Libre Office 6.4.4 packages available for slackware-current

The Document Foundation released the latest version of LibreOffice (6.4.4) yesterday, and I compiled a set of packages for Slackware -current. Unfortunately Slackware 14.2 is stuck at LibreOffice 6.2.x because newer source releases can not compile against the old libraries of our stable platform anymore).
Get the packages – as usual – from my own server or one of its mirrors; https://slackware.nl/people/alien/slackbuilds/libreoffice/ (rsync://slackware.nl/mirrors/people/alien/slackbuilds/libreoffice/) or https://slackware.uk/people/alien/slackbuilds/libreoffice/ (rsync://slackware.uk/people/alien/slackbuilds/libreoffice/)

I will repeat my message from earlier posts about using my LibreOffice on Slackware: among the packages for LibreOffice that are targeting Slackware-current, you will find a “libreoffice-kde-integration” package which adds Qt5 and KDE5 (aka Plasma5) support to the LibreOffice suite.
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.
Note that the libreoffice package installs a profile script for bash and csh compatible shells into /etc/profile.d/ which you can edit to force a particular widget set for the LibreOffice User Interface if you are not happy with the default choice LibreOffice makes.

If you want to compile LibreOffice 6.4.4 packages yourself using my SlackBuild script, then be aware that by default the KDE5 support is disabled. This will of course change when KDE Plasma5 becomes part of Slackware. You will have to set the value of the script parameter “ADD_KDE5” to “YES” for now. 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 the required packages can be  found in my ‘ktown’ repository: https://slackware.nl/alien-kde/current/latest/

Enjoy! Eric

Chromium 83 – packages for Slackware, news about Widevine plugin

chromium_iconThe COVID-19 crisis caused Google to change its release calendar for the Chromium browser sources, and they decided to skip the 82 release altogether, in order to focus on keeping the 81.x versions as safe as possible while working on their upcoming 83 release.
And so this week, Chromium 83.0.4103.61 was introduced to the “Stable Channel” with lots of bugs fixed, of which 38 are security fixes. There’s also a lot of new and improved features which are introduced in this release but it seems that many of those are only available in Google’s official Chrome binaries.
One of the notable changes for Chromium users (as opposed to Google Chrome users for which it has always worked this way) is that the Widevine content decryption module is now an official component of the browser. Like with Mozilla Firefox, the Chromium browser will now automatically download the Widevine library into your personal profile and enable access to DRM-protected content. In the URL “chrome://components/” you’ll see Widevine listed as a component, displaying its current version and a “Check for update” button.

Slackware packages for Chromium 83.0.4103.61 are in my package repository already. They are available as 32bit and 64bit versions for both Slackware 14.2 and -current.

Note that because of the changed status of Widevine, a separate “chromium-widevine-plugin” package containing the Widevine DRM library is no longer required. However…
It seems that there is an issue with the online availability of a 32bit Widevine library of the version that Chromium tries to download. As long as that is not fixed and only if you are using the 32bit Chromium browser, keep using my “chromium-widevine-plugin” please.

You can test whether Widevine works on https://bitmovin.com/demos/drm and validating that the page says “Detected using Widevine” and not “Detected NO DRM“). If you can not immediately get Widevine to work with your 32-bit browser, check that the content of the file in your Chromium profile “${HOME}/ .config/chromium/WidevineCdm/latest-component-updated-widevine-cdm” points to the installed location of the chromium-widevine package, like this:

alien@darkstar:~/.config/chromium/WidevineCdm$ cat latest-component-updated-widevine-cdm 
{"Path":"/usr/lib/chromium/WidevineCdm"}

In the profile of a 64-bit browser you will see instead something like this:

alien@darkstar:~/.config/chromium/WidevineCdm$ cat latest-component-updated-widevine-cdm 
{"Path":"/home/alien/.config/chromium/WidevineCdm/4.10.1610.0"}

For newcomers: Widevine is a Content Decryption Module (CDM) used by companies like Netflix and Disney+ to stream video to your computer in a Chromium browser window.

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. If you do not want theWidevine DRM library to be downloaded at all, you will have to recompile the chromium package after setting “USE_CDM=0” in the chromium.SlackBuild script. This can not be disabled at run-time.

Chromium packages: https://slackware.nl/people/alien/slackbuilds/chromium/ (rsync://slackware.nl/mirrors/people/alien/slackbuilds/chromium/)
Widevine packages: https://slackware.nl/people/alien/slackbuilds/chromium-widevine-plugin/ (rsync://slackware.nl/mirrors/people/alien/slackbuilds/chromium-widevine-plugin/)

Slackware introduces PAM into its core

Remember the date! On May 18th of 2020, PAM got added to the Slackware-current core. In case that makes you worry, wonder or causes you to ponder leaving Slackware behind, don’t let this change scare you. PAM has come a long way, it is safe and in Slackware, it is not getting in your way. You won’t have to change a single thing to your computer except installing three new packages (slackpkg install-new) before you reboot. Adding PAM should finally remove the self-imposed writer’s block in Patrick’s mind and open the path to long-awaited renewals in the KDE and XFCE areas.
Ever since these packages were added to /testing, I have been using PAM on my own desktop and laptop, both running Slackware64-current with KDE Plasma5 on top, and the desktop computer also running on Nvidia’s binary drivers. Not a single issue was found here.
Read the announcement:

