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Slack

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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  • 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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Slackware Mass Rebuild

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Slack
  • Mass Rebuild to Remove .la files
  • Slackware-current ChangeLog 20180419

    Hi folks, and welcome to the third ever Slackware Mass Rebuild (and the longest ChangeLog entry in project history). There were two primary motivations for rebuilding everything in the main tree. The first was to switch to the new C++ ABI. The second was to get rid of all the .la files in the LD_LIBRARY_PATH. Really, having .la files installed has been mostly obsolete since things began to use pkg-config instead, …

New Live ISOs for Slackware-current 20180209

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I have uploaded a fresh set of ISOs for the Slackware Live Edition.

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Also: LibreOffice 6 packaged for Slackware

Making the Case for Slackware in 2018

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If you started using GNU/Linux in the last 10 years or so, there’s a very good chance your first distribution was Ubuntu. But despite what you may have heard on some of the elitist Linux message boards and communities out there, there’s nothing wrong with that. The most important thing is simply that you’re using Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). The how and why is less critical, and in the end really boils down to personal preference. If you would rather take the “easy” route, who is anyone else to judge?

Having said that, such options have not always been available. When I first started using Linux full time, the big news was that the kernel was about to get support for USB Mass Storage devices. I don’t mean like a particular Mass Storage device either, I mean the actual concept of it. Before that point, USB on Linux was mainly just used for mice and keyboards. So while I might not be able to claim the same Linux Greybeard status as the folks who installed via floppies on an i386, it’s safe to say I missed the era of “easy” Linux by a wide margin.

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Slackware: What's New in 2018

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Slack

Back to Slackware development, Patrick has just pushed a new GCC release (7.3.0) which has support for -mindirect-branch=thunk-extern flag which is needed to provide full mitigation of Spectre variant 2 and also push a new kernel built with CONFIG_RETPOLINE=y.Fixes to Meltdown has been pushed earlier when he delivered Linux Kernel 4.14.14 with KPTI enabled. As for Spectre variant 1, it all depends on microcode update. If you are AMD users, you can easily get it by updating to the latest kernel-firmware package found in -current. Intel users will have to install intel-microcode from SBo repository (it's best to be installed alongside with iucode_tool).

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KDE: Linux and Qt in Automotive, KDE Discover, Plasma5 18.01 in Slackware

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KDE
Slack
  • Linux and Qt in Automotive? Let’s meet up!

    For anyone around the Gothenburg area on Feb 1st, you are most welcome to the Automotive MeetUp held at the Pelagicore and Luxoft offices. There will be talks about Qt/QML, our embedded Linux platform PELUX and some ramblings about open source in automotive by yours truly Wink

  • What about AppImage?

    I see a lot of people asking about state of AppImage support in Discover.

    It’s non-existent, because AppImage does not require centralized software management interfaces like Discover and GNOME Software (or a command-line package manager). AppImage bundles are totally self-contained, and come straight from the developer with zero middlemen, and can be managed on the filesystem using your file manager

    This should sound awfully familiar to former Mac users (like myself), because Mac App bundles are totally self-contained, come straight from the developer with zero middlemen, and are managed using the Finder file manager.

  • What’s new for January? Plasma5 18.01, and more

    When I sat down to write a new post I noticed that I had not written a single post since the previous Plasma 5 announcement. Well, I guess the past month was a busy one. Also I bought a new e-reader (the Kobo Aura H2O 2nd edition) to replace my ageing Sony PRS-T1. That made me spend a lot of time just reading books and enjoying a proper back-lit E-ink screen. What I read? The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams, A Shadow all of Light by Fred Chappell, Persepolis Rising and several of the short stories (Drive, The Butcher of Anderson Station, The Churn and Strange Dogs) by James SA Corey and finally Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. All very much worth your time.

