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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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KDE SC 4.12.5 for Slackware 14.1 (and -current if you want)

What is supposed to be the last increment in the KDE 4.12 release cycle: the new KDE Software Compilation 4.12.5 was announced earlier today, again a stability updates for the Applications and Development Platform. The Plasma Workspaces version to accompany this KDE SC release is 4.11.9.

I was in a serious calamity at work and was not able to devote any attention to the release until now, late night, safely situated in the living room with the dub sounds of Bim Sherman flowing out of the speakers. I have a busy day ahead, but I prepared the packages during the weekend (thanks to early access to the sourcecode) and this article is a nice conclusion of a hectic day.

I followed up on my promise to build these packages for the final KDE  4.12, on Slackware 14.1. The packages are available in the “14.1″ directory of my ‘ktown‘ repository… not in the “current” directory because I have KDE 4.13.0 available for you Slackware-current users.

Still, KDE 4.12.5 will work fine on Slackware-current if you want this, rather than the more rough & unpolished 4.13.

What’s new in my KDE 4.12.5 packages?

I updated three of the “dependency” packages: LibRaw, akonadi and soprano. I also updated Calligra to the 2.8.2 version which I had already added to my KDE 4.13.0 package set. Upon request, I have added the latest (several months old, but still) KDevelop and even added a new package: “kdev-python” which brings python language support to KDE’s integrated development environment.

I do hope that all of this will get into Slackware-current at some point, but until that time, enjoy my packages and give me feedback about their stability.

How to upgrade to KDE 4.12.5 ?

You will find all the installation/upgrade instructions that you need in the accompanying README file. That README also contains basic information for KDE recompilation using the provided SlackBuild script.

You are strongly encouraged to read and follow these installation/upgrade instructions!

Where to find packages for KDE 4.12.5 ?

Download locations are listed below (you will find the sources in ./source/4.12.5/ and packages in /14.1/4.12.5/ subdirectories). Using a mirror is preferred because you get more bandwidth from a mirror and it’s friendlier to the owners of the master server! And let me say “thank you!” to the mirror admins who provide such an appreciated service to the community.

Have fun! Eric

New Flash player – security fix

Adobe released security updates of their Flash Player for all platforms. The latest Adobe security bulletin shows 11.2.202.356 as the new version for native Linux and 13.0.0.206 for the Chrome PepperFlash. Package locations:

Perfom the update today if you are using Flash! And if you are using Windows (I know some of you do) – mind the advice of US and UK governments to stop using MS Internet Explorer since it contains an unpatched zero-day vulnerability which uses a Flash vulnerability in turn to wreck havoc on your Windows computer.

Eric

 

Rebuilt LibreOffice 4.2.3 packages fix KDE-related bug

libreoffce_logo Today I uploaded new packages for the LibreOffice 4.2.3 . The original packages were made available a little while ago but several people (myself included) were not happy with them.

LibreOffice 4.2.3 has an issue when you are running KDE. A bug in the session-restore functionality caused the LibreOffice applications to “hang” after the window outlines had been drawn on the screen. I took a commit from the development tree and used that as a patch to recompile my libreoffice packages for Slackware 14.1 and -current.

I can confirm that the patched package solved the problem for me.

Get the new packages here (Slackware 14.1 and -current):

Eric

Corn flour bread rolls

This recipe comes from an American collection of recipes published in 1918 and meant to provide people with ways to conserve precious resources such as wheat flour and sugar. Despite the economy of ingredients these rolls truly taste rich and wholesome, and are well worth trying.

Adapted to metric units and leaving out the lemon zest mentioned in the original recipe by Amelia Doddridge in: “Liberty Recipes”, 1918—USA which was digitized by Google and uploaded to archive.org.

Ingredients:

  • 120 g scalded milk
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 30 g sugar
  • 30 g melted butter
  • 3 g fine sea salt
  • 60 g corn flour
  • 5 g active dry yeast dissolved in 30 g warm water
  • 105 g to 210 g bread flour (or as needed – usually around 190 or more)

Instructions:

Pour the scalded milk over the sugar and salt, mix well and set aside to cool. Once the milk mixture is lukewarm add 105 g of bread flour and the dissolved yeast. Mix vigorously and let the sponge ferment,covered, until doubled.

When the sponge is light add the melted butter, egg and corn flour. Mix well at low speed then add just enough bread flour to make a dough that is very soft but well developed and just slightly tacky.  Do not add too much flour or the rolls will turn out dry and heavy.

Lightly grease a bowl and place the dough to rise, covered, until doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 190° C.

Gently transfer the risen dough onto a lightly greased surface and divide it in 12 equal pieces. Shape each into small round rolls (the dough is too soft to keep well any other shape more complex than rounds or ovals). Place each roll onto a rimless baking sheet and lightly brush with milk.

