but I don’t care about that too much). Testing the development release from time to time is preparing me well in advance for major (or subtle) changes in the compilation process and functionality, so that when the stable channel jumps to a higher major release it won’t take me long to come up with a set of packages.

The new chromium-dev packages have the version number 44.0.2398.0. So what changed with this new major release 44 compared to the previous 43 (or even the stable 42)? One important change is that it is no longer necessary to extract the Widevine CDM library from an official Google Chrome RPM in order to compile the Open Source Widevine adapter library which is the piece of code that interfaces between the browser and the closed-source Content Decryption Module. Therefore even the Open Source purists should be at peace now with the new process. If you do want to use Widevine CDM, for instance when you want to stream Netflix in your Chromium browser, you simply install my widevine-plugin package (the version it reports will be The browser itself will not be tainted.

The PepperFlash plugin package which I added as well (first time for my Chromium Dev releases) has a change as well, compared to the package for Chromium Stable. The PepperFlash directory is installed to “/usr/lib64/chromium-dev/” instead of “/usr/lib64/” (it’s “lib” for 32bit Slackware of course) so that the pepperflash-plugin package’s files will not clash with the pepperflash-plugin for Chromium Stable. The plugin for Chromium Dev reports itself as version by the way. This version is not even listed yet on Adobe’s Flash test page. I assume that this too, is a development version.

Get my Chromium Development packages in one of the usual locations:

Change the URL a bit to get the widevine-plugin and pepperflash-plugin packages.


May ’15 security updates for Adobe Flash

adobe_flash_8s600x600_2Just before going to bed with a belly full of good red wine and lamb roast, I noticed the new Adobe Flash security bulletin: apsb15-09.

I could not ignore that, so I prepared Slackware packages for you to address this new bulletin. As usual, the packages offer a Flash plugin for the chromium browser (PPAPI) and mozilla-compatible browsers (NPAPI).

If you have pipelight installed, you should run “pipelight-plugin –update” as root to get the latest MS Windows-based Flash installed automatically the next time the browser loads the pipelight plugin (at the time of writing, there is no pipelight update available but that should change in the coming days).

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

Download locations:


No more cats


Goodbye dear girl.

She was named “Witje”, Whitey, at birth because her fur was pure white. During her final year, the color went slowly out of her black face-mask. She survived a mysterious illness of which her sister died almost two years ago. She remained fragile after that ordeal. But very cute and adorable still.

She would sleep in my lap in the evening when I was working on your packages, she would eat her morning food on the kitchen counter next to me while I would be preparing my work lunch; she has wanted to be near us all the time. She was a “people” cat until the end. She loved us and we loved her back.

Last week she stopped eating, and three days ago she would no longer drink. She was a strong girl, that she managed to hold on to life for so long. She slowly faded from consciousness to deep sleep until she would no longer respond to our voices and we knew the end was not far off. But while she was awake and still able to walk she wanted to stay with us, never tried to find a quiet spot and wait for the end like her sister.

We let her sleep inbetween us during her final two nights, and now she’s gone and leaves an empty space in this household.

You will be missed.

KDE 5_15.04 for Slackware-current: back to work

qt-kde-620x350An update to my KDE 5 packages was overdue. Ever since the “big upgrade” in Slackware-current a week ago on 21 April 2015, there have been some stability issues in the Plasma 5 desktop. The instability was caused by the version bumps of various libraries that the KDE software is depending on – you can not dynamically link to a software library that’s no longer there because it has been replaced with a library bearing a new version number. I felt I had to recompile everything just to be sure there was no hidden “breakage” left, and so I took the opportunity to wait for the newest Plasna release and present you wilth all-new packages.

My April release of KDE 5_15.04 consists of Frameworks 5.9.0, Plasma 5.3.0 and Applications 15.04.0 plus the latest updates of the KDE 4 Long Term Support (LTS) packages kdelibs, kdepimlibs, kdepim, kdepim-runtime and kde-workplace. Also there’s been a bit of a shake-up in the “deps” directory containing the direct dependencies for this release.

About Plasma 5

Slackware-current will stick with KDE 4.14.3 plus the latest LTS updates. KDE 5, or Plasma 5 as many people like to call it, is not yet fit for the average user. It is fairly stable, has some nice new concepts but if you are not the curious or tinkering kind, you will be better off with Slackware’s KDE 4.14.3.

