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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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June 2018
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RSS Alien's Slackware packages

RSS Alien's unofficial KDE Slackware packages

RSS Alien's multilib packages

RSS Slackware64-current



Ktown in June ’18 – Plasma 5.13 in the ‘testing’ repo

It’s that time of the month again. KDE tarballs have all been refreshed, and so this presents the opportunity to release a new package set for the Plasma 5 Desktop Environment… but then I found out that the new Plasma 5.13 depends on a minimum Qt5 version number of 5.10. Currently I have Qt 5.9.5 in my repository, and this is a LTS release (Long Term Support). The next LTS release will be 5.12 and this will not be available before end of 2018. Also, the current Plasma 5.12 has Long Term Support and the new Plasma 5.13 has not.
I expect that Slackware will likely adopt LTS versions of Qt5 and the KDE software once it is time to replace KDE4, so that puts me in an awkward position. I have been maintaining Plasma 5 packages in this repository for almost 4 years now, with the hope of getting this included into Slackware. Should my repository remain compatible with Patrick’s estimated goals or should I ‘deviate’ and stick with the bleeding edge like I have always done?

The decision I made eventually is that I am not going to upgrade Qt and Plasma to the newest releases yet. At least, not in the ‘latest‘ repository. On the other hand, the ‘testing‘ repository is alive again, and that contains the new Qt 5.11.0 and Plasma 5.13.0. So you have a choice now. If you go with the ‘testing‘ repository, the new Qt 5.11.0 may cause breakage in packages that have a direct dependency on Qt5. That was  why I had to recompile Frameworks and Plasma against Qt 5.11 but could leave the Applications unmodified even though those had been compiled with Qt 5.9 on the system. You are warned.

The KDE-5_18.06 release of ‘ktown‘ for Slackware-current offers the KDE Frameworks (5.47.0), Plasma (still 5.12.5 like last month) and Applications (18.04.2) on top of Qt5 5.9.6 (which was released recently).
You can and should check out the README file for more details and for installation/upgrade instructions.
And KDE-5_18.06_testing has the KDE Frameworks (5.47.0), Plasma (5.13.0), Applications (18.04.2) with Qt5 5.11.0. It has a similar README.

News about this month’s package content:

  • In the deps section I updated the qt5  package to 5.9.6. In the ‘testing‘ repository I also had to update the PyQt5 package because of the new qt5 5.11 in ‘testing‘.
  • Frameworks and Applications updates are focusing on improved stability. No news here.
  • The Plasma in my ‘latest‘ repository has not been updated as explained in the article header. But in ‘testing‘ you get Plasma 5.13.0. See for all the news and videos regarding this release.
  • The kdeconnect-framework package in plasma-extra was updated.
  • In applications-extra I have updated the okteta, krita and kstars packages.

If you are using slackpkg with the slackpkg+ extension, you need to update slackpkg+ before any other package. The recent modifications to slackpkg broke the extension and you need the most recent version of slackpkg+.
And don’t forget to run “slackpkg install ktown” to get any new packages installed, because “slackpkg install-new” will not catch new packages in 3rd-party repositories like ‘ktown’.

I will try and get a new Slackware Live PLASMA5 ISO image built and released with the new Plasma 5.13 on it, so you can check out the new features. I will have to check the other stuff in the ISO first and recompile anything that got broken because of Qt 5.11.
But don’t hold your breath… I am pretty much occupied with attempting to move 20 years of scripts and data from my ageing server to the ‘new’ box (well new… it’s 9 months old already). Having two servers running 24/7 is hurting my wallet because of the electricity bill. And this migration’s complexity (lots of custom stuff) made me delay the move time and time again. Now, I am focused and determined to finish the job.


Security updates for Java and Flash


Adobe released the June updates for their Flash Player plugins.
The Slackware packages for version of the flashplayer-plugin (NPAPI plugin for Mozilla based browsers) and the chromium-pepperflash-plugin (PPAPI plugin for Chromium based browsers have been uploaded to my repository already.
Upgrade please, if you are still in need of Flash.

And another ‘controversial’ technology had security updates in the last few weeks:


icedteaThere have been new releases for the IcedTea framework: the version 2.6.14 compiles Java 7 and version 3.8.0 compiles Java 8.
The new Java7 is OpenJDK 7u181_b01 and for Java8 I have OpenJDK 8u171_b11. These releases sync OpenJDK to the April 2018 security fixes for Java.
Again, please do upgrade your OpenJDK or OpenJRE packages.

Note that the “rhino” package (implementation of the JavaScript engine used by OpenJDK) is an external dependency for OpenJDK 7, you can find a package in my repository.

If you want to compile OpenJDK (Java 7 or 8) yourself you will need apache-ant as well.

Note about java usage:

My Java 7 and Java 8 packages (e.g. openjdk7 and openjdk… or openjre7 and openjre) can not co-exist on your computer because they use the same installation directory. You must install either Java 7 or Java 8.

Remember that I release packages for the JRE (runtime environment) and the JDK (development kit) simultaneously, but you only need to install one of the two. The JRE is sufficient if you only want to run Java programs (including Java web plugins). Only in case where you’d want to develop Java programs and need a Java compiler, you are in need of the JDK package.

Here is where you can download the Slackware packages for Flash (flashplayer-plugin and chromium-pepperflash-plugin) and Java (openjre/openjdk and openjre7/openjdk7):

Tracking development of slackware in git

Something had been nagging me for a long time, and I finally had enough of that itch and decided to deal with it.

