My thoughts on Slackware, life and everything

Tag: kde (Page 1 of 28)

KTOWN Live ISO based on liveslak-1.8.1 and Plasma6 Beta2

My work on the new Plasma6 for Slackware finally reached a level that I am OK with. I have uploaded a new KTOWN Live ISO image based on liveslak-1.8.1 and it contains a fully functional KDE Plasma6 Beta2 release.

The ISO is 5.2 GB in size, it is huge. Slackware has come to a point (already a while ago) where the full release does not fit on a DVD medium anymore. It’s the new age of digital, it’s really easy to install the distro via a network mirror, and if you want to run it off physical media (like the Live environment) a USB stick is required. I can really recommend using a Ventoy USB thumb drive onto which you can simply copy the full un-modified ISO image and then boot from the stick.
Making the Live environment persistent when you boot from an ISO file is detailed in an update to the liveslak documentation.

Points of note:

  • Plasma6 Beta2 is based on Qt 6.6.1 and consists of: KDE Frameworks5 5.113.0, Frameworks 5.247.0, Plasma 5.91.0 and Applications 24.01.85; The Frameworks5 package-set is still needed to support KDE Plasma5 applications.
  • Pipewire is the default audio server, fully replacing Pulseaudio.
  • The default graphical session is still X11 based but Wayland is fully functional and stable and you can select it from the SDDM session dropdown list.
    When you boot to runlevel 3, the command “startkwayland” will also give you a full Wayland session.
  • I added xwaylandvideobridge to allow Wayland windows to be streamed to X11 applications. You’ll need this to share your screen in applications like Discord, Skype etc.
  • I will soon make available in the ktown repository, my sources and scripts as well as the ‘deps’ packages (such as the new qt6 package and several Slackware originals recompiled to add Qt6 support to them).
  • I also added a background to celebrate the festive season, taken here in Brabant during a COVID pandemic winter walk. The two ice-skaters in the background, that’s not us 🙂

Get the new ISO from one of the following locations (the ISO is accompanied by a MD5 checksum file and a GPG signature):

Tell me what you think of it and what issues you ran into that I might be able to fix in either the Slackware packages or else in liveslak. Don’t forget to report actual functional issues to the KDE bug tracker:

Have fun! Eric

KDE Plasma6 Beta2 (but the Live ISO won’t work)

Hi folks.

I have a nice set of packages ready for KDE Plasma6 Beta2 which was just announced two days ago.
As you see from below screenshot, it runs nicely as a Wayland session, both logged in via the SDDM login manager and by running “startkwayland” from a console in runlevel 3.

A few issues that I see may be related to running this test in a QEMU virtual machine, connecting to its VNC server interface from inside another remote VNC session… maybe that’s overdoing the complexity, I don’t know. I can not logout from either the X11 or the Wayland session, the virtual display freezes and I have to login via ssh and reboot the VM or do a back-and-forth switch between runlevels 3 and 4.

Another problem I am facing is the fact that I cannot yet test this on real hardware. I intend to generate and release a KTOWN variant of liveslak, i.e. an ISO image containing this Plasma6 Beta2 release. Unfortunately, the ISO I generated refuses to start either X11 or Wayland sessions, complaining about Qt6 interfaces that are missing or corrupt. I compared the Plasma6-specific package list in the ISO to what I have installed in this QEMU VM, and they are identical.
I will continue my troubleshooting and hope to fix this before Christmas. If not, then this will have to be delayed until after the family visits.

Happy Christmas!

KTOWN: live ISO with Plasma6 Alpha. Also, chromium now supports HEVC/AC3 playback

I have uploaded a 5 GB ISO file containing a new KTOWN variant of Slackware Live. This is the KDE Plasma6 Alpha release. Play around with it and perhaps you will be able to contribute to an improved Beta by finding and reporting the bugs you encounter.

Get the ISO from my NL or my US server (US ISO still uploading at the moment). There’s also an MD5 checksum and a GPG signature file in those same locations if you want to validate the download.

A lot of packages did not compile yet for various reasons. I am not too concerned about that, next update hopefully will be more complete. A lot of work still needs to be done however (by the KDE developers) to port the remainder of KDE Gear (formerly called Applications or Software Collection) to Qt6.
Not ported to Qt6 as of yet are: artikulate cantor cervisia juk kamoso kde-dev-utils kdenlive kdesdk-thumbnailers kdev-php kdev-python kdevelop kget kgpg kig kio-gdrive kipi-plugins kiten kmix konversation kqtquickcharts krfb ktorrent ktouch kwave libkipi lokalize marble okular parley poxml rocs umbrello.

Still, I was impressed with the fully working and stable Plasma6 Wayland session when I tested an unreleased KTOWN Live ISO a week ago. Of course, as things go, I seem to have broken the Wayland session in this public release of the KTOWN Live.
The version of SDDM graphical session manager should also be Wayland-capable but I will test that in a future ISO.

