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About this blog

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

RSS Alien's unofficial KDE Slackware packages

RSS Alien's multilib packages


New pipelight release, accompanied by wine-pipelight. And what about chromium?

You are of course subscribed to my repository’s RSS feed and/or you are using slackpkg+ . Then you certainly noticed the update of Chromium to the new major version 35 two weeks ago. I really should have written about this update earlier, because Chromium 35 brings some unfortunate side effects to the table.


chromium_iconChrome and Chromium were updated to version 35.0.1916.114, with “fixes for 23 security issues“. The most important fixes (for high-risk vulnerabilities) are:

  • [$3000][356653] High CVE-2014-1743: Use-after-free in styles. Credit to cloudfuzzer.
  • [$3000][359454] High CVE-2014-1744: Integer overflow in audio. Credit to Aaron Staple.
  • [$1000][346192] High CVE-2014-1745: Use-after-free in SVG. Credit to Atte Kettunen of OUSPG.
  • [$1000][364065] Medium CVE-2014-1746: Out-of-bounds read in media filters. Credit to Holger Fuhrmannek.
  • [$1000][330663] Medium CVE-2014-1747: UXSS with local MHTML file. Credit to packagesu.
  • [$500][331168] Medium CVE-2014-1748: UI spoofing with scrollbar. Credit to Jordan Milne.

I also updated the accompanying package for chromium-pepperflash-plugin (extracted from the official Chrome binaries) to This is a security update.

The version 35 of Chromium has a major side effect that many people are not going to like. The support for browser plugins that use Mozilla’s NPAPI protocol to communicate with the browser has been removed and only Google’s own PPAPI protocol is supported as of now (MS Windows users still have a bit of time before the same happens to their Chrome browser – removal of NPAPI support in Windows is scheduled for the end of 2014). This step was of course announced long time ago and many reminders were posted, but if you need Java support in your browser, or want to watch Netflix using pipelight, then you are out of luck. PPAPI versions for these browser plugins do not exist and in the case of pipelight, are very hard to create.

You’re forced to switch (back) to Firefox in these cases.


pipelight-logo Speaking of Pipelight… there was a new pipelight release a couple of days back, and this is accompanied by a new web site: These guys really like writing their own CMS-es! The source code to the new CMS is available on github by the way. With the new release of pipelight you’ll get more supported browser plugins, security updates for all relevant plugins such as Flash, and many bug fixes. Also, for people with an AMD graphics card the good news is that hardware acceleration is now supported and enabled by default.Also note that I have enabled support for WoW64 (meaning that apart from the regular 32-bit applications, 64-bit Windows plugins are also supported on Slackware 64-bit)

Luckily this all still works on Slackware-current’s kernel – there were fears that 32-bit Wine applications would stop working on the 3.14.4 and newer kernels.

Remember that 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).

Together with this pipelight release, the pipelight developers released their latest “wine-compholio patches“, a set of patches for the official Wine sources which are needed for proper Windows plugin support in your Linux browser. Naturally I created new wine-pipelight packages for you, based on Wine 1.7.19.

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.

Package location:


Have fun! Eric

Reset The Net – 05 june 2014


Did I make you jump by showing the intrusive banner?

Today marks the start of a campaign, called Reset the Net, sponsored by digital rights groups and well-known Internet companies. It is meant to encourage both users of the Internet and companies with an active presence there, to take measures to prevent getting their data snooped by surveillance agencies. The campaign focuses on the promotion of privacy-enhancing tools.

Today’s launch of the campaign is not coïncidentally linked to the first anniversary of the publication of the leaked NSA documents through news articles online and on paper.

Last month saw the HeartBleed bug, today we are confronted with yet another bloody serious leak in OpenSSL., only a few days after the disclosiure of another serious leak in GnuTLS, the OpenSSL alternative. The Internet is never a safe place. Slackware is a fairly sane OS security-wise but the highest risk always comes from the user of that OS.

When you are on-line, act consciously, and think before you do. Guard your privacy and respect that of others. No, Edward Snowden is not a traitor. He sacrificed a lot in order to get the truth out there, and we should have respect for that, too.


Waldkorn sourdough bread

Baking with sourdough has its consequences. You have to fit it into your work and life schedule – the fermentation/rising/proofing times are so much longer than when using  commercial fast-action yeast! You have to plan for a 9-hour time span from start mixing to pulling the baked bread out of the oven. Baking after-work is out of the question, so the weekends remain unless I want to get up very early or stay awake all night… not a long-term viable option.

In order to find a way that allows for work during the day, and baking sourdough bread at night, I changed this routine. I did the “bulk fermentation” (the first rise after kneading the dough into a ball) in the fridge at 4 degrees centigrade instead of at room temperature, and it turned out to be a success!


