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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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Raspberry Pi and Broadcom: a birthday present

475px-Raspberry_Pi_Logo.svg Two years ago (on 29 february 2012), the Raspberry Pi Model B went on sale. More than 2.5 million Raspberry Pis have been sold to date! An amazing number, considering that the original goal was to equip british school kids with cheap hardware for Computer Science education.

Thanks to these enormous sales numbers, the Raspberry Pi Foundation (a not-for-profit organisation) was able to sponsor several Open Source projects writing code which can be used with the hardware (XBMC, libav and many others).

And now, two years later, there is a new surprise. The Raspberry Pi has been developed as “open” as possible, however there was a part of the hardware which was not open: the VideoCore IV 3d graphics core on the Broadcom application processor for which only a “binary blob” exists and which is addressed by a thin layer of Open Source graphics kerneldriver. This is not unusual – most if not all of today’s ARM-based mobile hardware has a closed-source graphics stack and no public register-level documentation of the hardware.

This is changing now! As announced on their blog, Broadcom has decided to open up their VideoCore IV 3d core to accompany the two-year anniversary of the Raspberry Pi. The code of the graphics stack has been open-sourced under a liberal 3-clause BSD license and  it’s accompanied by complete register-level documentation for the graphics engine. This is unique for the ARM hardware platform as far as I know.

If you are an experienced hacker/programmer, you may be up to the challenge posed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation: to port the open-sourced graphics stack (for the BCM21553) to the Raspberry Pi’s processor (BCM2835). And they will pay you a bounty of $10,000 if you are the first person to demonstrate satisfactorily that you can successfully run Quake III at a playable framerate on Raspberry Pi using your ported drivers.

How cool is that? Of course I hope it will be a Slackware hacker who will reap this reward.

Have fun! Eric

Two not-so-exciting updates but useful to some

Today I uploaded packages for VLC and LibreOffice. They are not for everyone, but let me explain this before you start scratching your head.

LibreOffice 4.1.5 was recently released and I maintain LibreOffice 4.1.x for Slackware 14.0. The newer Slackware releases (14.1 and the -current development tree) are treated to LibreOffice 4.2.x and currently I have libreoffice-4.1.2 packages available.

I finally came round to compiling libreoffice-4.1.5 on Slackware 14.0 and you can now download these packages.

Package locations:

I suspect that many people will have transitioned to Slackware 14.1 but there will likely be some left  who will benefit from a newer LibreOffice on Slackware 14.0. I am one of them.

largeVLCAnd a commentor on my previous blog post requested packages for the new VLC 2.1.4. Actually, there was not a lot of sense to that, since the changes between 2.1.3 and 2.1.4 are targeting Mac OSX only. The VideoLAN web site still offers VLC 2.1.3 packages for Windows prominently on their homepage.

In order to quell the voices that request packages for the newest VLC release, I decided to build this version anyway and update my repositories with it. The new vlc-2.1.4 packages can be downloaded from the usual locations.

Eric

Chromium, LibreOffice, Pipelight, Flashplayer updates

If you are subscribed to my repository’s RSS feed or if you are using slackpkg+ to keep your Slackware system updated, you will already have noticed and are probably already using the new packages – for the rest of you, here is the harvest of last week.

Chromium

chromium_iconChrome and Chromium were updated to version 33.0, bringing fixes for 28 security issues. The new version number is 33.0.1750.117 to be exact.

The most important fixes (for high-risk vulnerabilities) are:

  • [$2000][334897High CVE-2013-6652: Issue with relative paths in Windows sandbox named pipe policy. Credit to tyranid.
  • [$1000][331790High CVE-2013-6653: Use-after-free related to web contents. Credit to Khalil Zhani.
  • [$3000][333176High CVE-2013-6654: Bad cast in SVG. Credit to TheShow3511.
  • [$3000][293534High CVE-2013-6655: Use-after-free in layout. Credit to cloudfuzzer.
  • [$500][331725High CVE-2013-6656: Information leak in XSS auditor. Credit to NeexEmil.

