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Slack

Making the Case for Slackware in 2018

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Slack

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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Slack

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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KDE
Slack
  • 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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Slack
  • 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 SourceForge.net), 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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Software
Slack
  • Welcome slackware.nl
  • 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: https://github.com/darktable-org/darktable/releases/tag/release-2.4.0rc0.

    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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HowTos

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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Debian

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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Slack

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.

KDE: KWave and Plasma in Slackware

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KDE
Slack
  • Replacing Audacity with KWave

    KWave has been developed since 1998, yet few have heard of it. I only recently heard of it myself from writer and podcaster Marcel Gagné while I was setting up to do how-to-videos. Part of the reason for its obscurity might be that, despite its name, it only recently become an official KDE project in the last release. However, the major reason for its obscurity is probably that it has been overshadowed by the better-known Audacity — which is a pity, because in most ways, KWave is every bit as useful as an audio editor.

    Why would anyone want an Audacity substitute? For one thing, while Audacity is cross-platform, it is not well-integrated into Linux. Audacity handles its own resources, as you can tell by its lengthy load time. Often, Audacity frequently gives confusing options for input and playback sources, giving several names to the same device and offering irrelevant front and back options for mono devices, so that users can only find the one they need through trial and error. Sometimes, the necessary option for a particular source can change for no apparent each time Audacity starts.

  • October updates for the Slackware Plasma5 desktop

    There’s been updates to all the major components of the KDE Software Collection (I know they stopped using that name but I think it is still fitting). So I tasked my build box to compile hundreds of new packages and today I have for you the October ’17 set of Plasma 5 packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current. KDE 5_17.10 contains: KDE Frameworks 5.39.0, Plasma 5.11.0 and Applications 17.08.2. All based on Qt 5.9.2 for Slackware-current and Qt 5.7.1 for Slackware 14.2.

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More in Tux Machines

GNU: GCC, GNU Assembler and Spring Internships at the FSF

  • AMD GCN OpenMP/OpenACC Offloading Patches For The GCC 10 Compiler

    Over the past year Code Sourcery / Mentor Graphics has been working extensively on the new AMD Radeon "GCN" back-end for the GCC code compiler. With the code that is found in GCC 9 and up to now in GCC 10 hasn't supported OpenMP/OpenACC parallel programming interfaces but that could soon change with patches under review. The Radeon GPU support in GCC up to now hasn't supported OpenMP or OpenACC for offloading to the graphics processor and thus its practicality has been limited.

  • GNU Assembler Patches Sent Out For Optimizing The Intel Jump Conditional Code Erratum

    Now that Intel lifted its embargo on the "Jump Conditional Code" erratum affecting Skylake through Cascade Lake processors, while Intel's own Clear Linux was first to carry these patches they have now been sent out on the Binutils mailing list for trying to get the JCC optimization patches into the upstream Binutils/GAS code-base. Well known Intel compiler toolchain expert H.J. Lu sent out the five patches on Tuesday for optimizing around the JCC Erratum. The GNU Assembler (GAS) patches aim to mitigate the performance by aligning branches within 32-byte boundaries for various instructions. The behavior is activated via the -mbranches-within-32B-boundaries command line switch.

  • Spring internships at the FSF! Apply by Nov. 29

    Do you believe that free software is crucial to a free society? Do you want to help people learn why free software matters, and how to use it? Do you want to dig deep into software freedom issues like copyleft, Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), or surveillance and encryption? Or, do you want to learn systems administration, design, or other tasks using only free software? The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is looking for interns to spend the summer contributing to work in one of three areas: campaigns, licensing, or technical. These positions are unpaid, but the FSF will provide any appropriate documentation you might need to receive funding and school credit from outside sources. We also provide lunch expense reimbursement and a monthly transportation pass that will give you free access to local subways and buses (MBTA). We place an emphasis on providing hands-on educational opportunities for interns, in which they work closely with staff mentors on projects that match their skills and interest.

Games: Parkitect Taste of Adventure and CodeWeavers Working on Steam Play

  • Theme park building sim Parkitect is getting a Taste of Adventure expansion

    Releasing on November 20, Texel Raptor just announced the first big expansion to their incredibly fun theme park building game Parkitect and I couldn't be more excited. I remember being completely absorbed by the classic Theme Park from Bullfrog in my youth, to which Parkitect firmly filled the hole it left in my adult life. Parkitect doesn't necessarily need an expansion, it already has everything that makes it a great game. However, I will gladly take this expansion so I can happily play even more of it.

  • CodeWeavers Is Hiring Another Graphics Developer To Help With Wine D3D / Steam Play

    CodeWeavers is looking to hire another developer to work on Wine's graphics stack and in particular the WineD3D code while having an emphasis that it's part of Valve's Steam Play (Proton) efforts.

  • CodeWeavers are after a Graphics Developer for Steam Play Proton and Wine

    CodeWeavers, the company that helps to support development of Wine and are currently partnered up with Valve to help with Steam Play/Proton have a new Graphics Developer position open. This is a completely different position to the one we posted about before, which is a more generalised role. Instead, their new Graphics Developer position would have you working on Wine's Direct3D implementation. Quite a complicated role, involving early DirectDraw up until modern Direct3D 12 in addition to Vulkan and OpenGL.

Removals From Linux 5.4

  • VirtualBox SF Driver Ejected From The Linux 5.4 Kernel

    Merged to the mainline Linux kernel last week was a driver providing VirtualBox guest shared folder support with the driver up to now being out-of-tree but important for sharing files between the host and guest VM(s). While the driver was part of Linux 5.4-rc7, Linus Torvalds decided to delete this driver on Tuesday. The VirtualBox Shared Folder (VBOXSF) driver will not be part of the mainline Linux 5.4 kernel. Linus was unhappy that it didn't have the necessary sign-offs plus that it's coming late in the cycle and not appearing to meet quality expectations.

  • The Linux Kernel Disabling HPET For Intel Coffee Lake

    Another Intel change being sent off for Linux 5.4 and to be back-ported to current stable series is disabling of HPET for Coffee Lake systems. Due to bug reports going back at least a half-year and workarounds not panning out, kernel developers have decided to blacklist the High Precision Event Timer (HPET) on Coffee Lake systems. Some Coffee Lake systems have a skewed HPET timer when entering the PC10 power state and that in turn marks the time stamp counter (TSC) as unstable.

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