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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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April 2017
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RSS Alien's Slackware packages

RSS Alien's unofficial KDE Slackware packages

RSS Alien's multilib packages

RSS Slackware64-current


Handbrake reaches 1.0.0 milestone after 13 years of development

handbrake_logoChristmas creates a different focus for the average IT guy, spending time with family instead of computers. It was nice. But it’s over and done now, even though the Christmas tree in the corner of our living room is still on fire (metaphorically speaking).

Tonight I have time to write about the latest Handbrake release. It took the developer team “only” 13 years to reach the stable milestone, 1.0.0. Congratulations are appropriate, because it is great software. But still there’s that nagging thought at the back of my mind… why the fuck is its GUI depending on a recent GTK+3 and therefore almost enforcing the use  of a Gnome-based distro? GTK has always been a moving target, theoretically separate from Gnome but in all honesty, the two are bonded with superglue. I can not compile Handbrake for Slackware 14.1 or older, and this GTK crap does not lend itself for static compilation inside the handbrake package. There now, I vomited a little. Why the fuck did they drop the Qt-based GUI? People can make bad decisions out of habit… this was definitely one.
I think we must be glad that we can compile the GUI for Handbrake 1.0.0 at all on Slackware 14.2.

By the way, compiling the command-line version of Handbrake is possible, even on Slackware 14.1 because that does not require GTK+3 as a dependency (although it depends on a lot of other X libraries on Slackware… i.e. the command-line program is unusable on a headless server without X.Org and friends installed).

Enjoy the new Handbrake!


Packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current can be obtained from my “restricted” repository. Handbrake employs some software libraries that are under patent dispute (the MP3 and AAC audio encoders) so I can not host the package on the Slackware server in the US. The regular repository does have a handbrake directory but that hosts only the scripts, sources and patches, not the Slackware packages.

Get them here:


LibreOffice 5.2.4 packages

libreoffce_logoMerry Christmas and happy holidays to all of you out there. Christmas came and went here in the Netherlands,  while the US still has some hours to go. Enjoy your turkey diners. I made a fresh batch of worstenbroodjes and they were yummy.
The computers worked frantically while I relaxed with my family. Slackware 14.2 and -current packages are ready for LibreOffice 5.2.4. Enjoy the newest version of this highly popular office suite.
According to the announcement on the Document Foundation blog , this 5.2.4 release marks a new stable LibreOffice (the developers call this “still” rather than “stable”), replacing the stable 5.1.x releases:
LibreOffice 5.2.4 “still” <…> all users can start to update to LibreOffice 5.2.4 from LibreOffice 5.1.6 or previous versions“.

Get the LibreOffice packages preferably from one of the mirrors because of the package size, and take into account that only the master site and ‘bear’ will have the packages during the first 24 hours:

Note: the LibreOffice browser plugin (NPAPI based) has been removed in LibreOffice 4.4.0:

Have fun! Eric

Adobe unifies its Flash plugin releases with version 24

adobe_flash_8s600x600_2Adobe has silently been developing an updated version of their NPAPI based Linux Flash Player plugin for a while.
Remember, NPAPI is the plugin protocol used in Mozilla compatible browsers, for which Adobe was supposedly not releasing any new developments. Instead they only incorporated security fixes to their stone-age version 11 of the Linux player during the past years.

And today this has changed. Adobe have released a unified Flash player plugin version across all supported platforms. Which means, there is now a version for both the PPAPI (Google Chrome and friends) and the NPAPI (Mozilla Firefox and friends) based plugins. I guess that is good news for Firefox users on Linux.

As always, Slackware packages for these Flash plugins are available for download & install in the following locations:

Have fun with these.

New Slackware-current Live ISOs with latest Plasma

blueSW-64pxI am ready with a new batch of packages for Plasma 5 and to showcase that in a Slackware Live Edition, I stamped a new version on ‘liveslak‘.
Version 1.1.5 is ready, again containing only minor tweaks compared to the previous release. I made a set of ISO images for several variants of the 64bit and 32bit versions of Slackware Live Edition based on liveslak 1.1.5 and using Slackware-current dated “Thu Dec  1 08:49:20 UTC 2016“. These ISO images have been uploaded and are available on the primary server ‘bear‘. You will find ISO images for a full Slackware, Plasma5, MATE and Cinnamon (yes, I did one this time!) variants and the 700MB small XFCE variant.

If you already use a Slackware Live USB stick that you do not want to re-format, you should use the “-r” parameter to the “” script. The “-r” or refresh parameter allows you to refresh the liveslak files on your USB stick without touching your custom content.


New in the ISOs

The new ISOs are based on the latest slackware-current with Linux kernel 4.4.32.

