• December 6, 2014 - Early December ’14 Status - With a late October post about how to proceed with kf5 and the announcement of a new stable ISO November 6, last month was skipped for one of these "Early Month" posts. Resuming it again this month. - It is a bit of a chaotic situation for packagers regarding KDE, many things are very unclear, so... More →
  • November 6, 2014 - KaOS ISO 2014.11 - KaOS is proud to announce the availability of the November release of a new stable ISO. Since August updates were done to a good 1200 packages and to stay with the policy that a first pacman -Syu should be an uncomplicated one for new users means a new ISO is needed. - Testing for this ISO took... More →
  • October 30, 2014 - Plasma 5/Frameworks 5 plans & test ISO - There has been a lot of internal talk since May this year, and lately discussions on the forum and on the KaOS G+ channel about when and how to move to Plasma 5/Frameworks 5. Following those discussions, you know KaOS switching to Plasma 5 is getting closer. - From all that was said in those... More →
  • October 8, 2014 - Early October '14 Status - It probably looked like a quiet four weeks for most. And it is true no major visible changes have occurred, but things were far from quiet. - As with the goal of this distribution, packaging took most of the time. Major groups were updated, resulting in well over 600 packages build. Expect new... More →
  • September 10, 2014 - Early September '14 Status - Two things stand out for the last 4-5 weeks in the development of KaOS. - A move to UEFI capable ISOs has been in the works for about 5 months, but there finally is a working version available. The KaOS-kf5 2014.09.06 test-iso is a first that fully boots in BIOS, EFI and UEFI capable systems, using... More →
  • August 20, 2014 - KaOS ISO 2014.08 - With KDE releasing the new major version KDE 4.14.0, offering primarily improvements and bugfixes, KaOS is happy to be able to present you a new ISO with KDE 4.14.0 the same day it is released. KDE Applications 4.14 is not about lots of "new and improved stuff". As with KaOS, many KDE developers... More →

A lean KDE Distribution

Early December ’14 Status

With a late October post about how to proceed with kf5 and the announcement of a new stable ISO November 6, last month was skipped for one of these “Early Month” posts. Resuming it again this month.

It is a bit of a chaotic situation for packagers regarding KDE, many things are very unclear, so for KaOS, just trying to do the best with the limited info that comes from KDE devs.
KDE for all stable users was updated to 4.14.3, with kde-workspace staying at 4.11 (currently 4.11.14), kactivities no more releases for KDE 4. KDE-workspace is supposed to keep getting releases until August 2015, but nothing is posted anywhere for such releases after the November release, see the bottom of the 4.11 release schedule.
Frameworks 5 is quite clear how it is released, and is fully stable, so no issues there.
Plasma 5 is getting regular releases, but not clear what is supposed to be in Plasma 5 (pretty much most of the old kde-workspace), some parts are needed for applications, like a kf5 version of kdepimlibs, but that one is not part of Plasma 5, nor are there any stable tars for it, no mention were it will go in the future, Plasma 5 or KDE Applications…..
And mentioning KDE Applications, there it gets really unclear. First release with the naming scheme of year_month is due next week, 14.12.
The beta and rc versions of the kf5 parts of that release have been build for KaOS, and are available in the kde-next repo, but only 12 applications are kf5 based, all the rest is still KDE 4, BUT, very large parts of the old KDE 4 are NOT released with 14.12. Completely unclear if they will be released at all anymore, if they will be released as another 4.14.xx release, maybe 14.12, only documentation available are these release notes, try to figure how this is supposed to be packaged and when…..
Kden port
With all this being so unclear, the goal of moving KaOS fully to kf5 by late February is really taking shape so the focus can go back to just one Desktop Environment, and tons of work toward that has been done the last 4-6 weeks, including the release of KaOS-kf5 2014.12.04 test ISO. Dozens and dozens of early ports have been added to kde-next, many Qt5 builds have been done to get ready as soon as possible for Qt 5.4, Plasma 5.2 will be based on that and (5.2.0 is due to be released early February). Calligra has made a schedule to start their major move to Qt5 in January, then they will use the 1-2 months after that move to try and stabilize all, so it looks like there will be a working Calligra Qt5 version available be late February.
Calamares Locale
The new installer Calamares has seen hundreds of commits over the last one plus month, and is ready for KaOS to be used. Not bug free or fully complete, but the best option available to come with an UEFI ready stable ISO and install.

For the rest, the usual updates for this rolling distro have come in at there normal pace. One bigger update to mention is the new toolchain, based on GCC 4.9.2 and glibc 2.20. That new toolchain was delayed somewhat by the major known issues in GCC 4.9.0 and 4.9.1, which made those no candidates for KaOS, see one such comment of the state of gcc 4.9.

KCP added a few more functions. Cellix created the option to use bash-completion with kcp, show the full content of KCP with kcp --list-all and –help can show the version.

