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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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September 2017
« Aug    

RSS Alien's Slackware packages

RSS Alien's unofficial KDE Slackware packages

RSS Alien's multilib packages

RSS Slackware64-current


What if gcc 7 gives you headaches?

In Slackware-current we use version 7.1.0 of the gcc compiler suite. These advanced compilers can sometimes be quite a bit more strict about what they accept as valid code. As a consequence, you will regularly run into compilation issues with software. Not just the software made with the scripts on, but also some of the software in the Slackware core distribution requires patches in order to get them to compile.

Until now, I have been lucky to find the patches I needed in the repositories of other distributions, or else developers patched their software themselves. But there will be corner cases where solutions and patches are not readily found, or the developers will simply not support gcc 7. Pale Moon is such a piece of software where the developers recommend compiling with gcc 4.x or as a last resort, gcc 5.

Also, the latest gcc compiler suite has dropped their Java compiler, it was no longer developed. So, no more gcc-java package. However if you want to bootstrap the OpenJDK compiler software, you need to start with a Java compiler. The openjdk developers recommend an already built OpenJDK package to compile a new release. But there may still be a case where you have to bootstrap that very first OpenJDK compiler.

So I took the old sources for gcc-5.4.0 which was part of Slackware-current for a while (11 August 2016 to 4 May 2017), and re-worked my gcc-multilib.SlackBuild script:

  • I renamed the package to “gcc5” so that it can be installed alongside Slackware’s gcc 7 packages
  • The binaries were given a suffix “-5” to make them stand apart from Slackware’s default compilers
  • All except the C, C++ and Java language compilers were removed
  • Only one all-encompassing package is built by the script
  • A profile script was added – you can ‘source’ it to activate the gcc-5 compilers as preferred compilers

The result is a gcc5-5.4.0 package – for Slackware-current, both 32bit and 64bit. Get them at .

The 64bit package is a multilib version, but you can install it without issues on a pure 64bit system. You will just not be able to compile 32bit programs with it.

How to use these compilers?

Simple: in your console or terminal, you ‘source’ the provided profile script, like this (there’s a c-shell compatible script as well):

source /etc/profile.d/

The command “source” is equivalent to the dot command ” . “. The profile script will (re-)define the common variables that are used by make and other programs to determine which binary to run as the compiler:

export CC=gcc-5
export CPP=cpp-5
export CXX=g++-5
export AR=gcc-ar-5
export NM=gcc-nm-5
export RANLIB=gcc-ranlib-5

So, all you have to do next is run your compile job as usual, in that same console or terminal. Nothing else needs to be done after sourcing the profile script. Your program will be compiled with the binaries provided by the gcc5 package.

I did limited testing:

  • With the above instructions, I ran my palemoon.SlackBuild script and it provided a package (whereas the gcc7 compiler in Slackware-current would cause the compilation to fail)
  • The provided gcj (GNU Java Compiler) was able to bootstrap the OpenJDK 7 sourcecode into a working binary package, which I could then use to compile OpenJDK 8 on slackware-current (OpenJDK 7 is the last release that can still be bootstrapped with the gcj compiler)

Hope this helps some people!


Adobe Flash security update June ’17

adobe_flash_8s600x600_2This month’s security update for the Flash Player plugin shows that the player has moved to a new major version number: 26. Time to upgrade, folks – in case you still need Flash on your computer.
The new version is for both the PPAPI (Google Chrome and friends) and the NPAPI (Mozilla Firefox and friends) based plugins.

You can find Slackware packages for the Flash plugins in the following locations:

Have fun.

