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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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Pale Moon browser removed from my repository

I have removed my contributed build of the Pale Moon browser from my package repository.

The reason? Primarily the attitude of its developers. The main developer is ridiculing Slackware. When working on my initial SlackBuild script and trying to obtain approval to use their ‘official branding’ I had a seriously grim argument with the lead minion of the developer group and the lead maintainer had to step in to appease. That set me off on the wrong foot from the beginning, but I thought an alternative to Firefox would be beneficial to Slackware users, so I added the package and build script despite my misgivings.
However, the above is not how a respectful relationship between developer and distributor works. Also, Moonchild refuses to mention me as a “contributed build” on the “contributed builds” page.

And frankly, I have enough of the arrogant attitude that all issues with their browser (which is a derivative of Mozilla Firefox code, forked before the moment certain big changes were being made to Firefox) are caused by packagers who compile and distribute their own binaries and never caused by the developers. That just falls short of confessing that their code is not mature yet.

If you want to keep running Pale Moon, you can use the SlackBuild script maintained by Khronosschoty and one of the binary packages he provides here: http://repo.khronosschoty.org/Slackware/Pale-Moon/

Eric

Calibre 3.30.0 for Slackware with internal Qt5 libraries

It took me quite a while to release a new package for Calibre, the e-book library manager. That had a reason.

In July I switched the Qt5 package in my repositories to version 5.11 to support the latest KDE Plasma5 software and because it offers advantages over the previous 5.9 releases. Unfortunately, as I found out soon afterwards, the Calibre software fails to work with Qt 5.11 – its GUI components were not built and there was no obvious error to explain why.

Therefore I had to re-visit the calibre.SlackBuild‘s internals and try to revive the internal functions that compile an embedded Qt library set. This was last tested in the early days of my Calibre packages when Qt4 was the running champion. Adding internal Qt5 support was quite a different beast. Qt5 is a lot bigger than the venerable Qt4 so the build process needed some pruning to keep the compilation times acceptable and the package size under control.

That took a full week’s nights of compiling, debugging, recompiling and so on… hence the lack of updates on the ‘ktown’ front where I should perhaps pay some attention to a recent poppler update in slackware-current. But I managed to add Qt 5.9 internal library support to the calibre package.
My package for Slackware 14.2 still depends on an external ‘qt5’ package (to keep the package size small and because calibre works just fine with the qt 5.7 which is available from my own repository and the SBo script repository). The package for Slackware -current on the other hand was built with an embedded Qt 5.9, which means that its external dependency list shrunk to just ‘podofo’ and ‘unrar’.

Grab the new ‘calibre’ package and enjoy your e-book library!

KDE5 August release for Slackware with Applications 18.08

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.

What’s new

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’.

Go get it

Download the KDE-5_18.08 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.

I will generate a new Plasma Live ISO when I have working LibreOffice and QBittorrent packages again. Don’t hold your breath… compiling takes time.

Chromium 68 with updated Widevine plugin

chromium_iconLast 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 1.4.9.1088. 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.

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/)

KDE 5_18.07 for Slackware, includes Plasma 5.13.3 and Qt 5.11.1

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.

What’s new

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.