I have packages ready for the new chromium (Slackware 14.0, 14.1 and -current):

In the same locations you will also find updated packages for chromium-pepperflash-plugin and chromium-pdf-plugin. Both these packages contain binaries taken from the official Chrome distribution: respectively an Adobe Flash player and a PDF reader plugin. The Flash player is a security update (new version of the Pepper Flash plugin is 12.0.0.70), just like the other Flash player plugins I will mention further down.

LibreOffice

LibreOffice 4.2.1 packages for Slackware 14.1 and -current are ready too. The first minor increment in the 4.2 series took only 3 weeks, solving over 100 bugs which were introduced because of the relatively large amount of new code that was added since the prior 4.1 series. You can read more in the ChangeLog for 4.2.1.

Note that I ship my LibreOffice 4.1 and 4.2 packages with additional “libreoffice-dict-<language>” packages, containing dictionary and spellchecker support! If you are still running Slackware 13.37 there’s LibreOffice 3.6.7 for which I also have packages, and users of Slackware 14.0 are served well with LibreOffice 4.1.4 (I will compile packages for 4.1.5 shortly).

Package locations:

Pipelight

pipelight-logo The new pipelight release brings updates and fixes. More Windows browser plugins are supported, but being able to view Netflix will still be the major benefit for many of its users. Note that the update will also bring you the newest Flash Player version (fixing several security issues as already pointed out when I wrote about Chrome’s PepperFlash update). Together with the newest pipelight, I also created new packages for its wine-pipelight dependency, bringing the version of Wine to 1.7.13.

Let me remind you that in my original post about pipelight, you will find full installation and configuration instructions, as well as a troubleshooting section.

Package location:

 

Linux Flash Player

Of course there is the normal¨ Flash Player plugin for Linux as well – it received an update from Adobe just like its Chrome and Windows pendants. That same Adobe security bulletin mentions that the new version of the Linux browser plugin is 11.2.202.341. Package location:

Have fun! Eric

The week in review

I have not been updating this blog for a couple of days, but that did not mean I was sitting on hy hands.

These are the package updates which landed in my various repositories during the last few days:

Calibre

calibreicoNearly every week I have been updating my Calibre packages whenever Kovid Goyal released a new version. Especially the last couple of releases are really exciting. Perhaps you noticed (if you are an ebook lover or even an ebook writer) that the Sigil EPUB editor’s progress had stalled, in fact the software’s development is dead. I did not really care because Sigil had switched its Qt dependency from 4 to 5 and Slackware does not contain Qt5, so new Slackware packages were out of the question anyway. Now, Calibre has been enhanced with an ebook editor. Visually and functionally the Calibre ebook editor application shows similarities to Sigil, however it is a completely different program, and it integrates perfectly into the Calibre GUI. You can invoke it directly by running “ebook-edit” from a terminal or using the “Edit E-book” menu item in your Desktop Environment.

Calibre can also run as a Web Server with an OPDS interface, ideal for when you have an ebook reader with a Wireless network interface – you can download books directly from your library without the need for a USB cable. But it needs to be hidden behind an Apache reverse proxy to make it safe enough to use on the Internet. I recently installed COPS however, which is built from the ground up to be a replacement Calibre OPDS PHP Server. After some discussion with the developer, I talked him into adding an online web-based EPUB reader which is based on Monocle, so that I can read my ebooks directly on my ChromeBook without the need for downloads or browser plugins.

 

LibreOffice

I already posted about my gripes with building the new LibreOffice 4.2.0. Well, I finally managed to make it work, and the resulting packages (for Slackware 14.1 and -current) are available. A significant bug was rapidly discovered in Calc when using a non-english language pack. It seems that other people suffered from this in earlier releases even, and not just on Slackware. Still, this is a release with many improvements. Read more about the new features and fixes on the announcement page. Interesting tidbit: LibreOffice 4.2 offers a new Start screen, with a cleaner layout that makes better use of the available space – even on small screens – and shows a preview of the last documents you opened.

Focus for the 4.2 cycle is performance and interoperability (yeah, when is it not) with MS Office.