Let me know in the comments section below what you think of this Alpha release.

News about my chromium package (also its ungoogled sibling).

I was finally able to get the HEVC video and AC3 audio codec support working. There’s a patch set on github, maintained by StaZhu but I did not like the complexity and I am not really interested in GPU hardware-only support. The browser’s internal ffmpeg libraries playback HEVC just fine, taxing your CPU a bit more than in the case of a supported GPU.
Now, the Thorium Browser is also Chromium based and its developer Alex313031 used StaZhu’s patches and wrote some of his own to add not just HEVC video but also AC3 playback support.
Again, I did not like the complexity of his solution (documented on github) but could not get around using some of the patches provided by both. I simplified some of the others into a bunch of ‘sed’ commands. And that made it work for me.

The browser will now playback HEVC and AC3 media formats, as long as the container file is a MP4. I have not found how I can convince Chromium to also support MKV containers.
The chromium-119.0.6045.123 package is already available in my repository, and chromium-ungoogled is still compiling (the ungoogled patch kit only became available earlier today).

You can test the new HEVC playback capability here: if you select any MP4/HEVC sample (none of those have sound) or Thorium browser test page: (those have AC3 audio).

Have fun!

KDE: February 2024 MegaRelease

Just a heads-up to you people who wondered when Alien BOB would pick up on the KDE Plasma bleeding edge again.
Simply put: Patrick did a hell of a job pushing every new KDE Plasma update into the slackware-current package tree (even before the 15.0 release) in no time. There was nothing for me to do (or to improve on) since Plasma5 got added to the distro.

My intention is to change that, soon.

Exactly one month ago, KDE published their planning for Plasma6, the successor to Plasma5, so numbered after the version of the Qt framework which underpins it. As seen on the ‘February 2024 MegaRelease‘ page, the first Alpha release of the Qt6-based Frameworks, Plasma and Gear (the three main components of KDE Plasma) is expected to see the light on November 8th, 2023. The final stable release of KDE Plasma6 will be on February 28th, 2024.

I don’t expect that Slackware itself will absorb this new software immediately upon release. Perhaps we will have a Slackware 15.1 next February, maybe not – but a new KDE desktop is a major and potentially disruptive upgrade. Still, it needs solid testing on Slackware -current somehow. Therefore I will have that stable KDE Plasma6 in my ktown repository when it is released.

I am currently working on updating the kde.SlackBuild infrastructure which I took from Slackware-current, to make it work with the new Plasma6 sources. It is not a trivial task; there are new non-KDE dependencies, new KDE programs and changed interdependencies, patches to remove and patches to add.
So far, I have finalized the scripts for all of the new dependencies, as well as the Frameworks and Plasma. Currently working on KDEPIM, and then the Gear collection (formerly called Applications) awaits. The results up to now took me a full week, and the Gear will probably have the same level of unpleasant surprises (hey, it won’t compile! what did they sneak in now? <initiates another search through KDE Invent>…).

Meaning, I won’t make promises on the timeline for a first Slackware-based test release. I aim to make it coĂŻncide with KDE’s own Alpha release, but I may not be able to finish on time. To be clear about my roadmap: anything that I make available before the stable release of Feb 28, will take the shape of a Slackware Live ISO image (the ktown variant, we haven’t seen that one for two years almost!) for you to test and play with.
There will be no new packages in the ktown repository until the time when KDE Plasma6 stable gets released. I am supportive of people who want to compile this set themselves, so I will make the sources available in ktown as soon as I release the first live ISO and will keep updating those sources.

Note that I will not make Plasma6 co-installable with Plasma5. It’s going to be one or the other. Any official Slackware package that I have to recompile to add Qt6 support, will not lose its Qt5 support. Meaning, my ktown versions of gpgme, kdsoap, phonon, polkit-qt-1, poppler, qca, qcoro or qtkeychain will be 100% compatible with standard Slackware.

Hope to have more news in a week or two!

Sunday update (Oct 29) – a screenshot of the “about” screen after I compiled the new dependencies, Frameworks, Kdepim, Plasma, Plasma-extra and Gear (excluding some twenty packages which are not yet compatible with Qt6):


Today, Plasma5 replaces KDE4 in Slackware

Finally. It’s the major step towards a first Beta release of Slackware 15.0!

Pat used this past weekend to merge the ‘vtown’ packages in the Slackware-current testing area into the core distro. The result is a ChangeLog.txt entry that is 680 lines long… lots of package removals due to KDE4 having been replaced with Plasma5.

