Interesting modules episode #1

written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

I'm going to publish few words from time to time about interesting modules made for Slax. For today, I've selected two games, two office packages and some firmwares.

abiword


Abiword is a word processing program similar to Microsoft Word.
abiword module page

gnumeric


A GNOME spreadsheet app, similar to Microsoft Excel.
gnumeric module page

supertux


SuperTux is a classic 2D jump'n run sidescroller game. In a style similar to the original Super Mario games, featuring 9 enemies and 26 playable levels, supertux game ensures long lasting fun.
supertux module page

crack-attack


Crack Attack is roughly based on the Super Nintendo game Tetris Attack. Slowly, your stack of colored blocks grows from the bottom, and you've got to make sure it never reaches the top. If it does, you lose. To eliminate blocks from the stack, line up at least three of one color, horizontally or vertically. Once you do, those blocks disappear, and put off slightly your inevitable demise.
crack-attack module page

And finally, firmware drivers, you probably know them, those are important if you wish to use some hardware which doesn't have the driver included in Slax natively. Kernel firmware is somehow big and bloated, contains lots of fw drivers from many sources. B43 firmware is a special tiny package with only broadcom wifi firmware drivers. module page for kernel-firmware and module page for b43 broadcom wifi firmware


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Yahoo and Twitter sign in done

written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

You can now sign in to Slax website using Yahoo! or Twitter account.

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Twitter sign in with OAuth

written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

I was trying to implement twitter sign in using OAuth (since this very same method should work on some other social networks too, such as yahoo). I've followed the instructions given at the official documentation and was getting 401 Unauthorized response all the time, I couldn't even get the oauth_token. Yet finally I found it. As a part of the OAuth request, there is a timestamp transferred. It must not be in the past. It can be years in the future, but not in the past. The OAuth protocol is Crap.

So we should see twitter and yahoo and maybe some others sign in options hopefully soon.

Why am I spending so much time on this? Actually the reason is that I am planing to make some of the features of this website for signed users only. Thus I need as many supported sign in providers as possible, to make life easier for everybody.

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Mouse grab for vmware

written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

I noticed that many other Linux distributions can detect if they are running in vmware virtual box and automatically configure X to grab / ungrab the mouse cursor. You probably know what I am talking about if you ever tried Slax in vmware, you had to press Ctrl+Alt to release mouse cursor from the guest, and you had to click inside the vmware window to grab the cursor in the virtual machine again. That may be annoying. I thought that vmware tools are needed for automatic grab/ungrab to work, but today I learned it can work out of the box without vmware tools at all.

Xorg has vmmouse driver for long time. It even provides /usr/bin/vmmouse_detect binary, which is a tiny program which detects if the moduse is to be handled by the vmmouse driver. Yet the package xf86-input-vmmouse contains only HAL rules to autodetect vmware mouse, and since HAL is no longer included in Slackware since version 14, X falls back to evdev driver or something like that. The following can be seen in Xorg.log.0:

Hotplugging is on, devices using drivers 'kbd', 'mouse' or 'vmmouse' will be disabled


So how to make Xorg use the vmmouse driver? The following udev rule makes the trick, and will be included in Slax:

ACTION=="add|change", ENV{ID_INPUT_MOUSE}=="?*", ATTRS{description}=="i8042 AUX port", KERNEL=="event[0-9]*", PROGRAM="/usr/bin/vmmouse_detect", ENV{ID_INPUT.tags}="vmmouse"


This is in debian for very long time, but didn't make its way to the official xorg input driver nor to Slackware. I'm going to submit this upstream as well since this tiny change makes a big difference for vmware users.

