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Slack

Slackware Removal of Lumina Desktop and Additional New Packages/Versions

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Slack
  • Lumina Desktop will be removed from my -current repository

    The Lumina Desktop is part of the TrueOS project, a FreeBSD variant. I packaged version 1.4.0.p1 for Slackware and it is part of the Plasma5 variant of my Slackware Live Edition.

    I noticed a while ago that Lumina would no longer start but it was low on my priority list to try and fix it.

    Today I found the time to look into this, but a recompilation against the latest Qt5 and other libraries, altough error-free, would not make the Lumina Desktop start successfully: it will start to load, but then you’ll hear a beep and you’re dumped at the command prompt or at the graphical login screen without evidence of what happened.

  • Valentine present for Slackers

    Today is Valentine’s Day. A moment to give some extra attention to people that are dear to you.

    In my case, that’s everyone who loves, uses, supports, advocates or develops Slackware Linux. For all of you, I uploaded “KDE-5_19.02” to the ‘ktown‘ repository. There’s some updates in there that might interest you, see below.
    If you do not (want to) run or install Slackware-current, I will make sure that a new ISO of the Slackware Live Plasma5 Edition will be available around the weekend. That way, you can safely try it out without having to touch your hard drive.

    As always, these packages are meant to be installed on a Slackware-current which has had its KDE4 removed first. These packages will not work on Slackware 14.2.

Uploading 15 GB of new Slackware Live Edition ISO images

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Slack

The squashfs modules in the XFCE ISOs are compressed with ‘xz’ to keep them as small as possible (so they will fit on a CDROM medium). All of the other ISOs are compressed with ‘zstd’ which gives the Live OS a speed boost of ~20% at the cost of 10% increase in the ISO size.

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KDE4 and Plasma 5 for Slackware

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KDE
Slack
  • KDE4 and Qt4 deprecation in FreeBSD

    This is a reminder — for those who don’t read all of the FreeBSD mailing lists — that KDE4 is marked deprecated in the official ports tree for FreeBSD, and will be removed at the end of this year (in about 20 days). Then Qt4 will be removed from the official ports tree in mid-march.

    Since both pieces of software are end-of-life and unmaintained upstream already for several years, the kde@ team at FreeBSD no longer can maintain them. Recent time-sinks were dealing with OpenSSL 1.1.1, libressl, C++17, .. the code is old, and there’s newer, nicer, better-maintained code available generally by replacing 4 with 5.

  • KDE Plasma 5 for Slackware – end of the year edition

    I just uploaded a whole new batch of packages containing KDE Plasma5 for Slackware. The previous batch, KDE 5_18.10 is already two months old and has some library compatibility issues. The new KDE 5_18.12 for Slackware consists of KDE Frameworks 5.53.0, Plasma 5.14.4 and Applications 18.08.3. All this on top of Qt 5.11.3.
    Compiled on the latest Slackware -current, it’s running smoothly here on my laptop.
    I decided against upgrading to QT 5.12.0. This is a new LTS release, but I will wait for the other distros to find bugs in this new software. Next week, KDE will release KDE Applications 18.12.0 and that too is something I want to check a bit before releasing Slackware packages. Therefore it’s likely that a new batch of packages containing Qt 5.12 and KDE Applications 18.12 will see the light shortly after the New Year.

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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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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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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Graphics: AMDGPU and X.Org Elections

