Another update for Slax 10.1 testing version

written by Tomas M. 1 day ago

I've updated the download link to include third ISO image with Slax 10 + desktop + some apps.

https://sharegorilla.com/q/nPfxS2Z

Unfortunately leafpad is no longer a part of Debian so I had to exclude it. Furthermore, it looks like all packages are growing in size, so I will need to find new ways to delete unneeded stuff.

0 comments




Testing Slax 10.1 based on Debian Buster

written by Tomas M. 2 days ago

I am working on Slax based on Debian buster. If you wish to monitor the progress, or test next Slax 10, I have prepared several ISO image (64bit version), you can download them here:

https://sharegorilla.com/q/nPfxS2Z

One of them contains only core text mode, the other one has Desktop with fluxbox. Feel free to test and report any issues you may have.

Thank you for testing and have a nice day :)


0 comments




Releasing Slax 9.11.0

written by Tomas M. 37 days ago

New school year has started again and next version of Slax is here too :) this time it is 9.11.0. This release includes all bug fixes and security updates from Debian 9.11 (code name Jessie), and adds a boot parameter to disable console blanking (console blanking is disabled by default).

You can get the newest version at the project's home page, there are options to purchase Slax on DVD or USB device, as well as links for free download.

Surprisingly for me we skipped 9.10, I am not sure why :)

I also experimented with the newly released series of Debian 10 (code name Buster) and noticed several differences which need addressing, so Slax based on Debian 10 is in progress, but not ready yet. Considering my current workload and other circumstances, it will take some more time to get it ready, few weeks at least.

Enjoy the new release and have a nice weekend :)


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Slax 9.9.1 released

written by Tomas M. 116 days ago

I am happy to let you know that new Slax version has been released. This release updates 11 core packages and contains the following changes:

  • PXE boot from TFTP server is up to 3 times faster now, using parallel download
  • Text selected in xterm is automatically copied to clipboard now for easier copy&paste
  • Added neat 'start here' floating text on GUI startup
  • Wifi should now reconnect on resume
  • Added support for NVME devices during boot




  • Enjoy the new release! :)


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    Slax 9.9.0 released

    written by Tomas M. 176 days ago

    New Slax version 9.9 was released just few seconds ago. It contains updates for all core packages, most noticable is the update of Chromium web browser, which added 10 MB to the total ISO size for no apparent reason, unfortunately there is nothing we could do about it. Anyway, lets live with that and enjoy the new release! :]

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    Slax 9.8 is ready

    written by Tomas M. 245 days ago

    Slax project is pleased to announce the eighth update of its stable distribution, based on Debian stretch. This point release only updates some of the packages included, no new features were added.

    Visit www.slax.org to download the newest Slax 9.8 or to order it pre-installed on a DVD disc or USB drive. Sales made on Slax website help fund the project, thank you very much for making your purchase! :)

    EDIT: I completely forgot that one feature was indeed added to this release, the possibility to exclude core Slax modules when rebuilding new ISO with genslaxiso command.

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    Releasing Slax 9.7.0

    written by Tomas M. 265 days ago

    Good news, a new and improved version of Slax has been just released as Slax 9.7.0. You can download Slax for free or purchase a cool USB drive with Slax preinstalled from the project's home page at www.slax.org

    Most important changes are explained below:

    1) usb-modeswitch was added to Slax

    Some new USB devices have their proprietary Windows drivers onboard; when plugged in for the first time, they act like a flash storage and start installing the Windows driver from there, and if the driver is already installed, it makes the storage device disappear and a new device, mainly composite with modem ports, shows up. On Linux, in most cases the drivers are available as kernel modules. However, the device shows up as "usb-storage" by default. So usb_modeswitch is used to send a message to the device to initiate the mode switching, so it can be used for the intended purpose.

    2) The 'slax activate' command now copies module to RAM only if necessary

    Slax is a modular operating system, and it supports on-the-fly activation of modules (compressed files with .sb extension) by using 'slax activate' command. If the module is stored on a separate filesystem, it can be activated from there without any issue. But if the module is stored inside the current AUFS root filesystem, for example when user downloaded it from the internet to his Home directory while running Slax, such module needs to be copied outside of the AUFS filesystem before activation. Previous Slax version copied all activated modules to RAM or to the USB device it was started from, even if it was not really necessary. Starting with this Slax release, the copying is done only if it is needed.