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Slax 7.0.4 released

written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

New version of Slax pocket operating system has been released. Improvements and fixes include:

  • added 'load=' and 'noload=' boot parameter support to filter loaded modules. The first parameter (load=) affects only modules from /slax/modules/ directory - if specified, only those modules matching the pattern are loaded. The other one (noload=) affects all modules, even the core ones. You can use regular expression pattern, for example noload=kde|devel|ffox

  • better bootinst.sh compatibility with ubuntu and its clones, since those have different default shell which behaves a bit differently than I expected

  • PXE now tries to get Slax data over TFTP (from the same server) if http connection to port 7529 fails, so you don't need to have a dedicated HTTP server running for PXE if you don't need the best performance (tftp is slow)

  • fixed a bug which appeared when using from=... to load Slax from a path which included a directory with two letters, like /os/.

  • fixed URL open in KDE (using %u in exec command in firefox.desktop), so clicking a link in pidgin for example opens it in firefox instead of downloading the URL by kde kioslave. Thanks to Manfred M. for the suggestion

  • support for special files in Slax Bundles. Content of file /run/activate.sh gets executed on activate, content of /run/deactivate.sh gets executed on module deactivation. File attributes don't matter at all, so there is no need to set them executable.

  • the autobuild system now adds a file /run/requires to all modules which require other modules. This file is used by 'slax activate' command to recognize and activate all dependencies automatically.

  • even more improved X autodetection. Tries to fallback to modesetting driver if X -configure fails to produce a working xorg.conf file, and fallbacks to vesa driver if modesetting is not available.

  • deactivation of Slax module now removes the module file, unless you deactivate it with the real filename as argument - then it is kept

  • added unRAR support (compiled from official unrar sources)
  • provide rightclick menu option to activate / deactivate Slax bundles in dolphin
  • hide loop devices from showing in dolphin by udev rule
  • buildscript now requires description, it is no longer optional
  • fixed korean support (added missing font to korean module)


  • Download Slax 7.0.4 here

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    Best practices for building Slax modules II

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    I've extended the documentation for best practices by the followint paragraphs. Feel free to share your opinion about them. Thanks!

  • Remove huge documentation. Lots of software comes with big documentation. If possible, avoid inclusion of this documentation in Slax modules. The reason is simple, almost nobody reads that anyway. Keep man pages, since those are widely used, but also just the necessary ones. Some applications may have the docs in /usr/doc, some in /usr/share/gtk-doc, or even somewhere else. Removeing the HTML/PNG documentation is highly recommended. In general, you can keep the documentation in the module if it is of a reasonable size, for example like 5% of the size of the final module. But if the documentation files are making the module 2MB bigger that is should be removed, unless it is necessary for the module to work properly.


  • Keep translations in /usr/share/locale. This directory contains translations for most software. Slax is a multi-language distro and there are many users who choose to download Slax in their mother language rather than in English. Keeping translations will make the software speak the different language automatically.



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    Best practices for building Slax modules

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    If you're writing build scripts to produce Slax modules, always bear in mind that there will be other users using your module. Here are some of the best practices you should follow in order to make your modules smaller, easier to install, and more useful for Slax users:

  • Use minimum runtime dependencies. If the software you're compiling requires other libraries, which are not absolutely essential for the software to run properly, always check if there are some compile-time options to compile it without the given dependency. If the compilation requires perl or python or other module but the software itself runs without it, make sure to distinguish compile-time dependencies and do not include those in regular dependency list.



  • Write good descriptions. The better description you write for your module, the easier it will be for the user to find your module (by fulltext search) and to understand what is it useful for.



  • That is all what I can think of for now. I will add this to the documentation section and I will be happy for your suggestions what you feel is a good practice for building modules (writing build scripts). Thank you.


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    Make Slax USB on Ubuntu

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    At first I have to say that I really like Ubuntu. No I don't, I'm lying. The reason why I stick with Slackware is the fact that things are actually working as one would really expect, every time the same, not like on the others *buntu based crappy systems. Sorry for the rude words, it made me feel much happier now :)

    So where is the problem? On Slackware, you can use echo -ne 'some\ntext' and the output gets rendered on two lines, one line containing word 'some' and the other line containing word 'text'. This is what one would expect to happen. And that happens all the time, even if you run this command in a subshell. Not on ubuntu or other distros based on the same base. You may guess what the command actually echoes. No, it is not some\ntext. It's surprisingly this:

    -ne
    some
    text

    What the f**k?!

