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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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KDE 5_15.03 for Slackware-current

qt-kde-620x350Here’s the latest and greatest of KDE’s software collection (Frameworks, Plasma, Applications). SInce my last ‘ktown’ release, all of KDE’s sources have been renewed, and today I am making public a package set for KDE 5 aka Plasma 5 with version 5_15.03: my March ’15 release.

This incremental release of KDE 5_15.03 consists of Frameworks 5.8.0, Plasma 5.2.2 and Applications 14.12.3 plus the latest updates of the KDE 4 Long Term Support (LTS) packages kdelibs, kdepimlibs, kdepim, kdepim-runtime and kde-workplace.

About Plasma 5

Slackware-current will stick with KDE 4, and therefore the next version of Slackware will likely ship 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 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 4.10.5 or my own 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).

Much has been said and written about Plasma 5, not all of that has been positive, but like with so many things, sometimes you need to look for yourself and make your own judgement instead of having to rely on others. You can also read some of my older posts on the blog that give you a good introduction about why I started this KDE 5 project for Slackware even though it may take years to see its appearance in Slackware. These posts contain notes and tips that enable you to transision to Plasma 5 more easily. Worth reading them all if you haven’t yet:

So after installing these packages there will no longer be a KDE 4 desktop on your computer. 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 – wait for Applications 15.04 to see more applications transition to Frameworks 5).

I run this Plasma 5 desktop on my laptop all the time and it’s getting better with every incremental release. Don’t worry, if you are disappointed with Plasma 5, you can always revert to one of the KDE 4 releases (Slackware’s or mine).

The highlights of this 5_15.03 March release are:

  • KDE Frameworks have been updated to 5.8.0 (includes two new Frameworks: KPeople and KXmlRpcClient)
  • KDE Plasma has been updated to 5.2.2 (bugfixes only)
  • KDE Applications have been updated to 14.12.3 (bugfix release, no new KF5 ports)
  • KDE Extragear was updated with version 2.9.1 of the Calligra office suite
  • The “deps” directory for this release contains two updates to stock Slackware packages: libwpd and grantlee. These version bumps are required by the new versions of calligra and kdepim respectively
  • And there’s two new “deps” packages as well: librevenge and libodfgen. Both of those are required for the new version of libwpd

Installing or upgrading Frameworks 5, Plasma 5 and Applications

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).

Note:

If you are using slackpkg+, have already moved to KDE 5_15.01 or newer and are adventurous, you can try upgrading using these four commands, this seemed to work (assuming in this example that you tagged my KDE 5 repository “ktown_testing”):
# slackpkg update
# slackpkg install ktown_testing
# slackpkg upgrade ktown_testing
# removepkg sddm-theme-breeze

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

March Flash updates

adobe_flash_8s600x600_2 New Flash security bulletin from Adobe: apsb15-05.

Available for immediate download as a Slackware package are the plugin for chromium (PPAPI) as well as the plugin for 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.

The updated Slackware package for chromium-pepperflash-plugin has version 17.0.0.134. The updated flashplayer-plugin has version 11.2.202.451.

Download them here (probably mirrored elsewhere too, but these I at least know about):

Eric

Chromium 41

Chromium and Widevine:

chromium_iconI prepared packages for you (Slackware 14.1 and -current) for the latest Chromium browser and its optional Widevine plugin. In the  Chrome Releases blog you can read the announcement for Chrome/Chromium 41 to the Stable Channel (full version is 41.0.2272.76).

Chromium 41 is a major version upgrade with attention to security and performance. I could not find new functionality that needs mentioning though.

The new packages for my chromium and chromium-widevine-plugin packages both have version 41.0.2272.76 – indicating that they should be used together. The Widevine plugin reports itself as version “1.4.7.771” in chrome://plugins .

