Enabling 'slax download'

written by Tomas M. 6 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. 6 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. 6 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. 6 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. 6 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. 6 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. 6 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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Slax 7 final release in few hours

written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

I'm just uploading Slax 7.0 final release to server, I've slow uplink so it will take few hours, then it will be released. I've already started processing Slax USB drive orders too, all of them will include Slax 7.0 final.

As a last addition, I've managed to remove the title bar from FireFox to save some vertical screen space, which is so precious on all those "modern" widescreen displays. Screenshot:



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Slow server responses

written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

I noticed slow server responses yesterday, and I am notified by users that it is slow today as well. The maximum transfer rate seems to be very slow at the moment. The server hosting I'm using was able to trace the issue yesterday and they improved it (it was due to some of their providers, they had some significant packet loss), yet the problems reappeared today again.

Current server is in USA. I'm going to move to United Kingdom as soon as I get a quote from sales ...

5 comments
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Tired of captcha

written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

I'm tired of retyping captchas all the time, even on this blog. Yet captcha is the only way to protect against spam on discussion forums and blogs. There are several ways to implement it, and I've decided to use something new. Well perhaps it's not new, but I didn't notice it yet anywhere so I'm going to assume it's my own invention unless you prove me wrong ;-)

Instead of retyping graphical image, lets make there few checkboxes and let the user check only some of them, randomly. This way captcha can be solved by few mouse clicks, which is much less error prone than retyping strange textual font from classic captcha image.

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New website design for Slax

written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

I'm going to release a new website design for Slax. Furthermore, this blog will be moved to Slax website as well (under the 'blog' menu). Old Slax website will be available for a while under new URL address: http://old.slax.org/ but should be considered deprecated and nobody will visit it any longer. Forum will be marked as read-only.

For Slax 7, there will not be any forum at all. Instead, I'm going to introduce a new section called "Requests". There, people can submit their requests and ask others for help. Each request will have separate topic, and in the future user will be able to earn money for answering questions of other users.

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Slax weekly update #14

written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

I'm again few days late with the weekly update, as usual :) Anyway, this week's weekly update will be skipped :) You can download Slax rc3 from here: http://ftp.slax.org/Slax-7.x/testing/rc3/

The interesting changes include:

  • Slax is now translated to more than 50 languages
  • added 'slax' use like 'slax activate'
  • avoid unwanted error warnings about missing devices
  • bootinst script fixes and improvements
  • added some firmware including radeon and some wifi drivers
  • support from=/path/slax.iso boot parameter to load slax data from the given iso
  • Firefox style improvements, Slax software Center
  • added module tools such as sb2dir, deb2sb, txz2sb
  • added development module. Total Slax size is now around 210MB (for 32bit)
  • new wallpaper, hooray!

  • I expect that the final version will not have any more changes and this RC3 will become final on Monday 10th of December 2012. Yet plans may change, of course, if a critical problem is found or such. Thank you very much for all your feedback and testing!

    76 comments
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    Fixing AUFS bug

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    While testing the new "Slax software center" which will be available for Slax, I noticed a bug in AUFS. I submitted it to Junjiro Okajima, who is AUFS' developer, and we worked during the last two days on fixing it. It wasn't such simple to reproduce it, so I had to test all patches on my environment and send the result debug back to Junjiro. Finally the problematic part has been identified and fixed. Without it, it wouldn't be possible to activate Slax Bundles (modules) while Slax is running.

    I'm yet waiting for the finalized code of aufs so I could recompile kernels and release last RC version of Slax. I hope to get that ready tomorrow. There should be very short testing phase, and I should be able to ship Slax on those cool USB drives to users who wish to purchase it.