Fermentation is actually a better name for the process of rising – the yeast consumes sugars and produces alcohol and CO2. The bacteria in the sourdough not only produce lactic and acetic acids but also develop the flavours in the dough. The longer you ferment the dough, the more flavour it gets! Chances are that your bread will become somewhat more sour as well, but I found no evidence of that in my breads.

That is why fermentation in the fridge is not a bad idea at all. The yeast’s metabolic rate is of course a lot lower in the fridge compared to room temperature, therefore the dough can be left alone for much longer when it sits in your fridge. That extra resting time enables me to divide the baking process up. I kept the dough in my fridge for 22 hours (!) and then took it out to warm up to kitchen temperature for two hours.

100 gr sourdough starter (100% hydration meaning it consists of 50 gr AP flour and 50 gr water)
250 gr cold water
50 gr  AP flour
100 gr whole wheat
300 gr Waldkorn mix (a trademarked dutch multi-grain mix)
25 gr olive oil

7 gr salt

After the 8 o’clock news, I mixed the ingredients to incorporate all the moisture, and hand-kneaded it for 10 minutes (I love hand-kneading… never use a machine).
I then placed the ball of dough in an oiled bowl covered with cling film. That went into the fridge for 22 hours.
Next evening, I took it out of the fridge and left to acclimatize in the kitchen for 2 hours. Then I flattened the dough gently, and shaped it and put it in a flour-dusted proofing basket (a birthday present from my wife), and left it there (covered with cling film) for another 2 hours at room temperature.
I turned the risen dough over onto a baking tray covered with a silicone mat (ideal material for baking a bread, it does not stick), slashed the top and baked for 45 minutes (first 20 minutes at 235 degrees C with steam in the oven, then 25 minutes at 220 degrees C without steam).

The taste of the bread is great! it has complex and subtle flavours and, only the slightest hint of sourness despite the long fermentation time. The typical nutty-sweer flavour of the Waldkorn bread mix is altered by the sourdough’s own flavouring process. My son was not yet sure if he likes this better than the version I usually bake – using fast-action yeast instead of sourdough. Certainly, this sourdough bread is a lot smaller in size… which I like better than the “fluffiness” of the bread baked with commercial yeast.

It’s a win/win: the long fermentation time results in great flavour, and I can now bake sourdough at every day of the week if I want to :-)


The finished bread, together with my two sourdough starter cultures

KDE Frameworks 5 and Plasma Next

qt-kde-620x350The KDE4 series is still actively developed (in August we will see the release of KDE SC 4.14) but the KDE developers have been working long and hard at the next generation desktop. I wrote some generic phrases in the past about KDE Frameworks 5 (the successor to the KDE Platform aka kdelibs) and Plasma Next (the Qt5 based successor of the Plasma Workspaces of KDE4 which uses Qt4 for its graphical splendor).

But in the next few months we will actually see the first stable release of the Frameworks and the Plasma 2. There are beta sources available now and I grabbed those in order to re-write Slackware’s KDE.SlackBuild build harness. That took a lot more effort than I anticipated but I am glad I did it in an early stage (I don’t usually concern myself with KDE beta releases). My scripts are ready and it’s mostly empty slack-desk files which need some more attention.

I won’t be sharing more than screenshots at this moment. The KDE-5 desktop is just too crash-prone in this beta stage, and I want to spare Slackware the disaster of pushing an unstable desktop. Just think of how the “big distros” handled the release of KDE 4.0 which was basically a “technology preview” but got added to distros anyway, much to the chagrin and frustration of their endusers.

Some interested parties have received a link to the new packages to try them out and give me feedback. My first attempt was missing a lot of things (missing icons, menus, application entries) but thanks to the feedback, my second compilation attempt (using the sources for Frameworks 5 Beta3, to be released tomorrow, and git snapshots of  Plasma Next) looks a lot better:


KDE 5 startup (Breeze theme)


The KDE 5 menu – Qt5 co-esisting with Qt4


The OpenGL Window Compositor has become intelligent

This is just a taste of things to come in the summer, I hope!


Slackware-current – new multilib gcc compiler suite

The latest update to Slackware-current brought us a new kernel (3.14.5) and a new gcc compiler (4.8.3).

This warranted a build of new multilib gcc packages. Get them from your nearest mirror. I also refreshed the “compat32″ layer of packages – this is the set of converted 32-bit Slackware packages which you’ll need at a minimum, so that you will be able to run most of the 32-bit software that is out there.

Remember, a multilib configuration is needed if you want to use binary-only 32-bit software on 64-bit Slackware – think of Valve’s Steam Client, the WINE emulator, the Pipelight browser plugin, Citrix client etc.

If you are looking for instructions on how to add or update multilib on your 64-bit Slackware, check out our Slackware Documentation Project which has this information and much more.

Cheers, Eric