The SLACKWARE variant contains exactly that: the latest slackware-current and nothing else.

The XFCE variant contains a stripped down Slackware with a minimalized package set but still quite functional. The small size is also accomplished by excluding all documentation and man pages, and the localizations for the languages that are not supported in the boot menu. This ISO is small enough that you can burn it to a ’80 minutes’ CDROM (700 MB).

The MATE variant (a Slackware OS with KDE 4 replaced by Mate) contains packages from the repository at which is still Mate 1.16 (GTK3 version).

The Cinnamon variant (KDE 4 replaced by Cinnamon) contains the latest Cinnamon 3.2 desktop environment created from the repository at .

The PLASMA5 variant (Slackware with KDE 4 replaced by Plasma 5) comes with the latest Plasma 5 release “KDE-5_16.12” as found in my ktown repository. This ISO also contains the LXQT and Lumina Desktop Environments. Both are light-weight DE’s based on Qt5 so they look nice & shiny.
One word of caution when using the Lumina DE:

  • The network applet is not enabled by default, and you may have to enable the network manually. I used “nmtui” in a terminal window but you can try enabling the networkmanager-applet instead. I did not find out how, yet.

The changes between liveslak scripts 1.1.4 and 1.1.5

The ‘1.1.5’ tag was applied to accompany the release of the new ISOs so the progress is not stellar – liveslak is quite stable:

  • (e)liloconfig are patched when installed, so they work properly when executed from a Live environment through the harddisk installer ‘setup2hd’. I had some issues in the past when installing from PLASMA5 Live to an UEFI based computer and hope that these patches are the cure.
  • various updates in package content for the XFCE, PLASMA5, MATE and CINNAMON ISOs.
  • the ‘bonus’ subdirectory in the ISO the download area contains multilib related modules which you can copy to either the ‘addons’ or the ‘optional’ subdirectory of liveslak. The two will add multilib capability to your 64bit Live environment. Note that the PLASMA5 ISO already contains these two modules in ‘optional’:
    • 0050-multilib-current-x86_64.sxz
    • 0060-wine-1.9.23-current-x86_64.sxz

Multilib considerations

I added a live module to enable multilib support out of the box in the PLASMA5 variant of Slackware Live. Inside the ISO that module-file is called “/liveslak/system/0020-slackware_multilib-current-x86_64.sxz”.
I host a copy of that module online as “0050-multilib-current-x86_64.sxz” so that you can download it and add it to the ‘addons‘ or ‘optional‘ subdirectory of your non-plasma5 liveslak.
Multilib is something you’d need for Wine, so I also added a live module for Wine (including the 32bit OpenAL libraries) as a separate module in the ‘optional‘ subdirectory of the PLASMA5 ISO and made copy of it available in the aforementioned ‘bonus’ directory online.
This is how I created that live module for wine: by installing the 32bit OpenAL libraries on top of my 64bit wine package for Slackware (which contains both 32bit and 64bit wine):

# SCRATCHDIR=$(mktemp -t -d makesxz.XXXXXX)
# installpkg --root $SCRATCHDIR wine-1.9.23-x86_64-1alien.txz
# installpkg --root $SCRATCHDIR OpenAL-compat32-1.17.1-x86_64-1aliencompat32.txz 
# ./makemod $SCRATCHDIR ./optional/0060-wine-1.9.23-current-x86_64.sxz 

Remember, the modules in the ‘optional‘ subdirectory of liveslak can be loaded into the live OS on boot when you use the “load=” boot parameter in syslinux or grub. Loading the optional wine module for instance, needs this as additional boot parameter: “load=wine” and if you would be using a non-plasma5 based Live OS and have added the multilib module in the ‘optional‘ subdirectory also, then the boot parameter needs to load both multilib and wine: “load=multilib,wine”.
Of course, if you place both modules in the ‘addons‘ subdirectory instead, they will always be loaded on boot unless you want to prohibit that using the “noload=multilib,wine” boot parameter in syslinux or grub.

Download the ISO images

The ISO variants of Slackware Live Edition are: SLACKWARE, XFCE, PLASMA5, MATE and CINNAMON. These ISO images (with MD5 checksum and GPG signature) have been uploaded to the master server (bear) and should be available on the mirror servers within the next 24 hours.

Download liveslak sources

The liveslak project can be found in my git repository: . That’s all you need to create a Slackware Live ISO from scratch. Documentation for end users and for Live OS developers is available in the Slack Docs Wiki.