Note that I ship my LibreOffice 4.1 and 4.2 packages with additional “libreoffice-dict-<language>” packages, containing dictionary and spellchecker support! If you are still running Slackware 13.37 there’s LibreOffice 3.6.7 for which I also have packages, and users of Slackware 14.0 are served well with LibreOffice 4.1.4.

Package locations:

 

Chromium

chromium_iconAnother update to Chrome/Chromium brings this open source version of Chrome to 32.0.1700.107, and interestingly enough (but I disregarded this) another update appeared one day later which “upgrades” Chromium to 32.0.1700.103. A comment to that blog announcement questions the effective downgrade but there is no answer yet from the developers.

The SlackBuild was modified a bit (thanks dugan!), in order to solve several bugs in the interaction with vBulletin, which is the software powering LinuxQuestions.org (hoster of the main Slackware user forum on the Internet).

I have packages ready for the new chromium:

 

VideoLAN Player

largeVLCThe VideoLAN team released version 2.1.3 of their VLC player yesterday.

This is another maintenance release of the “Rincewind” release, “fixing numerous bugs, and improves decoders, notably for the new formats (HEVC and VP9). Important fixes involve Audio and Video output management on most platforms“. 2.1.3 also “improves the demuxer and decoders for most formats, and the various interfaces“.

Where to find the new VLC packages:

Rsync acccess is offered by the mirror server: rsync://taper.alienbase.nl/mirrors/people/alien/restricted_slackbuilds/vlc/ .

My usual warning about patents: versions that can not only DEcode but also ENcode mp3 and aac audio can be found in my alternative repository where I keep the packages containing code that might violate stupid US software patents.

 

Adobe’s Flash Player plugin

adobe_flash_8s600x600_2There was a minor version number update today, for Adobe’s Flash Player Plugin for web browsers. The update is accompanied by a security bulletin “apsb14-04

Packages for Mozilla compatible browsers are here (and the update to pepperflash plugin for Chromium should follow shortly):

Icedtea-web

A new release of the web browser plugin for OpenJDK is available since today. Version 1.4.2 finally makes Oracle’s Java version tester page work again (remember that you now have to explicitly allow the plugin to start inside your Firefox or Chromium browser):

java_is_working_7u51_b31

Get the packages at http://slackware.com/~alien/slackbuilds/icedtea-web/

 

 

KDE

The latest  KDE Sofware Compilation is 4.12.2 which is available now and it accompanied by Plasma Workspaces 4.11.6. Mostly bug fix release, you should have no issues upgrading.

Contrary to what I had told before, I have built these packages on Slackware 14.1. I am running them on all my Slackware-current boxes without issues. The difference between Slackware 14.1 and -current is not so big yet, which is the rationale behind my decision to use Slackware 14.1 as the compilation platform this one time (for maximum compatibility)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!

My packages can be found in the ‘ktown’ repository which I maintain for KDE packages:

 

This concludes the week in review. I just finished baking a fresh loaf of bread and the smell makes me mad. Have to wait until the morning (it’s still hot and the time is just past midnight).

loaf-800

Remember:
You can subscribe to the repository’s RSS feed (RSS for ktown and RSS for multilib available too) if you want to be the first to know when new packages are uploaded.

Have fun! Eric

Compiling new LibreOffice sources is a bitch

libreoffce_logo
<rant> After three compilation failures (each setting me back several hours) I must say this:

Whenever I have to bump a LibreOffice package – and perhaps due to moving up from Slackware 14.0 to 14.1 for compiling – it annoys the hell out of me that there are so many unexpected build failures. Not because I cannot fix them, but because every iteration of a LibreOffice compilation attempt costs another few hours. And there’s only so many hours between coming home from work and falling over because of sleep deprivation.

I am afraid that it will take some time before I can produce proper LibreOffice 4.2.0 packages for you. They will be available for Slackware 14.1 and newer . If you are running Slackware 14.0 then you’ll have to stick with LibreOffice 4.1.x (32-bit, 64-bit) for which I will build new packages soon (4.1.5 is around the corner). Users of Slackware 13.37 can still enjoy LibreOffice 3.6.7 (32-bit,64-bit).

In the meantime I am baking a fresh bread for tomorrow morning, so that I get at least something useful out of this frustrating evening.

Eric