Monthly Archives: June 2019

June installment of KDE Plasma5 for Slackware, includes Plasma 5.16

Sometimes, stuff just works without getting into kinks. That’s how I would like to describe the June release of Plasma5 for Slackware, KDE-5_19.06.

I built new Plasma5 packages in less than two days. I did not run into build issues, there was no need for a bug hunt. The Ryzen compiled and compiled, and then the power went out in the building today… but still, moments ago I uploaded KDE-5_19.06 to 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 this June 2019 release

This month’s KDE Plasma5 for Slackware contains the KDE Frameworks 5.59.0, Plasma 5.16.0 and Applications 19.04.2. All this on top of Qt 5.12.3.

Deps:
I needed to add one new package here,  ‘quazip’, which was required by the latest version of Krita.

Frameworks:
Frameworks 5.59.0 is an incremental stability release, see: https://www.kde.org/announcements/kde-frameworks-5.59.0.php

Plasma:
Plasma 5.16.0 is the start of a new development cycle for the Desktop part of KDE. See https://www.kde.org/announcements/plasma-5.16.0.php. In creating the 5.16 release, the focus has been to make Plasma smoother, as well as more intuitive and consistent to use.
A few highlights: the Networks widget is now faster and more reliable to refresh Wi-Fi networks; the Desktop notification system has been completely rewritten; and there’s initial support for using Wayland with proprietary Nvidia drivers.
Once I upgrade the Qt5 package to 5.13 (not released yet) I want to create a new ‘testing’ repository focusing on Wayland support.

Applications;
Applications 19.04.2 is a stability and bugfix update for the 19.04 cycle. See https://www.kde.org/announcements/announce-applications-19.04.2.php.

Applications-extra:
I upgraded ‘krita’ and ‘kstars’ to their latest releases.

Where to get it

Download the KDE-5_19.06 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.

A new ISO of the Slackware Live Plasma5 Edition should be available in a couple of hours (all the ISOs there are based on liveslak-1.3.2.2 and slackware-current dated “Wed Jun 12 02:51:04 UTC 2019“).
You will find the ISO at https://slackware.nl/slackware-live/latest/

Have fun! Eric

Chromium 75 available as Slackware packages (32bit and 64bit)

The Chromium 75 sources were released last week by Google, and this new major release contains 42 fixes for security issues. A couple of them are serious enough that you are encouraged to update to the new 75 release ASAP.
In terms of functionality, not much changed in Chromium 75, but there is one interesting addition that you may want to try if you read a lot of content online. It’s called “Reader Mode” and is still disabled by default, You can enable it through the Chrome flag “chrome://flags/#enable-reader-mode“. The reader mode strips away page clutter like buttons, background images and changes the page layout for better readability.
After enabling this feature and re-launching the browser, it can be activated on the page you are currently viewing via Chromium’s top-right menu (the ‘3 vertical dots’) and selecting “Distill page“.
I still need to an in-depth comparison of this new built-in functionality with that of the Chrome extension “Reader View” which I have installed and was using so far. To give an example: this is the Wikipedia page for Slackware.

If you select “Distill page” from the 3-dot menu you will see this un-cluttered reader view:

At the moment I think that the 3rd-party plugin gives more flexibility and capabilities but the built-in functionality at least allows you to get rid of a plugin that you need to authorize to read all your online data.

From a packager’s perspective, upgrading to a new major release always is a mix of hoping and praying that the compilation does not get stuck on too many road blocks thanks to developers who mess with build and installation routines. But I am happy to inform you that even the 32bit package compiled without any issue.
I built the packages for chromium-75.0.3770.80 during the Pentecost weekend and they are now ready for download. Primary site is slackware.com but please use any of its mirrors; they are usually much faster. Try slackware.nl or slackware.uk for instance.
I verified that the Widevine CDM plugin (for Netflix movie streaming) is still working. Time to watch the new season of Happy!

Enjoy! Eric

VideoLAN releases VLC 3.0.7

largeVLCThe new 3.0.7 release for the VideoLAN multimedia player VLC was tagged in git almost two weeks ago but it took until today to find official tarballs on their web site. By the looks of the git log I can only assume that the VideoLAN developers needed to fix some annoying post-release bugs first.
The ChangeLog documents that the focus of the developers is mostly on the Android, MacOS and Windows platforms, presumably because that is where most of the issues are found? Also – through sponsoring by the European Commission’s EU-FOSSA2 program – more than 35 security bugs were fixed.
So I built new ‘vlc‘ packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current yesterday and uploaded them to my repository. Between the previous 3.0.6 and this 3.0.7 release I u
pdated some of the packages’ internal libraries: bluray, dav1d, dvdnav, ebml, matroska. If you want to know what you can expect from the VLC 3.x releases (as opposed to the 2.x releases which took way too many years to get obsoleted) you can read this older article on my blog.

A note about dependencies for the new package:

My Slackware packages for VLC are mostly self-contained with all of the supporting libraries compiled into the package. This makes for a minimal dependency on external libraries/packages. But there are some caveats with the new release: most importantly, its interface has switched from Qt4 to Qt5.
While Slackware contains a ‘qt4’ package, it does not contain ‘qt5’ and therefore, the vlc-3.x package introduces some new external dependencies, all related to the Qt5 GUI: SDL_sound, OpenAL, libxkbcommon, qt5. Hopefully Qt5 will get added to Slackware-current sometime in the future.
On Slackware 14.2, two more packages are needed – they have already been incorporated into Slackware-current: libinput and libwacom .

A note on compiling:

When you want to compile VLC 3 yourself, be sure to install java8 and apache-ant or your build will fail.
If you are running Slackware 14.2 you will additionally need the following four packages (required to compile the ‘dav1d‘ decoder): meson, ninja, python3, python3-setuptools .

Where to find the new VLC packages:

Rsync access is offered by the mirror server: rsync://slackware.nl/mirrors/people/alien/restricted_slackbuilds/vlc/ .

For BluRay support, read a previous article for hints about the aacs keys that you’ll need.

My usual warning about patents: versions that can not only DEcode but also ENcode AAC audio can be found in my alternative repository where I keep the packages containing code that might violate stupid US software patents.