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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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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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  • 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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  • 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, 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.

Slackware and New Upcoming Software Releases (Qt and darktable)

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  • Welcome
  • VLC 2.2.8

    Last week, Robby Workman alerted me to a new release of the VLC media player by the VideoLAN team. I must confess that I had stopped following the development of my (yes, still) favorite media player. Looking a bit more closely, not only have they released version 2.2.8 without informing the world on their homepage (where they are still offering downloads for the now deprecated 2.2.6) but there’s now also a git repository called “vlc-3.0-git” and even a “vlc-4.0-dev” which seems to have been split off the 3.0 branch. I assume this is an indication – finally – that there is life beyond vlc-2.2.x and a 3.0 release is actually a possibility.

  • Qt 5.10.0 RC3 out

    We have released Qt 5.10.0 RC3 today. Delta to RC2 as an attachment.

  • Qt 5.10 RC3 Released, Qt 5.10 Now Expected This Week

    Mesa 17.3 isn't the only thing running behind schedule but also out today is Qt 5.10-RC3 after this tool-kit release failed to ship last month.

    Last week marked a late 5.10 release candidate but The Qt Company expressed hope in still shipping Qt 5.10.0 on 30 November.

  • darktable 2.4.0rc0 released

    we're proud to announce the first release candidate for the upcoming 2.4 series of darktable, 2.4.0rc0!

    the github release is here:

    as always, please don't use the autogenerated tarball provided by github, but only our tar.xz.

  • darktable 2.4 RAW Image Editor Promises Support for Fujifilm's Compressed RAFs

    The developers of the darktable open-source and cross-platform RAW image editing software for GNU/Linux and macOS operating systems kicked off the development of the next major release, darktable 2.4.

    The biggest new features of the upcoming darktable 2.4 release is support for Microsoft Windows operating systems. That's right, you can now finally install darktable on Windows OSes, though some features are still missing, such as printing support, and there are a few limitations like the need for special drivers for tethering support.

You Can Now Run a Custom Linux 4.14.2 Kernel on Your Slackware PC, Here's How

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Linux kernel 4.14 is not only the latest and greatest kernel available for Linux-based operating systems, but also a long-term support branch that will receive maintenance updates for the next couple of years. It brings support for new hardware and lots of performance optimizations, so it's the recommended version for all Linux PCs.

The latest release is Linux kernel 4.14.2, and you can now install it on your Slackware Current 14.2 operating system, as well as other Slackware derivatives, including Slax, Zenwalk, and Arne Exton's SlackEX distro. The custom kernel is compiled by Arne Exton with support for more hardware devices and other optimizations.

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Slax Linux Distro Gets New Release After Two Years, Drops Slackware for Debian

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Slax 9.2.1 is now available for download as the latest stable release of the Linux distro, and it's the first to be based on Debian GNU/Linux. That's right, Slax no longer lives up to its name and drops Slackware for Debian. As its version number suggests, Slax 9.2.1 is based on Debian GNU/Linux 9.2.1 "Stretch."

"After several years of inactivity Slax project has been brought to life again in new version 9.2.1," said the developer in today's release announcement. "I've decided to go for Debian because it made my life much easier and I believe that it will make yours too."

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Slax Is Planning A Return, But Will No Longer Be Slackware-Based

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Longtime Linux users will likely recall the Slax distribution from back in the day that was Slackware-based, shipped with KDE, and offered a pretty nice live OS experience while being highly modular and made it easy to re-spin derivatives. Now it's coming back in new form.

Slax creator Tomáš Matějíček has been working on a new Slax release after being on a nearly half-decade hiatus. But in this renewed Slax, Slackware is no longer being used as a base but instead Debian. Tomas said he's moving to Debian out of "laziness" with Debian offering a much better and easier starting experience than Slackware in its current state. Debian's extensive package archive is another reported reason for choosing it.

