Here is KDE 5_18.08 for Slackware, consisting of the KDE Frameworks 5.49.0, Plasma 5.13.4 and Applications 18.08.0. All this on top of Qt 5.11.1. The ktown updates are targeting Slackware -current only. Updates of the KDE 5 package sets for Slackware 14.2 have come to an end. Upgrading from the previous 5_18.07 is straight-forward. Read […]
academic/ITK: Remove unnecessary pkg-config file. academic/boinc: Added (Open-source software for grid computing). desktop/ctwm: New maintainer. desktop/cwm: New maintainer. desktop/docfetcher: Updated for version 1.1.22. desktop/oomox: Updated for version 126.96.36.199. desktop/tint2: Updated for version 16.6. desktop/xkblayout-state: Updated for version 1b_git20180812. development/bless: Added (GUI hex editor). development/composer: Updated for version 1.7.1 development/d-tools: Updated for version 2.081.2 development/dmd: Updated […]
A repetition of events… just like in July, an update in Slackware-current broke lots of 3rd party stuff. This time it was the boost package that got updated and, oh man. The most visible victims are my LibreOffice and Qbittorrent packages, but also some of the software in Plasma5 stopped working due to the library ABI update in libboost. A new LibreOffice package is coming (64bit package is ready) and Qbittorrent will be next, but first: back to the topic for this article.
Here is my monthly update of my ‘ktown’ repository, containing latest sources from the KDE download server and built on the latest Slackware-current.
The highlight of this August release is the new Applications 18.08.0, a new quarterly update. The Plasma was updated to 5.13.4 with several important usability and stability improvements. Frameworks has been updated to 5.49.0.
Updates in the ‘extras’ section for Applications: I rebuilt ‘calligra’, ‘digikam’ and ‘krita’ because of the new boost package, and you will find new versions for ‘kstars’ and ‘okteta’.
Last week, Chromium 68 was introduced to the “Stable Channel” with lots of bugs fixed, many of those being security fixes (42 in total). And a few days ago an update was released, so I decided to build Chromium 68 for Slackware.
NOTE: starting with Chromium 68, the browser will show a “Not secure” warning on all HTTP pages. Google announced this in a blog post published on February 8th on Google’s Chromium and Online Security blogs.
You’ll find 32bit as well as 64bit packages for Chromium 68.0.3440.84 in my package repository. They are available for both Slackware 14.2 and -current. I have also updated the Chromium Widevine plugin to version 188.8.131.528. The older version refused to work with Chromium 68. Note that the Widevine plugin is available for 32bit just as for the 64bit browser, so even those running older computers (or those of you who are in need of a 32bit OS) can enjoy DRM movie playback.
For newcomers: Widevine is a Content Decryption Module (CDM) used by Netflix to stream video to your computer in a Chromium browser window. With my chromium and chromium-widevine-plugin packages you no longer need Chrome (or Firefox if you dislike that browser), to watch Netflix.
Also note (to the purists among you): even though support for Widevine CDM plugin has been built into my chromium package, that package is still built from Open Source software only. As long as you do not install the chromium-widevine-plugin package, your system will not be tainted by closed-source code.
Last week, Slackware-current updated its poppler package . The ‘ktown’ repository for Plasma5 contains a custom built ‘poppler’ package, one that includes Qt5 support. That means that the ‘ktown’ version needs to be kept in sync with the Slackware version to prevent breakage in your Slackware installation. Therefore I recompiled my ‘poppler’ and at the same time, I used the opportunity to grab all the latest sources from the KDE download server and built a whole new and fresh Plasma5 experience for Slackware.
Important to know is that I have bridged the ‘latest’ repository to the ‘testing’ repository. Meaning: I have said goodbye to the LTS (Long Term Support) versions of Qt5 (5.9.6) and Plasma (5.12) and will focus again on the bleeding edge of KDE’s development.
I did this after talking to Patrick to see what his ideas are about Plasma5 and whether he would adopt LTS releases of the software, or perhaps stick with the latest and greatest. Based on discussions in the LinuxQuestions.org forum it was clear that the latest Qt (5.11) combined with the latest Plasma Desktop (5.13) gets rid of bugs that have been annoying Slackware users who have been installing my ‘ktown’ packages. So that settled it, and the difference between ‘latest’ and ‘testing’ is gone again. In future I will probably use the ‘testing’ repository to test Wayland usability in Slackware, like I did in the past. For that reason, it’s best if you point your package manager (slackpkg+ comes to mind) to the ‘latest‘ URL instead of using the ‘testing‘ URL.
If you had not yet installed the Plasma 5.13 from my ‘testing’ repository then you will see a fresh new Plasma Desktop with a lot of visual and under-the-hood changes. Read more about those in the official releasenotes. Highlights:
browser integration: you need to install a browser extension from the respective browser web store, and then your Firefox, Chrome or Chromium will be tighter integrated into the desktop. Plasma media playback controls will operate on browser tabs; etcetera.
re-designed System Settings
re-designed login and lock screens
fall-back to software rendering if the OpenGL drivers fail
plugging in a new monitor will cause a configuration window to popup
Apart from the new Plasma 5.13.3, the other updated components are Frameworks 5.48.0 and Applications 18.04.3. There’s also some updates in the ‘extras’ section for Applications: I rebuilt ‘calligra’ and ‘kile’ because of the newer poppler library incompatibility and updated ‘krita’ and ‘okteta’ to their latest versions.
