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Slack

Chafa - terminal graphics image viewer

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Software
Slack
HowTos

We’ve recently reviewed two terminal-based image viewers, viu and timg, that support the Kitty Graphics Protocol. These image viewers let you view high resolution images direct in a terminal.

This review looks at a third terminal-based image viewer that supports the Kitty Graphics Protocol. It’s named Chafa, shorthand for Character Art Facsimile. This is an image-to-text converter. It’s free and open source software written in the C programming language.

Chafa lets you view images as well as animated GIFs. Its core functionality is provided with a C library.

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Slackware 15 - The old brigade

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Slack

Like I said earlier, this is a short review, more of a cautious sampling of what Slackware can do. I am thinking of perhaps trying it on a "real" laptop, complete with Nvidia graphics and whatnot, to see how it's going to cope with an existing, somewhat complex partition layout and proprietary drivers. After all, if you can't use your hardware, and installing software is a pain, then the rest doesn't matter.

I do like the spartan approach, but it's also not feasible for most people out there. Even if you can get through the installation, the day-to-day usage needs to be simple and elegant. I don't know how accessible Slackware is when it comes to more complex things. I am mulling that endeavor still, and it could be an interesting little exercise. Anyway, so far so good. Not bad, but definitely nerdy and true to its original mission.

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Matrix.org or Rocket.chat?

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Slack

I am considering an additional article to my Slackware Cloud Server series.

As I showed in that series, a Nextcloud server can be equipped with capable text, voice and video communication apps but they are self-contained. The Jitsi Meet stack contains an internal XMPP communication server and Nextcloud collabration apps can only connect to user accounts on other Nextcloud server instances (through a process called federation).
What if you wanted to collaborate with people on other networks, say, other clouds? In the past I would be quick to point to XMPP server solutions like Jabber but those seem to be disappearing. Two popular platforms exist which use completely different protocols: Matrix.org is built on top of its own Matrix open standard and Rocket.chat. is built with the Meteor JavaScript platform. These two also use federation to connect to other instances of their own product but on top of that, these servers offer bridges to a whole lot of other communication platforms, such as Teams, WhatsApp, IRC, Slack etc.

How well do these two integrate with Nextcloud? On my own cloud server (based on the Nextcloud platform) I installed Element for Nextcloud, which is an app to use the Matrix.org web client called Element (formerly riot.chat). Element can connect to existing Matrix.org servers out there, or you can setup a Matrix server yourself.
And then there is an alpha-quality app to integrate Rocket.chat into Nextcloud but it is not advised to install that on anything else than a testing environment.
Worth mentioning: both Matrix.org and Rocket.chat offer seamless integration of the Jitsi collaboration platform which is also covered in great detail in my article series.

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I now have a US mirror for Slackware Live and other goodies

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Slack

Thanks to an anonymous sponsor, I am now operating a physical server in a US data center with a 1 Gbps connection to the Internet.

This server addresses a complaint of many people who are trying to download ISOs of the Slackware Live Edition. My slackware.nl aka download.liveslak.org server is hosted in a Dutch datacenter in Amsterdam, and it looks like people outside Europe, in particular downloaders in Southern Pacific region, are experiencing terribly slow speeds when fetching content from that server.

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Slackware 15 is a throwback to old-school Linux with a modern kick

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Slack

There are moments when I think, “I miss the old days of Linux when things were a bit more challenging.” I know … it’s crazy, right? We don’t ever want to move in reverse, it’s always forward, forward, forward. And with Linux, forward means modern, productive, user-friendly and just works. So, when I harken back to those days of yore, I remember the ncurses installers, the challenging network configurations, the manual building of just about any package you want to install.

It wasn’t easy but it certainly set me up to succeed with modern Linux distributions. After all, if you were able to work with those early releases, this new age of simplified Linux is a cakewalk.

But, again, every so often I want to remind myself from whence I came.

Ergo, I decided I need to kick the tires of the latest release of Slackware.

Slackware 15 was only just recently released. This latest iteration was in development for six years. Six. Years. To put that into perspective, when Slackware 15 started its development process, Ubuntu 16.04 had just been released (we’re about to see the release of Ubuntu 22.04).