Mon May 18 19:17:21 UTC 2020
Greetings! After three months in /testing, the PAM merge into the main tree
is now complete. When updating, be sure to install the new pam, cracklib, and
libpwquality packages or you may find yourself locked out of your machine.
Otherwise, these changes should be completely transparent and you shouldn’t
notice any obvious operational differences. Be careful if you make any changes
in /etc/pam.d/ – leaving an extra console logged in while testing PAM config
changes is a recommended standard procedure. Thanks again to Robby Workman,
Vincent Batts, Phantom X, and ivandi for help implementing this. It’s not
done yet and there will be more fine-tuning of the config files, but now we
can move on to build some other updates. Enjoy!

I have already updated my own repositories that are touched by PAM:

  • KTOWN
    The ‘latest’ and ‘testing’ repositories are now identical and contain the PAM-ified packages.
    It won’t matter which of the two you had configured, you’ll get the PAM-fied packages regardless. If you already were using the PAM from Slackware’s testing combined with my ktown ‘testing’ repository, then there’s nothing you have to change.
    If you did not use PAM before, you will have to do a reinstall of the following ‘ktown’ packages which are the only ones that want to use PAM: kscreenlocker, plasma-workspace and sddm-qt5. And don’t forget to install the new kwallet-pam package.
  • MULTILIB
    I have added ‘compat32’ versions of cracklib, libpwquality and pam, the three packages that got added to Slackware-current today.

And for completeness’ sake, I have also updated the “icu4c-compat” package in my regular repository, just like I did for “boost-compat” last week. Note that these two “compat” packages have no relation to the multilib “compat32” packages!
The boost-compat, icu4c-compat and poppler-compat packages in my regular repository contain older versions of the boost/icu4c/poppler libraries and some of your 3rd party packages (libreoffice!!!) may still need them until their packager does a recompile.

Enjoy! Eric

Ktown Plasma5 packages for Slackware 14.2 will go offline soon

Hi all,

As you know, my ‘ktown’ project, providing an extensive and functional Plasma5 package set for Slackware, is mostly targeting the Slackware ‘in-progress’ version called “Slackware-current”.

For a short while after an official stable Slackware release, I keep providing ‘ktown’ packages for the most recent stable Slackware version (which is 14.2 at the time of writing) but once the stable and development releases of Slackware start to diverge too much, I stop updating the Plasma5 packages for the stable release. After all, ‘ktown’ is meant to be the bleeding edge playground for a future Slackware release.

I recently noticed that people are still downloading and installing my ageing ‘ktown’ packages for Slackware 14.2. Those packages have not been touched since end of 2017, they may contain security holes, and they do not represent the state of development of the KDE software today.

Therefore I am giving you a heads-up that this weekend end of May 2020, I am going to remove all the old packages on ‘ktown’ for Slackware 14.2 (that’s https://slackware.nl/alien-kde/14.2/latest/).

If you want to run KDE Plasma5, you should migrate to Slackware-current.

Good luck! Eric

Chromium 81 – and the new build process for Slackware 14.2

Google released version 81 of their Chromium browser sources last week, after spending a lot of effort to bring security patches to the 80.x releases in the weeks before. As said before, Google is going to skip the 82 release entirely because of the staffing challenges resulting from the Corina crisis, and will jump straight to release 83 somewhere mid-May.
I uploaded packages for chromium 81.0.4044.92 a few days ago – but those were only for Slackware-current.

I found it impossible to compile the latest Chromium 81 code on Slackware 14.2 and I had been trying for days. Yesterday I finally succeeded after more than a week of trying since the sources were released. I can not sit behind my computer for long, but that was not too much of a setback in this particular case. I kept running into new compiler or linker errors, then I would think of a fix, set the box to compile again and had to wait for hours to see the result… and lie down in the meantime. For an entire week, I met failure upon failure.

I asked in the chromium-packagers group online, how to fix these issues I was facing – for Chromium 81 and onward, several of the libraries in Slackware 14.2 that Chromium wants, are simply too old.
I was told to try what Google also does when building their own Chrome binaries that are meant to run on a wide range of Linux OS-es: use a “sysroot”, essentially a core set of Debian Sid packages, extracted, tweaked and zipped into an archive. Apparently Chromium code can be compiled in such a way that it uses the Debian shared libraries, but the resulting Chromium binaries (for Slackware in my case) are not depending on these Debian libraries. If someone knows how that works, please enlighten me.

So, I set out to learn how this “sysroot” can be utilized on a Slackware computer. It took another bunch of iterations, but eventually the changes to the chromium.SlackBuild are not even that intrusive. And I produced a working chromium package for Slackware 14.2, only to discover that yesterday, Google released chromium-81.0.4044.113. So, I had to start over.

Anyway – the Slackware 14.2 packages for chromium-81.0.4044.92 have been uploaded for your enjoyment. I am building a new set of Chromium 81.0.4044.113 packages for both Slackware 14.2 and -current, in 32bit and 64bit flavors of course. Hopefully that will run its course event-free and you’ll have those in a day or so.

Enjoy the 81 release!

Eric