    3) Slax is now even smaller

    Many years ago, a decision was made to use 512K blocks in Slax for all squashfs compressed filesystems (Slax core modules as well as other bundles). This saved some RAM, but led to somewhat inefficient compression. Since RAM is not so scarce nowadays, Slax now uses 1MB blocks to make the compression better, resulting in 10MB smaller overal size of the distribution (255 MB compared to 265 MB). There is still support for 512K block size too, so old modules created with 512k blocks will work just fine.

    Happy Slaxing :)


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    Releasing Slax 9.6.6

    written by Tomas M. 292 days ago

    Good news everybody, yet even better Slax has been released :) This version adds forgotten intel graphics drivers and introduces the possibility to disable automounting of disk drives by a boot parameter.

    All the orders made during holidays were processed today, and they contain this new Slax version preinstalled. Thank you for your patience, it was worth it :)

    Enjoy the new release, and happy new year!


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    Slax 9.6.5 released

    written by Tomas M. 301 days ago

    Christmas is coming, so here is a gift for all fans - a new Slax release :)

    Most importantly, this version adds long-requested feature - udev rules to automount plugged-in disk drives, so they appear in pcmanfm file manager without the need to mount them manually.

    Furthermore, all packages were updated to their newest versions, and few small bugs were fixed.

    Happy holidays :)


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    Slax 9.6.4

    written by Tomas M. 329 days ago

    After a week of tweaking, I am happy to announce that a new Slax version has been released.
    This new release contains many bug fixes and improvements.
    List of changes include:


    • Implemented scrollbar indicator for xlunch, so user can see if there are more icons beyond current screen
    • X is now started on vt7 terminal as it is usually the case in all Linux distros (it was on vt2 before)
    • User can select text-mode boot by specifying 'text' boot parameter
    • Commands dir2sb and sb2dir were rewritten to act as conversion utilities (documentation)
    • Added b43 broadcom firmwares
    • Added genslaxiso command to create new ISO file, optionally adding new modules
    • Gateway address is now properly set on PXE clients when pxe server is started in Slax
    • xLunch launcher now starts GUI applications without unnecessary terminal window

    I've also added a new documentation describing how to customize Slax

    Enjoy! :-)


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    Fixing persistent changes

    written by Tomas M. 335 days ago

    While I was repackaging ISO for 64bit version of Slax 9.6.1, I used midnight commander to extract the iso contents. Unfortunately I forgot that there is a bug in midnight commander and it does not see empty directories.

    For that reason, Slax 9.6.2 ISO file did not contain /slax/changes directory, which is needed for storing persistent changes. You can fix that yourself easily by simply creating that directory. I've already pushed out version 9.6.3, which fixes this.

    Lets hope I will avoidi such mistake next time. :)

    You may notice that 32bit version 9.6.1 is the same as 9.6.2 and also the same as 9.6.3. Only 64bit version was affected and changed during these version bumps.



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    Slax 9.6.2 bugfix release

    written by Tomas M. 338 days ago

    Maybe you noticed two version bumps yesterday, so I'd like to explain the reason behind them.

    Slax 9.6.0 had two problems introduced in that version. Firstly, the advertised pxe script had a flaw, causing it to generate unbootable initramfs image. I am not sure how this happened since it was thoroughly tested before the release, perhaps it was not thorough enough :] Secondly, the newly installed dnsmasq daemon, which should be started only by the pxe script, was autostarted by systemd on every boot, even for users who never need pxe at all, that was not intentional. So I've fixed those two issues by releasing Slax version 9.6.1.

    Unfortunately, while releasing that fix in a hurry, I forgot my custom build-module in 64bit version of 9.6.1, which made the ISO unusable. I am using this build-module to automate building of Slax, but it must never be included in the released ISO file. To fix that mistake, I've repackaged the 64bit ISO image and released it as Slax version 9.6.2.

    To sum it up, you can consider 9.6.2 as a bugfix release fixing issues in 9.6.0. Next time, I should consider releasing -rc version first, to avoid such stupid mistakes :]


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    Slax 9.6.0 released

    written by Tomas M. 340 days ago

    I am happy to announce that a new version of Slax Linux is available for download. It features updates for all included packages, and fixes PXE boot support, so it is now possible to boot Slax over network again. There is also a 'pxe' script included, which you can execute on a running Slax to start a pxe server (it will auto-assign a random IP address from range 10.0.0.x). In order to download Slax, visit the newly redesigned website at www.slax.org

    Enjoy the new release! :)



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    Slax 9.5.0 released

    written by Tomas M. 1 year ago

    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.




    You can download or purchase Slax from the project's home page.

