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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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KDE Plasma 5 for Slackware – end of the year edition

There has been a bit of a hiatus in my Slackware related activities and a relative silence on this blog, It’s mostly related to my new job which proved to be a bit more time-consuming than I anticipated. I also have to fulfill my old job role until that vacancy is filled. Actually, February 1st is when the successor for my old job will start in my new team. A little less than two months to go, meaning that the hard work continues. But, I get to visit the US of A in January, just booked the flights and hotels today. Wilton and San Diego will be my ‘targets’ but a sunday stroll in New York will certainly be an option, unless there’s a meter of snow of course.

Here is some Slackware related news for you.

I just uploaded a whole new batch of packages containing KDE Plasma5 for Slackware. The previous batch, KDE 5_18.10 is already two months old and has some library compatibility issues. The new KDE 5_18.12 for Slackware consists of KDE Frameworks 5.53.0, Plasma 5.14.4 and Applications 18.08.3. All this on top of Qt 5.11.3.
Compiled on the latest Slackware -current, it’s running smoothly here on my laptop.
I decided against upgrading to QT 5.12.0. This is a new LTS release, but I will wait for the other distros to find bugs in this new software. Next week, KDE will release KDE Applications 18.12.0 and that too is something I want to check a bit before releasing Slackware packages. Therefore it’s likely that a new batch of packages containing Qt 5.12 and KDE Applications 18.12 will see the light shortly after the New Year.

I updated some of the other packages in the periphery of the KDE software collection. In plasma-extra there’s new versions of kdeconnect-framework and wacomtablet. And in applications-extra I updated kdevelop, kdev-php, kdev-python and kmymoney to their latest versions.

There’s also a package removal. The kde-wallpapers package in plasma-extra originates in the old KDE4 era, and the new Plasma5 has its own wallpapers in the package plasma-workspace-wallpapers.

As always, the ‘ktown’ repository https://slackware.nl/alien-kde/ (rsync://slackware.nl/mirrors/alien-kde/) is the master for the KDE Plasma5 packages for Slackware-current. A fast mirror is http://slackware.uk/people/alien-kde/ (rsync://slackware.uk/people/alien-kde/).
The source code history for the ‘ktown’ package build framework can be found in git: https://git.slackware.nl/ktown/ . I will create a new “5_18.12” tag there today.

A fresh Plasma5 variant of the Slackware Live Edition based on liveslak is in the making and will be uploaded to https://slackware.nl/slackware-live/latest/ once it is ready and I have tested it properly. Check the ISO timestamp somewhere later this week.

Have fun! Eric

Who wants my old job?

When I left IBM in November 2016 to join ASML a month later, I thought I had found a job (managing a Linux server infrastructure) that would keep me busy for years. At ASML things are not always what they seem, and instead my actual scope turned out to be a lot bigger, so I became the Technical Application Manager within the IT team responsible for the Electrical Engineering Infrastructure (EEI) which is used by the Electrical Development group within Development & Engineering. A challenging and fun job, working with a terrific team, and I can confidently say (our IT director confirmed) that we are the most socially coherent group within IT.

Not even two years later, and a restructuring of the IT department causes me to say farewell to this job…

No, I was not fired. In fact, I did so well that I got a new job. ASML D&E is growing insanely fast, last month the company hired more than 500 new employees in Veldhoven (our HQ) alone. The IT department has a challenge there, as we need to keep up with the pace, in terms of capacity and also the force of innovation. The real challenge? You  can hire a lot of highly intelligent motivated people but as a company you need to stay coherent and keep focus on the business priorities. I.e. you need team and group leads who are able to inspire and guide their teams. Ideally these TL’s and GL’s should not be hired, they should mature within the organization so that they actually know what is needed to get the job done. ASML is not a run-of-the-mill company in that regard.

And that is why I was tagged as Solution Team Manager of a team which will focus on virtual product development (providing services to our data analysts and simulation engineers). I will also manage our group’s “general services” meaning architects, project managers, infra coordinators and the technical application manager. And there he is! I left my old job and started a new job, and now I have a vacancy in my team.

Who is interested to work for and with me? Read the job vacancy here: https://asml.csod.com/ats/careersite/JobDetails.aspx?id=5303&site=1 and let me know if you are interested. This will not be exactly the job I had for the past two years – I have some other plans for the TAM that I was never able to execute myself,

If you want to know more about the company, ASML, click the video at the top of this blog post and get inspired.

The work location will be Veldhoven, The Netherlands. It’s a permanent pool position (i.e. no flex job, you’ll be on the ASML payroll with all the perks that that includes). Please only respond if you actually think you are qualified – our HR department is very strict in their initial pruning and filters out more than 80% of applicants before their resumes can land on our desks and I want to avoid any disappointment.

