Apr 302014

As much work has been done on LXQt, PCMan has just proposed an alpha release soon.
I have updated the build scripts for Slackware in my git, and this is the sbopkg queue (using my git repository with it) that you can run to install all of its components


Beware that everyhting is still a rough and some things needs to be adjusted, but if you choose to install this now is also to help testing it (and report problems upstream) 🙂

sample screenshot

a sample screenshot

I won’t prepare packages for now, but I’ll do it after this will be tested a little 😉

Mar 072014

I have updated the build script for lxc: now it builds the just released 1.0.1, with the added support for the new cgmanager from Serge Hallyn (this depends on libnih).
Remember that optional dependencies for the new lxc are also python3 and lua.


for some interesting articles on this new version have a look at this series of blog post from Stephane Graber. 😉

Dec 232013

In 1997 I worked in a very big press farm: we did lot of works related to drugs packaging and we worked on high volumes, so they eventually decided to try a new technology (at the time), one of the first models of Computer To Plate from Krause.
That was an amazing (and huge: more than 15 meters!) machine, it totally revolutioned our work at the time: for most of our commissions we hadn’t no need anymore to do computer -> prints -> films -> plates but we could go straight from computer to plates (and use them on the presses): we printed on a postscript printer exported by a Sun Ultra, on which we assembled the print layout and then we imposed it (with a laser) on 70cmx100cm plates (in a granite tub).
As Krause sent german technicians and I was the only one that knew english enough in that department, I was the one who was teached to use the machine 🙂
That was fun, and I also got in touch with X-Windows on the Ultra boxes, running SunOS and a desktop environment I was seeing also for the first time, CDE.


CDE running on Slackware

After a while I moved to another job and I never had the possibility to work on CDE again.
Then, last year, the Open Group released it as open-source \o/
As the released codebase was 15 years old, a lot of work had to be done to make it usable on modern computers, but much has already been done and recently a beta has been released.
So, despite it being still unripe and driven by curiosity and nostalgia, I decided to package the version they got in their git


If you want to try it, read very well the README in that folder, as some (and a little invasive) manual steps have to be taken before building/installing.

Hope the older ones of you will got the same weird feeling as me, watching it running on Slackware 😀

And, while I am at it… Merry Christmas and happy new year! 😉

Dec 032013

Maybe someone of you had heard about the fact that LXDE developers didn’t want to get dragged into the GTK+3 mess and that they decided in march of this year to merge efforts with the Razor-qt people to develop together a lightweight DE based on Qt (see the various post on the LXDE blog and on their mailing list for more informations on this).
So they picked some stuff from Razor and PCMan wrote much other from scratch: as he says, they haven’t reached a point in which this is usable in a production environment but, left away some bugs (pcmanfm-qt doesn’t seem to show icons at all here), I think it’s already looking acceptable. 🙂
So I decided to prepare build scripts and packages for Slackware 14.1 from what’s available on their git to let you try it and eventually report bugs upstream: read very well what’s written in the download folder, keep the expectations low and grab ’em while they’re still hot. 😉

Nov 092013

I tried to find a little time to build fresh sets of packages to have an LXDE desktop on the just released version of Slackware: you can find them in the usual place 🙂

64bit 32bit

as a lot of people seems to use slackpkg+, the folders linked above contain repositories compatible with Zerouno’s slackpkg extension 😉

hope that I’ll find some time to install a fresh slackwarearm-14.1 on one of my raspberries and prepare them also for that platform.

Oct 102013

As we are developing a php database interface for a project here at work and some related functions are being deprecated starting with php 5.5.x I considered upgrading our php installs on our servers and test if it works fine with our stuff.

As I’m using Slackware on my servers I managed to update the existing build scripts to build from a php 5.5.x tarball and I installed the new package on slackware64-14.0 and slackware64-current: in the next days some tests will be done with the new things we’re working on but, as for now, wordpress seems already to behave fine with it (also the plugins we use, but your mileage may vary).

