LinuxQuestions Award: Live Distribution of the Year 2019

The poll results of the yearly LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards have been published. I am happy to see that my liveslak project made a positive impression on the community in 2019.
Thanks to all who voted! Live Distros are a niche area so the absolute amount of voters is pretty low but it’s a clear win for Slackware Live Edition.

Cheers, Eric

PAM landed in Slackware today, also new Plasma5 packages available

OK folks, so today PAM finally landed in Slackware.

What does that mean? Not much actually. Your Slackware will keep functioning as before. The new functionality offered by the Pluggable Authentication Modules is not directly visible. Let me simply copy the ChangeLog.txt announcement verbatim:

Wed Feb 12 05:05:50 UTC 2020
Hey folks! PAM has finally landed in /testing. Some here wanted it to go
right into the main tree immediately, and in a more normal development cycle
I'd have been inclined to agree (it is -current, after all). But it's
probably better for it to appear in /testing first, to make sure we didn't
miss any bugs and also to serve as a warning shot that we'll be shaking up
the tree pretty good over the next few weeks. I'd like to see this merged
into the main tree in a day or two, so any testing is greatly appreciated.
Switching to the PAM packages (or reverting from them) is as easy as
installing all of them with upgradepkg --install-new, and if reverting then
remove the three leftover _pam packages. After reverting, a bit of residue
will remain in /etc/pam.d/ and /etc/security/ which can either be manually
deleted or simply ignored. While there are many more features available in
PAM compared with plain shadow, out of the box about the only noticable
change is the use of cracklib and libpwquality to check the quality of a
user-supplied password. Hopefully having PAM and krb5 will get us on track
to having proper Active Directory integration as well as using code paths
that are likely better audited these days. The attack surface *might* be
bigger, but it's also a lot better scrutinized.
Thanks to Robby Workman and Vincent Batts who did most of the initial heavy
lifting on the core PAM packages as a side project for many years. Thanks
also to Phantom X whose PAM related SlackBuilds were a valuable reference.
And thanks as well to ivandi - I learned a lot from the SlackMATE build
scripts and was even occasionally thankful for the amusing ways you would
kick my ass on LQ. ;-) You're more than welcome to let us know where we've
messed up this time.
The binutils and glibc packages in /testing were removed and are off the
table for now. I'm not seeing much upside to heading down that rabbit hole
at the moment. Next we need to be looking at Xfce 4.14 and Plasma 5.18 LTS
and some other things that have been held back since KDE4 couldn't use them.
Cheers! :-)

Also today, I uploaded a fresh batch of Plasma5 packages to my ‘ktown’ repository. This time, the ‘latest‘ and ‘testing‘ versions of the repository are different!
The regular aka ‘latest’ repository content is meant for an up-to-date Slackware-current without PAM. The ‘testing’ repository on the other hand is compiled against a pam-ified Slackware and can be used if you have added the new ‘testing’ PAM packages of Slackware-current to your system.
The packages that picked up PAM support are: kscreenlocker and plasma-workspace (in the ‘plasma’ directory),  and sddm-qt5 (in ‘plasma-extra’). A new package has been introduced as well: kwallet-pam (in the ‘plasma’ directory).

I expect that Plasma5 gets folded into the distro soon after PAM moves out of testing and into the core distro.

The new KDE-5_20.02 batch is now available for download from my ‘ktown‘ repository. As always, please remove KDE4 first (check the README for instructions if you still need those). These packages will not work on Slackware 14.2.

What else is new in the February 2020 release

This month’s KDE Plasma5 for Slackware contains the KDE Frameworks 5.67.0, Plasma 5.18.0 and Applications 19.12.2. All this on top of Qt 5.13.2.

Deps:
This month no updates to the ‘deps’ section (except in ‘testing’ where I removed cracklib and libpwquality since those are now part of the Slackware PAM related packages).

Frameworks:
Frameworks 5.67.0 is an incremental stability release, see: https://www.kde.org/announcements/kde-frameworks-5.67.0.php.

Plasma:
Plasma 5.18.0 is the first release of 5.18 LTS (Long Term Support). The focus for this new release cycle has been on improving the notification system, a much improved audio-volume systray widget, streamlining the desktop settings (no more ‘cashew’ menu in the top right) and a much better integration of GTK+ based applications with the Plasma desktop theme, through the use of client-side decorations. Also, the graphical performance has been tweaked with less graphical glitches and Nvidia GPU statistics displayed in KSysGuard.  See https://www.kde.org/announcements/plasma-5.18.0.php for the full announcement including several video’s portraying the strong points of KDE’s desktop environment.