    Enjoy! :)





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    Slax 9.4 final released

    written by Tomas M. 1 year ago

    After a short testing with no problems reported, I feel it is now the right time to release next version of Slax Linux - a minimalistic, fully modular operating system.

    This version incorporates all upstream improvements from Debian stable, adds several default applications and fixes several known bugs. File manager now understands file types, so it is easier for users to open files like images, pdf documents, and so on.

    On top of all that, Slax now includes one-click-to-install launchers, to offer additional software to users while keeping Slax size small. If the current approach proves useful, Slax could contain lots of icons for additional programs, which will be simply installed (automatically) when launched for the first time.

    Check the full list of changes

    You can download Slax from the project's home page.

    Enjoy! :)


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    Slax 9.4 rc1

    written by Tomas M. 1 year ago

    Hello everybody, you can download Slax 9.4 64bit rc1 here. For list of changes, see here. I do not expect any more changes in the final release, which should be available on 26th of March.

    Most noticable change is addition of launchers for not-installed applications - the app will download and install on the first run. Feel free to suggest your preferred applications which you like to have included by default. You can see at the screenshot below icons for VLC (video player) and VoteCoin (anonymous crypto currency wallet), those apps are not included in Slax, but clicking the icons will auto-install them (before the first run).

    By the way, VoteCoin is my other creation, if you are interested in getting more info, see https://www.votecoin.site





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    Work in progress on next version

    written by Tomas M. 1 year ago

    I've started working on next version of Slax. You can track the roadmap here, and you can suggest changes for the next version here.

    A few users requested a possibility to purchase Slax preinstalled on an USB drive, so I'll offer such possibility after the new version is released. If you like, you can support Slax by buying such USB device directly from this website. And if you don't like, you can simply download it for free as usual :)

    More to come hopefully soon. I expect new release to be ready in few days.

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    Slax 9.3 is here

    written by Tomas M. 1 year ago

    Most of you celebrate something today, so here is a little gift for you :) I've released Slax 9.3 just few minutes ago and I have to say that I am happy with the progress we are making.



    Lets recap all the changes since previous stable version:

    First of all, I've added lots of firmware drivers to support various WIFI devices. It is around 40MB compressed, so Slax is a bit bigger now due to this, but I fully understand that a computer without network connection is completely useless, so this had to happen. :)

    I spent some time testing Slax to boot from many different filesystems and I was able to identify some problems, which are now fixed. Most importantly this includes NTFS and ext4 support, so Slax is now capable of booting from them as well.

    If you boot from a writable media, the Persistent Changes feature is enabled by default now. Note that you may need to erase your changes.dat file if it was created by beta/beta2.

    Other news include:


    - added pcmanfm as file manager for GUI
    - added wicd as wifi network manager
    - xLunch now auto updates, to see newly installed apps
    - hard drives are mounted on boot and bookmarks added to pcmanfm
    - keyboard layout stays persistent
    - screen resolution change is reimplemented to make it work better
    - syslinux updated to newest version


    Download Slax 9.3 here

    And since it is 24th of December: Happy whatever holidays you celebrate, based on whatever irrational beliefs you may have! :-)



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    Slax 9.3 beta 2

    written by Tomas M. 1 year ago

    Since there were some bugs in the initial beta release, I'm publishing beta2 now. Shouldn't it be gama? :)

  • Slax 9.3 beta2 64bit (256MB)
  • Slax 9.3 beta2 32bit (266MB)


  • There is nothing new, just few bugs fixed to make things actually work as advertised. Please read changelog on previous beta release for more.

    Enjoy! :]

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    Slax 9.3 beta 1 ready for download

    written by Tomas M. 1 year ago

    I am almost ready to release the next Slax version. But before I do so, I would like to get some feedback on the current progress. So I've prepared a beta release, you can download Slax 9.3 beta from here:

  • Slax 9.3 beta 64bit (256MB)
  • Slax 9.3 beta 32bit (266MB)


  • In order to better organize feedback from users, lets use google groups. It is a mailing list, everybody should be able to send a message to it, and if you join the group, you'll also get answers from other users.

    Get in touch here:

    slax-users@googlegroups.com



    You can of course post a comment in this blog as well, but using the mailing list should be more beneficial for everybody. Lets see how it goes :)

    This beta release includes the following changes:

  • Persistent changes is now default if you boot Slax from a writable media
  • Newly installed applications have their icons added to xLunch screen automatically
  • Added File Manager (pcmanfm), set to show drives in the left sidebar
  • Fixed Slax booting from NTFS and EXT4 filesystems.
  • Added lots of wifi-related firmware drivers and wicd as network manager.
  • Testing is needed, please test if you can. Thank you!