This new version of Slackware, includes kernel 5.15, KDE Plasma 5.23, support for both Qt4 and Qt5. In fact, the changes between Slackware 14 and 15 are too numerous to list. This is, for all intents and purposes, a completely different version of the same distribution. Everything is new, everything is improved and everything is fresh.

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Review: Slackware Linux 15.0

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Reviews
Slack

Slackware Linux is the world's oldest surviving Linux distribution. The distribution is a slow moving project, often with several years between releases. The gap between Slackware 14.2 and the latest 15.0 release was about five and a half years, for example.

Slackware has a well deserved reputation for stability and for having a simple technical design. A design which frequently ignores modern approaches to system management. Slackware still uses a text-based system installer, has 90s-era approaches to package management, and prefers editing text files over graphical tools when it comes time to adjust most configuration settings. The distribution's official media does not offer a live desktop environment, though there is a community branch which provides live media for people who wish to test the distribution on their hardware. The project's official release announcement acknowledges this slow-to-change style, noting Slackware is just now adopting PAM authentication (something most other Linux distributions have used since the 1990s) and continues to use the classic SysV init software instead of systemd: "We adopted PAM (finally) as projects we needed dropped support for pure shadow passwords. We switched from ConsoleKit2 to elogind, making it much easier to support software that targets that Other Init System and bringing us up-to-date with the XDG standards. We added support for PipeWire as an alternate to PulseAudio, and for Wayland sessions in addition to X11."

In other words, while Slackware runs a lot of modern software such as KDE Plasma 5.15, version 5.15 of the Linux kernel, and PipeWire the underlying style and approach are still very much the same as they were 25 years ago.

Slackware 15.0 is available for 32-bit and 64-bit builds of the x86 architecture. There is also an ARM branch of the project, though install media for it was not available on release day. The 64-bit (x86_64) build is a 3.6GB download.

The Slackware media boots to a text screen where we can select kernel options. This is followed by a second text screen where we are given the chance to select a keyboard map. The install media then drops us at a console login prompt where we can sign in as root without a password. Above the login prompt is a helpful message letting us know we will need to format the disk and set up at least one partition, then run the setup command in order to get started.

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Slackware Cloud Server Series Episode 5: Collaborative Document Editing

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Slack

A spin-off from our previous Episode in this series is this fifth article about using Slackware as your private/personal ‘cloud server’.

Check out the list below which shows past, present and future episodes in the series, if the article has already been written you’ll be able to click on the subject.

The first episode also contains an introduction with some more detail about what you can expect.
These articles are living documents, i.e. based on readers’ feedback I may add, update or modify their content.

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LibreOffice 7.3.0 for Slackware 15.0 (and -current)

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LibO
Slack

LibreOffice Community Edition 7.3.0 was released last week… on the day we were preparing the Slackware 15.0 release. You’ll forgive me that my focus was elsewhere and that it took until today to upload a new set of packages for Slackware 15.0 and -current.

The main selling point of the 7.3 release cycle is better interoperability with Microsoft’s Office file formats. Note that the Microsoft proprietary file formats are still based on a deprecated standard (since 2008 actually), whereas LibreOffice uses the ISO standard OpenDocument Format.
These improvements center on three areas (text copied partly from the release notes)...

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Absolute-15.0 released

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Slack

Six years from 14.2, version 15 of Slackware arrived a couple days ago. Still rock-solid. Still without systemd. Still crazy after all these years.... ?

I'm giddy.

I still love the approach Slackware takes toward a solid, bare-bones system. I like to dress it up just enough to make it quickly productive and up- to-date for myself. I will keep the "rolling update" going with the roughly monthly snapshots... the next release of Slackware might be a while Smile

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New Videos About Slackware and Btop

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Slack
  • A New Release of Slackware! Worth The Wait? - Invidious

    After six years, we finally have a new stable release of Slackware. Like many of you, I've been waiting for this release for awhile, and I'm looking forward to running through an installation and first look today! Let's see if the wait was worth it!

  • Btop: The Final Form Of System Resource Monitors - Invidious

    I've looked at Bashtop, and Bpytop but now this project has a new form, that form is Btop, a system resource monitor written in C which works incredibly and finally adds in features I've been requesting since the start.

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today's howtos

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  • How to Install ClamAV on Arch Linux

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today's howtos

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