Hurray !! New Slackware version is on the way

Slackware team has released the new development snapshot Release Candidate 2 of Slackware 14.2 on 23rd April 2016. And it seems like it will be the last RC version before the final release of the OS. It includes a number of kernel fixes as well as an update to the latest version of the Thunderbird e-mail client.

According to the team ~ “Finally got some fixes we were waiting for in this new kernel. It’s been almost a month since 14.2-rc1 so we’ll call this Slackware 14.2 Release Candidate 2. Almost there. Get in any last-minute bug reports quickly.

The full list of changes can be found in the changelog.

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Steps for booting Slackware to GUI, and some details on runlevels

Starting process in a gnu/linux system

runlevel is a software configuration of the system which allows only a selected group of processes to exist.

What are the runlevels in Slackware ?

0 - Halt
1 - Single User Mode
2 - unused (but configured the same as runlevel 3)
3 - multiuser mode without display manager(default Slackware runlevel)
4 - Multi-user mode with X11 with KDM/GDM/XDM (session managers)
5 - unused (but configured the same as runlevel 3)
6 - Reboot

In Slackware Linux runlevel 1 is for maintenance (as on other Linux distributions). runlevels 2, 3 and 5 identically configured for a console (with all services active except the X Window System); and runlevel 4 adds the X Window System.

How to check the current runlevel of the system?

The runlevel command is used to find the current and previous runlevels on Unix-like operating systems.Type the following and press the Enter key to get the details of runlevel:

# /sbin/runlevel
N 3

If there is no recorded previous runlevel the command will show ‘N’ and then the current runlevel.

Or one can use the command who with the argument -r  to get the current runlevel details.

# who -r
run-level 3  2013-06-29 23:57                   last=S

Which is the default runlevel and how to change it ?

The default runlevel in slackware is 3, which means system will boot in to a console. So the user have to enter username and password in console and then give the ‘startx’ command to start the x window system.

To change the runlevel one can follow any of the steps bellow :

1. Manually edit the /etc/inittab file. (To change the default runlevel)
This method need a reboot to make the change in effect. i.e, we know that the default runlevel in slackware is 3 and that’s why the system boot in to a console. But what if one need to boot his system to a started X window system ? for that the runlevel must be 4, right? So open the configuration file /etc/inittab in your favorite editor as root and find the following line.

id:3:initdefault:

and change 3 to 4, which is the runlevel for multiuser mode with X window system started. And then on the system will boot with X windows started. Do not set the default run level to 0 or 6, you can guess what will happen then.

2. init or telinit
Init can be in one of eight runlevels: 0-6 and S  or  s. The processes spawned by  init for each of these runlevels are defined in the /etc/inittab file.  The  runlevel  is changed  by having a privileged user run telinit, which sends appropriate signals to init, telling it which runlevel to change to.

According to the manual page :

# init [ -a ] [ -s ] [ -b ] [ -z xxx ] 
# telinit [ -t SECONDS ]

To execute these commands user need to login as root. To use these commands one can either use the console or a virtual console, using Ctrl+Alt+F (console 1, you use Ctrl+Alt+F1. To reach back to the window system use Ctrl+Alt+F7), if the user started x window system.

How to configure runlevels in Slackware

The init is the parent of all processes with a pid 1. Its primary purpose is to create processes from a script stored in the file /etc/inittab file. After init is invoked as the last step of the kernel boot sequence,  it looks for the file /etc/inittab to see if there is an entry of the type initdefault. The initdefault entry determines the initial  runlevel  of  the  system.   If  there  is  no  such entry (or no /etc/inittab at all), a runlevel must be entered at the system console. So entries in /etc/inittab controls autonomous processes required by the system by telling init what is the default runlevel, and what to do when entering or leaving each runlevel.

In Slackware /etc/rc.d/ contains a few scripts for several of the daemons or subsystems a system may run, and the scripts includes rc.0, rc.S, rc.K, rc.M, rc.6. Where rc.0 actually is a symlink to the rc.6 script because it’s so similar: rc.6 reboots the system except when invoked as rc.0, in which case it halts the system. The rc.? scripts do several things directly, as well as running the other scripts. So on Slackware, runlevels can be administered with an editor.

References :

Slackware Family Tree

Slackware Family Tree

Slackware Family Tree

Image Source : wikimedia

Flash support for Gnu/linux and free software alternatives

When I read that Adobe was going to withdraw it’s stand alone flash player support for Gnu/Linux, felt a little bit strange, though it was with the exception of chrome/chromium browser.

flash player logo

As per a blog entry by Adobe: “Adobe has been working closely with Google to develop a single modern API for hosting plugins within the browser (one which could replace the current Netscape plugin API being used by the Flash Player). The PPAPI, code-named “Pepper” aims to provide a layer between the plugin and browser that abstracts away differences between browser and operating system implementations”. So from it is pretty clear that how Google is going to market their Chrome browser for Gnu/Linux, if you are using a Gnu/Linux distribution and you want to see Flash content, it looks like you’re left with just one choice, and that’s to embrace Google Chrome. Yet there left something for us to hope and they are the Free and Open source alternatives for the Adobe Flash Player.

I was confused that whether I should be happy or sad about this move. I’m happy because this move can cause the free software alternatives to be developed more aggressively (As there is no choice)  and the sad because the alternatives are not yet fully functional as the adobe flash player and it may take little more time for them  up to the expectations.


GNU Gnash

Gnash player

GNU Gnash is the GNU Flash movie player and is based on GameSWF. Which is available both as a standalone player and as a browser plugin for Firefox(read it as Gecko-based browsers :)), as well as for Chromium and Konqueror. It supports most SWF v7 features and some SWF v8 and v9 but SWF v10 is not supported by GNU Gnash.

Lightspark

Lightspark player

Lightspark is a Free Flash player and browser plugin that runs on Linux. It’s aim is to support Adobe’s newer Flash formats and AVM2 virtual machine. Latest version can be downloaded from here. It currently supports youtube well enough for daily use (as per the developer website :))

Here is a useful Link: Weekend project : Open source alternatives to Adobe Flash on Linux

Well let’s see what is going to happen.