If you are curious and like to tinker, and don’t care if some functionality is temporarily missing from Plasma 5 that you were used to in KDE 4, then my Plasma 5 packages will be a nice and interesting update for your Slackware-current computer (32-bit or 64-bit). The KDE 5 matures with every release of its components. In particular, the new Plasma 5.3.0 is a “new features” release working its way towards full Wayland support (no, we do not use that yet, and X.Org is also fully supported). And the April ’15 release of the KDE Applications brings the number of applications that have been ported to KF5 (KDE Frameworks 5) to a grand total of 72.

New to the Applications starting with 15.04 is KDE Telepathy (an Instant Messaging & Voice Over IP client on top of the telepathy communications framework) and Kdenlive, the non-linear video editor. BOth are filling a void in the KDE desktop that has existed for many years. I have to tell you that I have not yet built packages for them, but I will look at them for a future iteration. It would only have delayed the release of my packages at this moment.

Remember, there is no choosing between KDE 4 and Plasma 5 – KDE 4 will be mostly replaced (I say “mostly” because there are still a lot of KDE 4 applications in this release).

What’s new in KDE 5_15.04?

The highlights of this 5_15.04 March release are:

  • KDE Frameworks have been updated to 5.9.0 (includes a new Framework: ModemManagerQt which is the former libmm-qt5 which has been promoted from Plasma to Frameworks and renamed)
  • KDE Plasma has been updated to 5.3.0 (new features release)
  • KDE Applications have been updated to 15.04.0 (increasing the number of KF5 ports to 72)
  • KDE Extragear has been emptied: all the extragear packages are now available in slackware-current itself. Report any breakage that you encounter!!
  • The “deps” directory for this release contains updates to stock Slackware packages: PyQt, eigen2, phonon, phonon-gstreamer, sip, xapian-core, and there’s three new “deps” packages as well since my previous release: PyQt5, cfitsio and grantlee-qt5. You’ll notice that several other “deps” packages have been upgraded or at least rebuilt.
  • Gone from the “deps” because they are now part of Slackware-current:  LibRaw, akonadi, attica, cmake, eigen3, exiv2, grantlee, harfbuzz, libfakekey, libodfgen, librevenge, libssh, libwpd, orc, poppler, qt, shared-desktop-ontologies, soprano, strigi.

Installing or upgrading Frameworks 5, Plasma 5 and Applications

The recent mass-update in Slackware-current will make this upgrade to KDE 5_15.04 particularly difficult. Remember: “don’t drink and drive“!

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 or newer and are adventurous, you can try upgrading using the following set of commands. This should work but feel free to send me improved instructions if needed (assuming in this example that you tagged my KDE 5 repository “ktown_testing”):
# slackpkg update
# slackpkg install ktown_testing (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_testing (upgrade all existing packages to their latest versions)
# slackpkg upgrade-all (upgrade the remaining dependencies that were part of my repo previously)
# removepkg sddm-theme-breeze (gone after KDE 5_15.01)
# removepkg libmm-qt5 (gone after KDE 5_15.03)

My observations after upgrading

There were a couple of things I had to go through to get the Plasma 5 desktop into an OK state:

  • At first start, the screen remained black even though I could see the “wmsystemtray” was visible and the mouse pointer was definitely a KDE pointer. I killed the X server (Ctrl-Alt-BackSpace) and started again. This time the desktop came up as anticipated.
  • I had added Konsole  to the Favourites menu earlier. Both Konsole and Systemsettings icons in the Favourites were non-functional and missing their icons. I had to remove and re-add them.
  • KDEConnect was added to my system tray earlier. After the upgrade to KDE 5_15.04 I could see an empty square where I assume KDEConnect wanted to dock – but it did not respond to clicking. I had to right-click on the system tray and disable KDEConnect from being shown, click Apply, and then make the KDEConnect widget show again.
  • The default desktop background and the start/lock screen are quite a bit flashier. I like the changes in the theming.
  • Still no suspend/hibernate buttons. And the shutdown/reboot options will only appear if you edit the “/usr/bin/startkde” script – removing the call to “kwrapper” as explained here.

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