Slackware: SlackEX Gets a Lift, Slackware’s Plasma 5 Gets Upgrade

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Slack
  • SlackEX Build 171223 (Slackware 14.2) live dvd/usb with KDE 4.14.38, kernel 4.14.8-x86_64-efi-exton, Nvidia 384.98 and VirtualBox 5.2.4

    New features in version 171223 of SlackEX
    I have replaced kernel 4.12.9-x86_64-exton with kernel 4.14.8-x86_64-efi-exton with support for “everything”. Kernel 4.14.8 was released 171220. KDE is upgraded to version 4.14.38 (latest KDE version). All other component software is also upgraded to the latest Slackware Current version by now. I may also mention in particular GParted 0.29.0, VirtualBox 5.2.4 (latest, not in Slackware’s repositories), Google Chrome 60.0.3112 (not in Slackware’s repositories – you can download my build at SourceForge.net), Gimp 2.8.10 (installed from source), GSlapt 0.5.4b, Slackpkg 2.82.1, Firefox 57.0.2, Thunderbird 52.5.0, Samba 4.7.3 and GCC 7.2.0. Furthermore I have installed Grub2, which can be used as boot loader (if you want) after a hard drive install. Study the full package LIST. Note: I have replaced Wicd with NetworkManager. It works better in SlackEX.

  • Slackware-Based SlackEX Distro Released with Linux Kernel 4.14.8 and KDE 4.14.38

    GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton released today a new build of his Slackware-based SlackEX distro, bringing various updated applications and core components.

    The sole purpose of SlackEX is to make Slackware Linux more accessible to those who want to install a GNU/Linux distribution on their personal computers. SlackEX promises to be as easy to install and use like popular Linux Mint and Ubuntu distros.

    Based on Slackware 14.2, SlackEX Build 171223 is here with both the Slackpkg and GSlapt package management systems pre-installed to make installation of additional programs a breeze. It also includes developer's 4.14.8-x86_64-efi-exton kernel with extra hardware support.

    "Any novice can quickly learn to use Ubuntu they say. My remaster of Slackware Current (14.2), which I call SlackEX 14.2/Current 64-bit Linux Live DVD/USB, is however just as easy to use as Ubuntu and/or Linux Mint," said Arne Exton in the release announcement.

  • December packages for Slackware’s Plasma 5 – focus shift

    Jingle Bells galore! I have some goodies for you, right before Christmas. If your winter holiday starts today, there’s some nice new stuff to play with – especially if you have not dared touch slackware-current until now. Perhaps it’s time to free up a partition on your hard drive now?

    The KDE Applications 17.12 have been released by the KDE community. This set of KDE applications is completely free of the legacy KDE4 stuff (kdelibs4). The KDE developers have removed everything from their regular release cycles that is still based on kdelibs4 and/or unmaintained or broken anyway.

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More in Tux Machines

Linux Foundation, AGL and Linux Security

  • Deutsche Telekom joins Linux Foundation as platinum member
    Deutsche Telekom has joined The Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) as a Platinum member. Telekom will support LFN’s efforts to accelerate the development and adoption of open-source networking technologies and contribute to new network technologies enabling 5G services, said LFN. LFN said its projects now enable nearly 70 percent of all global mobile subscribers with the addition of Deutsche Telekom, and the company’s membership in LFN will drive the LFN initiative into new regions and promote the adoption of open standards and source.
  • Deutsche Telekom Goes Platinum at Linux Foundation
    Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) continues its membership growth with the addition of its newest Platinum member, Deutsche Telekom, one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies. Deutsche Telekom joins LFN to support its efforts in accelerating the development and adoption of open source networking technologies. With the addition of Deutsche Telekom, LFN projects now enable nearly seventy percent of all global mobile subscribers. With its collaboration and extensive global footprint, Deutsche Telekom will help accelerate LFN globally, contributing to emerging network technologies critical to enabling 5G services. LFN supports the momentum of open source networking, integrating governance of participating projects in order to enhance operational excellence, simplify member engagement, and increase collaboration. Deutsche Telekom is also an active participant in the ONAP project and plans to contribute to the next platform release, Casablanca.
  • Automotive open source virtualization: Bringing open source virtualization in AGL
    The AGL Software Defined Car Architecture white paper defines how the AGL target platform for software defined vehicles can be implemented by using virtualization techniques, presented in the document along with their automotive benefits, challenges, use cases and requirements. From the beginning, this work objective was to provide an architecture for a virtualization platform that can be used, extended or customized by Tier-1 or OEM companies to reduce time to market.
  • Meltdown Protection For x86 32-bit Aligned For The Linux 4.19 Kernel
    Those still relying upon x86 32-bit Linux kernels for aging hardware and continuing to update to the latest software will find mitigation for the Meltdown CPU vulnerability with the upcoming Linux 4.19 kernel cycle. You'll find this mitigation but at the cost of performance. While x86_64 Linux was mitigated back in January for Meltdown, it's taken a while for x86 32-bit support for KPTI, Kernel Page Table Isolation. This is basically applying the same page table isolation approach seen on Linux x86_64 and ARM to now the 32-bit x86 kernel code. Obviously it hasn't been a priority with many Linux distributions not even bothering with i686 install images in recent years.

