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Slack

Uploading 15 GB of new Slackware Live Edition ISO images

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Slack

The squashfs modules in the XFCE ISOs are compressed with ‘xz’ to keep them as small as possible (so they will fit on a CDROM medium). All of the other ISOs are compressed with ‘zstd’ which gives the Live OS a speed boost of ~20% at the cost of 10% increase in the ISO size.

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KDE4 and Plasma 5 for Slackware

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KDE
Slack
  • KDE4 and Qt4 deprecation in FreeBSD

    This is a reminder — for those who don’t read all of the FreeBSD mailing lists — that KDE4 is marked deprecated in the official ports tree for FreeBSD, and will be removed at the end of this year (in about 20 days). Then Qt4 will be removed from the official ports tree in mid-march.

    Since both pieces of software are end-of-life and unmaintained upstream already for several years, the kde@ team at FreeBSD no longer can maintain them. Recent time-sinks were dealing with OpenSSL 1.1.1, libressl, C++17, .. the code is old, and there’s newer, nicer, better-maintained code available generally by replacing 4 with 5.

  • KDE Plasma 5 for Slackware – end of the year edition

    I just uploaded a whole new batch of packages containing KDE Plasma5 for Slackware. The previous batch, KDE 5_18.10 is already two months old and has some library compatibility issues. The new KDE 5_18.12 for Slackware consists of KDE Frameworks 5.53.0, Plasma 5.14.4 and Applications 18.08.3. All this on top of Qt 5.11.3.
    Compiled on the latest Slackware -current, it’s running smoothly here on my laptop.
    I decided against upgrading to QT 5.12.0. This is a new LTS release, but I will wait for the other distros to find bugs in this new software. Next week, KDE will release KDE Applications 18.12.0 and that too is something I want to check a bit before releasing Slackware packages. Therefore it’s likely that a new batch of packages containing Qt 5.12 and KDE Applications 18.12 will see the light shortly after the New Year.

Absolute Linux: Testing Snapshot/15.0 Based on Slackware Current

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Reviews
Slack

Patrick, next Slackware and moving forward with KDE Plasma5

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Slack

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.

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Slackware: Chromium and Flash, Helping Patrick and Slackware Linux

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Slack
  • July security updates: Chromium and Flash

    I have uploaded new packages for Chromium. The version 67.0.3396.99 was released a month ago but the source remained unavailable for a while and then I “went under” for a while. Now that I finally built and uploaded it, I noticed there’s a new version up today (68.0.3440.75) but I will wait a bit with that one and focus on Plasma5 next.

  • Helping Patrick and Slackware Linux

Slackware creator in strife, claims store has not paid him

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The creator of the second oldest Linux distribution, Patrick Volkerding, claims he is in financial strife after the store, with which he reached an agreement to sell his work, stopped paying him two years ago.

In a post to the Linux Questions website, Volkerding, a hero to many early adopters of Linux, said that the store was set up as a 60:40 venture.

"And 60% seemed fair, since the idea was that the company would be providing health insurance, paying for the production of the goods, and handling shipping and related customer service," he wrote.

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Slax 9.5.0 released

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Slack

I am happy to announce that a next version of Slax Linux has been released. Slax is a minimalistic, fully modular operating system. As usual, this version incorporates all upstream improvements from Debian stable, and fixes few small known bugs.

I am also happy to announce that it is now possible to purchase Slax preinstalled on an USB flash drive with hardware-based AES encryption. This device is universally usable because the encryption is performed directly by the drive itself, there is no software to install needed. Once disconnected, the USB drive automatically locks itself again. Payment is possible only with Bitcoin, because I truly wish to see PayPal and credit card companies to cease to exist soon.

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The LiveSlak Project: Running Slackware-Current Live Images With or Without Persistence and Installing Them

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Slack
HowTos

Eric Hameleers has unofficially contributed to Slackware for what feels like forever. He not only runs his blog Alien Pastures dedicated to Slackware and offers a huge selection of packages pre-compiled on his vanilla systems, readily available for our perusal. He also offers the Ktown repository with updated packages of KDE4 and the next generation Plasma desktop for both the stable and testing branches of Slackware. He also started the Slackware Live project based on his own LiveSlak scripts to give people an opportunity to run Slackware current without
committing to an install and to get an idea what the next version will be like.

On 25th June the latest line of images was released, one for each desktop. Live ISOs are offered in 32 and 64bit, although only the Xfce and KDE4 images are available for both architectures. The other two images with MATE or a Plasma 5 preview substituted for KDE4 are 64bit only. This 1.2.0 release mirrors Slackware current as of 23/06/2018. Initially there was also a version with the Cinnamon desktop but this seems to have fallen behind.

Apart from the desktop chosen there are some differences in the size of the images. The Xfce spin is just under 700MB, the standard desktop version with KDE which is just named slackware-live-current is 3.1/3.0 GB respectively, the MATE version 2.1GB and the Plasma 5 edition a hefty 4.3GB, also due to extra software onboard. Read more about how the project came about and an overview with tips on Eric's blog.