    I am not even slightly able to understand why that happens, maybe it is even my fault to expect something else to happen, I don't know. The most important thing is that due to this behavior (unexpected for me) the bootinst.sh installer wasn't able to make a properly working Slax USB stick on Ubuntu and others, since I was using the above mentioned construct to echo some characters at the standard input of fdisk, to make Slax partition bootable, which didn't work since it received different text than I wanted.

    Anyway, to keep better compatibility with the 'other' distros (read: ubuntu), I'll simply use multiple echo commands, to make sure that fdisk understands what are we trying to tell it:

    echo a
    echo b
    echo c


    This change will be included in Slax 7.0.4. Thanks to Jerzy Glowacki for spotting that the problem is in boot flag, which allowed me to find out what's really happening there.

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    Email notifications for the autobuild system

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    All build scripts which are uploaded using slax buildscript upload command are automatically executed in a virtualized Slax environment on special server. Till now, if the build script failed for one reason or another, the users didn't have any information about the reasons. Starting of today, I've added email notifications, which inform each user about the status of module compilation from his build script.

    If a module is properly created on server by using the build script, the user receives email with just an OK message. However if a module fails to build, the user receives tail of the log file so he can investigate the issue, fix his build script and update it in the repository. Furthermore, if the module builds properly but has unresolved dependencies, it is refused and the user is informed by email what libraries are missing.

    I hope that these changes will help people to work with build scripts much more effectively.

    Another change has been made to the output of command slax info. This command prints information about any build scripts uploaded to Slax repository, even those which were not built properly. Added information now include status of module creation, thus you can see if the build script has module files created or not.

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    Slax income report - December 2012

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    When I first started to work on Slax many years ago, my goal was never to make money from it - I just wanted to learn something about Linux and share that with others. However, it turned out that if a project makes some money then it can grow much more rapidly and it can be, as a result, even more useful.

    Slax didn't make any significant revenue in the past. It was maybe due to the fact it wasn't marketed properly, or maybe because it didn't offer anything to spend the money on. With Slax 7, I decided to change that. You could already see that at the main page, where you can find a form to order Slax on a cool USB flash drive; many of you received the device already. I'd like to thank to all buyers once more again for their support.

    Each drive sold brings profit to Slax, which in turn makes me spend more time on it, which in turn makes Slax better :) I'm very happy to report that Slax project has generated, for the fist time in the history, an income significant enough to mention it. By selling the USB drives, Slax made $4079 in December 2012. That is just the income before deducting the costs, so final profit will be of course lower.

    In the near future, there will be more ways how to spend money on Slax :) and there will be even ways how to earn money on Slax. This all is possible only thanks to you, Slax users. Thank you!

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    How PXE boot works in Slax

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    If Slax is started with the boot option "Act as PXE server", it executes /sbin/pxe script during startup (in between runlevel 3 and runlevel 4). The pxe script has several goals. First of all, it takes the current initramfs directory tree from currently running Slax (from /mnt/live), adds to it all currently available network drivers from /lib/modules/ from the currently running Slax system, and packs everything into a new initramfs image, which is much bigger than the original one (since it contains all the drivers). It is stored in /var/state/dnsmasq/root/initramfs.img). This image is packed by gzip rather than xz because gzip has much better compression speed, and we don't care about compression ratio here, the size actually doesn't matter so much.

    When the new initramfs image is created, Slax data files are symlinked to /var/state/dnsmasq/root/* so the files can be downloaded by the client machines later.

    Finally, several services are started in background, such as DHCP, TFTP and HTTP. This ensures that the client machines get IP address assigned properly and are instructed to download vmlinuz and initramfs.img over TFTP from the server. Later, the client machines will download Slax data files over HTTP (which is much faster than TFTP in general) and Slax is started on the clients.

