Thursday, July 27, 2017

Slackware 14.2

Slackware 14.2 was released two days ago and, although I'm running an updated -current version, I want to use this milestone to do a complete new, fresh and clean installation. But with some customisation of course. This first post is only to organise the installation and system configuration.

There are two major tuning I want to do. First is installing multilib capabilities, which I need mainly to run Skype and Wine, and second to change KDE 4.x with Plasma 5. I'm using the Plasma 5 packages made by AlienBob for a wile and I could say that it works pretty ok. There are still some small details still laying around but the performance is most than acceptable and I like the new look of Plasma 5

Another change I want to do this time is to move Slackware to Unicode UTF-8. This is not something that I really need, but I just want to try it.

There are a couple of thinks to which I want to set special care. One is a problem I have already with the Suspend to Ram feature. I have not spent so much time in this, but now is time to solve it. Second is the HDMI port sound. Now I have to change manually the sound device output to the HDMI port, otherwise, the sound still remains flowing by the computer speakers. I guess I need to recheck this because Slackware 14.2 adds Pulseaudio, and I guess that could change a bit the sound cards configuration.

Details for the step by step process, problems solving and comments are in another posts:

- Booting the Slackware installer from a USB drive in UEFI mode.
- Packages selection and extra software.
- Elilo configuration.
- Internationalisation.
- Keyboard configuration.
- Fine tuning.
- Adding Plasma 5.
- Adding Mutilib.
- Setting Hidpi.
- Sound configuration.
- Installing Wine and MS Office 2010. (What is the devil doing here!??)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Setting Hidpi

I did not set the DPI in Xorg. I just change in KDE the font DPI to 166 pp. This setting works fine for almost everything inside KDE but the xterm is not affected and the font looks tiny. In Window Maker everything looks small as well, but I don't know if it is possible to change that.

Another point to improve is the font size in the tty consoles, now it is very small. I know how to do it but I still have to.

Just to remember, the screen resolution is 3200 x 1800 @ 276 ppi.

Fine tuning

There was several acctions I had to take in order to configure the system better.

- I forgot to set the network during the installation, and I like to use a differnt hostname than the default. To run the network configuration program run the command:

# netconfig

- I changed the kernel from Huge to generic, I did it by following this procedure stated in SlackDocs. The only one difference was the configuration of lilo, in my case, I'm ussing elilo, so the procedure is a bit different.
I copyed the Slackware bootloader folder in EFI partition (/boot/efi/EFI/Slackware) and I renamed as Slackware-generic (/boot/efi/EFI/Slackware-generic), then I copyed the files /boot/vmlinuz-generic-4.4.14 and the RAM disk /boot/initrd.gz which were created previously into the Slackware-generic folder. Then, it is needed to modify the elilo configuration file to:

# /boot/efi/EFI/Slackware-generic/elilo.conf


This configuration includes the line that enables hibernation ("resume=/dev/sda2").

To finish I added the Slackware-generic boatloader to the UEFI boot configuration using the computer's firmware menu

- In Windowmaker, I used nm-applet to connect to a wifi network. The application loads in the system tray, so first it is needed to install and load wmsystemtray.

- I set the network time protocol script to run at starting the computer.

# chmod 755 /etc/rc.d/rc.ntpd

and I used the confuguration file:

# /etc/ntp.conf

driftfile /etc/ntp/drift
logfile /var/log/ntp.log


fudge stratum 10

restrict default nomodify nopeer notrap
restrict mask

Keyboard layout

My current laptop uses a German keyboard (QWERTZ), also I use to use another US-international, so I have to configure the system to use both.

I need to write in Spanish frequently. The default German layout (no death keys) works fine but it doesn't allow to write the ñ letter. The legacy version uses death keys and allows to write the lovely ñ.

Linux console:
To change the default keyboard layout, create the file:
# /etc/rc.d/rc.keymap

# Load the keyboard map.  More maps are in /usr/share/kbd/keymaps.
if [ -x /usr/bin/loadkeys ]; then

This settings will affect all the Xorg application, thats include KDE and Window Maker. Just create the following config file.

# /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/90-keyboard-layout.conf

Section "InputClass"
Identifier "keyboard-all"
MatchIsKeyboard "on"
MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
Driver "evdev"
Option "XkbLayout" "de"
Option "XkbVariant" "legacy"
Option "XkbOptions" "terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp"

Normaly KDE will use the keymap defined by Xorg, but in the case you want to set it again in KDE, just choose the German variant German (legacy) as keyboard layout in the Input devices section of the System Settings.

There still a problem prowling around. It is the special keys, most of them works ok with the exception of the airplane mode and the increase and decrease brightness. They doesn't work, I think they are not visible in linux, but I have to check this.

Also I have to try what happens with the second keyboard, I have not tried yet.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Normally I use to handle files in Spanish, English a few in Dutch and nowadays others in German. The traditional en_US locale have worked nicely since I started with Slackware. Additional to the classic issue of the decimal separation symbol ('.' instead of ','), which can be  solved easily in KDE,  I have had some problems with the file names from an external disk formatted in NTFS wish I use to use in Windows as well. Probably the problem will nor be solved changing the codeset in the Linux system (perhaps configuring better the mounting parameters of the disk) but at least I would like to try and at the same time give more consistency to the system.


