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Slack

Absolute Linux: Testing Snapshot/15.0 Based on Slackware Current

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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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Slack

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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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.

Absolute Linux Offers Old School Charm, Thanks to Slackware

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Linux
Slack
HowTos

What this means is that, within the Linux landscape, you can find a distribution that perfectly fits your needs and your penchant. If you want something ultra-modern, you can install any distribution that features either GNOME or KDE Plasma. If you want something moderately modern, take a look at Elementary OS, or any distribution featuring the Budgie Desktop (or Mate or Cinnamon). But what if your desktop desires are rooted in something from the past? Say Windows XP? Believe it or not, there are plenty of distributions that cater to those who long for the days of yore, when the desktop metaphor trended toward the simple Microsoftian look and feel.

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Slackware-Based Porteus Linux 4.0 Officially Released with Seven Desktop Flavors

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GNU
Linux
Slack

Porteus Linux developer Jay Flood announced over the weekend the release and general availability of the final Porteus 4.0 operating system series, based on the Slackware Current software repositories.

Coming four years after the Porteus 3.0 series, the Porteus 4.0 release ships with the latest Slackware Linux packages, it's powered by the latest Linux 4.16 kernel branch (Linux 4.16.3 is included in the install images), and comes with no less than seven desktop flavors, including KDE, Xfce, LXDE, LXQt, Cinnamon, MATE, and Openbox.

Porteus 4.0 features support for UEFI/EFI installations using the syslinux bootloader for both BIOS and UEFI/EFI machines with a single, universal configuration file that you can find in /mnt/sdXY/boot/syslinux/porteus.cfg. Also, a new porteus/porteus-v4.0-x86_64.cfg configuration file replaces the old .sgn file and adds support for cheatcodes.

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More in Tux Machines

Ubuntu 18.04 Will Get 10-Year Support (Instead of the Usual 5 Years)

The long-term support (LTS) releases of Ubuntu used to get support for five years. This is changing now. Ubuntu 18.04 will now be supported for ten years. Other LTS releases might also get an extended support. Read more

Manjaro Linux 18.0 – Review and Features

Manjaro has finally released a stable version of Manjaro 18.0 also codenamed “Illyria“. Manjaro always provided a lot of lot of emphasis on a user-friendly experience and Illyria is lived upto that to a great extent. The open source operating system is designed in such a way that it work completely out of the box straight away as it comes with a lot of pre-installed software. So once complete the installation of Manjaro 18.0, you don’t need to go installing other software that is needed for your day to day tasks. And Manjaro 18.0 has come out with fixes for a lot of issues and some improvements as well. Manjaro Linux 18.0 is certainly one of the easy-to-use and simple Arch Linux desktop version. Read more

today's leftovers

  • QOwnNotes 18.11.3
    QOwnNotes is a open source (GPL) plain-text file notepad with markdown support and todo list manager for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X and Windows, that (optionally) works together with the notes application of ownCloud (or Nextcloud). So you are able to write down your thoughts with QOwnNotes and edit or search for them later from your mobile device (like with CloudNotes) or the ownCloud web-service. The notes are stored as plain text files and you can sync them with your ownCloud sync client. Of course other software, like Dropbox, Syncthing, Seafile or BitTorrent Sync can be used too.
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  • Getting Started with Scilab
  • Huawei’s New Stance On Bootloader Lockdown Is An Unpopular One, Here’s How You Can Bypass It
    Let’s start with the basics. What do you mean by a bootloader? In simple words, Bootloader is a piece of code that runs before any operating system is running. Bootloader is used to boot other operating systems and usually each operating system has a set of bootloaders specific to it. Alternatively, the bootloader can start up recovery mode. When a phone is in recovery, it can execute large pieces of code that totally rewrite the Android operating system. The bootloader is important because it loads up both of these pieces of software. Without a working bootloader, your phone is a useless brick. A locked or unlocked bootloader is what gives you access to “root.” “Root” is another big word in the Android community. If you “root” a device, it means you have “superuser” access or “administrator” access to the operating system that runs on your phone. With an unlocked bootloader, you can install boot images that aren’t signed by the device maker. That includes custom images needed to boot an AOSP-based ROM, boot images patched to support Magisk root, and more. Now as handy and efficient as this might seem, it’s not a popular option publicised or encouraged by smartphone manufacturers. While companies like OnePlus and Google make it seamless by just having to enable “OEM unlocking” in Developer Options, and then entering a few fastboot (fastboot is a protocol for sending commands from a PC to the bootloader of your device) commands while your phone is in the bootloader menu; companies like Huawei or Honor (Huawei sub-brand) have stopped providing forms for allowing users to unlock their bootloader. That means there’s no longer an official way to get the bootloader unlock code for your Huawei or Honor smartphone or tablet. Nobody has yet figured out how these bootloader unlock codes are generated, so it’s impossible to generate one yourself.
  • Google’s Wear OS Version H Announced; Brings Battery Saver Mode
    Google quietly announced its Wear OS Version H (it’s basically version 2.2 of Wear OS) for smart wearables this morning. The new update will be rolled out as a system update and majorly, brings battery llife-related improvements to Wear OS watches.
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  • The Huge Security Problem With C/C++ And Why You Shouldn’t Use It
    Alex Gaynor gives an example of a program that has a list of 10 numbers. Theoretically, in an event where someone asks for the 11th element, the program is expected to show an error of some sort, or at least that’s what a “memory safe” programming language (like Python or Java) would do. However, in case of a memory unsafe language like C/C++, the program looks for the 11th element wherever it is supposed to be (if it existed) and accesses its content. This is called a “buffer-overflow” vulnerability that is exploited by bugs like HeartBleed to access up to 60 KB data past the end of a list — that often includes passwords and other sensitive data.
  • The Power of Web Components
    As a group, the standards are known as Web Components. In the year 2018 it’s easy to think of Web Components as old news. Indeed, early versions of the standards have been around in one form or another in Chrome since 2014, and polyfills have been clumsily filling the gaps in other browsers. After some quality time in the standards committees, the Web Components standards were refined from their early form, now called version 0, to a more mature version 1 that is seeing implementation across all the major browsers. Firefox 63 added support for two of the tent pole standards, Custom Elements and Shadow DOM, so I figured it’s time to take a closer look at how you can play HTML inventor! Given that Web Components have been around for a while, there are lots of other resources available. This article is meant as a primer, introducing a range of new capabilities and resources. If you’d like to go deeper (and you definitely should), you’d do well to read more about Web Components on MDN Web Docs and the Google Developers site. Defining your own working HTML elements requires new powers the browser didn’t previously give developers. I’ll be calling out these previously-impossible bits in each section, as well as what other newer web technologies they draw upon.

OSS Leftovers

  • OpenStack regroups
    Only a few years ago, OpenStack was the hottest open-source project around, with a bustling startup ecosystem to boot. The project, which gives enterprises the tools to run the equivalent of AWS in their own private data centers, ran into trouble as it tried to tackle too many individual projects at the same time and enterprises took longer than expected to adopt it. That meant many a startup floundered or was acquired before it was able to gain traction while the nonprofit foundation that manages the project started to scale back its big tent approach and refocused on its core services.
  • SD Times news digest: Docker and MuleSoft’s partnership, ActiveState’s open-source language automation category, and Instana’s automatic Python instrumentation
    Docker and MuleSoft have announced a new partnership to modernize applications and accelerate digital transformation. As part of the partnership, the companies will work together to deliver new capabilities for legacy apps with APIs, legacy apps without APIs and new apps created in Docker. In addition, MuleSoft’s Anypoint platform will be combined with Docker Enterprise.
  • ActiveState Creates Open Source Language Automation Category
  • New open source cloud discovery tool arrives from Twistlock
    Cloud Discovery connects to cloud providers' native platform APIs to discover services such as container registries, managed Kubernetes platforms, and serverless services, and requires only read permissions. Other key features include:
  • Google Open-Sources "Amber" Multi-API Shader Test Framework
    The newest open-source graphics project out of Google is called Amber and it's a multi-API shader testing framework focused on capturing and communicating of shader bugs. Google's Amber tries to make it easier to capture/communicate shader bugs with a scripting-based workflow. The captured shaders can be in binary form, SPIR-V assembly, or a higher-level shading language. Amber is currently focused on supporting the Vulkan and Dawn graphics APIs.
  • Microsoft allies with Facebook on AI software [Ed: Evil likes/attracts evil. Now they can do their crimes together while blaming "AI". Longtime Microsoft propagandist Jordan Novet has decided to add the Microsoft lie (PR campaign) "Microsoft loves Linux" (in photo form) to an article that has nothing to do with Linux.]
  • Microsoft alliance with Facebook signals shift in AI approach