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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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October 2018
« Sep    

RSS Alien's Slackware packages

RSS Alien's unofficial KDE Slackware packages

RSS Alien's multilib packages

RSS Slackware64-current



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 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

Last week’s updates: Chromium and VLC

Last week the Chrome (and Chromium) update to release 69 was in the news. The UI changed significantly, sporting more of Google’s material design elements. Also the password manager has been improved: it will suggest random passwords in cases where you have to create a Web account and will offer to remember the random password in its vault so you don’t have to write it down or remember it (you’ll have to be signed into your Google account to be able to use this feature though).
The ‘omnibox‘ (the area where you type your URLS and search queries) is more powerful now, showing many more related results while you are typing.
My package for Chromium supports direct playback of H.265/HEVC video by the way, and has done so for the past releases. Check it out for instance on . Not many other browsers (even other distros’ Chromium browsers) will do that.

Not just UI changes/improvements in version 69.0.3497.81 but also many (some severe) bugs were addressed in this release. Read all about that in the Google blog post.

A package for Slackware 14.2 (32bit) took a bit of time because I kept having segafaults in clang++ but an update to the latest patches for Slackware 14.2 put an end to these segfaults. Packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current are awaiting your download.

FYI: Just today an update was posted and a new version 69.0.3497.92 of the Chromium source code was released. I will see when I can compile packages for that, but it will probably not be this week.

And then there was a new release of the VideoLAN media player, VLC, last month. I took a while to reserve some time on the build box to create packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current, but they are done now. The release 3.0.4 did not get any attention on the VideoLAN news page (yet?), but there are plenty of fixes that are relevant for Linux users.
Remember that this VLC depends on Qt5 – you’ll need libxkbcommon, qt5 and qt5-webkit packages, and on Slackware 14.2 additionally libinput and libwacom (those two are already part of -current).

You know where to download the packages, don’t you? The new versions of Chromium and VLC are also present on the latest Plasma5 Live ISO image for Slackware.

Have fun! Eric

liveslak-1.3.0 with speed improvements

blueSW-64pxThere was no August release of a Plasma5 Live ISO as you will probably have noticed. The reason was that around the time when I released the August update of Plasma5 for Slackware, I was working on new liveslak functionality and wanted to finish that before releasing new ISOs. The testing took some more time than I anticipated due to increased work load in my day job. But I finished what I wanted to have in a new liveslak release, and today I want to write a post about the new stuff.

To accompany the new liveslak-1.3.0 I have uploaded fresh ISO images for the Slackware Live Edition. They are based on the latest Slackware-current dated “Fri Sep 7 23:00:06 UTC 2018″.
The available ISO variants on are:

  • Full unmodified Slackware (64bit).
  • Stripped-down XFCE (32bit as well as 64bit), this ISO will fit on a CDROM medium.
  • Slackware with MATE 1.20 instead of KDE4 (64bit). Thanks to Willy Sudiarto Raharjo for the packaging.
  • Slackware with Plasma 5 instead of KDE4 (64bit) to showcase the KDE Plasma 5_18.09 desktop. This ISO also contains Calibre 3.30.0, Chromium 69, LibreOffice 6.1.0, and VLC 3.0.4 among many others.

The new liveslak version 1.3.0 has several memorable updates:

  • Support for a new compression tool ‘zstd’ that will increase the speed of extracting squashfs modules greatly (and ‘paying’ for the increased decompression speed with an increase of compressed size with around 10%). The “” script was enhanced with a new commandline parameter “-c” with which you can indicate a non-default compressor (xz being the default and zstd, gzip, lzo as the alternatives).
    Raw decompression speed is up to 5 times faster using zstd compared with an xz-compressed squashfs modules, but due to the nature of the storage medium, OS kernel and program execution times, the observed speed gains for the actual Slackware Live Edition vary from 20% to 80%. Largest speed gains are found when you boot a Live ISO in a virtual machine; the smallest speed gains will be found when you boot Slackware Live from a USB medium where the medium’s read speed is the limiting factor.
  • During ISO creation you can now specify your own custom default country/language. The script default is still “us” but you can select any of the other languages that are supported on boot, for instance to have a Live OS that boots into German localization and language settings without any input.
    A new commandline parameter “-l” to the “” script enables you to specify the ISO default language.
  • Due to changes in package lists (mostly adding new packages introduced in slackware-current) make it hard to keep the XFCE ISO below 700 MB. That was not different this time. Continuous pruning in the filesystem is unavoidable. But I think I have reached the limit of what I can cut away in relation to unneeded libraries and stuff. The ever growing footprint of Slackware-current’s applications demands that eventually I may have to start removing complete packages from the XFCE live ISO. Any thoughts as to what you find least relevant in a small ISO? Is it the GCC compiler? Is it the Asian TrueType fonts? Is it Firefox, ImageMagick, …? To me all of those are equally important and yet I may have to decide on their removal eventually.