    Update

    If you have your own existing PXE server and just would like to boot Slax on your client machines by using it, you can actually do that too, but it is a bit tricky. First of all, you'll have to boot Slax acting as PXE server, and locate files in /var/state/dnsmasq/root/. You'll see initrfs.img image there and a link to vmlinuz. These two files must be served by your own PXE server over TFTP. Next, you'll have to setup a webserver on the same machine where your PXE server is running, on port 7529 (this number appears if you type SLAX on your mobile phone). Your webserver must provide PXEFILELIST file as you can find it in /var/state/dnsmasq/root/ as well as the data files listed in the PXEFILELIST.

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    Slax 7.0.3 with PXE support released

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    A new version of Slax Linux is available for download. This release adds several new features and fixes few bugs as well. Probably the most interesting feature is PXE boot support and improved X autodetection.

    PXE feature description:

    All modern computers nowadays support PXE, which allows booting of an operating system over network interface independently of data storage devices (like hard disks). Slax fully supports PXE booting now. How to do that? One computer will act as a server, so just boot Slax on it from CD or USB and make sure to have the appropriate boot menu option "Act as PXE server" checked. Slax on the server computer will provide DHCP, TFTP and HTTP services to enable PXE booting for other computers in your network. Now turn on all the other computers (clients) and make sure to select PXE boot in BIOS boot menu of all these computers. All the clients will autodiscover Slax PXE server and will load all needed data from it. Slax will start on all clients over network.

    Raw changelog for Slax 7.0.3 follows:

  • - added PDF file with Slax documentation
  • - added PXE server and client support
  • - added dnsmasq, added httpd support to busybox
  • - improved X autodetection by calling X -configure if default configuration fails
  • - added xev, a tool to list code of pressed key, so user can easily remap it with xmodmap
  • - bashrc file has been fixed to properly show current directory on command prompt
  • - fixed cleanup of 'slax' script (remove temporary files from /tmp using trap)
  • - fixed buildscipt checks to allow required bundles with + and _ characters in name
  • - fixed deb2sb (and deb2txz) script to support lzma-compressed DEB packages
  • - run kbuildsycoca4 on module activation to update KDE menu
  • - include mc.sh in bashrc so mc remembers last directory
  • Big thanks to Manfred M. (http://www.fluxflux.net/) for suggestions!


  • Enjoy the new Slax release, and feel free to submit your comments.

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    Documentation updates

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    While we're waiting for FTP mirrors to get updated for the next Slax release with PXE support, please take a while to review Slax documentation. I tried to cover the most important topics there, including module usage and buildscript creation, yet it is fairly possible that I forgot something or just wrote some part improperly. I'll be very grateful if you could possibly go through the documentation and let me know if there are sections which need more clarification or explanation. Thank you.

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    PXE support in Slax

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    After numerous requests for PXE support I've decided to implement it. It wasn't such hard, yet I struggled two problems. First one was an odd behavior of cpio, which wasn't able to create correct archive when asked to pack files from several directories into one. I didn't really find out how to make it work the way I wanted, so I had to create a temporary directory where all files are copied a priory and packed into a CPIO archive later. Another problem was pivot_root call, which refused to work and returned Invalid Argument error every time. Took me a hour to find out what's wrong. Linux live kit though it already escaped initramfs due to forgotten flag file. Anyway, the problems were resolved and I'm now running Slax which booted over PXE.

    There is yet one more issue I'd like to address, it is the speed of downloading Slax bundles (.sb files) over TFTP. It's very slow. So I'm compiling busybox with httpd support (yeah) and I'm going to try that instead of tftp, in the hope that it will be somehow faster.

    How PXE works: One computer (a server) is running Slax. Use command or boot parameter (unnamed yet) to prepare Slax to act as PXE server - it will just create an initramfs image with all network kernel drivers which are currently available in the currently running Slax, and will start dhcp and tftp services.

