Category Archives: Uncategorized

Chromium 100 available

The Chromium version has reached a triple-digit number: I have uploaded new packages for Chromium 100 (Slackware 14.2 and newer, 32bit as well as 64bit). Specifically it is the release 100.0.4896.60 which was announced a few days ago. It fixes a number of vulnerabilities with the criticality label “high” which usually means it can crash your browser but not compromise your computer.

Google currently maintains a release schedule for Chromium where a new major version (98, 99, 100, …) is made available every month. This means that new features are not added with a big bang after being beta-tested for months, but the browser’s feature list will evolve over time.

For instance, this 100 release will be the last release where your UserAgent string mentions details about your OS; now it is still “Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/100.0.4896.60 Safari/537.36“.

A return to Chromium 100 of a lost feature, is the ability to use the audio indicator in a browser tab to directly mute that tab. When website plays audio in a tab, the tab strip will mention that “audio is playing” when you hover your mouse over it, and it shows a speaker icon. Now, when you explicitly enable it with the flag “chrome://flags/#enable-tab-audio-muting” you can click that speaker icon to mute  the sound immediately instead of having to right-click first and then select “mute this site”.

Get chromium packages here (NL mirror) or here (US mirror). The chromium-ungoogled packages are still waiting for the source code to be released. I expect that to happen any time and then I’ll build and upload those packages too.

Enjoy the weekend, Eric

Steam client update, also fresh Wine, QEMU, MinGW-w64

It was already a while ago that I refreshed my ‘steamclient‘ package for Slackware.

The steamclient package is meant to bootstrap the installation of Valve’s Steam gaming platform on your Slackware computer. The package installs a couple of scripts and a 32-bit Linux runtime based on Ubuntu. When you first start ‘steam’ from the menu or from the X terminal commandline, the client will download a larger set of runtime libraries, including 64-bit support. Onwards, the client will keep its runtime libraries up-to-date automatically, every time it starts up and connects to the Steam servers.
The Slackware package has a couple of tweaks because we obviously do not have Ubuntu tools on board. As a result, on Slackware-current (32bit and 64-bit with multilib) Steam works out of the box.

The reason for a package refresh is a recent bug report on Valve’s github, about an ALSA related crash on Slackware. The root cause was eventually found and it was part of the customization I added to the steam launcher 6 years ago when we were still on release 14.1 and we did not have pulseaudio as part of the Operating System.

So I removed (actually, commented-out) these lines, and that should fix the root cause for that bug. If you do not use Pulseaudio or want to enforce ALSA sound regardless, just un-comment the relevant lines at the top of the ‘/usr/bin/steam’ script again – it’s self-explanatory.
I have also refreshed the READMEs for Slackware and additionally removed support for all Slackware versions older than 14.2. To be realistic, I assume that gamers are all on the -current platform already.

If you have an older ‘steamclient’ package installed on 64bit Slackware and use the slackpkg+ extension to manage 3rd-party repositories, you need to un-install the old steamclient package first. The old packages have a ‘i386’ architecture tag whereas the new one has a ‘i386’ architecture tag for the 32bit Slackware, and a x86_64 tag for use on 64bit Slackware.
They are the same package actually but I was asked to make ‘steamclient’ installable via slackpkg/slackpkg+ also on 64bit Slackware. So:

# removepkg steamclient
# slackpkg update
# slackpkg install steamclient

Have fun playing games on Steam!

Some other recent package updates in my Slackware-current repository are:

Wine: we’re up to version 6.23 now. The 32bit wine package is just that – 32bit Wine. My 64bit wine package contains both 64bit Wine and the 32bit WoW64 (Wine on Wine64). Both have the ‘staging‘ patches applied.
The external dependencies for this package remain the same: FAudio and vkd3d are required. On 64bit Slackware you need to have multilib installed. In addition to multilib, you need to convert the 32bit versions of the FAudio and vkd3d packages to ‘compat32’ packages and install those.

MinGW-w64: I have updated this package to v9.0.0_gcc11.2.0. Mingw-w64 is based on the original project (which was created to support the GCC compiler on Windows systems), particularly adding 64-bit support.

The MinGW compiler suite is used to generate the native Windows DLLs in the wine package.

The QEMU machine emulator and virtualizer got a refresh because I am preparing (fingers crossed!) for a release of Slackware 15.0 which according to an online statement could happen soon after New Year 2022.
I run Slackware Virtual Machines (VMs) in QEMU and I wanted to take advantage of the newest QEMU features. At the moment my VM host is Slackware 14.2 and that has a fairly old QEMU package installed. The VM host will get an upgrade to Slackware 15.0 as soon as the new release is made available.
Dependencies for my qemu package are: vde (historically for non-root network bridge support) and as of now also: device-tree-compiler, jack2 (note that jack2 has its own sub-dependencies!) and virglrenderer.

Have fun with these during the holiday break, and I wish you all a Happy New Year.

Windows 96, wtf?

Tonight I played a bit with Windows 96.
Errrrr… Wait. There was nothing between 95 and 98, right? Right.

Mikesoft Windows 96 is a seriously fun effort to re-create classic MS Windows inside your browser. It’s actually a bunch of efficient JavaScript code making good use of your browser’s WebGL and WebAssembly capabilities. The project has a Wiki that explains the workings and gives more background if you are curious.