Mora than changing the language I'm interested in set Slackware to UTF-8 codeset.
To modify globally the locale variables it is needed to edit the file /etc/profile.d/ and change the values of the variables set there. I will use:

export LANG=en_GB.UTF-8

This codeset already considers LC_COLLATE=C. Although it is should not be necessary set it, by default it set in the script and I did not comment it.

To configure the locale for only a user, the same sentence have to be added to the file ~/.profile

During the installation process is also possible to set the console to use unicode, there is an option during the lilo configuration that allows this. This is not the case when you use elilo.

The only problem with using en_GB is, of course, the currency. So I also set the variable LC_MONETARY with an euro locale:

export LC_MONETARY=nl_NL.UTF-8

I'm not sure about the metrics.

In KDE it is abailable the translation to British English and other common languages without installing any KDEi package (I did not install anyone).


Monday, July 18, 2016

Adding Plasma 5

I did not install any KDE package during the Slackware installation. Then, I have installed the Alien's Plasma 5 framework. The instructions are very clear and everything worked nice. After that,  I have not installed any package from KDE4 and Plasma 5 is working perfect. Although the README says that there are some KDE4 packages essential to the proper functioning of Plasma 5, I have not had any problem that suggest me to install one of them. But still I will i,nstall some optional packages:

- Amarok
- Calligra

All the magic is here:

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Packages selection and extra software

I like the set of application included in Slackware, but still I like to add and replace some. From the included packages, I don't use to install xfce, because I prefer Plasma or Window Maker. Also I use to replace Tetex with TeX Live. This time I also want to replace Plasma 4 with the alien's Plasma 5 packages.

Do not install:
- xfce
- Tetex
- KDEi

There are several extra applications I use which I have to install (and its dependencies):
- TeX Live
- Aspell es de nl (/extra)
- Java (/extra)
- Google Chrome (/extra)
- wmCalClock (SBo)
- wmpower (SBo)
- wmsystemtry (SBo)
- Unrar (SBo)
- emelFM2 (SBo)

- Plasma 5 (Alien)
- Kile (SBo)
- Calligra (Slackware 14.2)
- Amarok (Slackware 14.2)
- Megasync (SBo)
- Mendeley (SBo)
- ImageJ (SBo)
- Xmind (SBo)
- Inkscape (SBo)

- Easytag (SBo)
- VLC (SBo)
- Octave (SBo)
- qTox (SBo)
- SciDAVis

- Multilib
- Brother-DCP755_64
- Skype (SBo)
- Adobe Reader (SBo)
- Wine (alien)
- Winetricks (SBo)
- MS Office 2010

Booting the Slackware installer from a USB drive in UEFI mode

I found difficulties to boot the Slackware installer from a USB drive  in UEFI mode. I works perfect in Legacy mode (BIOS), but I'm curious about how to do it in UEFI. These are a couple of options to do it.

1. Using the script located in usb-and-pxe-installers directory. There are two options to use it, but the second is which I found more useful, that is, to create a complete installation USB drive which is editable. To do this, I find better to download the Slackware file tree instead of an iso image.

#  ./ -f -s ../../slackware64-14.2 -o /dev/sdx

The -f option is used to format the drive before copying the files, this is optional.

2. Copying directly the iso image into the USBdrive. This can be done directly by using:
# dd if=./slackware.iso of=/dev/sdx

In both cases, when you boot the computer, you should call the EFI bootloader (pressing Esc in my case) and select the correct option. A Grub menu will be loaded from which you can load the Slackware installing system.

The last option should work, but I don't like it because I prefer to have a writable installation media which allows me to add and remove packages. Also I would like, in the short future, to maintain and update the installer with the fresher -current version.

Of course there are another ways to do it but, for me, these worked well.

To clear the GPT and the MBR partition table of a drive you can use gdisk:
# gdisk /dev/sdbx

go to expert menu by presing the key x
Use zap (z) to destroy the GPT data structure. In the same process the application will ask you if you want to blank the MBR, I use to do it in order to erase any boot option.

Although the preceding process cleans the booting information from the drive, some debris could remain, in particular if you previously wrote directly the iso DVD image into the drive using dd. To clean that you also should apply wipefs to the drive:

# wipefs -a /dev/sdbx

Sunday, May 29, 2016


By default, Slackware restarts from hibernation following the standard booting, loosing the state previously saved in the swap partition. To solve this, I edited the boot loader configuration, which in my case is ELILO. This is the result.

# /boot/efi/EFI/Slackware/elilo.conf

# The prompt line tells ELILO to display a prompt for you to choose a kernel.

# tells ELILO to wait 5 seconds for you to respond. (This value is specified in 
# tenths of a second.) If you don't respond, it boots the image specified by the 
# default line.