  • Enjoy the beta release!
    If everything goes smoothly, we should have next Slax in a week.


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    Next Slax soon

    written by Tomas M. 1 year ago

    I noticed that Debian has updated to 9.3.0 so it's time to update Slax too. I plan to release update with each minor Debian release, if there are any bugfixes or changes (in Slax) at that moment. I will update this blog post as I progress through my todo list.

    Currently I've implemented these changes:


    - add nicer filesystem icons to pcmanfm
    - make xlunch refresh on start to see newly installed apps
    - mount hard drives on boot and add bookmarks to pcmanfm
    - add @ntfs-3g support, add ext4 support for bootable device
    - make persistent changes default when booting from writable media
    (and offer "fresh start" in boot menu instead)
    - make keyboard layout persistent
    - fb keys: OnDesktop Mouse1 :MacroCmd {WindowMenu} {HideMenus}
    - reimplement xrandr screen resolution change, use --mode somehow
    - add pcmanfm as file manager for GUI
    - add wicd as wifi configurator
    - update syslinux to newest version
    - added wireless tools
    - added firmware (free and nonfree)
    - added contrib and nonfree repositories
    - fixed apt-get alias parameters handling


    and this is the todo list for this release:


    - write documentation
    - inform users that there is a google group
    (mailing list) for slax at slax-users@googlegroups.com



    I should be able to release next Slax in few days, so this is your last change, if you desperately require something which is not yet on the TODO list then feel free to post comment :)


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    Survey

    written by Tomas M. 1 year ago









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    Is there malware in Chromium in Slax?

    written by Tomas M. 1 year ago

    Several people complained that I've added malware to chromium in Slax, and similar shit :) So, lets take a look at it.

    The chromium module in Slax is created using this method:
    1) boot fresh Slax
    2) apt install chromium
    3) savechanges /04-chromium.sb

    That is all. Well, the procedure is indeed a little bit more complicated since I want to remove some unneded files after apt install, and I need to provide a 'chromium' script which logins as guest user and starts the chromium binary, because chromium refuses to run as root, but other than that, I make no changes. Especially I add no chromium extensions etc. You can review the build script here

    If you start chromium in Slax and check out chrome://extensions URL, you will indeed see three extensions. Those cannot be disabled or uninstalled through the settings interface. What are those extensions? Well I have no idea what they do, but you can gues by their names:

    - bookmark manager
    - pdf viewer
    - cryptoTokenExtension

    To be honest, I didn't know that chromium installed with apt install has such extensions. I am not sure if all of them are really needed. But as I mentioned, I am not adding these, if you install fresh Debian and you install chromium the way I did, you'll get those extensions too. I believe that Debian developers know what they are doing, and I doubt those extensions would be any harmful.

    I can assure you that if I was to add malware to chromium in Slax, I would definitely add it in a way that you could never notice. Adding malware this way makes no sense :-)


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    vesamenu.c32 boot problem

    written by Tomas M. 1 year ago

    Several people reported they have problem booting Slax from USB device, with the following error message displayed:

    failed to load com32 file /slax/boot/vesamenu.c32
    I am not able to replicate this error, so I need your help to find out what particular change fixes it. So, if you are experiencing these troubles, please try the following and let me know what helps:

    1) download latest syslinux
    2) unzip
    3) find file ./bios/com32/menu/vesamenu.c32
    4) copy the vesamenu.c32 to your USB disk with Slax and try to boot Slax again.

    If this helps to resolve your problem, please reply here that vesamenu.c32 is the only file which needs update. However, it is possible that some more files need to be added, so if only vesamenu.c32 won't help to fix your problem, try to copy also ./bios/com32/libutil/libutil.c32, ./bios/com32/libcom/libcom.c32, and maybe some others from the ./bios/com32 directory. I don't think that those are needed, but you can test.

    I cannot solve this alone, since it doesn't fail on my computer. Thank you very much for your time playing with this.



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    Some examples for Persistent Changes

    written by Tomas M. 1 year ago

    In a reply to several questions about persistence, I'd like to put here few hints. Remember that this all works after reboot only if you select "Keep changes persistent" in the boot menu, and only if you are running Slax from a writable media such as USB disk.

    1) how to make sshd server start automatically?

    You can start ssh server manually by running service ssh start. If you run it the first time, it creates some keys in /etc/ssh/ directory, so the first start is a little bit longer. But even after the keys are created, sshd won't autostart on reboot. It's because I manually disabled it in Slax, because root's password is well known. So, make sure to change your root's password (and password of the guest user) to something new. When done, run systemctl enable ssh. It will basically create a symlink to ssh.service in multi-user.target.wants (which is in /etc/systemd/system directory). This ensures sshd will be started on boot.

    2) How to make keyboard layout persistent?

    I forgot to implement such functionality. So keyboard layout needs to be set from the fluxbox menu each time and there is no config file to change. You can make it persistent by editing /root/.fluxbox/startup ... add there a line such as setxkbmap fr for french keyboard layout, etc. Make sure it is somewhere on top of the file. I will probably fix the persistence of keyboard layout in next Slax release, so if you set it this way, you may need to remove it from the startup file again at some point later, when Slax fixes this.

    3) how to disable autostart of Xorg?

    Similarly like enabling ssh server, you may disable autostarting of X by the following command: systemctl disable xorg. This will remove display-manager.service symlink from /etc/systemd/system and you will get only text-mode console on next boot. You can still start X manually with the startx command after login, though.


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    Wifi in Slax

    written by Tomas M. 1 year ago

    Apparently I forgot to include some wifi support in Slax. I don't have any device with wifi here at the moment, so I can't test, but there should be few things to consider. First of all, you will probably need some firmware for your wifi adapter. I'm not sure which packages to install, some of them may not be in official debian repository. Hopefully somebody in the comments will suggest something. Second, you will probably need some software to manage your wifi connections. Some people suggested wpa_supplicant, this can be installed with apt install wpasupplicant. This is a commandline utility, as far as I can tell. If you are looking for a GUI to configure your wifi network, you may try

    apt install network-manager-gnome
    nm-applet &


    Or better (half download, only 50MB):
    apt install wicd
    wicd-gtk -t &



    This will put an icon in system tray, which you can use to access network settings using GUI.

    Hope this helps a bit.


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    Proper release announcement

    written by Tomas M. 1 year ago

    After several years of inactivity Slax project has been brought to life again in new version 9.2.1. For those who did not hear about it yet, Slax is a little distribution of GNU/Linux (in 200 MB), which runs on your computer without installing, and makes no changes to it (unless you tell it to do so).

    This time, Slax uses Debian stretch as its base, and thus it can offer all the wonders of the mighty 'apt' command. If you are missing any software in Slax, use 'apt install SOFTWARENAME' to get it in an instant. I've decided to go for Debian because it made my life much easier and I believe that it will make yours too.

    Graphical desktop uses FluxBox window manager and xLunch, which was written especially for Slax and with Slax needs in mind. Furthermore the development of xLunch continues independently.

    There are only few applications included, Chromium is used as a web browser and video player, and there is also leafpad and calculator, just for the sake of completeness :]

    You can consider Slax as a simple and minimalistic base Linux system, which you can carry in your pocket.


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    Slax 9 has been released

    written by Tomas M. 1 year ago

    I am happy to announce that after a month of development, the next generation Slax Linux has been released. Proper release announcement will follow in few hours, I'm kinda busy at the moment :)



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    Tray icon for shutdown

    written by Tomas M. 1 year ago

    FluxBox is somehow limited in the way how to customize its look. No icons on desktop, no shutdown buttons... So I hired a programmer who wrote the best application on the world - SysTray Icon Launcher. It is like 50 lines of code, and what it does is pretty simple. Put an icon to system tray and execute a command when it is clicked. Thanks to it, we now have an awesome power button in about 20KB or so :) Hell I love this wallpaper, all screenshots are so cool!



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    Applications included in Slax

    written by Tomas M. 1 year ago

    I am finishing last few bits of the next gen Slax release. I think the biggest difference for the end user will be lack of applications. People were probably used to a rich collection of apps in Slax, including GUI file manager, video player, instant messaging program, card games, remote desktop app, more card games, ... :-) None of this will be included in the next Slax release. I may prepare, in the future, a bigger and more feature rich version, but for now, i am sticking with the only necessary software: xterm and web browser (chromium).

    There is also leafpad as text editor and qalculate as a calculator, those apps were like 200KB in total, so I added them. But other than that, only browser and terminal. I believe that everything (and I mean really EVERYTHING) is moving to the web. In most cases, web browser is the only software you need nowadays for various tasks. Spreadsheeds? online. Video player? Online. And thanks to apt-get (now included in Slax), most of the available software is online as well.

    So for now, four icons will be fully sufficient.



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