If you want to test it yourself just get a copy of the sources from a slackware mirror: you will need two folders, source/n/alpine and source/n/php; then place the tarball (5.5.4 ATM) in the php folder, removing the old one.

To build it on the above platforms the needed modifications are very marginal and are listed in this diff

EDIT (23 november 2013): I just checked the current build scripts for 14.1/current (to build a newer version) and they have been adapted to build also php-5.5.x, so the modifications below aren’t needed anymore 🙂

--- php.SlackBuild.orig 2013-10-10 12:04:55.901416000 +0200
+++ php.SlackBuild      2013-10-10 11:15:59.859783000 +0200
@@ -24,8 +24,8 @@
-VERSION=${VERSION:-$(echo php-*.tar.xz | rev | cut -f 3- -d . | cut -f 1 -d - | rev)}
+VERSION=${VERSION:-$(echo php-*.tar.?z* | rev | cut -f 3- -d . | cut -f 1 -d - | rev)}
 # Automatically determine the architecture we're building on:
@@ -65,16 +65,16 @@
 # we need to compile alpine to get c-client.a for IMAP support:
-if [ -r $IMAPLIBDIR/lib${LIBDIRSUFFIX}/c-client.a ]; then
+if [ -r $IMAPLIBDIR/lib${LIBDIRSUFFIX}/libc-client.a ]; then
   echo "Using IMAP library:"
-  ls -l $IMAPLIBDIR/lib${LIBDIRSUFFIX}/c-client.a
+  ls -l $IMAPLIBDIR/lib${LIBDIRSUFFIX}/libc-client.a
   sleep 5
   ( cd $CWD/../alpine ; ./alpine.SlackBuild || exit 1 ) || exit 1
   ( cd $TMP/re-alpine-${ALPINE}/imap/c-client
     strip -g c-client.a
     mkdir -p $IMAPLIBDIR/lib${LIBDIRSUFFIX}
-    cp c-client.a $IMAPLIBDIR/lib${LIBDIRSUFFIX}
+    cp c-client.a $IMAPLIBDIR/lib${LIBDIRSUFFIX}/libc-client.a
     mkdir -p $IMAPLIBDIR/include
     cp *.h $IMAPLIBDIR/include
Feb 102013

I’m fiddling with the staging branch of LXC (stuff that will go in 0.9, now at alpha state) and there are some news to report.

They are migrating to python3 scripts and a corresponding API and some stuff in LUA too to substitute many of the lxc helpers (I’m using python3 and lua from slackbuilds.org).
People is already doing interesting stuff with the API.

Plus, lxc-attach, used to execute commands in the containers (for example, I use it for an rc.lxc script), needs a kernel with full namespaces support (>=3.9).

Work is still in progress (and they just added new features), but it’s usable already 🙂

a testing slackbuild

EDIT (2013-02-17): I modified the testing stuff to avoid some problems shutting down containers (and more) 😉
EDIT (2013-03-04): changed the kernel version as namespaces support for many filesystems has just been included only with 3.9-rc1

Nov 122012

As the new slackware is out, I wanted to try a clean install on my rasperry-pis.
I referred to the super-detailed guide from dave (thanks!), but his build scripts needed just a little refreshing as upstream moved to a new firmware (boot changed slightly) and kernel version (ditching 3.1.9): more, they are committing on two kernel branches, one based on 3.2.27 (the default) and another based on 3.6.1.
So, at first I forked dave’s build script to build a 3.6.1 kernel, just to test, added some patches, rebuilt, and all went pretty well, but the installer wasn’t working.
Then I decided to go for the 3.2.27 branch, following upstream’s default: so I took the kernel config suggested by raspberrypi’s devs, added some modules to support various hardware, patched the kernel to support the BFQ I/O scheduler setting it as default.
The result are these new build scripts


and these premade packages/disk images


I’ll probably play with it a little in the next days to build a 3.6.1 kernel (and an installer with that) switching there too to a new .config with additions, but consider that times needed for building this stuff grows on the raspi, and running the complete build takes nearly 11 hours to complete.