Compression of the ISOs

I have used ‘zstd’ compression for the SLACKWARE, PLASMA5, MATE ISO images. You will notice substantially reduced boot-up times.
The XFCE images are still compressed with ‘xz’ but as a curious test, I have re-compressed the “min” module of the 64bit XFCE ISO with zstd. That increased its size with 21 MB but it’s still below CDROM size. There is a noticeable speed increase even by just using zstd on the “min” module – I get a 10% faster bootup of the XFCE Live OS in a virtual machine.

In order to keep the PLASMA5 ISO fitting on a DVD, I had to take the multilib module out. If you need multilib in a Slackware Live Edition and you are running it off a USB stick, you can simply download the module from the ‘bonus‘ directory on the mirrror server, and copy it to the “/liveslak/addons/” directory on the Linux partition of the USB stick so that it will load automatically when the Live OS boots.


The ‘testing’ branch in my ‘kown’ repository is currently identical to the ‘latest’ branch, so there is no Wayland support in it now. For a future ‘testing’ release I’ll most likely re-visit Wayland but I want Patrick to add Plasma 5 to Slackware first so I can do my own stuff in just the ‘latest’ branch again and use ‘testing’ for actual tests.

Where to get the ISOs

Some download locations (mirrors may need 24 hours to catch up) for the Live ISOs are:

A copy of the liveslak sources and scripts can be found here:

You can follow the liveslak development in git:

The use of zstd

The ISO images which I created with zstd compression are all using Slackware-current. Because zstd support for squashfs was added to the Linux 4.14 kernel and Slackware is using these kernels. no modifications were required for the Live ISOs to work with this new compression type. A package for ‘zstd’ or a recompilation of ‘squashfs-tools’ to add zstd support is only needed when creating the ISO. When the Live OS boots, the Linux kernel  takes care of the compressed squashfs filesystem transparently.

In order to extract data from a zstd-compressed squashfs module you will of course need a squashfs-tools package with support for zstd. Therefore I have both a ‘zstd‘ and a ‘squashfs-tools‘ package for Slackware-current in my repository. I am not providing these for Slackware 14.2 because its older kernel (4.4.x) is not supporting zstd anyway.

Refreshing your USB stick instead of re-formatting

If you already use a Slackware Live USB stick that you do not want to re-format, you should use the “-r” parameter to the “” script. The “-r” or refresh parameter allows you to refresh the liveslak files on your USB stick without touching your custom content. If you want to modify other parameters of your USB stick, use the script ““. It’s main feature is that it can update the kernel on the USB stick, but it also can replace the Live init script. As with most (if not all) of my scripts, use the “-h” parameter to get help on its functionality.

Historical info on liveslak

More detail about the features of Slackware Live Edition can be found in previous posts here on the blog.

Have fun!

KDE Plasma5 Sep’18 release for Slackware

Today I uploaded my monthly update “KDE-5_18.09” to the ‘ktown‘ repository, containing latest sources from the KDE download server and built on the latest Slackware-current. I waited just long enough to have the devs refresh everything. I also grabbed the latest sources of some of the other relevant packages I have in ‘ktown’ that are not part of Applications.

What’s new

The September release of KDE Plasma5 for Slackware contains the KDE Frameworks 5.50.0 (just released today), Plasma 5.13.5 and Applications 18.08.1. All this on top of Qt 5.11.1. Many bugs fixed and stability increased with these updates, but there’s no real new functionality on board compared to last month.

My updates in the ‘extras’ section for Applications are new versions for ‘krusader’, ‘kstars’, ‘ktorrent’, ‘okteta’ and the KDE Development packages ‘kdevelop’, ‘kdev-python’ and ‘kdev-php’.

Go get it

Download the KDE-5_18.09 from the usual location at . Check out the README file in the root of the repository for detailed installation or upgrade instructions.

Last month I did not succeed in accompanying the release with a Live ISO. That had a reason – I was working on an update to liveslak that required more testing than anticipated. This month I will generate a new Plasma Live ISO. Currently I am compiling a new VLC package to go with it. There’s already a 64bit Chromium 69 awaiting in the corner – I did not yet release that separately because I am unable to build a 32bit package for the latest Chromium. Trying to fix that had to wait for KDE and VLC. The new Plasma5 Live will have a story to it that I will post in a separate article.