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The oldest, active Linux distro, Slackware, turns 25

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Slack

For many early Linux users, Slackware was their introduction. One user told me her first Linux install was Slackware—and she had to use a hex editor to fix the partition tables so that Slackware would install. Support for her hardware was added in a later release. Another got his start building the data center that would power one of the first internet-enabled real estate sites. In the mid-1990s, Slackware was one of the easiest distributions to get and didn't require a lot of effort to get IP masquerading to work correctly. A third person mentioned going to sleep while a kernel compile job ran, only to find out it had failed when he woke up.

All of these anecdotes would suggest a hard-to-use operating system. But Slackware fans don't see it that way. The project's website says the two top priorities are "ease of use and stability." For Slackware, "ease of use" means simplicity. Slackware does not include a graphical installer. Its package manager does not perform any dependency resolution. This can be jarring for new users, particularly within the last few years, but it also enables a deeper understanding of the system.

The different take on ease of use isn't the only thing unique about Slackware. It also does not have a public bug tracker, code repository, or well-defined method of community contribution. Volkerding and a small team of contributors maintain the tree in a rolling release called "-current" and publish a release when it meets the feature and stability goals they've set.

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Slackware is Moving to XOrg 1.20 and Slackware 14.2 Gets "Love"

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Slack
  • Moving to XOrg 1.20
  • Let’s show some love to 14.2

    With all the excitement going on about the disruptive changes in Slackware-current (migration to the new C++ ABI caused all of Slackware to be recompiled, and then the upgrade of openssl to 1.1 caused many packages to be recompiled again), I had to spend all of my time and CPU power to keep up with the changes and fix my packages for -current.
    That meant, less attention to the package updates for Slackware 14.2. I realize I left the users of our stable release somewhat in the cold.
    I am going to do something about that. During the next weeks I will try to bridge the gap that had been expanding for package versions in my own repository, between 14.2 and -current.

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More in Tux Machines

Essential System Tools: nmon – Curses based Performance Monitor

This is the latest in our series of articles highlighting essential system tools. These are small, indispensable utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users of Linux based systems. The series examines both graphical and text based open source utilities. For this article, we’ll look at nmon, a free and open source performance monitor. For details of all tools in this series, please check the table at the summary page of this article. Nmon is short for “Nigel’s Monitor”. It’s a systems administrator, tuner, and benchmark all wrapped up in an easy-to-use tool. The utility displays performance information on the CPU, memory, network, disks (mini graphs or numbers), filesystems, NFS, top processes, resources (Linux version & processors) and more. The software aims to be as frugal as possible, as it’s self-defeating for a performance monitor to consume large chunks of CPU cycles and memory. Read more

Programming: Node.js, Micro:bit, L4Re, Python, Go and More

  • 14 Best NodeJS Frameworks for Developers in 2019
    Node.js is used to build fast, highly scalable network applications based on an event-driven non-blocking input/output model, single-threaded asynchronous programming. A web application framework is a combination of libraries, helpers, and tools that provide a way to effortlessly build and run web applications. A web framework lays out a foundation for building a web site/app. The most important aspects of a web framework are – its architecture and features (such as support for customization, flexibility, extensibility, security, compatibility with other libraries, etc..).
  • Debian now got everything you need to program Micro:bit
    I am amazed and very pleased to discover that since a few days ago, everything you need to program the BBC micro:bit is available from the Debian archive. All this is thanks to the hard work of Nick Morrott and the Debian python packaging team. The micro:bit project recommend the mu-editor to program the microcomputer, as this editor will take care of all the machinery required to injekt/flash micropython alongside the program into the micro:bit, as long as the pieces are available. There are three main pieces involved. The first to enter Debian was python-uflash, which was accepted into the archive 2019-01-12. The next one was mu-editor, which showed up 2019-01-13. The final and hardest part to to into the archive was firmware-microbit-micropython, which needed to get its build system and dependencies into Debian before it was accepted 2019-01-20. The last one is already in Debian Unstable and should enter Debian Testing / Buster in three days. This all allow any user of the micro:bit to get going by simply running 'apt install mu-editor' when using Testing or Unstable, and once Buster is released as stable, all the users of Debian stable will be catered for.
  • Some Ideas for 2019
    Well, after my last article moaning about having wishes and goals while ignoring the preconditions for, and contributing factors in, the realisation of such wishes and goals, I thought I might as well be constructive and post some ideas I could imagine working on this year. It would be a bonus to get paid to work on such things, but I don’t hold out too much hope in that regard. In a way, this is to make up for not writing an article summarising what I managed to look at in 2018. But then again, it can be a bit wearing to have to read through people’s catalogues of work even if I do try and make my own more approachable and not just list tons of work items, which is what one tends to see on a monthly basis in other channels. In any case, 2018 saw a fair amount of personal focus on the L4Re ecosystem, as one can tell from looking at my article history. Having dabbled with L4Re and Fiasco.OC a bit in 2017 with the MIPS Creator CI20, I finally confronted certain aspects of the software and got it working on various devices, which had been something of an ambition for at least a couple of years. I also got back into looking at PIC32 hardware and software experiments, tidying up and building on earlier work, and I keep nudging along my Python-like language and toolchain, Lichen. Anyway, here are a few ideas I have been having for supporting a general strategy of building flexible, sustainable and secure computing environments that respect the end-user. Such respect not being limited to software freedom, but also extending to things like privacy, affordability and longevity that are often disregarded in the narrow focus on only one set of end-user rights.
  • 5 Best Python IDEs You Can Get in 2019
    If you’re taking Python lessons online, you will eventually need a good IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to write better code. The command line interface can only prove so useful. At Python.com you can download a native IDE called IDLE (Integrated Development and Learning Environment). However, it is rather basic in scope, and debugging can consume more time than necessary. With this in mind, here are a few of the best IDEs for Python which add to your productivity.
  • Python’s Requests Library (Guide)
  • Factorial one-liner using reduce and mul for Python 2 and 3
  • Sample Chapters from Creating wxPython Applications Book
  • Migrating from Pelican 3 to Pelican 4
  • Python Software Foundation Fellow Members for Q4 2018 [Ed: Python Software Foundation has many Microsoft employees in it now. Not good. Microsoft has been using money to filtrate just about everything, including its competition. This isn't so new a strategy and many examples of it exist.]
  • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #352 (Jan. 22, 2019)
  • Why Don't People Use Formal Methods?