Plasma-extra;
In plasma-extra I updated latte-dock and rebuilt sddm-qt5.

Applications;
Applications 19.12.2 is a stability and bugfix update for the 19.12 cycle. Remember that I still call this ‘Applications‘ but KDE folk prefer the new name ‘Releases‘. See https://kde.org/announcements/releases/2020-02-apps-update/

Applications-extra:
In applications-extra I updated kdevelop-pg-qt, kdevelop, kdev-php, and kdev-python..

Telepathy:
KDE Telepathy is no longer part of my ‘ktown’ distribution of KDE Plasma5.

Where to get it

Download the KDE-5_20.02 from the usual location at https://slackware.nl/alien-kde/current/ or one of its mirrors like http://slackware.uk/people/alien-kde/current/ .
Check out the README file in the root of the repository for detailed installation or upgrade instructions.

Development of Plasma5 is tracked in git: https://git.slackware.nl/ktown/ .

A new Plasma5 Live ISO is going to be available soon at https://slackware.nl/slackware-live/latest/ (rsync://slackware.nl/mirrors/slackware-live/latest/) with user/pass being “live/live” as always. I am still working on an improved ‘setup2hd‘ and depending on the amount of work (and setbacks) I may decide to leave the ‘old’ setup2hd script in the ISO for now.

Have fun! Eric

First ‘ktown’ Plasma5 update for Slackware in 2020

Slackware and Plasma5… what will 2020 bring?

For starters, Pat just added Kerberos to Slackware-current! That is the first (small but significant) step towards a big change in Slackware which will unfold over the coming period. And at the end of that, I expect that Plasma5 gets folded into the distro as well. Here’s hoping!

In any case, I just released KDE-5_20.01 and the packages are available for download from my ‘ktown‘ repository. As always, these packages are meant to be installed on a full installation of Slackware-current which has had its KDE4 removed first. These packages will not work on Slackware 14.2.

What’s new in the January 2020 release

This month’s KDE Plasma5 for Slackware contains the KDE Frameworks 5.66.0, Plasma 5.17.5 and Applications 19.12.1. All this on top of Qt 5.13.2.

Deps:
This month’s updates to the ‘deps’ are: qt5 (where I patched two vulnerabilities) and noto-cjk-font-ttf where I also fixed a file permission issue which prevented the font from ever being found… and alongside the Sans fonts I added a Serif font collection as well.

Frameworks:
Frameworks 5.66.0 is an incremental stability release, see: https://www.kde.org/announcements/kde-frameworks-5.66.0.php.

Plasma:
Plasma 5.17.5 is a an incremental bug-fix release, and the last in the 5.17 cycle of the KDE desktop environment. Next release (5.18) will get Long Term Support (aka it’ll be a LTS release). See https://www.kde.org/announcements/plasma-5.17.5.php

Plasma-extra;
In plasma-extra I updated sddm-qt5.

Applications;
Applications 19.12.1 is a stability and bugfix update for the 19.12 cycle. Remember that I still call this ‘Applications‘ but KDE folk prefer the new name ‘Releases‘. See https://kde.org/announcements/releases/19.12.1/

Applications-extra:
In applications-extra I updated alkimia, kmymoney, kstars and kdevelop, kdev-php, kdev-python. I also added a new package: ktimetracker, which was finally ported over to KF5.

Telepathy:
KDE Telepathy is no longer part of my ‘ktown’ distribution of KDE Plasma5.

Where to get it

Download the KDE-5_20.01 from the usual location at https://slackware.nl/alien-kde/current/latest/ or one of its mirrors like http://slackware.uk/people/alien-kde/current/latest/ .
Check out the README file in the root of the repository for detailed installation or upgrade instructions.

Development of Plasma5 is tracked in git: https://git.slackware.nl/ktown/ .

A new Plasma5 Live ISO is available at https://slackware.nl/slackware-live/latest/ (rsync://slackware.nl/mirrors/slackware-live/latest/) with user/pass being “live/live” as always. Also check out the bonus material on the site: several addon squashfs modules with lots of my other packages. If you are unsure about how to handle these addons, read my recent article on Slackware Live.

