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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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September 2014
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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


LibreOffice 4.2.4 came along

After I had built the new KDE, I discovered that there is also a new release of LibreOffice. The LibreOffice 4.2.4 announcement (codenamed ‘Fresh’) states that the new release “is suited for early adopters willing to leverage a larger number of innovations. For enterprise deployments and for more conservative users, The Document Foundation suggests the more mature LibreOffice 4.1.6“. Damn… I only have 4.1.5 packages  in my repository under the “14.0″directory - built on Slackware 14.0 and working well on Slackware 14.1 and -current. I will have to build 4.1.6 at some point and make all you conservatives happy.

Back to the 4.2.4 release now:

Packages for Slackware 14.1 and -current are ready for download from the usual mirror locations:

Note that if you are on KDE and simply “upgradepkg” the libreoffice package, your application may suddenly look very out of style, having switched to a GTK look & feel. All you need to do is “installpkg” the new libreoffice-kde-integration package (I split the KDE support out of the big LO package and into its own separate package for LO 4.2.3, so it’s possible that you already have it).


New: KDE 4.13.1. For Slackware-current users.

There is an update available for people running Slackware-current. No, not Pat’s updates, although he is quite busy lately too, and I am glad of that. Today, there is a fresh push of packages into my ‘ktown‘ repository: following on the announcement of KDE SC 4.13.1!

I had added three new “dependency” packages for KDE 4.13 (xapian-core, qt-gstreamer and eigen3), and now for 4.13.1 I have refreshed one of the other ‘dependencies’ to match the version of the same package in the KDE 4.12.5 set (for Slackware 14.1). LibRaw got updated to the latest version. I am seriously pondering the update of libssh when KDE 4.13.2 becomes available in four weeks, so that the “sfp” kioslave will be built again (the libssh in Slackware is too old). In fact,  the libssh sources are already in the “source/deps” directory but I have not used them for now.

As already stated, I built these new KDE packages on Slackware-current. I have not tested them on Slackware 14.1 and will not guarantee that they are even useable on Slackware 14.1. Now that Slackware-current development seems to have picked up a serious pace, it will of course bring you fun and excitement to switch to the development version and join in the bug hunt :-)

What’s new in KDE 4.13.1 ?

In KDE 4.13,  the semantic search program Nepomuk has been replaced by Baloo, which performs better and avoids the data duplication currently seen in KDE (copies of the same data, think of emails, get replicated between nepomuk, akonadi and virtuoso leading to large homedirectory storage needs). The best news for everyone who complained about Baloo, is that it is now possible to disable desktop search using a checkbox in the System Settings… the developer originally thought that nobody would want to not use his software… a bit naïve considering the upheavals caused by the semantic search feature in KDE in earlier days. I will leave the nepomuk package in the distribution as long as the developers will ship its sources along with the rest of the Software Compilation. I expect that that means, all remaining iterations of KDE 4.13. You can read more about what’s new in my previous blog post about KDE 4.13.

There were some more updates: I have added the same KDEvelop packages as were already  added to the KDE 4.12.5 package set. I have updated oxygen-gtk2 to 1.4.5 and libkscreen to 1.0.4, both these releases fix crashes in applications.

How to upgrade to KDE 4.13.1 ?

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 advised to read and follow these installation/upgrade instructions!

Where to find packages for KDE 4.13 ?

Download locations are listed below (you will find the sources in ./source/4.13.1/ and packages in /current/4.13.1/ 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!

Have fun! Eric