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Slackware: Netsurf and Plasma5

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  • Netsurf, a lightweight browser, works on the framebuffer too

    Someone asked me to build a package for Netsurf. I had never heard of Netsurf before. It turns out that Netsurf is a cross-platform web browser which also runs on Linux. Its rendering engine is written from scratch, therefore the browser does not share code with any of the big browsers. Netsurf is actively developed and has a healthy community. A new version was released last week – 3.7.
    Functionally speaking, this browser is not as versatile or capable as other modern browsers, but its advantage is that it is small, fast, suited for low-end hardware, and more importantly: it works on the Linux framebuffer. This means that you can have a basic graphical web browser on your server console. It looks better than “links -g”.

  • Plasma5 Wayland works on Slackware

    Last year August 2016 I experimented with Wayland, the alternative to the X Window system. My goal was to see if it is possible to run a Plasma5 desktop session on a Wayland compositor instead of using X.Org.
    There was one big showstopper at the time. Kwin_wayland has a dependency on the ‘logind’ DBus API and at that time last year, this API was only provided by systemd-logind. Luckily, someone treated the logind component of systemd similarly to its udev component. Where Slackware already uses “eudev” which is a standalone udev source extracted from the systemd source, there’s also “elogind” which is the standalone logind sourcecode, extracted from systemd sourcecode. With some difficulty I managed to create a Slackware package for elogind and everything compiled. I just could not get a working Wayland session.
    As it turns out today, that failure to get Wayland working was an omission on my side… more on that later.

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More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

Games Chronicon, BROKE PROTOCOL, Internet Archive

  • 2D action RPG 'Chronicon' to arrive on Linux with the next big update
    The colourful action RPG Chronicon [Steam, Official Site] should arrive on Linux with the next big update, the developer has said.
  • BROKE PROTOCOL is like a low-poly GTA Online and it's coming to Linux
    BROKE PROTOCOL [Steam], a low-poly open-world action game that's a little like GTA Online and it's coming to Linux.
  • The Internet Archive Just Uploaded a Bunch of Playable, Classic Handheld Games
    The non-profit Internet Archive is perhaps best known for its Wayback Machine that takes snap shots of web sites so you can see what they looked like in the past. However, it also has a robust side project where it emulates and uploads old, outdated games that aren’t being maintained anymore. Recently, the organization added a slew of a unique kind of game that’s passed into memory: handheld LCD electronic games. The games–like Mortal Kombat, depicted above–used special LCD screens with preset patterns. They could only display the exact images in the exact place that they were specified for. This meant the graphics were incredibly limited and each unit could only play the one game it was designed to play. A Game Boy, this was not.
  • Internet Archive emulator brings dozens of handheld games back from obscurity
    Over the weekend, the Internet Archive announced it was offering a new series of emulators. This time, they’re designed to mimic one of gaming’s most obscure artifacts — handheld games. When I say a “handheld game,” I don’t mean the Game Boy or the PSP — those are handheld consoles. These are single-game handheld or tabletop devices that look and feel more like toys. The collection includes the very old, mostly-forgotten games sold in mini-handhelds from the 80s onward.

Linux Foundation Videos and Projects

LibrePlanet free software conference celebrates 10th anniversary, this weekend at MIT, March 24-25

This weekend, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Student Information Processing Board (SIPB) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) present the tenth annual LibrePlanet free software conference in Cambridge, March 24-25, 2018, at MIT. LibrePlanet is an annual conference for people who care about their digital freedoms, bringing together software developers, policy experts, activists, and computer users to learn skills, share accomplishments, and tackle challenges facing the free software movement. LibrePlanet 2018 will feature sessions for all ages and experience levels. LibrePlanet's tenth anniversary theme is "Freedom Embedded." Embedded systems are everywhere, in cars, digital watches, traffic lights, and even within our bodies. We've come to expect that proprietary software's sinister aspects are embedded in software, digital devices, and our lives, too: we expect that our phones monitor our activity and share that data with big companies, that governments enforce digital restrictions management (DRM), and that even our activity on social Web sites is out of our control. This year's talks and workshops will explore how to defend user freedom in a society reliant on embedded systems. Read more Also: FSF Blogs: Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup time: March 23rd starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC