My thoughts on Slackware, life and everything

Wondering how to spend my computer cycles

I am beginning to feel the lack of computing power in my attic…

There is a pending KDE 4.5.0 release, which needs to be built for slackware-current. Then there is also VLC 1.1.2 which was released a few days ago… and those packages need to be built for Slackware 13.1 (so that they can join my main repository). I have only one “build box” which is fairly old and sporting a CPU without hardware virtualization capabilities.

Decisions, decisions… there’s only 24 hours in a day.

So I decided to start with building a test set of KDE 4.5.0 (the sources of which I already have) because that will be a big event for a lot of people, and leave the new VLC for another time. Don’t worry! Linux users will find that the 1.1.2 release of VLC does not offer anything worthwhile, except perhaps for some bugfixes in the DVB (digital video) module. The VLC 1.1.1 packages which I have created for Slackware are still very much OK.

Having to build packages for Slackware 13.1 as well as -current, and for two architectures (32-bit and 64-bit) is proving a bit too much for that old computer (which happens to be my home desktop as well), so I decided to use the donation money that has been accumulating and order an Athlon II X4 640 boxed CPU, along with an Asus M4N68T motherboard and 8 GB of RAM, completed with a 2 TB SATA hard drive. Once all that arrives on my doorstep, I will assemble a full computer using the case I have here (with a motherboard that caught fire last month because of a crappy condensator). That machine will become my new server.

Thanks to all of you who took the trouble to click my PayPal button – you know who you are, even if I did not thank you in person. Your gracious gifts will be spent with the purpose of making Slackware an even better experience.

By the way – I intend to use qemu-kvm to run a load of virtual machines on that computer, so that it will be easier to build in parallel. I have been considering VMware, VirtualBox and Xen as well. I decided against VMware for being closed-source. VirtualBox could still find its way onto the computer at some later stage; I decided against it because of the mixed license model where you get additional functionality only in the closed-source version. And Xen, well I am quite interested in how that works and performs, but unfortunately it requires a patched “xenified” kernel for the host and Linux guest. That was one bridge too far for me.

Nevertheless, there was a recent post from Chris Abela on the mailing list about the “The Xenification of Slack” which will most certainly help Slackware users get jumpstarted into the Xen world. Worth checking out, there is a tarball attached to that post with scripts and configuration files. Well done.

Enough of this, time for a beer.

Cheers, Eric


  1. Willy Sudiarto Raharjo

    Thanks for your efforts to help Slackware users. I really appreciate it.

  2. Robby ( Pedrica not Workman )

    Hi Eric, I’m currently on an Athlon X2 64 5000+ with 4GB of mem and I also feel it’s getting a bit long in the tooth ( strange to say that considering this is still a fairly good spec for a general workstation ). But as you’ve indicated, when it comes to big compiles, things go south quickly.

    So I’m hoping to move to an Athlon II X4 635 with 8GB soon ( depends on income, unfortunately no Paypal here : ) … I mostly use VBox for its simplicity but have messed around with kvm as well. Performance is pretty much the same between the 2. The main issue with VBox is that one gets a big performance penalty ( especially at install time ) if you use dynamically expanding storage ( rather than fixed-size storage ) seeing as the vdi has to be expanded while you’re actually filling it with data. I haven’t tested this issue on kvm yet …

    I’m in the process of converting all my old build scripts, for the audio-video packages, to Gilbert’s src2pkg format. Quite a bit of trial and error which is where the extra HP would come in handy. Thanks for your packages in any case, which always work a treat. Bets of luck with your new setup!

  3. zbreaker

    Wow, a modest machine has been turning out such goodies.
    With the new gear we will of course be expecting that much more….jk! Looking forward to the 4.5 packages…thanks Eric.
    And yes…time for a beer.

  4. ventYl

    I ‘ve built similar setup for sandboxes, testing boxes and compile boxes. Running Slackware 64 13.1 combined with LVM and qemu-kvm it’s quite flexible solution. LVM offers snapshot ability for compile boxes which enables rollback disk state after compilation without need to reinstall or restore from backup. qemu-kvm can be easilly scripted and whole setup can be bring to life quite quickly.

  5. dolphin77

    10 eur is not too much, but this is all i can do for the moment. Hope this helps a bit. And thanks for keeping your contributions. Pretige weekend.

  6. Chris

    Ha! I like the little alien logo link – an ASF fan? I’ve got the “Inferno” videogame soundtrack which is awesome (although not very typical of them apparently). Thanks for the packages!

  7. alienbob


    Yes, an avid ASF fan. I have seen them playing live once in the late 80’s and since that time always wore an ASF tee shirt when going out weekends 🙂


  8. dolphin77
    You have some more time to solve hardware issues.

  9. alienbob

    @dolphin77 & Willy –

    Unfortunately, the KDE 4.5.0 release had to be delayed for a week, but it allowed the developers to fix several critical application bugs and performance issues.
    So I guess it is all for the best, but still I am kind of disappointed because it cost me quite some time this week.
    Several times new patches had to be added to the sources and packages rebuilt… and all of that was for nothing! Now the game starts from scratch again.

    I am currently building new sets of KDE 4.5.0 packages after I obtained the re-released sources and hope that one of my friends uploads them to a visible location next week (I will not be available to do that myself due to other obligations).


  10. dolphin77


    Looks like KDE SC4.5 released. As I understood from the above Eric’s message, he is not here around. I didn’t see 4.5 in ktown repository. Would appreciate if someone can point me out to the link where the a.m. packages are posted.

  11. Gerard Lally

    I very much like KVM – it is simple to use and speed is native. One thing that attracts me to Xen however is the new VGA pass-thru feature introduced in Xen 4.0.0. Flash, for example, in a KVM virtual machine can be choppy. I am curious to know how the new Xen works on Slackware and so the work of Chris Abela and others is very much appreciated here.

  12. Gordon Daniels

    Thank you for personally answering my email sent to you awhile back. You have been a positive role model for open source community.

    On another note, do you know of a guide telling how to configure kvm for slackware?

    Also, you might be interested in A very nice implementation of Slackware.

    thanks again for all your help

  13. alienbob

    @Gordon –

    Thanks for the kind words. Actually I started writing a Wiki article about how I configured and use KVM for the various virtual machines I run on my server (mainly used for building clean packages, but I am running the occasional MS Windows too). Writing has stalled a bit (writer’s block perhaps, or just tiredness), so maybe I should try to pick up the pace again.


  14. Gordon Daniels

    That sounds great. I am looking forward to reading it. Not being that technical, I am always looking for good guides 🙂

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