    Before we begin, we need to lay down some terms. There really isn’t a formal methods community so much as a few tiny bands foraging in the Steppe.1 This means different groups use terms in different ways. Very broadly, there are two domains in FM: formal specification is the study of how we write precise, unambiguous specifications, and formal verification is the study of how we prove things are correct. But “things” includes both code and abstract systems. Not only do we use separate means of specifying both things, we often use different means to verify them, too. To make things even more confusing, if somebody says they do formal specification, they usually mean they both specify and verify systems, and if somebody says they do formal verification, they usually mean mean they both specify and verify code.

    Before we begin, we need to lay down some terms. There really isn’t a formal methods community so much as a few tiny bands foraging in the Steppe.1 This means different groups use terms in different ways. Very broadly, there are two domains in FM: formal specification is the study of how we write precise, unambiguous specifications, and formal verification is the study of how we prove things are correct. But “things” includes both code and abstract systems. Not only do we use separate means of specifying both things, we often use different means to verify them, too. To make things even more confusing, if somebody says they do formal specification, they usually mean they both specify and verify systems, and if somebody says they do formal verification, they usually mean mean they both specify and verify code. For clarity purposes, I will divide verification into code verification (CV) and design verification (DV), and similarly divide specification into CS and DS. These are not terms used in the wider FM world. We’ll start by talking about CS and CV, then move on to DS and DV.

  • Learning C as an uneducated hobbyist

    V=Programming, however, is conscious. It’s an activity in which you have to think in order to act. Unlearning bad practice in programming takes no energy at all apart from that spent being told that the practice is bad and coming to understand and remember it. Once you’ve done that, it’s almost impossible to make the same mistake again.

    That’s why you shouldn’t be afraid of learning “along the way”, “as you go” or “in an ad-hoc manner” because “you might learn bad practice”. If you learn the wrong thing, you can learn the right thing later. After all, you’re not a professional programmer. It doesn’t matter very much if you make a mistake; your job doesn’t depend on it.

  • Demystifying Pointers in Go
    If you’ve never worked with a language that exposes pointers, it could be a little confusing. But the good news is pointers don’t need to be scary. In fact, pointers can be pretty straightforward. Here are the basics of pointers in Go:

GNOME 3.32 Desktop Environment to Launch with a "Radical New Icon Style"

Besides the slightly revamped default theme, it looks like the GNOME 3.32 desktop environment will come with a "radical new icon style," along with new guidelines for app developers to provide a more unified icon style across the GNOME ecosystem. GNOME designer Jakub Steiner writes in his latest blog article about the improvements needed for the revamped icon style to be included by default with the GNOME 3.32 release of the open-source desktop environment used by numerous Linux-based operating systems, including Ubuntu. Read more Also: GNOME Is Making Great Progress On Overhauling Their App Icons

Dell XPS 13 9380 Developer Edition Now Available, Shipping With Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Dell is now shipping their new XPS 13 8th gen (9380) laptop in a developer edition that comes preloaded with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. The Dell XPS 9380 is only an incremental upgrade over the previous-generation 9370: it has the slightly newer Intel Whiskey Lake processors, moves the web camera position to the top of the display rather than at the bottom, and other minor refinements but nothing too dramatic. From the Developer Edition side, they have moved from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to 18.04 LTS. Read more Also: The new Dell XPS 13 developer edition now available in the US, Europe and Canada New Dell XPS 13 Laptop with Ubuntu Is Now Available in the US, Europe and Canada