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Slack

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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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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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.

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

today's leftovers

  • How Software Is Helping Big Companies Dominate
    Antitrust deserves the attention it’s getting, and the tech platforms raise important questions. But the rise of big companies — and the resulting concentration of industries, profits, and wages — goes well beyond tech firms and is about far more than antitrust policy. In fact, research suggests that big firms are dominating through their use of software. In 2011, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen declared that “software is eating the world.” Its appetizer seems to have been smaller companies. [...] This model, where proprietary software pairs with other strengths to form competitive advantage, is only becoming more common. Years ago, one of us (James) started a company that sold publishing software. The business model was to write the software and then sell licenses to publishers. That model still exists, including in online publishing where companies like Automattic, maker of the open source content management system WordPress, sell hosting and related services to publishers. One-off licenses have given way to monthly software-as-a-service subscriptions, but this model still fits with Carr’s original thesis: software companies make technology that other companies pay for, but from which they seldom derive unique advantage. That’s not how Vox Media does it. Vox is a digital publishing company known, in part, for its proprietary content management system. Vox does license its software to some other companies (so far, mostly non-competitors), but it is itself a publisher. Its primary business model is to create content and sell ads. It pairs proprietary publishing software with quality editorial to create competitive advantage. Venture capitalist Chris Dixon has called this approach the “full-stack startup.” “The old approach startups took was to sell or license their new technology to incumbents,” says Dixon. “The new, ‘full stack’ approach is to build a complete, end-to-end product or service that bypasses incumbents and other competitors.” Vox is one example of the full-stack model. The switch from the software vendor model to the full-stack model is seen in government statistics. Since 1998, the share of firm spending on software that goes to pre-packaged software (the vendor model) has been declining. Over 70% of the firms’ software budgets goes to code developed in-house or under custom contracts. And the amount they spend on proprietary software is huge — $250 billion in 2016, nearly as much as they invested in physical capital net of depreciation.
  • Metsä Wood - Open Source Wood Winner: ClipHut Structural Building System
  • Shutting the open sauce bottle
    While open source software has revolutionised the enterprise software world, a few people are starting to wonder if its very nature will survive the age of the cloud. The concept that software can be used by pretty much anyone for pretty much anything is causing its developers big problems in the era of distributed cloud computing services. Two open-source software companies have decided to alter the licences under which some of their software is distributed, with the expressed intent of making it harder -- or impossible -- for cloud computing providers to offer a service based around that software.
  • How do we handle and use such enormous amounts of data?
    How many gigabytes of data did we (the people of Earth) create yesterday? ...brain. is. thinking... More than 2.5 billion! And it's growing. Yes, it's hard for us to wrap our human brains around it. So, the question the Command Line Heros podcast deals with this week is: How do we handle and use such enormous amounts of data?
  • Security updates for Tuesday

Linux Leftovers

  • Sorry, Linux. Kubernetes is now the OS that matters [Ed: Mac Asay does't know what an operating system is. This is what happens when people with a law degree write about technology. And he trolls Linux for clicks.]
  • Clear Linux Making Progress With Encrypted Installations
    One of the features I've personally been looking forward to is the official support for encrypted installations with Clear Linux. While many don't view it as a particular desktop distribution, it does have all of the packages I personally need for my main production system. So I've been wanting to see how well it could work out as my main desktop OS and to chronicle that experience. Having official support for encrypted installations has been one of the last blockers for my requirements. You can currently setup Clear on an encrypted installation manually, but for simplicity and wanting to keep to the "official" installation routes, I've been waiting for them to officially support encrypted installs... Especially in this day and age, anyone installing a desktop Linux distribution particularly on a mobile/laptop/ultrabook should really be doing a full-disk encryption.
  • The Linux Throwie: A Non-Spacefaring Satellite
    Throwies occupy a special place in hardware culture — a coin cell battery, LED, and a magnet that can be thrown into an inaccessible place and stick there as a little beacon of colored light. Many of us will fondly remember this as a first project. Alas, time marches inevitably on, and launching cheerful lights no longer teaches me new skills. With a nod to those simpler times, I’ve been working on the unusual idea of building a fully functional server that can be left in remote places and remain functional, like a throwie (please don’t actually throw it). It’s a little kooky, yet should still deliver a few years of occasional remote access if you leave it somewhere with sunlight.
  • OnePlus To Launch 5G Phone In 2019; $100 Costlier Than OnePlus 6T
  • OnePlus Releases OxygenOS Open Beta 7, OnePlus Roaming Launched
    Chinese company OnePlus has released the new OxygenOS Open Beta 7 for its OnePlus 6 smartphone, which has introduced several updates and features.

OSS: Development and Conferences

  • Give your students edit access to their course syllabus
    I wanted to give students more agency in their learning. So I let them make pull requests against the syllabus. [...] This exercise was a learning experience for both my students and me, as we clearly had different visions of what constituted a "disruption." While we all agreed that students should pay attention to the instructor and engage in all classroom activities, students thought they should be able to take "important" calls during class time and that texting during class was acceptable. I thought that cell phones should be turned off entirely during class. Students also thought that leaving the classroom to get a drink without asking permission was acceptable, while I thought that they should handle thirst needs before or after class. This resulted in a discussion about professionalism and the expectations associated with college-level work. We discussed what constituted a distraction and agreed that making sounds, whispering, and talking in class all counted as distractions. This in turn led to a discussion of the impacts distractions can have on a learning environment and the importance of paying attention in class. We also explored the impact various learning technologies can have on a classroom—for example, the tools students with disabilities require to fully participate in class, such as a screen reader—and agreed that noise generated by these was acceptable under the policy we intended to construct.
  • Open source tools to consider for your RESTful APIs
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  • London Perl Workshop

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  • GNOME at Capitole du Libre 2018
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Red Hat/IBM: OpenShift and Ansible, RHEL Updates