As you know, there’s a private and a public side to Slackware’s development. The discussions and decisions are handled internally among the members of ‘the team’ and are not shared with the public at large until an update is done to the ‘slackware-current’ tree which can be found on every Internet mirror.
Thus you have access to the latest state of development always. But for some people it is a compelling idea to be able to access the development updates in a public repository like git – where you can track the changes over time.

A recent discussion on LinuxQuestions brought up the topic of SlackBuild scripts in Slackware-current. The scripts you can find in the -current directory tree on the Slackware mirrors are always the latest version. Sometimes there’s a good reason to want to go back in time and fetch an earlier version. In the thread post with the appropriate number “1337” it is ponce (Matteo Bernardini) who replies with a link to a git repository maintained by Adrien Nader which already has been tracking the development in -current for nearly 8 years!. So it’s quite a convenient way to retrieve a historical version of any script.

Me being me, it’s the existence of that repository which has been nagging me for a couple of years. Why? Because I wondered how it was done. And if I question an issue long enough, I will eventually create my own solution – as a learning exercise of course, but also to give back to the community.

And so, today arrived. I was pondering – if I were to create a git repository for tracking the developments in -current, what would I want in there? Exactly the same as Adrien’s? The answer has been “no” for a while. The most important capability that is missing from Adrien’s repo is that it contains a lot of compressed files that are impossible to read. Think of patches and scripts, and more. So I gave myself the task to implement a git repository with uncompressed files, as an improvement on the original effort. Also, it should track all relevant files in the complete tree, not just in the “./source/” subdirectory. In particular the documentation files (various .TXT files).

The result is a script,, and a repository, .
The repository just had its first commit. For those who want to check out a commit in order to compile a package from there, the script generates another script called ‘‘ and stores that script in the root directory of the repository. When you run this recompress script in the root directory of the repository, it will re-compress all the files that had been un-compressed before committing them to git. That way, a SlackBuild script will find the correct files and will function as intended. Note that you would still have to download the source tarballs from somewhere, because this repository of mine will only track the Slackware-specific files.

I decided that it is prudent and more respectful to not import Adrien’s work into my own repository. The two are similar but different and I think everyone of you can choose which repository suits your needs better.

I have scheduled the above script to run twice a day and update the git repository when new updates become available.
As with all my scripts, this one has a “-h” parameter to explain its usage. Let me know if it – and the git repository – are useful to you.
This particular script may be a bit messy because I have not spent a lot of time polishing it. I hope that’s OK 😉

Have fun!

May update for Plasma5

On with the show.
After recompiling LibreOffice and VLC to compensate for the recent poppler update in Slackware-current, my next target was – naturally – my Plasma5 package set. The KDE-5_18.05 release of ‘ktown‘ for Slackware-current offers the latest KDE Frameworks (5.46.0), Plasma (5.12.5) and Applications (18.04.1) on top of Qt5 5.9.5 (I decided to wait with an update to Qt5 5.11.0).
You can and should check out the README file for more details and for installation/upgrade instructions.

News about this month’s refresh

  • In the deps section I updated my poppler package so that it again matches the version in Slackware-current (my poppler package has support for Qt5 in addition to the Qt4 support in the Slackware original). I also rebuilt cryfs after that was reported broken.
  • Frameworks, Plasma and Applications updates are focusing on improved stability and nothing exciting happened there.
  • In applications-extra I have rebuilt calligra (was affected by the new poppler) and updated the alkimia, falkon, kdevelop, kdev-php, kdev-python, krita and krusader packages. I also added one new package: krename.

I think and hope that the shape of Slackware-current is getting to a point where Patrick feels comfortable with introducing the new Plasma5 into the core. To be honest, the waiting gets tedious. The first preview of Plasma5 for Slackware was introduced in my blog almost four years ago. I’d wager that it has matured quite sufficiently in the meantime.
If you want to read more about the history of Plasma5 development for Slackware, with lots more detail, check out my older blog posts. If you think a git log is easier to read, check out my ktown git repository instead 🙂

If you are using slackpkg with the slackpkg+ extension, don’t forget to run “slackpkg install ktown” to get any new packages installed, because “slackpkg install-new” will not catch new packages in 3rd-party repositories like ‘ktown’.

I am preparing a new PLASMA5 variant of the Slackware Live ISO image, so you can check out the new desktop in the safety of a non-invasive live environment. Hopefully before the weekend… depending on the workload tomorrow.


VLC rebuilt for -current, Chromium and Palemoon updated

Browser updates: both Google Chromium (66.0.3359.181) and Palemoon (27.9.2) released new versions last week which I packaged for Slackware 14.2 and -current. The Palemoon update contains CVE-tagged security fixes. You are advised to upgrade.

The VLC 3.0.2 player was broken in slackware-current after the recent update of the libidn package. I rebuilt the vlc package for -current and at the same time updated some of its internal support libraries (asdcp, dca, dsm, dvbpsi, x265). The recompile was not trivial because another recent update in -current (the openssl move to 1.1.x) caused some issues for which I had to find patches. Eventually, there’s a working VLC in the repository again.

Get the packages here:

The VLC package with AAC encoder and DVD decryption capability which therefore cannot be hosted in the US can be found in (rsync:// as always.

Have fun! Eric