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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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April 2015
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Forgot to tell you about the new LibreOffice 4.4.0 packages

I won’t bother you with the week in hell we are experiencing at the IT Helpdesk. It’s not over yet, and it leaves me exhausted every evening when I get home after long hours. I need to recharge my battered but faithful old Nokia work phone twice a day to be able to do all the emergency calls during office hours. Oh, but now I did bother you ;-)

Rather than writing blog articles and helping people, I decided to wind down during the evenings by baking bread. The kneading process relaxes the mind while it exercises the muscles (and relieves back pains). My son does not mind… he eats all I bake anyway. Sourdough in the weekend and regular yeasted breads during the working week. The aromas coming from the oven right now are making me feel hungry again at 10:30 PM.

And so I forgot to write about the LibreOffice packages that I released a couple of days ago. I started working on 4.4.0 when it was released on 29 January, and I really had high hopes for fixing the harbbuzz issue which has plagued me and my LibreOffice package since the packages were released for my first KDE preview. The Plasma 5 needs a newer harfbuzz library than the version in Slackware. but LibreOffice chokes on the new package with a symbol error. Downgrading harfbuzz to the Slackware original fixes LibreOffice… and to be honest, I have not yet encountered issues in KDE Plasma 5 due to the downgrade, so that is a a fairly safe workaround when you are running Slackware with Plasma 5 and need LibreOFfice.

What I have been trying – but without success – was to compile the harbuzz library statically into the LibreOffice programs. That is a supported option, there is a configure switch for it, but regardless of what I tried, some of the other libraries would eventually pick up the Slackware harfbuzz as a dependency again… resulting in ICU related symbol errors. I talked to Pat about upgrading both harfbuzz and icu4c in slackware-current but he considers that a non-trivial upgrade with potential breakage of lots of programs. So, this upgrade will happen at a point where other programs in slackware-current need an upgrade or rebuild anyway. I put my money on a new KDE 4 ;-)

After a week of trying long and hard, and letting the virtual machine compile new packages during the day, I finally gave up and released LibreOffice 4.4.0 packages that work on Slackware 14.1 and -current, for as long as you do not upgrade your hardfbuzz package.

No, I can not just forget about a newer harfbuzz because it is required during compilation of Plasma 5.

Some news for LibreOffice 4.4.0 so that you know it is a good idea to upgrade (all the details are in the release notes of course): enhancements in the visual department should be mentioned (aka a User Interface redesign), as well as an improved Track Changes functionality, and better interoperability with the OOXML file formats of the big competitor.

My LibreOffice 4.4.0 packages for Slackware 14.1 and -current are ready for download from the usual mirror locations:

Have fun! Eric

Update for Chromium and another Flash security fix

Chromium (and Widevine):

chromium_iconI built new Slackware Chromium packages for the latest update in the Chrome Stable Channel.  The new version is 40.0.2214.111  and comes with several security fixes (among which, a Flash Player update, see below) Both chromium and chromium-widevine-plugin have version 40.0.2214.111 actually – use the matching version numbers as a sign that they will work together. The Widevine plugin reports itself as version “” in chrome://plugins .

Repeat message: 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. The chrome-widevine-plugin is optional. If you don’t need it, then don’t install it. It is closed-source which for some is enough reason to stay away from it. The Chromium package on the other hand, is built from open source software only.

Flash browser plugins:

adobe_flash_8s600x600_2 With Flash it seems to be like my central heating. Last year I needed to connect the waterhose once a month and regulate the pressure in the pipes… it got worse to the point that I needed to re-pressurize every day. Until I called the maintenance guy who fixed a leak permanently. There is yet another leak in the Flash from Adobe and security updates have been added to my repository yesterday: the plugins for chromium (PPAPI) and for mozilla-compatible browsers (NPAPI).

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

The update for pipelight can be done manually. As root, run the script:

# pipelight-plugin --update

Next time the pipelight plugin is loaded in your browser, it will update your Windows plugins to their latest versions where needed.