Have fun! Eric

December packages… not Santa Claus but Plasma 5

plasma5_startupI wanted to have the last 16.08.x release of KDE Applications available in my repository before the new 16.12.x releases start coming. There are some big changes in Applications 16.12 for which I need to time to review, plan and build packages. Therefore you will probably not see packages for Applications 16.12.0 in 2016.
So, my december release of the ‘ktown’ packages – KDE 5_16.12 – is sporting KDE Frameworks 5.28.0, Plasma 5.8.4 and Applications 16.08.3 for Slackware, built on top of Qt 5.7.0 which was recompiled with a patch which should improve stability. You can use the latest KDE 5 on Slackware 14.2 and -current.

And because there’s some people who do not read my posts all too carefully, let me again state strongly: my repository contains “latest” and “testing” releases. Currently, the “testing” release is severely outdated and will probably not work at all, or at a minimum give you headaches. The repository you are downloading from should either have “14.2/latest” (for Slackware 14.2) or “current/latest” (for Slackware -current) as part of the URL. When I have time and feel confident, I will re-visit the “testing” repository and work on the Wayland support, which is what that repository is meant for.
Be sure to check your automated package management programs for the correct repository URL!

What’s new in KDE 5_16.12?

  • Frameworks 5.28.0 is an enhancement release with one new framework, ‘syntax-highlighting‘. See
  • Plasma 5.8.4 is an incremental bug fix release for the 5.8 series. Plasma 5.8 is labeled a Long Term Support (LTS) release.
    See and if you want to know more about the LTS, go read:
  • Applications 16.08.3 is a maintenance upgrade. See .
  • In the ‘deps’ section, as previously stated I patched “qt5”. Also I added a “gpgme” package as an update to the stock Slackware version. It’s needed now to compile Kwallet and Telepathy.
  • Telepathy was enhanced with support for the Telegram IM protocol. Please tell me if it works for you – I could not successfully send a chat although the program registers itself with the Telegram servers properly.
  • I have removed baloo and baloo-widgets from the ‘kde4’ package subset. These two kdelibs4-based packages are no longer used by other packages.

This upgrade should be straightforward if you already have Plasma 5 installed. See below for install/upgrade instructions. And if you want to check it out before installing, I have generated a new Live ISO for the PLASMA5 variant. Look for that ISO on soon. Check the timestamp of the “slackware64-live-plasma5-current.iso” ISO.

Installing or upgrading Frameworks 5, Plasma 5 and Applications

You can skip the remainder of the article if you already have my Plasma 5 installed and are familiar with the upgrade process. Otherwise, stay with me and read the rest.

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“, “kdepim“, “plasma“, “plasma-extra“, “applications“, “applications-extra” and “telepathy“.

Upgrading to this KDE 5 is not difficult, especially if you already are running KDE 5_16.11. You will have to remove old KDE 4 packages manually. If you do not have KDE 4 installed at all, you will have to install some of Slackware’s own KDE 4 packages manually.

What I usually do is: download all the ‘ktown’ packages for the new release to a local disk. Then run “upgrade –install-new” on all these packages. Then I check the status of my Slackware-current, upgrading the stock packages where needed. The slackpkg tool is invaluable during this process of syncing the package installation status to the releases.


If you are using slackpkg+, have already moved to KDE 5_16.11 and are adventurous, you can try upgrading using the following set of commands. This should “mostly” work but you still need to check the package lists displayed by slackpkg to verify that you are upgrading all the right packages. Feel free to send me improved instructions if needed. In below example I am assuming that you tagged my KDE 5 repository with the name “ktown” in the configuration file “/etc/slackpkg/slackpkgplus.conf“):
# slackpkg update
# slackpkg install ktown (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 (upgrade all existing packages to their latest versions)
# slackpkg upgrade-all (upgrade the remaining dependencies that were part of my repo previously)

And doublecheck that you have not inadvertently blacklisted my packages in “/etc/slackpkg/blacklist“! Check for the existence of a line in that blacklist file that looks like “[0-9]+alien” and remove it if you find it!

Recommended reading material

There have been several posts now about KDE 5 for Slackware-current. All of them contain useful information, tips and gotchas. If you want to read them, here they are:

A note on Frameworks

The KDE Frameworks are extensions on top of Qt 5.x and their usability is not limited to the KDE Software Collection. There are other projects such as LXQT which rely (in part) on the KDE Frameworks, and if you are looking for a proper Frameworks repository which is compatible with Slackware package managers such as slackpkg+, then you can use these URL’s to assure yourself of the latest Frameworks packages for Slackware-current (indeed, this is a sub-tree of my KDE 5 repository):

The same goes for Frameworks for Slackware 14.2 (change ‘current’ to ‘14.2’ in the above URLs).

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/ and  /14.2/5/ 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