Go get it
The KDE-5_18.07 is running smooth & stable here on the Lenovo T460 laptop, and I am interested to hear about your experiences. As always, the README file in the root of the repository will tell you all you need to know about installation or upgrade.
I have updated the ‘qt5’ package in my regular repository to 5.11.1 as well, to prevent surprises when you upgrade to the latest ‘ktown’ but stick with qt5-5.9 by accident, like I did today. That was a bit scary for a moment, seeing the new Desktop Environment break inexplicably on the laptop (I had already tested all of it in a virtual machine).
A new Plasma Live ISO is currently being generated, based on the latest slackware-current with kernel 4.14.59. I hope to upload that one later today so that you can check out the new Plasma Desktop without having to install it to your computer.
I assume that many of you will have been reading the recent Linux Questions thread “Donating to Slackware” and in particular Patrick Volkerding’s reply where he explains that the Slackware Store (an entity independent of Slackware with which he has a business arrangement involving a percentage of sales profit and medical insurance) has not been paying him any money for the last two years and that most likely all the PayPal donations through the Store have gone into the pockets of the Store owners. Read that thread if you have not done so yet.
Basically Pat is broke. That thread lists a PayPal address which Pat eventually shared and where donations can be sent directly to him, so that he can fix his roof, his airco, his crashing server and his wife’s car. That would be a start.
That LQ thread is also perused to discuss possible ways forward for Pat (setting up a Patreon account, or a business PayPal account, etc) so that he can support his family and continue working on Slackware. To me it looks like the Store will be a thing of the past unless they change their attitude. Switching from a business model where revenue is generated from optical media sales, to a model where supporters set up a recurring payment in exchange for the prolonged existence of their favorite distro, and possibly get Pat to write up some hands-on stories as a reward, may ultimately benefit Pat, and Slackware, more than the way things are handled at the moment. If you are doubting the financial impact of a recurring payment through Patreon or PayPal, look at it this way: if you donate one euro per month, you will probably not even notice that the money is shifted out. But with 2000 people donating one euro per month, Pat would have a basic income (pre-tax) already. Not a lot, but it’s a start. The 2000 people is a rough estimate of the people who ordered a DVD or CD through the store: the owners told Pat that the earnings of the 14.2 release were 100K (and Pat got 15K out of that, go figure!). Divide that through ~50 euro per DVD, results in 2000 people. Then there’s all these people who donated money through the Store or bought shirts, caps and stickers. I think the amounts of money even a small community (like us Slackware users) can contribute should enable Pat to shed his financial worries. The fact that the Slackware Store basically has been ripping off the hand that feeds them is enraging and inexcusable.
This is all about a community standing up to provide support for what (or who) bonds us together.
Very important to take from Pat’s reply is that he’s “never really been in this for the money” but without income, Slackware’s development is ultimately affected too. I hesitated writing this article, even after Patrick’s LQ post, because it is Patrick’s life and I won’t decide for him how to live it. But I am passionate about Slackware, and care a great deal for Pat, Andrea and Briah, and wish them nothing but the best.
So, in that LQ thread and in private talks, I guess that there will be a lot of discussions as well about the shape and form of a future Slackware. Should it shrink to a “core distro” on which others can build their repositories, for instance offering Plasma5, MATE, Cinnamon desktop environments? How to integrate these external repositories so that a new install could effortlessly be expanded with extra functionality? Should Plasma5 be included? Should PAM be included? And so forth. Lots of exciting developments in stock!
As for KDE Plasma5, I talked with Pat about the way forward and what his plans are with regard to Slackware and Plasma5. Pat indicated that he would at this moment be in favor of going with the latest and greatest instead of adopting LTS (Long Term Support) releases of KDE, because of the reports from several Slackware Plasma5 users that several usability bugs have been solved in the latest releases (part of those improvements can be attributed to the newer Qt5). If Pat decides not to adopt Plasma5 into Slackware, then as long as he provides a solid base in Slackware 15.0 I can keep providing Plasma5 as an add-on through my ‘ktown’ repository. That “solid base” would at least have to be Qt5, its supporting libraries, and recompiled/upgraded phonon, poppler, harfbuzz etc packages to add Qt5 support so that I can cut my “deps” section substantially and no longer have to provide alternate versions of packages that are also part of Slackware but lack required functionality.
And that is why my next update of ‘ktown‘ will see the removal of the LTS software versions in the ‘latest‘ sub-repository and at the same time, the bleeding edge ‘testing‘ sub-repository will be promoted to the ‘latest‘. The ‘testing’ and ‘latest’ will then contain the same packages, so that everyone will upgrade to the same July ’18 packages.
I still need to start collecting the new KDE source archives, sync my virtual machines to latest -current and start compiling. Don’t expect packages before the weekend…
I have uploaded new packages for Chromium. The version 67.0.3396.99 was released a month ago but the source remained unavailable for a while and then I “went under” for a while. Now that I finally built and uploaded it, I noticed there’s a new version up today (68.0.3440.75) but I will wait a bit with that one and focus on Plasma5 next.
Get these chromium-67.0.3396.99 packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current overhere:
And then there’s the July security update for Adobe’s Flash Player plugins, which is already two weeks old – also released when I was indisposed.
The version 184.108.40.206 of the flashplayer-plugin (NPAPI plugin for Mozilla based browsers) and the chromium-pepperflash-plugin (PPAPI plugin for Chromium based browsers) is now available as a Slackware package in my repository.