I started running Slackware (and FreeBSD, its close cousin) in 1995.

It’s come a ways from version 2.3 to 13.37. However, some things don’t work out of the box. And some packages have yet to make their way into the official distribution.

Here are a couple of items I got working recently, in the hopes they might be useful to other photogs who run Slackware Linux:

1) Epson Perfection V300 Photo/Negative Scanner:

Seiko Epson has drivers for this device. They also have a program called IScan that does fine with scanning photos – and negatives. It isn’t as advanced as the Win32 software but it works. And unlike VueScan, it is free.

Download packages from

Convert the packages to a standard format:
# rpm2pkg iscan-data-1.13.0-1.noarch.rpm
# rpm2pkg iscan-2.20.0-6.i386.rpm
# rpm2pkg esci-interpreter-gt-f720-0.0.1-2.i386.rpm

Install the packages using pkgtool (in this order):
# installpkg iscan-data-1.13.0-1.noarch.tgz
# installpkg iscan-2.28.1-3.i386.tgz
# installpkg esci-interpreter-gt-f720-0.1.1-2.i386.tgz

Config your system.

Add yourself to the scanner group in /etc/groups:
# usermod -G scanner your_login

Edit /etc/sane.d/dll.conf:
Uncomment “epkowa” in /etc/sane.d/dll.conf.
(Be sure epson and epson2 are commented out).

Edit /etc/sane.d/epkowa.conf:

interpreter usb 0x04b8 0x0131 /usr/lib/esci/libesci-interpreter-gt-f720

(you can delete the remaining lines if desired)

Set permissions on the device:
# scanimage -L
returns something like:
device `epkowa:interpreter:001:009′ is a Epson Perfection V300 flatbed scanner
The colon-delimited numbers are used to set perms:
# chown root:scanner /dev/bus/usb/001/009
use your device numbers here ^^^^^^^^^^^

If you want to test the device:
# scanimage -d epkowa -T

To scan, click on IScan on the desktop. The negative scanner is not bad. Sane also works for photos and VueScan (non-free) is a fancier version of IScan – I haven’t used it as it slaps dollar signs all over the scanned image until you pay the programmer. The business model of Open Source (welcome donations but don’t cripple the software) is a better approach in my view and so I use IScan.

2) Kdenlive: installing this really terrific video editor is a snap thanks to slapt-get and is the Italian Slackware community and they have packages for almost anything you’d want. You download their packages via a program called slapt-get.

Install slapt-get
Get slapt-get packages from
Configure /etc/slapt-get/slapt-getrc
Add this line: SOURCE=

Install kdenlive:
# slapt-get -u (reads in available packages)
# slapt-get -i kdenlive
All dependencies will be downloaded.
Packages will be stored in /var/slapt-get
If you use it a lot and the stored packages eat up space run:
# slapt-get –clean

Create an icon in KDE and run the program. Here are some useful tricks:

To add images/clips, click on Project, Add Clip and select the image. Drag it from the Project screen (top left) and drop it on Video Track 1.

Fade From Black at the start of a new image/clip and Fade To Black at the end of the image/clip is a nice effect.

To add dissolves/cross fades – right click on the clip and select Add Transition .. Wipe. Test the results in the project monitor and drag the Wipe up or down until it behaves the way you intended.

To watermark – save a target project and close it. Start a new project. Click on project_name.kdenlive (yes the config file not the rendered video), drag it from the Project window to Video Track 2. Click on Project, Add Title Clip. Edit the title adding text or an image. Drag the title clip to Video Track 1. Stretch it to desired length. Save project. Render.

3) Amazon Downloader:

If you edit a lot of photos (or write a lot of code), music is a must. The Amazon downloader is useful for buying MP3s. And Amazon supports Linux but only a few distributions (Debian/Ubuntu and Redhat/Suse). The good news is that it works on Slackware, the not so bad news is that it takes a bit of trickery to get it going. Here’s my crude but effective recipe:

*** This works on Slackware 13.37 ***

Download the Slackware 13.0 version of boost:
( has a list of mirrors where you can get this package, it’s a std slackware package).

*Manually* unpack the tarball and copy the following files to /usr/local/lib:

Make symlinks to /usr/lib:

ln -sf /usr/local/lib/ /usr/lib/
ln -sf /usr/local/lib/ /usr/lib/
ln -sf /usr/local/lib/ /usr/lib/
ln -sf /usr/local/lib/ /usr/lib/
ln -sf /usr/local/lib/ /usr/lib/
ln -sf /usr/local/lib/ /usr/lib/
ln -sf /usr/local/lib/ /usr/lib/

Download the Suse version of amazonmp3:
(select OpenSuse 11.1)

Install the package:
# rpm2tgz AmazonMP3DownloaderInstall.rpm
# installpkg AmazonMP3DownloaderInstall.tgz

main file permissions/location:
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1877236 Dec 11 2009 /usr/bin/amazonmp3

System Settings .. Default Application .. Web Browser (set to Firefox, etc.)

Create an icon in KDE:
Right click on desktop .. Create New .. Link To Application
Edit Properties: Description: Amazon MP3 Command: /usr/bin/amazonmp3
General: click on default icon ..
(*) Other Icons .. click on the Amazon icon

Click on the new desktop icon, click on shop Amazon
Buy an album of mp3s
In the browser dialog box select “open file with” and select
If desired, click on Do this everytime… so that firefox calls amazonmp3 automagically
Click on Try Again if you inadvertently save the AMZ file.

4) Exiftool – this is a great perl-based utility for editing photo exif data. Phil Harvey wrote the code and you can get it here:

I usually stick it in /usr/local/exif and then call it from bash scripts designed to use for loops to recurse entire directories. As a true photo-geek who loves the equipment as well as the image I always use exiftool to identify the make and model of my camera – which must be done manually when you are shooting with a film camera and scanning negatives. Yes, I spend way too much time in the darkroom. What can I say?

Here’s a simple script:

year=`date +%Y`
for file in `ls *.jpg`
/usr/local/exif/exiftool -m -copyright=”Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this image under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation. Attribution is REQUIRED.” $file
# Phil’s code creates a file called whatever.jpg_original so…
rm *original
# end of script

NOTE: there are many tags you can edit with exiftool. To read the tags on a file run: exiftool FileName.jpg

Thanks Phil for a great tool!

5) The GIMP and Imagemagick: Automating Watermarking.

I use the GIMP exclusively for photo editing and it is a very good tool. I augment its capabilities by adding a plugin that allows you to do all sorts of things with layers. The plugin is called layer fx and you can get it here:

Simply copy the file to .gimp-2.6/plug-ins/
In your home directory.

Here is one use: create a watermark that floats (usually a gif), for example a text only image. This is simple in the gimp – remove the default layer, add a new, transparent layer, add text and save as a gif.


If the background on the photo is the same color as the watermark, the mark is obscured. The solution is to create a border around the text and the layer fx plugin makes this simple.

To use layer effects:

Create a new image
Remove the default layer
Paste a watermark into the image
Right click … Layer … Layer Effects (bottom)
Use either Outer Glow to outline text
Set the color, set the opacity to 100 percent
Save as a gif.

You now have a watermark that will be visible in any background.

To mark all the photos in a gallery you can use imagemagick (part of the slack xap disk set).
Do this:

for file in `ls *.jpg`
composite -gravity southeast watermark.gif $file $
mv $ $file

For a text version of this document click HERE

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