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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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January 2015
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RSS Alien's Slackware packages

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LibreOffice 4.3.5 built for Slackware, with 4.4.0 not far off

There was an announcement a few days ago by The Document Foundation about their latest release. LibreOffice 4.3.5 is now available for download. When browsing the download directories, I noticed that sources for 4.4.0 are already present there, but since there is no public announcement yet, I chose to ignore those sources for now. The 4.3.5 release targets “individual and enterprise users” and fixes 70 bugs compared to the previous version – which is perfect for a Slackware 14.1 user.

But I think the upcoming 4.4.0 version will not be as stable and therefore I may not be compiling packages for it as soon as the sources go public. Maybe I will target only slackware-current, but only if I have time (a libreoffice package compilation for a single architecturetakes roughly 14 hours here in a virtual machine).

My LibreOffice 4.3.5 packages for Slackware 14.1 and -current are ready for download from the usual mirror locations:

Reminder to all of you who also have my KDE 5 packages installed: do not use the updated harfbuzz from my ‘ktown‘ repository because it will break LibreOffice. If you are using Matteo Rossini’s slackpkg+ extension to slackpkg then you can configure it so that Slackware’s own harfbuzz package is preferred over the version which accompanies my KDE 5 packages. See this LQ thread for the details.

Have fun! Eric

New chromium and chromium-dev packages

chromium_iconMy previous post already mentioned the updated chromium sources. I have now compiled those into Slackware packages (for 14.1 and -current).

For the curious among you, I have additionally refreshed my chromium-dev packages. Chromium-dev is the development release of the browser (there’s also a “beta” channel but I don’t care about that too much). By play-testing the development release from time to time, I am prepared and do not get nasty surprises when the stable channel jumps to a higher major release (the jump from 38 to 39 was quite intrusive in terms of SlackBuild script).

Chromium-dev packages have the version number 41.0.2236.0. (and are only made available for slackware-current). The version of the stable Chromium is now at 39.0.2171.95.

Get the Chromium packages in one of the usual locations:

Change “chromium” to “chromium-dev” and you have the URL for the development release.


Adobe Flash update time – december

A quick notice about the latest Flash updates released by Adobe today:

I updated my chromium-pepperflash-plugin package for Slackware 14.1 and -current. I’ll start working on an updated Chromium package for Slackware as soon as the new sources come online. You can read more on Google’s Chrome blog. The new version of the PepperFlash plugin (binaries extracted from the Google Chrome 39.0.2171.95 RPMs) is

An update for the “legacy” Flash player plugin for Linux, aka the NPAPI plugin for Mozilla-compatible browsers is available as well. The updated flashplayer-plugin package bears the version

For my pipelight package, you can easily update the Windows plugins it installed for you earlier (including the Windows Flash player if you use that) by running (as root) the script:

# pipelight-plugin --update

A new package is not required therefore.

Adobe’s monthly security bulletin has all the information about this Flash update.


Flash plugins updated – second time in November

Chromium and Pepper Flash:

Yesterday, there waschromium_icon a new Flash from Adobe. The second time in November, and this time Google accompanies it with an update of their Chrome browser (version 39.0.2171.71) which contains the new PepperFlash plugin. I extracted that plugin from the Chrome binaries and put it into an updated chromium-pepperflash-plugin package for Slackware 14.1 and -current.. Because of the new Chrome release, there’s also a new release of Chromium’s “stable channel” meaning an updated Chromium package for Slackware is on its way as well. You can read more on Google’s Chrome blog.

The new version of the PepperFlash plugin is Test the success of your package upgrade on Adobe’s “About Flash” page (remember to close your Chromium browser before applying the upgrade).

Linux Flash:

adobe_flash_8s600x600_2 I also packaged the “legacy” Flash player pligin for Linux, aka the NPAPI plugin for Mozilla-compatible browsers. Adobe’s monthly security bulletin has all the information. The new version for my Linux flashplayer-plugin package is

As an aside, it is interesting to read that Google has delayed the “depreciation of NPAPI” from their Chrome/Chromium browser. In our Linux versions of Chrome/Chromium, all support for NPAPI has already been removed in the summer of this year, but despite Google’s claim with statistics showing that the usage of NPAPI has been on a steady decline, they seem to have enough opposition from the Windows camp that their original plan (eradicate NPAPI from Chrome at the end of 2014) is not coming to pass. All of that is irrelevant to us Linux users, so anyway, who cares?


Pipelight with Windows Flash:

pipelight-logoFor my pipelight package, you can easily update the Windows plugins it installed for you earlier (including the Windows Flash player if you use that) by running (as root) the script:

# pipelight-plugin --update

A new package is not required therefore.



Handbrake – lost for Slackware

handbrake_logo Yesterday, I read about the newest release of Handbrake, the powerful video transcoder. I have handbrake in my Slackware repository, so I decided to dissect the source tarball for the 0.10.0 release and see what was needed to compile it into a package.

Boo hoo.

Handbrake 0.10.0 switched from a GTK+2 to a GTK+3 graphical user interface. Not only that, but it requires a version of GTK+3 that is not even contained in Slackware-current. We have 3.8.2 while handbrake uses functionality which was introduced with 3.10. We’re out in the cold, folks!

You might debate whether Slackware’s GTK+3 is not too old anyway, but then again, GTK releases are notorious for breaking all kinds of stuff thanks to ABI incompabilities. Slackware does not contain GNOME, so there is little reason to stay uptodate on the GTK+3 front when running the risk to break dependent packages.

Anyway, it means that you will not be getting a new handbrake package from me anymore. Perhaps when Slackware-current adopts a newer GTK+3 stack, I can reconsider. But even in that case, Slackware 14.1 and older will have to stick with handbrake 0.9.9 as the last release which will compile.

If time permits I will investigate the possibility of statically compiling GTK+3 plus several of other GTK+3 dependendants into the handbrake package. But that needs time which I do not have. You might already have guessed that – this blog has been pretty silent during the past month. Work related frustrations augmented by family issues, resulting in shifting priorities. To me, Slackware essentially is a hobby, it does not have to make me any money (even though some of you donated, for which my eternal gratefulness) and real life sometimes takes over.

If all you wanted to know was about handbrake then you can leave now.

So I’ll rant on if you cared to stay. Handbrake – big disappointment yesterday I must confess. I really liked that program. There’s also this general feeling of depression I have over the state of GNU/Linux, the Open Source community. my work on Slackware, and whether I can still make a difference. The effort I have put into Slackware, promoting the distro and Open Source in general, I’ve always enjoyed doing that. But the fun is eroding away, and there is this sense of stagnation. Things are moving perpendicular to the direction I want to go in. I am going to need some time for reflection around the end of 2014 and find a way to get invigorated again. Suggestions on a direction to take are welcome. There is not so much action around the distro currently. KDE 4 is about frozen, and KDE 5 is not mature. No joy there. LXQt seems to have jumped from Qt4 to Qt5, another step i do not like. Chromium dropped support for compiling NaCL support into 32-bit package – precisely the reason why I hate it that I need to depend on binary toolchains that are impossible to compile on Slackware. And what to do with my ARM port – I am looking at the mountain of work required to revive it. The list of recent frustrations is much longer than that, but you get the point… it all feels so pointless.

Depressed, you say? You bet! It must be an autumn feeling. Where’s the exit? Going to grab me a beer.