    2 comments
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    Slax bundles and build scripts

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    I've received some valuable feedback on Slax buildscripts, which I mentioned in one of the previous blog posts. Several questions has been asked so I'll answer them. The idea is following: users will write build scripts for Slax, and they will be able to submit the scripts to Slax server so the server can make (compile or whatever) the binary Slax Bundles (.sb) automatically. The reason for this is that with each new Slax release, all binary bundles may be updated (recompiled or whatever) automatically so they will always work. Another good reason is that it will be much easier to check if the bundles contain only safe software, since users will not submit any binary packages, only the recipe.

    Why not to use existing slackbuild scripts, for example those which are at slackbuilds.org? Well, there are several reasons I don't like them. Main reason is the poor quality of the code. Don't understand me wrong, I'm sure all the build scripts work properly. But my purpose is to provide unified way of writing them. For example, most slackbuild scripts include some long code to check architecture at the beginning, then some other long code to make temporary folders and unpack sources to them, etc.

    If there is a well-designed template, with unified way to perform these tasks easily with just few command, it will be much easier to read and maintain such build scripts. As an example, instead of 20 lines of code at the beginning of the build script, there can be just something like:
    download_all_sources
    extract_all_sources
    init_bundle_target_dir
    activate_dependencies

    Another thing is dependency tracking. I don't want the automatic dependency tracking which I was trying to make with the old Slax 6. It made more problems than it should. So this time I would like to let the dependency be set by the buildscript creator. For that purpose, the buildscript will just include two variables. Lets see an example:
    SLAX_BUNDLES_REQURED="lib1,lib2,lib3"
    SLAX_BUNDLES_REQUIRED_TO_COMPILE_ONLY="perl,cmake"

    The slax build script will simply activate all dependencies before it starts the actual work. This will provide useful info to the user who is reading the script as well as to the server which will automatically activate all dependencies before the compilation starts.

    What if there are multiple submissions for the same packages? Well, every build script will need to have unique name. Lets say ffmpeg. The first one who makes buildscript for ffmpeg will become the owner and maintainer, and nobody else will be able to submit build script with the same name (unless some selected admin decides). Thus if the user wants to build some software which requires some other library, then he must firstly write buildscript to make Slax Bundle with the library, and then he can include that dependency in his build script.

    If somebody decides to include libraries together with the software, well lets be it. As long as there is another slax buildscript submitted for the given library, others can continue using it, there will no longer be a problem if a library is in several bundles (as this made some troubles for Slax 6, if you remember).

    I hope that these my ideas will work out. I appreciate all your feedback on this, it is possible that I've overlooked something important, so all your comments are really welcome.


    26 comments
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    Download progress in KDE

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    It is essential to show download progress when Slax bundle is to be downloaded for activation. Yet wget doesn't provide GUI feedback at all, so we have to hack on its output. The idea is simple, just parse output of wget, read percentage value of current progress, and pass it to kdialog progress bar. But I found that rather problematic due to the buffering made by grep and sed.

    For example, if you use something like$ tail -f | grep 'foo bar'then it works realtime. As soon as new data becomes available, it is filtered by grep and printed right away. But when another pipe is added, such as$ tail -f | grep 'foo bar' | tr -d '%'then it stops working the same way. Grep buffers the output, for better performance. In our case where wget output is filtered and manipulated, we need new percentage value as soon as possible, so the user gets updated the GUI progress bar accurately, but the buffering would delay the update, which we don't want. Fortunately recent versions of grep and sed support parameters to stop this buffering.

    So the filter which can be passed to kdialog later looks like this:wget --progress=dot http://download.data/ 2>&1 \
    | fgrep --line-buffered '%' \
    | sed -u -r 's:.* ([0-9]+)% .*:\1:'
    notice -u for sed, and --line-buffered for grep.


    9 comments
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    Buildscripts

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    Old Slax 6 had unclean way of building modules. Everybody could make Slax modules in any preferred way, and it was a mess. So with Slax 7, I'm introducing new way of building modules - by using buildscripts. Users will no longer share final modules. Instead, they will share just the 'recipes' how to build them.

