My thoughts on Slackware, life and everything

Tag: liveslak (Page 1 of 10)

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 ūüôā

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: https://bugs.kde.org/

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!
Eric

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: https://test-videos.co.uk/ if you select any MP4/HEVC sample (none of those have sound) or Thorium browser test page: https://thorium.rocks/misc/h265-tester.html (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 co√Įncide 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):

Eric

Liveslak 1.8.0 – more filesystems supported, lots of fixes

Liveslak updates! Quite soon after my August ISO refresh, I used some free moments to implement a request of sorts and fix some longstanding bugs.
Version 1.8.0 of the liveslak scripts is now available, containing these enhancements and fixes.
Links to the liveslak git repository and download locations are at the bottom of this post. Of course, the new functionality and fixes are also present in a fresh batch of Slackware Live ISO images.

New features of liveslak 1.8.0

  • LUKS encrypted containers for your homedirectory and for persistence are now supporting many more filesystems, not just ext2/4 but also btrfs, f2fs, jfs or xfs. The lack of f2fs support was mentioned by a visitor of this blog and I thought that was useful feedback.
    The accompanying scripts iso2usb.sh and isocomp.sh now support this filesystem choice via a new ‘-F‘ switch.
    Note that the Linux partition of a USB Live thumbdrive remains ext4 formatted, because liveslak uses extlinux to boot on a BIOS computer.
  • The upslak.sh script can now extend the size of the¬† LUKS encrypted container files on your USB thumbdrive, in case you run out of storage there.
  • I fixed the pxeserver script and expanded its functionality:
    • PXE boot of a UEFI computer finally works.
      Note that this may not work for you out of the box, because there are two implementations in dnsmasq to support UEFI PXE boot… and sometimes, one will work and the other won’t. So, you may have to open the /usr/local/sbin/pxeserver script in an editor and look for the section where a number of ‘dhcp-match‘ and ‘dhcp-boot‘ lines is commented out. If you remove the comment characters from these 8 lines and instead, add a comment character ‘#’ in front of the ‘dhcp-match‘ and ‘pxe-service‘ lines a bit higher up, your UEFI computer might actually succeed in booting over the network.
    • NAT firewalling can be optionally enabled in case PXE clients wouldn’t have Internet access otherwise.
  • I fixed the hang during shutdown/reboot when liveslak is a PXE client.
  • I fixed UEFI boot using GRUB when the live ISO had been ‘dd’-ed or ‘cp’-ed directly to a USB thumbdrive. You would end at the GRUB prompt instead of booting into the OS.
    It took me quite a while because this bug was introduced in Feb 2019 (!), and I never found the time to investigate. Eventually looking into it during a weekend of solitude caused an epiphany.
  • I added support for a dark theme in KDE Plasma based ISOs, with the LEAN ISO as an example (that one also gets a new login/desktop background image taken from my photo collection with every ISO refresh).
  • Lots of other small fixes and enhancements, read the Git log for more information.

Booting from an on-disk ISO file

Liveslak supports Ventoy, a multi-boot manager for removable media like USB thumbdrives which lets you boot any ISO image you store on the disk, selecting from a GRUB menu it creates on the fly.
Because liveslak¬† implements the ‚ÄúVentoy-compatible‚ÄĚ guideline, any Slackware Live ISO works out of the box on Ventoy. Support for encrypted persistence and homedirectory containers on a Ventoy disk is offered by the ISO companion script ‘isocomp.sh‘.
You can find the details in the git commit message.

Install Slackware using a liveslak ISO

A quick reminder that you can use a liveslak ISO to install Slackware to your hard drive from its official package repository (using a network installation from a HTTP, FTP, NFS or Samba server).
You can also install the actual content of the Live ISO to your harddisk if you like. In this case all “live aspects” will be skipped during the copy, so that you will in fact end up with a completely regular Slackware on your harddisk.
The program to run these installations is available on all liveslak ISOs and is called ‘setup2hd‘. It is derived from the ‘setup‘ program of a Slackware install media, but has some nice enhancements: it launches cfdisk/cgdisk for you to partition your disks, lets you create a regular user, and allows you to configure a basic firewall.
Best of all, you can run setup2hd in an X-terminal and let the installer chomp through the packages while you browse the internet, watch a video or perform any other kind of leisurely activities on your Live OS.

And by the way: booting Slackware Live is the only way (using setup2hd) to install the official Slackware distro from a network server across a wireless connection. The official Slackware installer only supports wired network connections.

Get liveslak ISOs

The various variants of Slackware Live Edition can be found in the “latest” subdirectory at https://download.liveslak.org/ or its US mirror https://us.liveslak.org/ . A fast UK mirror is provided by Darren Austin at https://slackware.uk/liveslak/ .
You’ll be able to download ISO Live images of 32bit and 64bit Slackware proper, also of the small XFCE variant for (both architectures), and then CINNAMON, DAW, LEAN and MATE ISOs that only come in 64bits.
Big thanks to Willy Sudiarto Raharjo (willysr) for maintaining the Mate and Cinnamon Slackware package repositories.
Also have a look in the “bonus” subdirectory! There you’ll find Nvidia graphics and Broadcom wireless binary drivers, Wine 8 and multilib modules to add if you use the persistent version of liveslak.

All ISOs containing a 64bit Live Slackware have support for SecureBoot.

Get liveslak sources

The liveslak project is hosted in git. Its browsable cgit interface is here: https://git.liveslak.org/liveslak/

A set of the liveslak scripts can also be downloaded from http://www.slackware.com/~alien/liveslak/ or https://slackware.nl/people/alien/liveslak/

Have fun! Eric

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