Support for old-school XEmbed system tray icons in Plasma 5

Plasma 5 has abandoned the old xembed-based system tray support. I mentioned that in my announcement post for the Plasma 5 packages for Slackware-current, and also mentioned that there are solutions for that in Plasma 5. This means that a lot of applications (meaning: all non-Plasma 5 applications) will fail to display an icon in the system tray of your new Plasma 5 Workspace. No more Skype, no more Dropbox, no more Steamclient, etcetera. The applications will be running of course, but you can not interact with them through their system tray icon.

For some applications (Qt 4 and GTK+ 2 and 3 based in particular), I already added support to my set of Plasma 5 packages, but some applications still stubbornly refuse or are still unable to display a systray icon in your Plasma 5 Workspace.

For these applications, the best solution is to run an application like wmsystemtray which implements the XEmbed protocol and thereby allows applications to dock their systray icon in the wmsystemtray application’s window.

It is a bit of a clumsy solution because wmsystemtray itself is unable to dock into the Plasma 5 system tray, and therefore you will have a permanently visible window somewhere on your desktop which displays the systray icons for applications like dropbox, blueman, scim etc. But it is better than nothing at all.

Instructions about how to work with wmsystemtray so that it looks best and impacts your workspace the least, are contained in the “README.kwin” file inside the build directory in my repository, but that file is a bit hidden. Therefore, here are the instructions:

First of course, install the wmsystemtray package from my repository.

Start the application as follows. Type it in KRunner (Alt-F2) or in an X terminal:

wmsystemtray --non-wmaker --bgcolor white

The window will appear in the upper left corner of your workspace, obscuring the Plasma 5 workspace control icon. Grab the window and drag it to the upper right corner – I think it has a better placing there. The window will probably already show some applications that had been waiting all that time to show their systray icon.

Add the following content to a new file called “wmsystemtray.kwinrule” somewhere in your fiilesystem. The filename is not important, but the “.kwinrule” extension will make it easier to find later:

[Application settings for wmsystemtray] 
Description=Application settings for wmsystemtray 
wmclass=wmsystemtray0 wmsystemtray 

Then, open System Settings and go to”Window Management > Window Rules“. Click on the “Import” buton and point to the “wmsystemtray.kwinrule” you just created. Click “Apply” and immediately you will see the wmsystemtray window change: the border disappears and the window placeholder in the taskbar is gone too. Its place on the desktop is immutable now.


Next time you login to Plasma 5, its session manager will run the wmsystemtray again, so there is nothing more to do than the above.


Another Flash player plugin this week

adobe_flash_8s600x600_2 I failed to mention this earlier because of the time I spent on KDE 5, but there was a new Flash from Adobe. following closely on last week’s security fix.

I have packaged the usual suspects: the plugin for chromium (PPAPI) and for mozilla-compatible browsers (NPAPI). If you have pipelight installed, you should run “pipelight-plugin –update” as root to get the latest Flash installed automatically the next time the browser loads the Windows plugin.

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

Download locations have not changed:


Multilib glibc patched for GHOST vulnerability (CVE-2015-0235)

There was some unrest about the most recent glibc update in the stable releases of Slackware (slackware-current excluded). Glibc was patched against a new vulnerability, CVE-2015-0235, for which the only known exploit currently is in the MTA Exim (software which is not part of Slackware) and an exploit for this vulnerability is difficult to write apparently. I usually am quite fast in following up on Slackware updates for gcc and especially glibc. This time, I was busy with answering questions about the new KDE 5 at night, and buried in shit at work during the day.

Nevertheless, when there were no updated multilib versions of glibc the next day, some people asked when they could expect a patched package. Others were less polite and demanded updated packages. That sucked.

Here is where you can find the updated packages:

For the un-initiated: multilib is needed if you want to use binary-only 32-bit software on 64-bit Slackware. Examples of that are Skype, Valve’s Steam Client, the WINE emulator, the Pipelight browser plugin, Citrix client etc.

Instructions on how to add or update multilib on your 64-bit Slackware can be found on the Slackware Documentation Project.

Cheers, Eric