  • amdgpu drm-next-5.2
  • AMDGPU Has Another Round Of Updates Ahead Of Linux 5.2
    Feature work on DRM-Next for the Linux 5.2 kernel cycle is winding down while today AMD has sent in what could be their last round of AMDGPU feature updates for this next kernel release. Building off their earlier Linux 5.2 feature work are more updates. That earlier round brought new SMU11 enablement code for Vega 20, various other Vega 20 features, HMM preparations, and other code changes.
  • 2019 Election Round 2 voting OPEN
    To all X.Org Foundation Members: The round 2 of X.Org Foundation's annual election is now open and will remain open until 23:59 UTC on 2 May 2019. Four of the eight director seats are open during this election, with the four nominees receiving the highest vote totals serving as directors for two year terms. There were six candidates nominated. For a complete list of the candidates and their personal statements, please visit the 2019 X.Org Elections page at https://www.x.org/wiki/BoardOfDirectors/Elections/2019/ The new bylaw changes were approved in the first round of voting. Here are some instructions on how to cast your vote: Login to the membership system at: https://members.x.org/ If you do not remember your password, you can click on the "lost password" button and enter your user name. An e-mail will be sent to you with your password. If you have problems with the membership system, please e-mail membership at x.org. When you login you will see an "Active Ballots" section with the "X.Org 2019 Elections Round 2" ballot. When you click on that you will be presented with a page describing the ballot. At the bottom you will find a number of dropdowns that let you rank your candidates by order of preference. For the election: There is a pull-down selection box for 1st choice, 2nd, choice, and so on. Pick your candidates top to bottom in order of preference, avoiding duplicates. After you have completed your ballot, click the "Cast vote" button. Note that once you click this button, your votes will be cast and you will not be able to make further changes, so please make sure you are satisfied with your votes before clicking the "Cast vote" button. After you click the "Vote" button, the system will verify that you have completed a valid ballot. If your ballot is invalid (e.g., you duplicated a selection or did not answer the By-laws approval question), it will return you to the previous voting page. If your ballot is valid, your votes will be recorded and the system will show you a notice that your votes were cast. Note that the election will close at 23:59 UTC on 2 May 2019. At that time, the election committee will count the votes and present the results to the current board for validation. After the current board validates the results, the election committee will present the results to the Members. Harry, on behalf of the X.Org elections committee
  • It's Time To Re-Vote Following The Botched 2019 X.Org Elections
    While there were the recent X.Org Foundation board elections, a do-over was needed as their new custom-written voting software wasn't properly recording votes... So here's now your reminder to re-vote in these X.Org elections. At least with the initial round of voting they reached a super majority and the ballot question of whether the X.Org Foundation should formally fold FreeDesktop.org into its umbrella worked and that X.Org + FreeDesktop.org hook-up passed so all is well on that front. But for the Board of Directors elections, that's where re-voting is needed with the voting software that now correctly records the votes.

today's howtos

Games: Lutris and More

  • Epic Games Store Now On Linux Thanks To Lutris
    While the Epic Games Store itself is not officially supported by the open source Linux operating system, a third-party gaming client has now made sure that you can access the store and launcher on your own distro. The Epic Games Store is now accessible on Linux via the Lutris Gaming client. The client is available to all Linux users, who in the past has provided the same users a way to play PC games without the need to have Windows installed in their machines. Although Linux is not necessarily the go-to platform when it comes to PC gaming, there is a very niche audience dedicated to making the platform work in favor of open-source and to counteract what could be perceived as a heavily Windows-biased PC gaming community. Linux gaming is somewhat tedious to the relatively casual or normal user, although there are some within the Linux community that advertise and try to foster its growth in terms of gaming, as there are some games that can run better on the operating system. That is to say, if you have a lot of patience to try and make it work.
  • You Died but a Necromancer revived you is good fun in a small package
    Sometimes, simplicity is what makes a game and in the case of You Died BaNRY that's very true. The game has little depth to it but makes up for that in just how frantic and fun it can be. The entire gameplay is just you (or you and friends) attempting to cross a small level filled with platforms, spikes and all sorts of crazy traps. It's ridiculously easy to get into as well, since the controls are so basic all you need to worry about is your movement.
  • Forager is a weirdly addictive casual grinding game that has mined into my heart
    I'm not usually one for games that have you endlessly wander around, collect resources, build a little and repeat but Forager is so ridiculously charming it's lovely.
  • DragonRuby Game Toolkit, a cross-platform way to make games with Ruby
    Now for something a little different! Ryan "Icculus" Gordon, a name known for many Linux ports and SDL2 teamed up with indie developer Amir Rajan to create a new cross-platform toolkit. Why was it created? Well, in a nutshell they both "hate the complexity of today's engines" and this toolkit was actually made to help ship A Dark Room for the Nintendo Switch, which shows how versatile it is.

10+ Open Source Software Writing Tools That Every Writer Should Know

Being a professional writer requires two key things to help ensure success: commitment and support. The former comes from the writer, and the latter comes from the tools he (or she) uses to get the job done. Below is a list of 11 great and lesser-known writing tools or apps, many of which are free and open-source, that can help improve the quality of your writing and make you a more productive and successful writer. Read more