The web page loads fast and the Windows experience is uncanny. The Internet Exploder browser that’s included won’t load all pages I tried but at least it loads this blog 🙂

The desktop has a shortcut to connect to the project’s Discord server and also sports an application icon for MsgRoom – a chat application which connects you to an old-skool IRC-like server channel where other users of Windows 96 will show up once they start their own MsgRoom app. Cool!

The rudimentary package manager lets you install Wine, and even Shareware Doom, and it will play pretty damn well, including sound and smooth controls.

Give it a shot if you are wondering what to do tonight! Eric

Chromium 88 removes Flash support

I uploaded a set of chromium packages to my repository today. Chromium 88.0.4324.96 sources were released two days ago.

The release notes on the Google Chrome Releases Blog mention 36 security fixes with at least one being tagged as “critical” but the article does not mention that Flash support has been entirely removed from Chromium now.

Adobe’s Flash was already actively being blocked for a long time and you had to consciously enable Flash content on web pages, but after Adobe discontinued Flash on 1st of January 2021 it was only a matter of time before support in web browsers would be removed as well.

Let’s also briefly revisit the topic of my previous post – Google will remove access to Chrome Sync for all community builds of the open source variant of their Chrome browser: Chromium… thereby crippling it as far as I am concerned.

To test my own hypothesis, I built a Chromium 88.0.4324.96 package without using my Google API key. This evening I have been testing that package in private (the package in my repository does include my API key!). As expected, the browser starts up with a warning about missing API key and reduced functionality as a result, pointing you to their support page at . Also as expected, adding a .conf file in /etc/chromium/ directory in which I export the values for my API key,  ID and ‘secret’ passphrase to the shell environment restores the original functionality of the browser. Good to know that my advice actually was correct.
Then I removed my API key/id/secret and substituted them for Google’s own API key/id/secret (which you can find without too much effort among others in the Chromium source code where they are included unmodified since the beginning). I can confirm that the browser still worked correctly – I just had to re-authenticate to Chrome Sync to get the sync process un-paused.

Let’s see where this leads. Arch Linux is challenging Google Chromium team about the legal implications of using the public Google API key. I myself believe that using these keys in a distro package will land us in murky waters and that this is not the way forward. If anything, I will offer a API-key-less Chromium package and encourage users to request their own API key for private use.

Now, go fetch that new chromium package! And give Pat a chance to upload  more than 1500 recompiled Slackware-current packages in the meantime.

Fri Jan 22 19:17:44 UTC 2021
Mass rebuild against the new glibc complete. This batch consists only of
rebuilds - no new packages or upgrades. Enjoy the fresh binaries!


Libre Office 7 packages for Slackware-current

New! LibreOffice 7.0.0 was released last week and I built packages for Slackware-current.

The release announcement gives a concise overview of the new features and enhancements all over the board – among which a much improved support for Microsoft Office document file formats. I will not repeat all of that here on the blog, so please check out the content behind above link.
Amazing that even with several big companies driving the development of this Open Source office suite, still 26% of LibreOffice’s code contributions come from non-corporate individuals.

LibreOffice and KDE Plasma5

The libreoffice.SlackBuild script is now defaulting to building KDE5 (aka Plasma5) support. It will generate errors if you try to compile on a system that does not have KDE Frameworks5 and libdbus-qt5 installed. See the README.kde5 in the source: you can get all of them from my ‘ktown‘ repository.
Or, if you do not want to install KDE5 components, you set the value of the “ADD_KDE5” variable in the script to “NO”.
Note that you can safely install the KDE support package on a system that does not have any trace of KDE; it will simply do nothing.

Java support dropped from the libreoffice Slackware package

One caveat with the new packages is that to build Java support into them, one will need Oracle JDK 9 or higher. I do not have OpenJDK 9 or higher in my repositories and I will not, until IcedTea adds support for these versions. Until then, I stick with Java 8 and that means I had to disable Java support in the libreoffice packages that I compile from source. There’s a new variable in the libreoffice.SlackBuild script, “USE_JAVA“, and it defaults to “NO”. If you want to recompile the packages adding Java support, get a recent enough JDK from Oracle and be sure to also install Apache Ant.

From ??the LibreOffice Wiki page:

What is Java used for in LibreOffice?
LibreOffice is written primarily in C / C++, a language that generates programs called “native” designed for specific platforms. There are versions for Windows, Linux or Solaris, but not for all three at the same time. However, some modules can be written in other languages, including Java.
Specifically, currently (as of version 6.3) at least these components/functionality require Java:

  • HSQLDB (optionally used for embedded database in Base; default is Firebird that doesn’t depend on Java)
  • JDBC
  • Some wizards (particularly, Table/Query/Form/Report Wizards in Base)
  • ReportBuilder (used to generate actual reports from report templates in Base)
  • Non-Linear solvers built-in extension (DEPS and SCO) in Calc (there is an experimental Swarm solver that doesn’t depend on Java)
  • MediaWiki extension (Wiki Publisher)
  • Support for scripts and extensions written in Java/Beans

I hope none of you are in dire need of this functionality, in that case I would suggest installing the official binaries from the Document Foundation and a Oracle JDK (or JRE) version 9 or higher.

Also, this is a .0.0 release – do you feel that you can use this release as your daily driver? Should I make the previous 6.4.5 available somehow (not that I would like that)? Note that these packages are available only for Slackware-current anyway, and that is a testing ground already.