    Other computers (clients) will have PXE boot selected instead of disk boot. PXE autodiscovery will send to each client computer a new IP address and the needed files (vmlinuz, initrfs.img). Slax boots on client machines, modprobes kernel drivers to enable networking, downloads *.sb files from the local server into memory and runs from there.


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    Better Xorg autodetection

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    I had an impression that recent versions of xorg can autodetect everything on its own when no configuration file is present, so I didn't care much about this in Slax. I thought that xorg is a smart system. I was wrong, it seems :) Yesterday I just purchased a cheap mini notebook (netbook) from Acer and Slax wasn't able to start X automatically on this device. What a shame. Yet X was running properly after xorgsetup command. So I started to wonder, what makes the difference?

    I have to say that it's pretty odd. The difference is in running 'X -configure' to create an xorg.conf file which is later used by X itself again. One would say that if X can autodetect the hardware to create the configuration file, it should be smart enough to do the very same thing when running without one. But apparently that is not the case, so I saw "no screens found" error instead of X.

    Good news is that thanks to these findings I can improve Slax again :) I will simply make it run X -configure first before X is started, to assure that there is at least some config file for further usage.

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    Special files in Slax modules

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    In older Slax version (6.x) all modules could include rc script in /etc/rc.d/ which get executed even during 'activate' command. This is not the case for Slax 7, there is no such functionality so far. I'd like to make it a bit differently.

    This is not implemented yet, but I'm thinking about something like this: the directory /run in each Slax module could include several special files. For example, a special file /run/activate.sh could be a script which is to be executed when the module is activated by user while running Slax. Other file could be /run/deactivate.sh, which would be executed when the module is deactivated (perhaps to properly shutdown the application and close all files so the module could be even deactivated at all). Those scripts could be also executed during system startup, so you don't need to have your own rc scripts in /etc/rc.d/ or /etc/init.d/

    The main idea is that /run is overmounted by tmpfs in Slax anyway, so if the module has files in /run then those won't be visible in Slax' root filesystem at all, making them effectively hidden, only accessed through /mnt/live/memory/bundles/123-module.sb/run/* so only Slax could understand them and execute them as needed.

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    Slax 7.0.2

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    I made some experiments with the firefox module which is inside Slax, and I forgot to delete 2MB of useless data inthere so the resulting Slax 7.0.1 is more than 1MB bigger than it should. No harm happens, the forgotten stuff has no side effects at all, it just shouldn't be there. I'm pushing out 7.0.2 right now. If you can live with the fact that the new version 7.0.1 you just downloaded has 1MB of unused data which wastes your precious disk space then there is no need for you to download 7.0.2 since it is the very same in all aspects as like 7.0.1 (minus the forgotten stuff). The new version will be ready in about two or three hours, and I'm not going for any release announcement this time (except of this blog post) since the change is rather cosmetic and doesn't affect functionality.

    I didn't notice that 7.0.1 was so big unless I saw that distrowatch listed the release with download link size 213MB - then I realized something has to be wrong, since the previous release was 212MB and I didn't add any big stuff at all. So thanks distrowatch for listing the actual download size :)

    I will also publish a diffmod, a Slax Bundle (module) with just the differences between 7.0 and 7.0.2 so everybody who has the older version can upgrade his/her Slax to newest version by just a very tiny download. I'll publish the links here when ready.

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    Slax 7.0.1 released

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    For those who can't leave their computers even during Christmas (as I am apparently one of you), here is an update for Slax, code name Green Hornet, version 7.0.1. Changes include mostly bugfixes, kernel upgrade, Broadcom SoftMac support, and textmode support for keyboard mapping and fonts for the following languages: it, pt, ru, uk, fr, pl, cs, de.