# Sets the default stanza to load (the name is sets by 'label=').

# chooser specify kernel chooser to use: 'simple' or 'textmenu'.

# delay specifies the number of tenths of a second the boot loader should wait 
# before automatically booting a locked command line, a command line pre-stored 
# by "lilo -R", or the default 'image=' or 'other='.

# Stanzas
label = Slackware
root = /dev/sda3

The magic here is done by the line append="resume=/dev/sda2", now ELILO knows that it have to start Slackware from the swap partition.


Synaptics touchpad configuration in Xorg

I wanted to customize the configuration of the Synaptics' driver because the click buttons were swapped and I wanted to disable it while typing.

This is the Xorg configuration file I wrote:

# /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf
Section "InputClass"
Identifier "touchpad"
Driver "synaptics"
MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
MatchIsTouchpad "on"
 Option "TapButton1" "1"
 Option "TapButton2" "3"
 Option "TapButton3" "2"
 Option "VertEdgeScroll" "on"
 Option "VertTwoFingerScroll" "on"
 Option "HorizEdgeScroll" "on"
 Option "HorizTwoFingerScroll" "on"
 Option "EmulateTwoFingerMinZ" "40"
 Option "EmulateTwoFingerMinW" "8"
 Option "PalmDetect" "1"
 Option "PalmMinWidth" "10"
 Option "PalmMinZ" "100"

The touchpad is not really disabled while typing. Instead, it is sensitive to recognize the palm when I touch it accidentally, avoiding to do a click.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Office 2010 in Wine + winetricks

It is possible to run Office 2010 (Professional Plus, x86) in Linux using Wine (1.8 Staging, 64 bits, -compat32). Its performance is good enough but it needs some tweaks. I followed the following procedure to install it and make it functional.

1. Create a new WINEPREFIX:
$ WINEARCH=win32 WINEPREFIX=~/.wine/Office2010_32  winecfg

2. Configure
a) Leave the Windows version as Windows XP.
b) Change the screen dpi in order to improve the fonts and GUI visualization. 
$ WINEPREFIX=~/.wine/Office2010_32 winecfg 
Graphics > Screen resolution: 160 dpi > OK
c) To allow Powerpoint to run properly, set 'riched20' to (native,builtin)

3. Mount the Office 2010 ISO file:
# mkdir -p /run/media/userx/dvd
# mount -t iso9660 -o loop ./officeproplus2010uk32.iso /run/media/userx/dvd

4. Run the installer:
I use to install only Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher and its shared tools. Nothing about web sites, Access or SharePoint.
 $ WINEPREFIX=~/.wine/Office2010_32 wine /run/media/userx/dvd/setup.exe

5. Register and play.

6. To solve the window resizing problem:
I tried the solutions given in WineHQ, the first two worked but I didn't like the final behaviour. The third didn't work directly but I found the solution. This settings allows PowerPoint to show in full screen.
a) Go to System Settings > Window Management > Window Rules.
b) Create a new rule.
c) Give it a description such as MS Office.
d) Set Window class as Regular Expression.
e) As regex string use (without quotation marks): "\b(winword.exe|excel.exe|powerpnt.exe|mspub.exe)\b."
f) Check Match whole window class.
g) On tab Size & Position check Ignore requested geometry and set Force Yes.

7. Improve font rendering in Wine.
For more details check this, but I did not find a big difference in the visualisation.
a) Open regedit.
b) Go to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop].
c) update the following entries:

In case of problems or errors, try :
8. Configure the DLL:
$ WINEPREFIX=~/.wine/Office2010_32 winecfg
gdiplus (native)
msxml6 (native)
> OK

9. Install MS XML Core Service 6.0 sp1 (solves the problem of saving files):
$ WINEPREFIX=~/.wine/Office2010_32 winetricks 
Install and app > Cancel > Install a Windows DLL or Co/ mponent > OK > (check) msxml6 > OK
[I need to check the DLL configuration]

10. Create the folder ~/.wine/Office2010_32/drive_c/users/userx/Recent :
This avoids the creation of multiple .lnk files when you work in Office. The files will be created anyway, but inside the mentioned directory not in the office file's folder.
$ mkdir -/.wine/Office2010_32/drive_c/users/userx/Recent

I couldn't make the uninstaller program work, first I tried with the wine uninstaller program, but I got an error after launching the Office uninstall application.
$ WINEPREFIX=~/.wine/Office2010_32 wine uninstaller

So, I uninstalled Office 2010 by brute force. 
1. Delete the wineprefix where it is installed:
$ rm -rf ~/.wine/Office2010_32

2. Remove the K menu and desktop entries:
$ rm -f ~/.config/menus/applications-merged/wine-Programs-Microsoft\ Office*
$ rm -rf ~/.local/share/applications/wine/Programs/Microsoft\ Office/
$ rm -f ~/.local/share/desktop-directories/wine-Programs-Microsoft\ Office*

3. Remove the Office applications icons:
Do it by hand looking in the folder: ~/.local/share/icons/

4. Remove the extensions .desktop definitions (remove from "Open With ..."):
Do it by hand looking in the folder: ~/.local/share/applications/