    There will be a command in Slax 7, which will help you make modules, and it will be actually the only allowed way. The command will be: 'slax' :) Sorry for the confusion ;)

    How do you make a module for Slax 7? Here is how: First, use command$ slax buildscript download templateThis will get you a template script, template.SlaxBuild. You will find many useful pre-configured variables in this script, you customize it so it produces Slax module when it is executed.

    After that, you will be able to use command $ slax buildscript upload yourscript.SlaxBuildThis command will upload your build script to Slax server. It is forbidden to upload binary bundles. Only build scripts will be accepted by the server. You will be also able to use $ slax buildscript updateand$ slax buildscript delete
    Uploading your buildscript will require you to create password. Update or delete operations will ask for the same password. The module (binary .sb file) will be compiled for all available architectures ON THE SERVER. It will run in sandbox (completely different machine, and virtualized), to make it harder for you to hack my server ;) Also the build scripts will be manually reviewed. When compiled, the binary Slax Bundle will be available for others.

    Finally, user will be able to use $ slax activate BundleNamewhich will automatically search for BundleName on server and if found it will download it and activate it right away. Similarly, there will be $ slax deactivate BundleName
    I hope to release RC3 version of Slax soon (as soon as the web interface is ready for this) so you can test it and possibly provide feedback on this. Thank you

    17 comments
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    Console font and keymappings

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    In order to support displaying of international characters on textmode console and provide correct keyboard mappings, I need the folloging information from you - the users:

    1) What is your language
    2) What is your preferred konsole font
    3) What is your preferred keyboard mapping

    The 1) is obvious.

    For 2) I will need you to run Slax in textmode only and navigate to /usr/share/kbd/konsolefonts/ directory. You'll find there a bunch of console fonts, you can try them by "setfont" command, for example for Russian you will probably try "setfont -v UniCyrExt_8x16.psf.gz". Alternatively you may start "setconsolefont" and select from the menu.

    For 3) I will need you to run Slax in textmode only and navigate to directory /usr/share/kbd/keymaps/. There are several subdirectories, you have to find your preferred keyboard mapping from the files inthere, you can try it by "loadkeys" command. For example for russian you'll probably want to try "loadkeys ru" or "loadkeys ru.map.gz". You can then switch between english and russian keyboard by pressing Pause/Break key.

    So, if you want your language to be supported on textmode console, please provide the info which best suits you. For example, for russian, I will need to know something like:

    Language: russian
    Console font: UniCyrExt_8x16.psf.gz
    Keyboard mapping: ru.map.gz

    Actually these above mentioned values are just my guess, I need your corrections here. I will add support to Slax for all languages for which I receive the above mentioned info as a comment to this blog post, or by email. Thank you very much.

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    Weekly update #13

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    Some say that the number 13 brings bad luck. Well it's just a superstition :) Slax weekly update 13 is here.

    There is not much to talk about, though the work involved was huge. Last week I've made good progress in finalizing Slax translations and international support. Slax 7 will be available in 56 translations.

    The international support involved finding correct locale settings for all the supported languages, finding keyboard mappings for xkbd, selecting flag image for each country which belongs to the given language, and finally separation of the actual translations (.mo files) into distinct language packages (bundles).

    The selection itself is not perfect, for example there are countries outside of France and Germany where people speak French or German, take Switzerland as an example. So I decided to provide Slax just in the given languages (eg. German or French) and also put there the flag of the country from which the language "comes from". So if you select French translation since you're living in Geneva, Switzerland, and thus you're speaking french, you'll see flag of france in Slax, sorry :)

    This week I'm working on slax devel tools to let people write build scripts, compile software bundles, and submit their work directy to Slax server by a command.

    2 comments
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    Using international names for common directories

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    I think I'm done with international support for Slax now. I managed to put there a cool feature, it's a new one for me so I'm happy I was lucky enough to notice it: thanks to xdg-user-dirs, it is possible to provide internationalized directory names such as "Downloads", "Photos", "Videos" and such, all in your language.