    Raw changelog:

    - Fixed doubleclick on location bar in firefox
    - Fixed slax buildscript download, was not working in a subdirectory with spaces
    - Introduced bashrc with colors for konsole, thanks to Prcek for suggestion
    - xterm no longer needs helper in xterm.bin, hooray
    - allow underscore and plus sign characters in buildscript name
    - buildscript now supports function call 'strip_unneeded_objects'
    - buildscript now supports SLAX_64_FLAG variable which is set to "64" on x86_64 arch
    - updated flags for Catalan, Arabic and Chinese Tradidional according to users
    - added support for textmode fonts and keymaps: it, pt, ru, uk, fr, pl, cs, de
    - fixed deactivation of modules which were activated automatically during boot
    - upgraded to Linux Kernel 3.6.11
    - added broadcom driver for SoftMac, thanks to MarkDS for suggestion

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    Google login

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    After the facebook sign in, I've implemented login with your Google account. So if you don't like facebook for some reason or you're just more happy using google for authentication, feel free to test that by clicking the Sign In link at the top right, make sure to choose "Sign in with Google" from the offered options. Your profile photo should appear in comments too, hopefully :)

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    End of the world is today

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    As you probably know, today is the end of the world. At least some people say, according to some misinterpreted calculations of ancient Maya people. If you belong to those deluded individuals who believe that they're going to die today, I wish you a happy death and pleasant afterlife. To others, I wish you marry Christmas or holidays or however you call the upcoming times, and see you tomorrow :)

    Edit: Bernado Bastres (a priest from Punta Arenas) admits that he has no problem when people sell their entire belongings and give the money to the church, while expecting the world to end today. Why that doesn't surprise me? :)

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    Flash drives with Slax delivered

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    First flash drives with Slax have been delivered in the past days to some destinations such as Italy or Austria. I am happy that many users received them before Christmas, as I hoped. I didn't even imagine how hard is it going to be to put Slax on so many USB drives, pack them into envelopes and send them by post, especially during this pre-christmas time. The queues at our post office are rarely shorter than 30 minutes, everybody wants to send something nowadays :)

    Yet it is worth, since it brings income to Slax project, which is a necessary condition to keep this project alive. Without the income, I may stop developing Slax again in the future. So if you didn't order your flash drive yet, just do it right now! :)

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    Sign in using Facebook

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    It is now possible to sign in to Slax website using Facebook. After you are signed in, you will get automatically pre-filled Name for your new blog comments, and your profile photo will be used alongside your comments as well. This will make the blog comments more personal, and it will be easier to notice who wrote it.

    I realize that facebook may not be preferred by many users, and I would like to add more login options so even people using different social networks may easily sign in. Feel free to suggest your favourite authentication services, I'll try to add them if I can find their API somewhere explained. Facebook is the first one implemented here since their Graph API documentation is very good and it was a question of 10 minutes for me to implement it. So if you actually know where the API of your preferred service is described, please include the link in comments. Thank you very much.

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    Updating documentation

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    I'm currently in the process of updating documentation. You can access it by clicking at the "Documentation" link at the top menu here. I've divided the documentation into several sections, which should assure easier navigation.

    The most interesting part (for the end user) is the "Using Slax" section, which lists most of the interesting commands in Slax, presented in arranged tables. I'm sure you'll find at least one useful tool or command you were not aware about in Slax yet :)

    Next task is to provide documentation for both using and creating Slax modules.

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    Enabling 'slax download'

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    I've successfully created some basic buildscripts for certain packages for Slax. Furthermore the server side is ready so buildscripts are executed on server after you upload them to create Slax Bundles (modules). When a module is ready, you can now use 'slax download' command to get it or even 'slax activate' command to activate it on the fly while running Slax. As an example, you may try:

    $ slax activate kernel-firmware

    This will simply download and activate the kernel firmware module which is made from Slackware's kernel firmware. As soon as the module gets 'activated', it instantly appears like if it were installed in the system. You will find new files in /lib/firmware/. If you just wish to download the .sb module instead of activating it, you may use 'slax download' instead of 'slax activate'. I guess this is obvious :) You can always list known dependencies by using 'slax info' command, for example the following command will show you the dependencies for httpd:

    $ slax info httpd
    name: httpd
    version: 2.4.3
    required bundles: apr apr-util
    required bundles to compile:
    maintainer: Tomas M
    last update: 2012-12-17 12:21:48
    categories: network
    description: The Apache HTTP Server


    There are some ready modules for you to try, for example

    $ slax activate perl
    $ slax activate python
    $ slax activate mysql


    I noticed that when some additional modules (dependencies) are needed to be downloaded, it doesn't do that at the moment, I'll have to fix the 'slax' command to offer automatic download of dependencies. For now, if you wish to 'slax activate httpd' for example, you have to 'slax activate apr' and 'slax activate apr-util' a priori, then you can activate the httpd bundle and run the following command to start it on localhost:

    sh /etc/rc.d/rc.httpd start

    If you upload a buildscript using 'slax buildscript upload' command, your module will be built from it automatically for all supported architectures (32bit and 64bit at the moment).

    I'm hoping to make all the modules available in the Modules section of this website tomorrow. Many of Slackware standard packages are not built yet since there is dependency information missing (and the automated build server ignores Slax Bundles with missing dependencies.) This will be addressed later. Feel free to write buildscripts for Slax! :-)

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    Roadmap - the future of Slax

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    I'll try to describe what are my further intentions with Slax operating system and the website www.slax.org. This way, you could understand what's planed next and what to wait for.

    buildscripts database


    I've prepared more than 1000 build scripts which will make binary Slax Bundles from Slackware packages. Those are perfectly compatible with Slax, and are considered as trusted source. The further work requires to find out and properly fill dependencies to the buildscripts, this can be done mostly automatically, just by software. So I'm going to write this software and update my Slax buildscripts accordingly.

    Automatic builds on server


    All build scripts, including those I wrote, and including those which are submitted by users (using command 'slax buildscript upload'), will be kept in centrazlized database. Yet the buildscripts alone are of no practical use for the end user, as he would have to compile or build the software each time from scratch if he wants to include it in Slax. Thus, I'm already preparing a server environment where all submitted buildscripts will be processed. The environment will emulate Slax very closely (in fact it will be Slax itself running as virtual machine) and the output binary Slax Bundle of each buildscript will be created inside this virtual machine and stored on real filesystem.

    Software center and Modules


    As soon as the binary Slax Bundles are compiled or built in general, the software center in Slax and the Modules section at www.slax.org will be available, where users can read information about the software bundles and can download them. The software center in Slax is already prepared to offer direct activation / deactivation of the bundles.

    Slax updates - incremental and small


    I'm also going to release new version of Slax on a bi-weekly basis. The official release will be always the full 50GB of ISOs and ZIPs for all languages. Yet users will get an opportunity to download a diffbundle - a small Slax bundle (module) with .sb extension which will update their Slax version from X to Y. The software center in Slax can detect the version of Slax you're running and will offer you to download incremental tiny update to upgrade your running Slax to the newest version.

    Requests section


    The section called "Requests" at www.slax.org will be something like a clone of stackoverflow. You surely know that, people will be able to submit their request for help or suggestion for Slax. Furthermore, money will be involved - when users submit their request, for example when they want some module created with their software, or when they want some question answered, they will be able to choose to either request help for free, or offer to PAY for it any amount they want. Other users who are willing to answer the given question or make a buildscript for the given module will be listed in replies. The person who asked the question will choose winner, whose reply answered his question or provided the module etc, and the winner gets the money. This all will be optional, of course.

    Requests section - Slax improvements


    There are many things I am unable to resolve in Slax just myself. The very same Requests section will be used by myself to list current Slax issues, with price offer. Other users will be able to resolve those issues instead of me and get paid for it.

    Documentation


    As always, the documentation at www.slax.org needs to be updated in order to help people better understand both Slax and the website. I'll have to divide it into several sections to make it easier to navigate.

    This is basically the roadmap for the next month. Feel free to comment or ask. Your suggestions are always welcome.