Mon Dec 7 21:49:58 UTC 2020
Goodbye vtown... we hardly knew you.
It is indeed the day of the Big Merge(tm) leaving nothing left in /testing (but
I'll try to work on that soon). In addition to merging packages from /testing,
Qt4 and related packages have gone away, along with some other libraries that
were only used by KDE4. Perhaps someone will want to take up maintenance of Qt4
(but I'm also pretty sure that SBo wouldn't touch that build script with a ten
foot pole). ConsoleKit2 is gone, replaced by elogind (which also takes over for
cgmanager and pm-utils).
Huge thanks to Eric Hameleers, Heinz Wiesinger, and Robby Workman for all the
help making this possible.
There's still more cleanup to do here, but that'll be easier with everything in
the main tree instead of maintaining side installs running the /testing
I'll look into what can be done about extra/pure-alsa-system/ soon.
Enjoy! :-)

Let’s see how quickly the remaining rough edges are smoothed out.
I don’t know when I’ll find the time to clean up the ‘ktown’ repository and generate new Slackware Live ISOs. At least, I prepared the liveslak sources already for the event. If only daytime job did not eat up all my energy. Also please tell me which packages in my repository need recompiling due to this major upgrade.

Addendum 2020-12-08 19:21 CET: How to upgrade?

Option 1:

If you never installed my ‘ktown’ Plasma5 packages before, and if you never installed the ‘vtown’ version of Plasma5 in the testing area of Slackware-current, then the upgrade is trivial if you are using slackpkg (the slackpkg+ extension is not needed):

# slackpkg update
# slackpkg install-new
# slackpkg upgrade-all
# slackpkg clean-system

The final “slackpkg clean-system” may be challenging for people who installed a lot of custom / 3rd-party packages, since those will be mixed into the output. See below for a one-liner command that will remove all packages from your system that are no longer part of Slackware since the switch from KDE4 to Plasma5.

Option 2:

If you installed Slackware’s ‘vtown’ version of Plasma5 from Slackware’s own testing area you will probably have edited “/etc/slackpkg/slackpkg.conf” to give the ‘testing’ packages priority over the regular packages. You need to revert this edit now. Meaning that this line:

PRIORITY=( testing patches %PKGMAIN extra pasture )

needs to be changed back to:

PRIORITY=( patches %PKGMAIN extra pasture testing )

If in addition you are using the slackpkg+ extension, you also need to edit “/etc/slackpkg/slackpkgplus.conf” to remove the priority for ‘testing:vtown’  by changing the PKGS_PRIORITY line. Suppose that line looks like this:

PKGS_PRIORITY=( multilib testing:vtown mylocal64 mylocal32 restricted alienbob mate )

then you only need to remove the ‘testing:vtown’ string:

PKGS_PRIORITY=( multilib mylocal64 mylocal32 restricted alienbob mate )

If you removed my ‘ktown’ repository from slackpkgplus.conf (check PKGS_PRIORITY, REPOPLUS and MIRRORPLUS statements) you can re-add it safely now. I cleaned the ‘ktown’ repository and it contains just one package now: phonon-vlc which did not get added to Slackware since that does not have vlc either.
This is all the preparation you need.
Next run the standard commands to perform a regular upgrade:

# slackpkg update
# slackpkg install-new
# slackpkg upgrade-all
# slackpkg clean-system

Again, that last command will scare some people who have a lot of 3rd-party packages installed and don’t want to check many tens of entries one by one to see what needs to be kept.


The final step is to remove all packages that got removed when KDE4 gave way to Plasma5. The ChangeLog.txt entry for this “Big merge” shows all of those with the tag “Removed.” at the end of the line. So here is a single very long commandline which fetches the ChangeLog.txt from the official mirror, finds the ChangeLog entry for the “Big Merge”, locates all “Removed.” lines and extracts the package names from them. That is then fed into a “removepkg” command so that all these packages are actually removed from your computer. This is a safe move.
Here we go. As root. run a test first (the ‘warn does not actually remove anything, it just shows you what it would remove):

# wget -q -O - | sed -n -e '/Mon Dec  7 21:49:58 UTC 2020/,/Sat Dec  5 20:36:27 UTC 2020/p' |grep 'Removed.' |cut -d: -f1 | rev |cut -d/ -f1 |cut -d- -f4- |rev |sort |xargs removepkg --warn

You will probably notice some “No such package: XXXXX. Can’t remove.” messages, those are harmless, you obviously did not have some (KDE4) packages installed anymore.

If you are confident about the command (ensure that there are TWO spaces after ‘Dec’ for instance) you run this:

# wget -q -O - | sed -n -e '/Mon Dec  7 21:49:58 UTC 2020/,/Sat Dec  5 20:36:27 UTC 2020/p' |grep 'Removed.' |cut -d: -f1 | rev |cut -d/ -f1 |cut -d- -f4- |rev |sort |xargs removepkg

Have fun – Eric

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