    When Slax is started with international support (with a language module), it automatically creates the directories using system locales. It seems most of the software understands this, so for example Mozilla will start saving files to "Downloads" (its internationalized equivalent) and so on.

    I enjoy watching Slax in Chinese and Russian now, it looks so exotic :)

    9 comments
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    Recompressing GZIPs for Slax

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    Does this seem like dejavu? :) Not at all, I was already talking about the very similar recompressing of ZIP archives. As a reminder, Slax is compressed by LZMA2 (XZ in squashfs), so uncompressed data is compressed better than already compressed ZIPs. This is the same for gzip, but gnu gzip refuses -0 (level zero) parameter so it basically just can't produce uncompressed output.

    So I had to write own software to actually compress using level=0. It was not any hard at all, since I used PHP :) Here is the short PHP script:

    #!/usr/bin/php
    <?php
        $data=file_get_contents("php://stdin");
        echo gzencode($data,0);
    ?>

    It reads data from standard input and writes zero-compressed data on standard output. Actually there are not much gzipped files in Slax, few keyboard mappings and some svgz images, to name a few. Recompressing them using zero compression (and packing later using squashfs) makes entire Slax smaller by about 1MB. Not much, but as always, every byte counts :)

    8 comments
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    Finalizing translations

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    I'm having some hard time (but still fun) finalizing the translations and multilingual support for Slax. Lately I was making FireFox talk in your native language :)

    My first impression was terrible, I found firefox offered only as a whole package bundled with international support. That wasn't usable, so I searched more and found distinct packages containing just translations. It was not obvious how to actually make the extension work at all, but finally I found some article which helped with that.

    Yet there was another problem, how to make the extension auto-install in FireFox - the browser has some strange feature that it informs the user if extensions were installed using an external program, asking if the user wants the extension or not. I found that rather disturbing. So finally I've made an bogus (empty) extension which I install to firefox, and then the language xpi overides it. Not a perfect solution but it works.

    I've also applied some nicer theme to firefox in Slax, since it looked just terrible. One developer is working for me on an addon to get rid of the title bar, to save some more space on screen.

    10 comments
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    International support for Slax

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    Slax 7 will be available in more than 50 languages, see the following table. The first column, locale, means system locales from /usr/share/locale/XX/, where XX is for example "cs" for Czech. The second column, keyb, means keyboard mapping code from /etc/X11/xkb/rules/base.lst.

    Please check it to see if your language has correctly selected keyboard mapping and locales, so I could possibly fix it in the list. Also, if you language requires special font, please mention that in the comments, so I could add it, preferably use font from Slackware's repository. Thank you very much.

    localekeybLanguage
    araraArabic
    bgbgBulgarian
    bsbaBosnian
    caadCatalan
    ca@valenciaadCatalan (Valencian)
    csczCzech
    dadkDanish
    dedeGerman
    elgrGreek
    en_GBgbEnglish (UK)
    esesSpanish
    eteeEstonian
    euesBasque
    fairFarsi
    fifiFinnish
    frfrFrench
    gaieIrish
    glesGalician
    heilHebrew
    hrhrCroatian
    huhuHungarian
    iaenInterlingua
    idinIndonesian
    isisIcelandic
    ititItalian
    jajpJapanese
    kkkzKazakh
    kmkhKhmer
    kokrKorean
    ltltLithuanian
    lvlvLatvian
    nbnoNorwegian (Bokmaal)
    ndsdeLow Saxon
    nlnlDutch
    nnnoNorwegian (Nynorsk)
    painPunjabi
    plplPolish
    ptptPortuguese
    pt_BRbrBrazilian Portuguese
    roroRomanian
    ruruRussian
    silkSinhala
    skskSlovak
    slsiSlovenian
    srrsSerbian
    svseSwedish
    tgtjTajik
    ththThai
    trtrTurkish
    ugaraUyghur
    ukuaUkrainian
    vivnVietnamese
    wafrWalloon
    zh_CNcnSimplified Chinese
    zh_TWcnChinese


    23 comments
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    Weekly update #12

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    I can see I didn't write many blog posts last week, yet still I made some noticeable progress, as far as I can see from my changelog.

