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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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Security: Updates, Mirai and Singapore's Massive Breach

  • Security updates for Friday
  • Mirai botnet hackers [sic] avoid jail time by helping FBI

    The three men, Josiah White, 21, Dalton Norman, 22, and Paras Jha, 22, all from the US, managed to avoid the clink by providing "substantial assistance in other complex cybercrime investigations", according to the US Department of Justice. Who'd have thought young hacker [sic] types would roll over and show their bellies when faced with prison time....

  • A healthcare IT foundation built on gooey clay
    Today, there was a report from the Solicitor General of Singapore about the data breach of the SingHealth systems that happened in July. These systems have been in place for many years. They are almost exclusively running Microsoft Windows along with a mix of other proprietary software including Citrix and Allscript. The article referred to above failed to highlight that the compromised “end-user workstation” was a Windows machine. That is the very crucial information that always gets left out in all of these reports of breaches. I have had the privilege of being part of an IT advisory committee for a local hospital since about 2004 (that committee has disbanded a couple of years ago, btw). [...] Part of the reason is because decision makers (then and now) only have experience in dealing with proprietary vendor solutions. Some of it might be the only ones available and the open source world has not created equivalent or better offerings. But where there are possibly good enough or even superior open source offerings, they would never be considered – “Rather go with the devil I know, than the devil I don’t know. After all, this is only a job. When I leave, it is someone else’s problem.” (Yeah, I am paraphrasing many conversations and not only from the healthcare sector). I recall a project that I was involved with – before being a Red Hatter – to create a solution to create a “computer on wheels” solution to help with blood collection. As part of that solution, there was a need to check the particulars of the patient who the nurse was taking samples from. That patient info was stored on some admission system that did not provide a means for remote, API-based query. The vendor of that system wanted tens of thousands of dollars to just allow the query to happen. Daylight robbery. I worked around it – did screen scrapping to extract the relevant information. Healthcare IT providers look at healthcare systems as a cashcow and want to milk it to the fullest extent possible (the end consumer bears the cost in the end). Add that to the dearth of technical IT skills supporting the healthcare providers, you quickly fall into that vendor lock-in scenario where the healthcare systems are at the total mercy of the proprietary vendors.

Recoll – A Full-Text GUI Search Tool for Linux Systems

We wrote on various search tools recently like in 9 Productivity Tools for Linux That Are Worth Your Attention and FSearch, and readers suggested awesome alternatives. Today, we bring you an app that can find text anywhere in your computer in grand style – Recoll. Recoll is an open-source GUI search utility app with an outstanding full-text search capability. You can use it to search for keywords and file names on Linux distros and Windows. It supports most of the document formats and plugins for text extraction. Read more

today's howtos

Linux Foundation for Sale

  • Open Source Summit EU Registration Deadline, Sept. 22, Register Now to Save $150 [Ed: Microsoft is the "DIAMOND" sponsor of this event, the highest sponsorship level! Linux Foundation, or the Zemlin PAC, seems to be more about Microsoft than about Linux.]
  • Building a Secure Ecosystem for Node.js [Ed: Earlier today the Zemlin PAC did this puff piece for Microsoft (a sponsor)]
  • The Human Side of Digital Transformation: 7 Recommendations and 3 Pitfalls [Ed: New Zemlin PAC-sponsored and self-serving puff piece]
    Not so long ago, business leaders repeatedly asked: “What exactly is digital transformation and what will it do for my business?” Today we’re more likely to hear, “How do we chart a course?” Our answer: the path to digital involves more than selecting a cloud application platform. Instead, digital, at its heart, is a human journey. It’s about cultivating a mindset, processes, organization and culture that encourages constant innovation to meet ever-changing customer expectations and business goals. In this two-part blog series we’ll share seven guidelines for getting digital right. Read on for the first three.