You don’t have to install the Widevine plugin. Chromium without Widevine plugin is a pure and open source browser, even the Widevine “adapter module” inside the Chromium package is open source. The Widevine library itself is a closed-source Content Decryption Module (CDM) which therefore is not part of the Chromium package but separately packaged (after extracting it from Google’s binary download of the Chrome browser with the same version number).

Download locations:

Note for the curious: Widevine is a Content Decryption Module (CDM) used by Netflix to stream video to your computer in a Chromium browser window. With my chromium and chromium-widevine-plugin packages you no longer need Chrome, or Firefox with Pipelight, to watch Netflix.

Have fun with it! For me, it is bed time after a long working week, and time to bake some good sourdough breads during the weekend. After the weekend I hope to take a look at the new KDE Applications 14.12.3 tarballs and TigerVNC. Considering the promise of sun and high temperatures during the weekend, I would rather spend time walking outside with my wife than spend time alone behind this computer :-)

Eric

LibreOffice 4.4.1

A new LibreOffice is here – the first bugfix release for the 4.4.x series. Over a hundred bugs were fixed since version 4.4.0 saw the light a month earlier.

My LibreOffice 4.4.1 packages for Slackware 14.1 and -current are ready for download from the usual mirror locations:

Have fun! Eric

Coordinated release of VLC 2.2.0

largeVLCSeven months after the VideoLAN team released version 2.1.5 of their VLC player, we are treated to two new releases. There is a version 2.1.6 bugfix release, but that is not really getting attention. Everybody’s eyes are focused on the brand new 2.2.0 release. For the first time in the history of the VideoLAN Client, nowadays better known as the VLC player, there are simultaneous releases for most Operating Systems, including Android, iOS, Windows RT and Windows Phone. Of course there’s a release for Linux too (ok… and Windows) so I built you all some packages for Slackware (compatible with 14.1 and -current).

The 2.2.0 release has been (very) long in the making. With nothing really exciting going on for many months – at least not publicly – I spent my time on other things and left the VideoLAN developers to do what they do best: release good software when it’s ready. A commendable philosophy, obviously they have eyes on Slackware as the shining example of releasing when ready, not before :-)

A month ago, I took some time to check out the ongoing development because the number of show-stopping bugs had almost gone down to zero. I refreshed many internal support libraries, polished the vlc.SlackBuild and tested a git version of the player. Looked good! Most of the open bugs and remaining things to be done were not relevant to Linux anyway. Therefore it took no time at all to build packages for the official 2.2.0 release once that was announced yesterday afternoon.

I had a busy saturday, so the blog post took a while, but those of you who check the repository’s RSS feeds or are using slackpkg+ will already have seen the new packages yesterday.

What’s new in 2.2.0 apart from cross-platform support? There’s enhancements all over the spectrum: video decoding, encoding, supported formats etc. Here are some of the highlights taken from the official release notes that are relevant to the Linux player:

  • GPU 0-copy decoding-rendering for Linux using VDPAU
  • Improved support for UltraHD codecs, H.265 and VP9
  • Resume playback where you left off
  • Subtitles download from the web, using OpenSubtitles
  • Support for BD-Java menus and overlay in Blu-Ray
  • Acceleration of VP9 and H.265/HEVC decoders
  • Support for encoding in H.265, Opus and VP9
  • Rewritten support for WMV, Ogg, MP4 and AVI, notably for seeking

But under the hood there’s a lot more going on than these buzzwords can do justice. The team have indeed delivered a tremendous job. considering that this is an all-volunteer project.

Where to find the new VLC packages:

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

For BluRay support, read a previous article for hints about the aacs keys that you’ll need.

Note that I only built packages for Slackware 14.1 & -current. I stopped creating packages for Slackware 14.0 and earlier because of the effort it takes to build 4 packages for every Slackware release. One remark: I compiled the packages on Slackware 14.1 which is the cause of one bug in the package if you use it on Slackware-current: the ProjectM visualisation plugin does not work because of a libGLEW library version error. I have not yet been able to find a fix for it, but the impact is fairly minor so I let it pass.

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.

Have fun! Eric