    I was primarily improving Slax after testing on some other computers. I noticed that phonon remembers devices on current computer and then complains if the user runs Slax on another computer that the previously discovered devices are missing. This is somehow unwanted so I've added a reset function which makes phonon forget previous state. The user knows he is on a different computer, so he doesn't need to be reminded by annoying dialog.

    There were some file permissions set incorrectly in Slax due to a mistake I've made. It was no problem for default Slax user, which is root, but if a regular user account was used, it wasn't even able to access /etc configuration files at all. To my surprise, AUFS checks permissions on all branches, so even if the topmost branch has correct perms, some lower branch may break things. This is now fixed by providing the very same (sane) permissions for /etc.

    The kdm desktop manager, which I am using to autostart KDE session in Slax, is somehow mad. It wants to log some debug info all the time, which nobody needs actually. I set it to put the infos to /dev/null, but kdm removed the null device and recreated it is a regular file. Silly kdm. So it was necessary to convince kdm to stop logging but not to remove /dev/null. I've actually resolved it by specifying that it should log to /tmp. And since it's a directory, which can't be removed (since it's not empty), it gives up the logs.

    Lastly, I've updated Linux Live Kit (a set of my own scripts which I base Slax on) to support boot parameter from=/path/slax.iso. This way, it is possible to run Slax even from an ISO file, which may be located on any disk. Slax will search all disks until /path/slax.iso is found. While I was on this task, I noticed Copy to RAM feature didn't work well in combination with from=, so it's now fixed as well. Finally, if persistent changes is enabled at the same time as Copy to RAM, Slax copies its data to RAM and keeps the device mounted to put persistent changes to it, as you would expect (it wasn't able to use persistent changes with Copy to RAM before).

    Next week, I have no simple plan at the moment. My TODO list (actually a piece of paper on my desk) is full of 20 different things, so I'll just pick them one by one and report the progress again :)


    22 comments
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    Using from=slax.iso

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    It was requested many times to implement from=slax.iso boot parameter, so I just did it. Was a bit harder than I thought, but involved just 20 lines of code or such. While doing this, I noticed that "Copy to RAM" feature was broken when used together with from= boot parameter, so I fixed it as well.

    I've just pushed out Linux Live kit version 1.5 which contains all the changes, and it will be of course included in next RC version Slax.

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    Tracking a fatal kernel bug

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    Slax uses ZRAM to compress RAM memory on the fly. Lately, I was noticing fatal errors (kernel oopses) if lots of RAM was filled very quickly. So I spent almost a day tracking down the issue, recompiling 6 different kernel versions, applying various patches and such.

    Finally I was able to track down which particular patch made the problem. Everything is just fine for kernel 3.6.4 and older, but there is a patch for zram in 3.6.5 which makes it unstable in certain situations. After reverting this particular patch, there are no longer any problems.

    If you're interested, the incriminated change in kernel is here. I've already notified all the guys who signed that change, hopefully they can fix it. Maybe their code is even correct and it just exposed some other hidden bug in kernel ... who knows. In the mean time, I'll simply revert this particular change for Slax kernels, to bring better stability with no oopses.

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    I'm a bit ill

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    I'm currently a bit ill thus my work has slowed down somehow. Will be back as soon as possible, most likely in two days.

    In the mean time, I'm writing documentation for Slax internals. Just for the case somebody wants to deeply understand how Slax works and what technologies are used... I didn't realize how hard it could be to write such text, to explain the stuff in simple words to others... :)

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    Website updates coming soon

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    Slax is almost finished, but the operating system itself is just a half of the story. Usable Website is the same important. The current web requires major rewrite too. It's unusable on many mobile devices and it doesn't provide the features I need for the upcoming Slax release. Nice website is the core part of marketing strategy and it is of course very important for Slax as well.

