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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 leftovers

  • Google Patches All Intel Chromebooks Against Spectre Variant 2 with Chrome OS 65
    Google released a new stable version of its Linux-based Chrome OS operating system for Chromebooks, build 65.0.3325.167 (Platform version: 10323.58.0/1) bringing the Meltdown and Spectre mitigations to more devices and a bunch of other improvements.
  • VIDEO: Cooking With Linux: Lots and Lots of Word Processors! The Tuesday Linux Journal Show
  • How to use netstat in GNU/Linux
  • Cutelyst 2 released with HTTP/2 support
    Cutelyst the Qt/C++ web framework just got a major release update, around one and half year ago Cutelyst v1 got the first release with a stable API/ABI, many improvements where made during this period but now it was time to clean up the mistakes and give room for new features.
  • Fedora 28 and GNOME 3.28: New Features for Eastern Europe
    This time this is not fake, edited, patched, nor a custom build from COPR but the real screenshots of the unmodified downstream Fedora 28 planned to be released on May 1 this year. Here is how the default calendar widget in GNOME Shell looks in Greek, Polish, and Ukrainian:
  • Stephen Smoogen: /usr/bin/whoami
  • Debian CEF packages
    I've created some Debian CEF packages—CEF isn't the easiest thing to package (and it takes an hour to build even on my 20-core server, since it needs to build basically all of Chromium), but it's fairly rewarding to see everything fall into place. It should benefit not only Nageru, but also OBS and potentially CasparCG if anyone wants to package that.
  • Reproducible builds folks: Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #151
  • Porting L4Re and Fiasco.OC to the Ben NanoNote (Part 1)
    For quite some time, I have been interested in alternative operating system technologies, particularly kernels beyond the likes of Linux. Things like the Hurd and technologies associated with it, such as Mach, seem like worthy initiatives, and contrary to largely ignorant and conveniently propagated myths, they are available and usable today for anyone bothered to take a look. Indeed, Mach has had quite an active life despite being denigrated for being an older-generation microkernel with questionable performance credentials. But one technological branch that has intrigued me for a while has been the L4 family of microkernels. Starting out with the motivation to improve microkernel performance, particularly with regard to interprocess communication, different “flavours” of L4 have seen widespread use and, like Mach, have been ported to different hardware architectures. One of these L4 implementations, Fiasco.OC, appeared particularly interesting in this latter regard, in addition to various other features it offers over earlier L4 implementations. Meanwhile, I have had some success with software and hardware experiments with the Ben NanoNote. As you may know or remember, the Ben NanoNote is a “palmtop” computer based on an existing design (apparently for a pocket dictionary product) that was intended to offer a portable computing experience supported entirely by Free Software, not needing any proprietary drivers or firmware whatsoever. Had the Free Software Foundation been certifying devices at the time of its introduction, I imagine that it would have received the “Respects Your Freedom” certification. So, it seems to me that it is a worthy candidate for a Free Software porting exercise.
  • Samsung Announces Galaxy Tab Active2, a Rugged Android Tablet for Mobile Workers
    Samsung announced today the Galaxy Tab Active2 rugged Android tablet designed for mobile workers conducting business outdoors in industrial locations, under harsh weather, and other difficult conditions.

Games Leftovers

  • Atari reboots Ataribox as Atari VCS, teases April pre-order date
    Legendary game company Atari set retro hearts aflutter last year when it launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for something called the Ataribox, a living room device running Linux and supposedly combining the features of a PC with a video game console -- complete with some Atari classic games. But the December 14 pre-order date Atari set was abruptly canceled after an unspecified technical issue, and it looked like the Ataribox would never reach any actual customers. This week, however, the company has emerged at the Game Developers Conference with some very similar hardware, albeit with a new name.
  • The Rocket League 'Spring Fever' event is live promising lots of flower power
    Ready to earn some more cosmetic items? The Spring Fever event in Rocket League [Steam] is now live and you can earn yourself some new items using Flowers you earn while playing like this:
  • Epic Games releases the assets from Paragon, for Unreal Engine developers
    In a move that's both surprising and rather welcome, Epic Games has decided to release the assets from their FPS MOBA Paragon for Unreal Engine developers, since they're shutting it down. This will include 20 AAA-quality characters, with their respective skins, animations, VFX and dialogue, along with over 1,500 environment components from Paragon. Here's where it's a bit insane, this all cost Epic Games around $12 million! It's pretty insane how much it costs to make AAA-like games now—eye watering.
  • Game engine Construct 3 adds a remote preview, new runtime is coming to improve game performance
    I'm a huge fan of drag and drop creation tools like Construct 3 [Official Site], that allow you to create games by building simple events sheets and it seems they've continued making Construct 3 more awesome to use.
  • Open-source re-implementation of RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 'OpenRCT2' has a fresh update
    Miss the days of playing RollerCoaster Tycoon 2? Miss them no more, as OpenRCT2 [GitHub, Official Site] is alive and well with a fresh update. Like many open source game engines, it allows you to play RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 on systems not designed for it—like Linux. Naturally, it comes with tons of improvements like user interface theming, fast-forwarding gameplay, multiplayer and so on.
  • Zombasite - Orc Schism, the expansion to the action RPG is out adding more content
    Here's one I sadly missed, released back in December (oh my!), Zombasite - Orc Schism [Steam, GOG] is an expansion to the dynamic zombie apocalypse action RPG.

GNOME: GitLab Migration and More

  • IMPORTANT: GitLab mass migration plan
    I know some fellows doesn’t read desktop-devel-list, so let me share here an email that it’s important for all to read: We have put in place the plan for the mass migration to GitLab and the steps maintainers needs to do.
  • ED Update – week 11
  • Reflections on Distractions in Work, Productivity and Time Usage
    For the past year or so I have mostly worked at home or remote in my daily life. Currently I’m engaged in my master thesis and need to manage my daily time and energy to work on it. It is no surprise to many of us that working using your internet-connected personal computer at home can make you prone to many distractions. However, managing your own time is not just about whipping and self-discipline. It is about setting yourself up in a structure which rewards you for hard work and gives your mind the breaks it needs. Based on reflections and experimentation with many scheduling systems and tools I finally felt I have achieved a set of principles I really like and that’s what I’ll be sharing with you today. [...] Minimizing shell notifications: While I don’t have the same big hammer to “block access to my e-mail” here, I decided to change the order of my e-mail inboxes in Geary so my more relevant (and far less activity prone) student e-mail inbox appears first. I also turned off the background e-mail daemon and turned off notification banners in GNOME Shell. [...] Lastly, I want to give two additional tips. If you like listening to music while working, consider whether it might affect your productivity. For example, I found music with vocals to be distracting me if I try to immerse myself in reading difficult litterature. I can really recommend Doctor Turtle’s acoustic instrumental music while working though (all free). Secondly, I find that different types of tasks requires different postures. For abstract, high-level or vaguely formulated tasks (fx formulating goals, reviewing something or reflecting), I find interacting with the computer whilst standing up and walking around to really help gather my thoughts. On the other hand with practical tasks or tasks which require immersion (fx programming tasks), I find sitting down to be much more comfortable.

OSS, Openwashing and FUD