Cloud-Native/Kubernetes/Container/OpenShift

  • 10 Key Attributes of Cloud-Native Applications
    Cloud-native platforms, like Kubernetes, expose a flat network that is overlaid on existing networking topologies and primitives of cloud providers. Similarly, the native storage layer is often abstracted to expose logical volumes that are integrated with containers. Operators can allocate storage quotas and network policies that are accessed by developers and resource administrators. The infrastructure abstraction not only addresses the need for portability across cloud environments, but also lets developers take advantage of emerging patterns to build and deploy applications. Orchestration managers become the deployment target, irrespective of the underlying infrastructure that may be based on physical servers or virtual machines, private clouds or public clouds. Kubernetes is an ideal platform for running contemporary workloads designed as cloud-native applications. It’s become the de facto operating system for the cloud, in much the same way Linux is the operating system for the underlying machines. As long as developers follow best practices of designing and developing software as a set of microservices that comprise cloud-native applications, DevOps teams will be able to package and deploy them in Kubernetes. Here are the 10 key attributes of cloud-native applications that developers should keep in mind when designing cloud-native applications.
  • Google Embraces New Kubernetes Application Standard
    Once an organization has a Kubernetes container orchestration cluster running, the next challenge is to get applications running. Google is now aiming to make it easier for organizations to deploy Kubernetes applications, through the Google Cloud Platform Marketplace. The new marketplace offerings bring commercial Kubernetes-enabled applications that can be run in the Google cloud, or anywhere else an organization wants. All a user needs to do is visit the GCP marketplace and click the Purchase Plan button to get started. "Once they agree to the terms, they'll find instructions on how to deploy this application on the Kubernetes cluster of their choice, running in GCP or another cloud, or even on-prem," Anil DhawanProduct Manager, Google Cloud Platform, told ServerWatch. "The applications report metering information to Google for billing purposes so end users can get one single bill for their application usage, regardless of where it is deployed."
  • Challenges and Requirements for Container-Based Applications and Application Services
    Enterprises using container-based applications require a scalable, battle-tested, and robust services fabric to deploy business-critical workloads in production environments. Services such as traffic management (load balancing within a cluster and across clusters/regions), service discovery, monitoring/analytics, and security are a critical component of an application deployment framework. This blog post provides an overview of the challenges and requirements for such application services.

Software: Music Tagger MusicBrainz, Pulseaudio, COPR, AV1

  • Music Tagger MusicBrainz Picard 2.0 Ported To Python 3 And PyQt5, Brings Improved UI And More
    MusicBrainz Picard version 2.0 was released after more than 6 years since the previous major release (1.0). The new version was ported to Python 3 and PyQt5 and includes Retina and HiDPI support, improved UI and performance, as well as numerous bug fixes. [...] MusicBrainz Picard 2.0 was ported to Python 3 (requires at least version 3.5) and PyQt5 (>= 5.7). The release announcement mentions that a side effect of this is that "Picard should look better and in general feel more responsive". Also, many encoding-related bugs were fixed with the transition to Python 3, like the major issue of not supporting non-UTF8 filenames.
  • Pulseaudio: the more things change, the more they stay the same
    Such a classic Linux story. For a video I'll be showing during tonight's planetarium presentation (Sextants, Stars, and Satellites: Celestial Navigation Through the Ages, for anyone in the Los Alamos area), I wanted to get HDMI audio working from my laptop, running Debian Stretch. I'd done that once before on this laptop (HDMI Presentation Setup Part I and Part II) so I had some instructions to follow; but while aplay -l showed the HDMI audio device, aplay -D plughw:0,3 didn't play anything and alsamixer and alsamixergui only showed two devices, not the long list of devices I was used to seeing. Web searches related to Linux HDMI audio all pointed to pulseaudio, which I don't use, and I was having trouble finding anything for plain ALSA without pulse. In the old days, removing pulseaudio used to be the cure for practically every Linux audio problem. But I thought to myself, It's been a couple years since I actually tried pulse, and people have told me it's better now. And it would be a relief to have pulseaudio working so things like Firefox would Just Work. Maybe I should try installing it and see what happens.
  • 4 cool new projects to try in COPR for July 2018
    COPR is a collection of personal repositories for software that isn’t carried in Fedora. Some software doesn’t conform to standards that allow easy packaging. Or it may not meet other Fedora standards, despite being free and open source. COPR can offer these projects outside the Fedora set of packages. Software in COPR isn’t supported by Fedora infrastructure or signed by the project. However, it can be a neat way to try new or experimental software. Here’s a set of new and interesting projects in COPR.
  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: AV1
    Open source supporters and companies are teaming up to offer the next general of video delivery. The Alliance for Open Media (AOMEDIA) is made up of companies like Mozilla, Google, Cisco, Amazon and Netflix, and on a mission to create an open video format and new codec called AV1. In a blog post about the AOMedia Video, or AV1, video codec, Mozilla technical writer Judy DeMocker laid out the numbers; within the next few years, video is expected to account for over 80 percent of Internet traffic. And unbeknownst to many, all of that free, high-quality video content we’ve come to expect all across the Internet costs quite a bit for the people providing it via codec licensing fees. The most common, H.264, is used all over the place to provide the compression required to send video quickly and with quality intact.
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KDE and GNOME: Kubuntu 18.04 Reviewed, Akademy, Cutelyst and GUADEC

  • Kubuntu 18.04 Reviewed in Linux ( Pro ) Magazine
    Kubuntu Linux has been my preferred Linux distribution for more than 10 years. My attraction to the KDE desktop and associated application set, has drawn from Kubuntu user, to a tester, teacher, developer, community manager and councilor. I feel really privileged to be part of, what can only be described as, a remarkable example of the free software, and community development of an exceptional product. This latest release 18.04, effectively the April 2018 release, is a major milestone. It is the first LTS Long Term Support release of Kubuntu running the “Plasma 5” desktop. The improvements are so considerable, in both performance and modern user interface ( UI ) design, that I was really excited about wanting to tell the world about it.
  • Going to Akademy
    Happy to participate in a tradition I’ve admired from afar but never been able to do myself… until this year. My tickets are bought, my passport is issued, and I’m going to Akademy! Hope to see you all there!
  • System76's New Manufacturing Facility, Ubuntu 17.10 Reaches End of Life, Google Cloud Platform Marketplace, Stranded Deep Now Available for Linux and Cutelyst New Release
    Cutelyst, a C++ web framework based on Qt, has a new release. The update includes several bug fixes and some build issues with buildroot. See Dantti's Blog for all the details. Cutelyst is available on GitHub.
  • GUADEC 2018 Videos: Help Wanted
    At this year’s GUADEC in Almería we had a team of volunteers recording the talks in the second room. This was organized very last minute as initially the University were going to do this, but thanks to various efforts (thanks in particular to Adrien Plazas and Bin Li) we managed to record nearly all the talks. There were some issues with sound on both the Friday and Saturday, which Britt Yazel has done his best to overcome using science, and we are now ready to edit and upload the 19 talks that took place in the 2nd room. To bring you the videos from last year we had a team of 5 volunteers from the local team who spent our whole weekend in the Codethink offices. (Although none of us had much prior video editing experience so the morning of the first day was largely spent trying out different video editors to see which had the features we needed and could run without crashing too often… and the afternoon was mostly figuring out how transitions worked in Kdenlive).
  • GUADEC 2018
    This year I attended my second GUADEC in beautiful Almería, Spain. As with the last one I had the opportunity to meet many new people from the extended GNOME community which is always great and I can’t recommend it enough for anybody involved in the project. [...] Flatpak continues to have a lot of healthy discussions at these events. @matthiasclasen made a post summarizing the BoF so check that out for the discussions of the soon landing 1.0 release. So lets start with the Freedesktop 18.07 (date based versioning now!) runtime which is in a much better place than 1.6 and will be solving lots of problems such as multi-arch support and just long term maintainability. I was really pleased to see all of the investment in BuildStream and the runtime from CodeThink which is really needed in the long term.