    Don't take me wrong, I am sure we could live with ugly site too, but having nice and usable web is always better, you can trust me on this :)

    The process of rebuilding the website is great opportunity for me to learn something new. Today, I'm learning twitter bootstrap. Twitter what? :) It's a Design Framework. In fact it is a very smart CSS file (plus some optional javascripts) which makes HTML coding fun and effective. Furthermore, the final site layout adapts automatically to different screen resolutions, making it usable on mobile devices as well as full HD screens, which is a must for modern website.

    Twitter's bootstrap is really awesome. I should be able to publish some live Slax site examples soon.

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    Slax RC2 and weekly update #11

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    I've been mostly fixing and improving the RC1 version of Slax. I would like to thank to everybody who tested it and provided valuable feedback. Thanks to you, Slax can be always better than before.

    Download current Slax release

  • Slax 7 - KDE 4 - 32bit ISO - 183MB (for CD/DVD)
  • Slax 7 - KDE 4 - 32bit ZIP - 183MB (for USB)
  • Slax 7 - KDE 4 - 64bit ISO - 189MB (for CD/DVD)
  • Slax 7 - KDE 4 - 64bit ZIP - 189MB (for USB)
  • Changelog:

    The boot installer script has been fixed and updated. One of the most common problem (as it seems to me) nowadays is the strange behavior of some automounting programs, such as udisks, which mount FAT filesystem with showexec parameter. Due to that, only files with windows extensions (BAT, COM, EXE) are treated as executable. To make it simpler, I managed to write bootinst.bat script so it executes in both Linux and Windows. This should make things easier.

    I've added ModemManager and related dependencies, including broadband provider info data, so it should be now easier to connect to the internet using a modem. This was heavily requested by the users, I didn't realize how many people use modem internet connection.

    KDE desktop was updated to the latest stable version 4.9.3.

    When Slax reboots or shuts down, it now automatically ejects CD (in case it was actually started from it), so the user can remove the medium before the actual shutdown. Busybox's eject command has probably no support for newer CDROM devices or the SATA interface, I don't really know. So I had to statically compile 'eject' command as external binary from sources, and this eject works just fine. If you're running Slax from USB drive then it doesn't (shouldn't!) eject any CD, of course :)

    Finally, some of the missing or broken dependencies were fixed, so Flash Player now works in FireFox (missing libcurl and libldap was added), KDE can mount Windows shares (missing libsmbclient was added), and FireFox is no longer missing libnotify.

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    Android app sources

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    There were several requests for the source code of the android application Slax Installer. I've published the source code on github, feel free to submit any patches which could improve the application. By the way, I don't even know how to compile the whole thing, so introducing an INSTALL or HOWTO-COMPILE file would be helpful as well :) If you wish to become maintainer of the github code, let me know, since I'm not skilled/interested enough to check the code or approve/deny the patches.

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    Slax Android app on Google Play

    written by Tomas M. 6 years ago

    If you're interested in running Slax from your android phone, you may find this Android app useful. It just downloads the latest version of Slax (32bit) to your phone's SD card and prints instructions what you should do further in order to make it bootable. Unfortunately this part can't be set up by the application itself since it would require root privileges.

    You can get the application from Google Play, simply search for 'slax installer'. No ads, no bullshit. Enjoy! :)

    I have to say that it's not a simple task to make the application available in google's market, the application must provide versioning information, it has to be compiled for release, self signed, zip aligned, and who knows what else... and finally google takes $25 as a welcome fee.

    Yet it seems to be still simple enough for some evil people to publish evil applications at low cost. I thought that there will be some review process by google, but that didn't happen, as far as I can tell. By default google forbids the user to install application from unknown sources, but this security seems almost unnecessary, since from my point of view the google market is the same unknown source as any other, potentially filled by dangerous apps. Slax installer should be safe, yet I didn't write it myself (it was a paid job) so feel free to try it and report any damage! :)

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