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I am Eric Hameleers, and this is where I think out loud.
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Patrick, next Slackware and moving forward with KDE Plasma5

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…

Eric

Comments

Comment from hanif
Posted: July 26, 2018 at 15:22

i love slackware and i want to support. i can do to donate? i’m from france.

Comment from hanif
Posted: July 26, 2018 at 15:28

hey,
i love slackware and i want support it. where can i found the pat paypal to donate? i’m from france.
thanks

Comment from Peter Christy
Posted: July 26, 2018 at 15:35

Thanks for bringing Patrick’s plight to my attention, Eric. He seems to be a very reserved person, and mostly keeps his private life, er, private.

Off to make a donation now….


Pete

Comment from Eduardo
Posted: July 26, 2018 at 15:49

Awful news indeed on Patrick’s side. Hope it gets sorted out soon.
I fully agree with your decision to promote the latest release,.

Comment from alienbob
Posted: July 26, 2018 at 15:56

Hanif, the PayPal link can be found in the LinuxQuestions thread I mentioned. Here it is: https://www.paypal.me/volkerdi

Comment from Radical Dreamer
Posted: July 26, 2018 at 17:18

I have faith that the Slackware team will come up with a good solution and I’m looking forward to Slackware 15!

If Slackware is trimmed down to a core then maybe have a faster release cycle (1-1.5 years) to keep everything fresh and to generate buzz more often through a new Slackware release?

Also having a presence in social media would be good, sharing information about Slackware development while advertising his Patreon or whatever he decides to do.

Peter Christy, I get that impression as well which concerned me. This ill treatment he has been receiving shouldn’t have gone on for so long. I’m glad he shared his situation with the community. He is surrounded by good people so I’m optimistic things will turn out fine. I think other repositories could follow the model for funding and to generate buzz maybe.

Comment from p431i7o
Posted: July 26, 2018 at 17:31

Hi Eric
thanks for bring this to our attention, I’m not a good follower of LQ but I’m of your blog, I already send a donation to that Paypal account.
I hope this will be sorted out soon.
Thanks.

Comment from Bev
Posted: July 26, 2018 at 18:29

Hi Eric,
As a long time user of Slackware (over 20 years) I very much appreciate all the work that has gone into this distribution. I am also grateful that you passed on the situation with Patrick. Hopefully enough people donate to ease his difficulties.
Bev.

Comment from Radical Dreamer
Posted: July 26, 2018 at 19:05

I’ve updated to testing and its running great! I have one suggestion if slackpkg+ is officially incorporated into Slackware. I suggest that third party repositories are incorporated into the install-new action because sometimes new things are added to multilib and ktown. It would be nice if install-new checked for new packages in third party repositories as well!

Comment from Aaron
Posted: July 27, 2018 at 12:13

Thanks very much for letting us know about this – what dreadful news. I have just made a donation and really hope things improve for Pat and his family. I can’t imagine life without Slackware! Best wishes, Aaron

Comment from Thomas Løcke
Posted: July 27, 2018 at 13:02

For now I hope Patrick will add donation options to the slackware.com front page:

liberapay.com
patreon.com
bitcoin address
paypal account

Make it easy for those of us who care about Slackware and the people behind it.

Slackware should adopt Lumina as its core DE and just get rid of all the complexity that is KDE. Leave that to the community. Keep Slackware simple and lean.

Also it might be worth looking into a closer integration with something like nix. Having nix work out of the box could be a nice way to extend the longevity of a Slackware release for specific kinds of software.

Comment from Eye Kaiser
Posted: July 27, 2018 at 22:57

Paul Davis has a good model for payments, including a third-world rate of a dollar a month recurring payment. If Volkerding sets up a Ardour like site with budget goals, things may work out better. Patreon and goFundMe and the like take a bite out of donations, so you need to cut these middle entities out as much as you can.

Comment from alienbob
Posted: July 27, 2018 at 23:06

Ardour subscriptions and donations use PayPal – some people will not agree to creating a PayPal account for donations and support.
However, the Ardour site states explicit targets and goals as well as the actual results. I guess that works for some people, especially if the earnings have to be divided among a group of individuals.
In Pat’s case however, public disclosure of goals and revenue is probably not a good thing, since these are details that only Pat needs to know about.

Comment from micah
Posted: July 28, 2018 at 01:43

Thanks for posting this here. I saw it from here first (https://news.ycombinator.com) which linked to LQ.

Comment from Stanley
Posted: July 28, 2018 at 09:52

Dismayed that my donations to the slack ware store never got to PV. Appalling,.

Comment from slackmor
Posted: July 29, 2018 at 19:01

I’m happy that I saw this message. I’ve been waiting slackware news for a while… this wasn’t exactly the news I was waiting for but important nonetheless.

I hope the donation/subscription thing gets sorted out in the long term, and thanks for the paypal link for now. I would be happy to subscribe for 5-10 usd for month rather that buying dvd every n years. And I guess that didn’t help much… But seriously, Pat, shut up and take my money 😉

Comment from Eye Kaiser
Posted: July 31, 2018 at 07:32

Hey Alien,
The problem with these other entities, again, is the percentage they bite out of the donations while not taking a percentage of the responsibility. While paypal is evil, they are the ones that take the smallest bite. As for Volkerding’s privacy, what you can do is call it a ‘Slackware Foundation’. All foundations have expenses and they do not need to disclose how much the Volkerding gets if it is a privacy concern. The point here is that he gets funding so the rest of us can get Slackware on a regular basis and not left waiting for years for the next release. Hey, if someone wants to wire the foundation money, pay in gold teeth or in first generation Nintendo cartriges, so be it. The point is, Paul Davis’ model works. The rest can be mitigated.

Comment from Ed
Posted: August 5, 2018 at 14:15

The Slackware Store situation is unfortunate. It’s also really sad that the majority, or all, of the various donations from myself and my company over the past few years did not reach Pat. The Slackware website continues to direct users to the store (http://www.slackware.com/getslack/) and there is no notice or article posted there regarding this situation.

I really wish Pat had informed Slackware supporters years ago that there may be problems with the store and put up his own donations link, and that he would at least do this now, not just on a Linux Questions post that most people don’t see. It’s unfair to Slackware supporters to have their donations wasted on an entity that sends almost nothing to Pat.

Comment from Rass
Posted: August 5, 2018 at 22:03

Agree totally with ed, mainly link store from homepage should be deleted …

Comment from Yoann
Posted: August 9, 2018 at 10:24

Hi everybody,
Just give some donation to Patrick.

In first step i think i m ok this kind of help. Emergency situation must be care.

Do not play like a hero. we need long term service.
I guess foundation or something like will help in a future.

I do not know which template is the best but nobody can survive in the bloody economical world without growing.

I guess Patrick is very strong person to drive slackware until today. It’s a big demonstration of what one man can do in this world.
Not everybody like that.

Time to shape (with knowledege and good spirits) other persons before keep on going like a hero.

My two cents.

Comment from Yoann
Posted: August 9, 2018 at 13:22

Sorry talk a lot…

Slackware … my first success with linux….

Comment from James
Posted: September 7, 2018 at 00:47

Thanks for posting here, wasn’t aware of the issue, and will redirect my donation to the store owners (!!) to donations to Pat.

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