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    Buildscripts in action

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    I've already implemented the server side for Slax buildscripts. You may try to explore the 'slax' command, no changes at Slax side necessary. I will be happy if you test this all to see if there are any bugs. You should always start by downloading of a template buildscript, use command:

    $ slax buildscript download template


    Then edit this template to suit your needs. Run it to produce your slax bundle. Uploading and downloading of your own buildscripts work as well, so when you are done editing, you may share it with others by:

    $ slax buildscript upload YOURSCRIPT.SlaxBuild


    You can also try commands "slax search KEYWORD" and "slax info NAME". For example the following command will list you all available localizations:

    $ slax search localization


    Your uploaded scripts will be just stored on the server now, the 'autobuilding' process DOES NOT WORK YET neither activation of remote module, it will be implemented later, I hope tomorrow, because then I will be off for 4 days due to my wife's plans to go away for the entire weekend (while weekend starts on Thursday evening) and I'll stay alone with our kids; I don't want them to watch TV all the day so it's better to go offline :)

    I've supplied buildscripts for all Slackware packages to the repository and I've became their maintainer. Feel free to test and report in case of any errors.

    How to use this practically



    You can use this all in practice already. For example if you wish to use perl, which is not included in Slax by default, issue the following sequence of commands to get it built and activated:


    $ slax buildscript download perl
    $ sh perl.SlaxBuild
    $ slax activate perl.sb
    $ perl -v # just to see it's there!




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    SSL support

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    This website now supports SSL, so you can use https:// in the URL instead of http to browser it more securely. What it means basically is that when you switch to https, the entire connection to Slax server is encrypted and nobody in the middle could possibly sniff what you're sending or receiving. It's not a big deal, indeed, but some people prefer it this way, and since I'm going to provide SSL for buildscript functins, it's already there so you can use it for regular surfing. Enjoy secure browsing! :)

    https://www.slax.org/



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    Mirror for Slax will be tomorrow

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    It seems the current download link does not provide sufficient connectivity for Slax needs. Current downloads are too slow. Thanks to Faculty of Informatics at Masaryk University, Slax downloads will hopefully be much faster tomorrow.

    Edit: It seems lots of the problems is also caused by impatient users who want Slax so badly that they open 20 concurrent connections to the site just to accelerate their download. I've blocked concurrent downloads from the same IP address now. Each user gets just one download connection. Sorry about that.

    Edit2: NEW MIRROR is ready at: http://ftp.linux.cz/pub/linux/slax/Slax-7.x/. Please report download speeds.

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    Slax 7.0 released

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    I'm happy to announce the final release of Slax version 7.0, code name Green Horn. After more than three years of silence Slax is back in action and is better than ever before. Also the website got updated, so make sure to check www.slax.org, you'll love it.

    Slax 7.0 is the major update of Slax Linux live operating system. It includes newest Linux Kernel, KDE4 desktop, GCC compiler and lots of other stuff and that all in just a ~210MB download. Furthermore it's available in more than 50 localizations, so you can get a Slax that speaks your language.

    Big thanks to everybody who helped with development and testing. The work didn't end now, actually it rather just started, I'm going to prepare Modules section for the website and bring Software Center in Slax to life. The next step, however, is to start supporting buildscripts. Slax is ready, just the webserver needs some work, I think I'll start with this.

    If you are experiencing slow download, you may consider purchasing Slax on USB drive, just check the home page and order one, it's awesome device! :)

    Enjoy! And thank you once more for using Slax.



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    Blog comment issues fixed

    written by Tomas M. 5 years ago

    Some users had troubles sending comments to this blog. I wasn't able to identify the problem myself until I realized it is a common problem of unescaped quotes. Simply said it wasn't possible to send a comment which included ". I am sorry for the problems as it was entirely my fault, I forgot to call mysql_escape() for the data received. I'm happy it has been found soon enough. Thank you everybody for your bug report regarding this!

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