Have fun! Eric

New handbrake and mkvtoolnix packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current

handbrake_logoI was a couple of releases behind on the Handbrake video transcoding software. I am always a bit hesitant with upgrading Handbrake. It has a history of being hard to compile on the stable Slackware releases.

Most notably it is the GTK+3 based GUI for which our Slackware libraries are often too old. And indeed, with the latest 1.3.0 release I found that this would not compile on Slackware 14.2 despite the hack I already used for the previous package (1.2..2) which I created earlier in 2019. It took me a day to come up with a second patch that allows Handbrake 1.3.0 to compile against our gtk+3 3.18.9 while in fact the program’s GUI component wants gtk+3 3.20.0 or higher.
So, Slackware 14.2 users – please tell me if you find that some functionality of the GUI is not working… it should all work properly but you never know.
In addition, I had to add a patch to make the new dav1d AV1 decoder compile on Slackware 14.2 but luckily I could just re-implement what I had already done for VLC.

The package for Slackware-current built without any glitches. Yay.

Note that my ‘handbrake‘ package does not have any external dependencies – unlike the slackbuilds.org version.
Install and run, it’s that simple. Everything you need is compiled statically into the package. The ‘HandBrakeCLI‘ program is the command-line variant, whereas ‘ghb‘ is the GUI variant of HandBrake, also found in the “Multimedia” menu of your desktop environment.

Packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current with AAC audio encoding support can be obtained from my “restricted” repository:

The variant which does not support AAC audio encoding and therefore does not violate the stupid US software patents can be downloaded from the regular repository:

 

I also have neglected my mkvtoolnix package for a while. You may be aware already that MKVToolNix is a set of tools to create, alter and inspect Matroska files (most widely known as the MKV video container format).

When working on the handbrake packages, I decided to check out the latest mkvtoolnix as well. And what do you know… the latest release won’t compile on Slackware 14.2!
I went back through the releases of 2019 and found that 38.0.0 is the most recent version which still compiles using the gcc compiler of Slackware 14.2 against the boost libraries of Slackware 14.2. Anything newer will not compile. End of the line for mkvtoolnix releases on the stable Slackware then.
These issues are absent on Slackware-current. I could compile mkvtoolnix 41.0.0 (the most recent release) easily.

Note the dependencies for mkvtoolnix:
Since its GUI and multimedia support is based on Qt5, you’ll have to install libxkbcommon and qt5 from my repository. And the qt5 dependencies as well: OpenAL and SDL_sound. On Slackware 14.2 two more even: libinput and libwacom.
Starting with mkvtoolnix 20.0.0 there’s another, new, dependency: cmark. Like with all the other dependencies I mentioned, cmark can be downloaded from my repository or any of its mirrors.
Get all the packages here:

Enjoy! Eric

LibreOffice 6.3.4 packages for Slackware-current

After a recent upgrade of the ‘boost’ package in slackware-current my LibreOffice package was in need of a refresh.
I do of course offer a ‘boost-compat‘ package in my own repository to prevent breakage of the 3rd-part applications that have a boost dependency, but a newer release of LibreOffice was available anyway.
So I compiled LibreOffice 6.3.4 for Slackware -current and uploaded these packages to my repository.

Note that the packages for LibreOffice in my repository, do contain “libreoffice-kde-integration” for Slackware -current, containing Qt5 and KDE5 (aka Plasma5) support. On the other hand, the packages I compile for Slackware 14.2 do not contain “libreoffice-kde-integration” any longer.
If you run Slackware-current but do not have KDE5 packages installed at all, don’t worry. LibreOffice will work great – the KDE integration package just will not add anything useful for you. On the other hand, if you have Plasma5 installed you will benefit from native file selection dialog windows and other integration features. And even if you do not have Plasma5 but you do have Qt5 installed, then you will be able to run LibreOffice with Qt5 User Interface elements instead of defaulting to GTK3.

If you want to compile Libreoffice 6.3.4 packages yourself using my SlackBuild, then be aware that by default the KDE5 support is disabled. You will have to set the value of the script parameter “ADD_KDE5” to “YES”. Additionally you will have to install the packages that this functionality depends on otherwise the compilation will fail.
Read the ‘README.kde5‘ file in the source directory for the list of packages you’ll need. All of them can be  found in my ‘ktown’ repository: https://slackware.nl/alien-kde/current/latest/

Enjoy! Eric