Chromium 59 – a security update

chromium_iconGoogle released chrome/chromium 59.0.3071.86 earlier this week. This was accompanied by a rather big list of security updates.
Taken from the Red Hat Security Advisory: “Multiple flaws were found in the processing of malformed web content. A web page containing malicious content could cause Chromium to crash, execute arbitrary code, or disclose sensitive information when visited by the victim. (CVE-2017-5070, CVE-2017-5071, CVE-2017-5072, CVE-2017-5073, CVE-2017-5074, CVE-2017-5075, CVE-2017-5076, CVE-2017-5077, CVE-2017-5078, CVE-2017-5079, CVE-2017-5080, CVE-2017-5081, CVE-2017-5086, CVE-2017-5082, CVE-2017-5083, CVE-2017-5085)

Otherwise, Chromium did not receive new functionality that immediately jumps out at me, except that the Chrome Settings page has changed its look and feel to Google’s “Material Design“.

Remember when you want to compile Chromium yourself, you will need ninja and nodejs (fortunately ninja and nodejs are only needed for the compilation, not for actually running the browser).

The packages for chromium, and the chromium widevine CDM plugin, are available for Slackware 14.2 and -current in my repository or one of its mirrors:

Have fun! Eric

New VLC packages fix security hole in subtitle renderer

largeVLCThere was a recent upheaval about hundreds of millions of computers being at risk of being taken over completely by remote hackers. Not a kernel bug this time, but a weakness in the way that media players deal with subtitle files during video playback.
In particular, the KODI (XBMC) mediaplayer and VLC player were mentioned in a blog post by CheckPoint Software Technologies. Luckily, the developers of these multimedia players were informed well in advance of the public disclosure, so both KODI and VLC have updated their code and made new releases which plug the security hole. As the CheckPoint blog post mentions, vlc- fixes this vulnerability.

I released packages for VLC (Slackware 14.2 and -current) yesterday, and when I was about to write a blog post about this security issue, I discovered that there was a VLC release 2.2.6, fresh from the press. Therefore I built new packages,  this time for Slackware 14.1 as well, and those were just uploaded to my repository.
Between my previous 2.2.4 packages and these new ones, almost 11 months passed… and I only skipped a single release (2.2.5). Like I have said in the past, development has slowed down because the team is not getting bigger but the VLC for Android is getting a lot of attention (and therefore resources). Not a problem in itself I think. I am still using VLC daily, to play audio and (less frequently) watch videos. The only thing I am waiting for (which should be in release 3.x) is proper detection and playback of UPnP media sources in the local network.

One thing to mention still: after the Fraunhofer patents on MP3 encoding expired last month, it is now perfectly legal to release software that is able to encode MP3 audio. The ffmpeg in Slackware-current, and my own ffmpeg packages, were already updated and include the LAME library. My new VLC packages are now all capable of MP3 audio encoding as well.
The AAC audio format is still patented and therefore, the AAC encoding capability is only available in my ‘restricted‘ packages.

Where to find the new VLC packages:

Rsync access is offered by the mirror server: rsync:// .

For BluRay support, read a previous article for hints about the aacs keys that you’ll need.

Note that I only built packages for Slackware 14.1, 14.2 & -current. I stopped creating packages for Slackware 14.0 and earlier because of the effort it takes to build 4 packages for every Slackware release.

My usual warning about patents: versions that can not only DEcode but also ENcode AAC audio can be found in my alternative repository where I keep the packages containing code that might violate stupid US software patents.


LibreOffice 5.3.3 packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current

libreoffce_logoAlmost two weeks ago the Document Foundation released LibreOffice 5.3.3. I silently uploaded Slackware-current packages for libreoffice-5.3.3 last week already and then concerned myself with some work on Plasma 5. And now, I have finally compiled a new LibreOffice for Slackware 14.2 as well, replacing the version 5.2.5 packages that I had in my repository.

So, you who run a stable Slackware release can finally taste LibreOffice’s Collaborative editing too. I briefly considered building LO 5.2.7 packages instead (it’s the ‘stable’ branch after all), but decided against that. If you really want to stick to a 5.2 release, just don’t upgrade…
Read about the new features in LO 5.3 if you want:

The libreoffice packages for Slackware can be downloaded from a mirror like this one:

Have fun! Eric