 

KDE Plasma5 for Slackware – october ’18 batch

Today the Plasma developer team released Plasma 5.14.1 which was what I was waiting for. I was a bit hesitant to add a major new release (5.14.0) to my monthly refresh for Slackware and opted for this point release.

And now “KDE-5_18.10” has been uploaded to the ‘ktown‘ repository. Again I was able to offer a full set of updates.

What’s new

The October release of KDE Plasma5 for Slackware contains the KDE Frameworks 5.51.0, Plasma 5.14.1 and Applications 18.08.2. All this on top of Qt 5.11.2 which was updated inbetween the two monthly ‘ktown’ releases.
There were two updates in the ‘extras’ section for Applications: new versions for ‘krita’ and ‘okteta”. The ‘deps’ section saw some changes as well: ‘PyQt5’ was updated to work properly with Qt 5.11.2, a newer version of ‘sip’ had to be added for that same reason – it replaces the somewhat older Slackware package. And a new package ‘python-enum34’ package had to be added, it is a dependency for the Python2 support in PyQt5.

The incremental releases of Frameworks and Applications are focusing on bugfixing and stability improvements, but Plasma 5.14 is a bigger change compared with the 5.13 that was part of my last month’s ‘ktown’ release. Let’s repeat the highlights from the releasenotes:

  • There’s a new Display Configuration widget for screen management which is useful for presentations.
  • The Audio Volume widget now has a built in speaker test feature moved from Phonon settings.
  • The Network widget now works for SSH VPN tunnels again.
  • Switching primary monitor when plugging in or unplugging monitors is now smoother.
  • The lock screen now handles user-switching for better usability and security.
  • You can now import existing encrypted files from a Plasma Vault.
  • The Task Manager implements better compatibility with LibreOffice.
  • The System Monitor now has a ‘Tools’ menu full of launchers to handy utilities.
  • The Kickoff application menu now switches tabs instantly on hover.
  • Widget and panels get consistent icons and other user interface improvements.
  • Plasma now warns on logout when other users are logged in.
  • The Breeze widget theme has improved shadows.
  • The Global menu now supports GTK applications. This was a ‘tech preview’ in 5.13, but it now works out of the box in 5.14.

More features were added – to Plasma Discover and to the Wayland stack, both of which I skip in my ‘ktown’ releases.

Go get it

Download the KDE-5_18.10 from the usual location at https://slackware.nl/alien-kde/current/latest/ . Check out the README file in the root of the repository for detailed installation or upgrade instructions.

I will generate a new Plasma Live ISO soon. You will find it in https://slackware.nl/slackware-live/latest/

Have fun! Eric

LibreOffice 6.1.2 packages available

The Document Foundation announced version 6.1.2 of their office suite last week. Today, new LibreOffice packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current are done compiling and available in my repository.

Get the packages from my repository or any mirror, like:

I also updated the VeraCrypt package to version 1.23, and you’ll find one for Slackware 14.2 as well as -current. Next on the list to update are: handbrake, ffmpeg, mkvtoolnix and probably others that I have neglected. All of these will become available shortly for 14.2 and -current. Fans of Plasma5 will have to wait a bit… Plasma 5.14 is just around the corner but I may wait until 5.14.1.

Have a good weekend, Eric

This week focuses on Slackware 14.2 packages

The admins over there at slackbuilds.org have updated their version of the Qt5 build script (targeting Slackware 14.2) to 5.9.6, i.e. the latest version of the Long Term Support (LTS) for Qt5.
That triggered me to provide the same service for my own package repository targeting Slackware 14.2. Since more and more software is depending on Qt5, a lot of people will have some qt5 package installed, either built from the SBo script or installed from my repository. In order to minimize breakage, I think it is good if SBo’s and mine are the same version so that it should not matter which one you have installed.

So, I did a chained upgrade: libwacom (0.31), libinput (1.7.3), libxkbcommon (0.8.2), qt5 (5.9.6) and qt5-webkit (5.9.1) in that order to take care of dependencies. The latest releases of these packages are now available for Slackware 14.2. Note that for the 32bit Slackware 14.2, the libwacom package is a new dependency for both libinput and qt5. My repository contained a pretty old 32bit qt5 package (5.7.0) which was not built against libwacom.

I did not look too hard, but I found one package that was broken after these updates: the calibre package. So I updated that too for Slackware 14.2 (to version 3.32.0). A package for slackware-current will follow soon, but first I want to continue with some more overdue package updates for Slackware 14.2. LibreOffice is the next one on the list (6.1.2) and it is currently compiling on the 32bit OS; the 64bit packages are already done.

I’ll have a look in the repository ChangeLog.txt to find what more needs to be done.
Stay posted! Eric