Let the rolls rise, covered, until doubled. Brush again with milk then with sharp kitchen scissors cut a decorative pattern on each roll.

Bake for about 20 minutes until nice and golden.

corn-flour-rolls

I found this recipe mentioned at http://bakinghistory.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/corn-flour-rolls-bbd-12-small-breads/

About ‘sponge’ or ‘poolish’:

A poolish, also called a ‘sponge’, consists of equal (by weight) parts flour and water, with a small amount of yeast added (100% flour, 100% water and 0.2 – 1% dry yeast). The high hydration level makes it look more like a batter than a dough. A poolish is made several hours (at least 2 hours, but 8 or more hours is even better) before creating the final dough by adding the remaining ingredients. Because of the high percentage of water in the poolish, you need to adapt the amount of fluids in the remaing ingredients because in the end, your dough needs to have an average hydration of 60-66% (meaning a ratio of 100% flour to 60 – 66% liquids).

Sponge is a “pre-ferment” using baker’s yeast and its function is similar to a sourdough starter (which contains wild yeast and bacteria). A pre-ferment allows more time for yeast and enzymes to convert the starch and proteins in the dough. This improves the keeping time of the baked bread. Also, the bread’s flavours will become more complex.

Why the scalded milk?

The whey protein in milk weakens the gluten in the bread. Gluten is what gives your bread its elasticity and helps keep the bread its shape. It also goves your bread a “chewy” texture as opposed to dry and crumbly (something you’ll also see when kneading dough for too long, because that too damages the built up gluten). When the gluten structure is broken down, it will prevent the dough from rising properly. Scalding the milk deactivates the whey protein so there is no adverse effect to the gluten.

The final proofing:

The final proofing – when the rolls have been shaped and just before they are baked – ussually takes someting like 45 minutes at room temperature. However want them to be ready to bake when I get out of bed, so I decided to transfer the shaped bread rools to the fridge and let them ferment at 4° C overnight. The 8 hours at the slowed rate at which the yeast operates at that low temperature, should result in rolls that can be transfered to the oven straight out of the fridge in the morning. Ready for breakfast!

My remarks about the recipe:

I have never tried  a slow final rise in the frisge before – in fact, I never made these rolls before, so I will update the article tomorrow after I have baked and eaten the rolls.

There was another challenge: I do not have an electric mixer! When I formed the dough from the sponge and the additional ingredients, I ended up with a dough that was too sticky to manipulate with my hands. I added flour, but I wanted to avoid adding too much, so I decided on a “stretch and fold in the bowl” technique I have seen sometime ago in a video. What I did was use a plastic dough scraper to lift the dough up at one side of the bowl and then fold it inward, repeating this process for several minutes while rotating the bowl a bit after each stretch & fold. After a couple of minutes, the dough was a lot less sticky and nicely developed. Still too sticky to manipulate by hand, so I keft it in its bowl to rise, covered with shrink wrap.

Enjoy Easter! Eric

How to make UPC Horizon TV work in Linux

pipelight-logo
In an earlier article I have explained how you can use pipelight to run a Windows-based browser plugin seamlessly in your Linux browser. This solution makes use of a modified Wine under the hood. This way, you can for instance display web sites using Microsoft’s SilverLight technology (many dutch schools use a proprietary SilverLight based pupil management system), or use the Windows Flash Player which is much more up to date than Adobe’s plugin for Firefox.

The pipelight plugin loader also supports the Widevine content decryption module, which is used to decrypt a DRM-protected Flash video stream. Widevine is used by UPC‘s service to subscribers to watch television channels on your computer: Horizon TV. I pride myself to be the initiator for getting widevine support added to pipelight because I am a UPC subscriber, but when it actually got added, I found out that I could not make it work with Horizon TV. Bummer!

After a lot of frustration I accidentally stumbled across a thread on the UPC community forum, where cause of the issue was explained and the solution was provided.

The widevine plugin as installed by pipelight is actually too new! In order to make Horizon TV work in a Linux browser, you need an older version of the Widevine DLL. That older version is still available for download, but to be safe I made a copy.

These are the steps you need to perform to make it work: Download the Widevine plugin for Firefox (an XPI file); unzip it in order to extract the DLL file it contains; and then copy the DLL file into the wine-pipelight prefix where Widevine has been installed – this will overwrite the newer (but non-functional) version of the DLL with the older (but working) version.

$ wget https://dl.google.com/widevine/6.0.0.6678/WidevineMediaOptimizer_Win.xpi
$ unzip  WidevineMediaOptimizer_Win.xpi plugins/npwidevinemediaoptimizer.dll
$ cp -p plugins/npwidevinemediaoptimizer.dll \
    ~/.wine-pipelight/drive_c/windows/system32/

Thanks to Theo Band for the instructions! With these three commands, I was able to watch television in my Slackware Firefox browser.

upc_horizon_tv

Hope this helps some of you. Eric