Ah, while I was there I found some time to build a full LXDE, a Razor-qt/qtdesktop and other various packages for slackwarearm-14.0 using slackbuilds.org‘s scripts (I’ll try to organize this stuff as a repository soon)


Nov 022012

It has been some time since last post and many things happened: one of those is that I have been invited to work with the people at slackbuilds.org and I gladly accepted 🙂
Work there is really interesting and I feel like I’m learning a lot.

But the thing I felt most urgent, as I had chosen Slackware to host the services I administer at work and a new version of slackware is out, is to upgrade the lxc host and containers to slackware-14.0.

So I made some tests to adapt the procedure I described for slackware-13.37 (you might want to have a look at that too, mainly for the network setup) to the new version, trying at first to run a minimal slackware64-14.0 container on a slackware64-14.0 host.

I switched to slackpkg to install the packages in the container as I think, with just little modifications, it can be safely used as debootstrap is used on Debian: it also supports itself templates, so they can be used to install custom selections of packages (creating /etc/slackpkg/templates/mytemplate.template and passing the variable TEMPLATE=mytemplate to the lxc-create command).
So I patched it: here you can find the patched version for slackware and slackware64, and here is the one for slackwarearm.

I assembled a new template, placed it in my host filesystem as /usr/lib64/lxc/templates/lxc-slackware

cd /usr/lib64/lxc/templates
wget --no-check-certificate https://raw.github.com/Ponce/lxc/lxc-slackware-slackpkg/templates/lxc-slackware.in
mv lxc-slackware.in lxc-slackware
chmod +x lxc-slackware

and installed my minimal slack with it

MIRROR= lxc-create -f /path_to/chuckd.config -n chuckd -t slackware
  • arch defaults to the host’s one. The template supports slackware{,64,arm} but this option makes sense only specifying arch=i486 on a x86_64 host to install a 32 bit container – only case possible/tested ATM
  • SUITE defaults to “14.0” (and it’s tested with that 😉 )
  • TEMPLATE defaults to “minimal-lxc” (in the previous article you can see the list of packages used)
  • MIRROR defaults to “http://www.slackware.at/data” and points to a slackpkg mirror, the main tree, withouth the /slackware-$SUITE/ at the end.
    You can use also a local folder: supposing you have a mirror of the latest slackware64-14.0 in /my/path/slackware64-14.0 use MIRROR=cdrom://my/path. As this will be set as the default mirror in the container (during creation), in this case you surely have to edit it after (that path won’t be accessible by the container).
  • chuckd.config is the configuration file for the container (two examples are available in the previous article, depending on the chosen network setup)
  • chuckd is the name of the container
  • slackware is the linux flavour of the container

Then I edited /var/lib/lxc/chuckd/rootfs/etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.conf and /var/lib/lxc/chuckd/rootfs/etc/resolv.conf, the network configuration files of the container, with its network settings (IPADDR[0], NETMASK[0], GATEWAY and nameserver) and I started it with

screen -dmS init-chuckd /usr/bin/lxc-start -n chuckd

because launching it using a detached screen session leaves me an usable console (and I can reattach it, if needed).
And I happily connected to it through the network via ssh (or “lxc-console -n chuckd”) 🙂

While chatting with Alien Bob, he suggested me to try to install a full slackware on a lxc container, as a friend had tried it and got some problem logging in after.
I thought that happened because devices are defined outside of the containers and generally they don’t like manual adding or things like udev messing around, so I adapted the template also to disable an eventual /etc/rc.d/rc.udev and blacklisted the devs package (don’t install it in a container).
After that, I was able to install a full slackware64 in the container

slackpkg update
slackpkg install slackware64

While I was there, I tested also a remote connection through the nx protocol, installing freenx in the container with sbopkg

wget http://sbopkg.googlecode.com/files/sbopkg-0.36.0-noarch-1_cng.tgz
installpkg sbopkg-0.36.0-noarch-1_cng.tgz
sbopkg -r
sbopkg -i nx
sh /var/lib/sbopkg/SBo/14.0/network/freenx/preinstall.sh
sbopkg -i freenx

and I connected to it from the host with nxclient.