KaOS ISO 2014.11

KaOS is proud to announce the availability of the November release of a new stable ISO. Since August updates were done to a good 1200 packages and to stay with the policy that a first pacman -Syu should be an uncomplicated one for new users means a new ISO is needed.

Testing for this ISO took longer then usual, due to the fact that getting ready for an UEFI capable ISO is a must.  For that, the interim installer is not a good option, so a lot of work was done to try and get the new Qt5 based installer, Calamares ready, but it is just too early to use on a stable ISO. So this is one last time a BIOS only ISO.
seafile
At the base of the system some of the updates this ISO has, linux 3.16.7, gcc 4.8.3, llvm 3.5.0, Qt5 5.3.2, openssl 1.0.1.j, mesa 10.3.2, bash 4.3.030, poppler 0.26.1, systemd 216 and xorg-server 1.16.1.

The latest KDE 4.14.2 version is available on this ISO, the second in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.14 series. More than 35 recorded bugfixes include improvements to E-Mail client KMail, Umbrello UML Modeller, the document viewer Okular, the plot drawing application Kmplot and the file manager Dolphin.
Large rebuilds were needed for the boost 1.56.0/icu 54.1, ffmpeg 2.4.3 and libimobiledvice/usbmuxd updates.

Major apps that were updated to their latest include Calligra 2.8.6, LibreOffice 4.3.3, Google-Chrome 40, Firefox 33.0.2
The move to gstreamer 1.0 only in the KaOS repos is almost complete, with that, Clementine is back on this ISO since it too moved to gstreamer 1.0.
New to this ISO is the Qt5 webcam app “webcamoid” and the opensource, Qt5 based, file sharing client Seafile

About 200 packages will be moved with the release of this ISO, so for all current users, give your mirror a few hours to fully sync, or wait until tomorrow to do your update.

Plasma 5/Frameworks 5 plans & test ISO

There has been a lot of internal talk since May this year, and lately discussions on the forum and on the KaOS G+ channel about when and how to move to Plasma 5/Frameworks 5. Following those discussions, you know KaOS switching to Plasma 5 is getting closer.
From all that was said in those discussions, it was getting clear a good target date for this full switch to a pure Plasma 5/Frameworks based KaOS will be somewhere middle January to early February, with the release of Plasma 5.2 (planned to be based on Qt 5.4).
To get fully ready, the kf5 test ISOs will get their own forum threads from now , so it will be easier to discuss the findings from each ISO.

Latest test ISO, KaOS-kf5 2014.10.30 is based on Qt 5.4, meaning intel issues are present (and known upstream). To make it usable for many more intel users, kwin is set to use XRender as default, not OpenGl. For those with other then intel gfx, it is easy to switch in systemsettings > display & monitor.
This ISO is also quite complete in regards what apps will be shipped in the final version. Many more were ported to Frameworks, added to this ISO from that are kget, kruler, kcharselect as a few examples. Qt 5.4 brings a stable qtwebengine, Qupzilla on this ISO is an early qtwebengine port. Missing is (and probably will be on the final version too) an office suite. Calligra won’t be ready anytime soon, libreoffice works very nice now on Plasma 5, see LibreOffice for Plasma 5, but needs GTK for that.

With this ISO, branding for KaOS has started, no more vanilla Plasma 5 as shipped by KDE. The Midna theme shows now throughout, just wallpaper set is not possible at this moment, just one of the known bugs. List of known bugs (mostly upstream bugs at this point):

  • opening a second document from Dolphin in Kate, or trying to create a new folder/document with right click fails KDE bug 337889
  • Wallpaper settings not applied KDE bug 337757
  • kdeconnect crashing on clicking systemtray icon KDE bug 338420
  • kactivities is curently broken, so far a KaOS only issue, most probably due to Qt 5.4 though
  • many just ported apps miss a correct .desktop file, so can’t be launched from the menu, need to be launched from krunner or the terminal (.desktop has an erroneous % still there)
  • Logout/reboot/shutdown from GUI is non-functional, KDE bug 338360

Calamares has gotten quite a bit of work again, but the 2 main features missing are not resolved. Working now are setting the hostname as a variable, if a selected EFI boot partition is not labeled as such yet, it does get that needed label. Theming is improved, also following the Midna theme. Text is added in areas were previous testers showed things were unclear.
BUT not implemented yet are:

  • setting the correct locale and keyboard
  • proper shutting down the installer, once the install is finished
  • unmounting on a failed install still has to be done manually (or by rebooting), before a next install can be attempted.
    issue 97
  • the link to “Known Issue” just leads to the download page, no section there yet for known issues
  • Calamares can’t correctly create a GPT partition table on a BIOS system issue 2

ISO sets the needed repos by default for these next few months, so it is easier to use for more users.
To download:
KaOS-kf5 2014.10.30 ISO
Versions on this ISO:
linux 3.16.6
Qt 5.4 Beta
Frameworks 5.3.1
Plasma 5.1.0.1
KDE Applications (soon to be 14.12), git versions only

Early October ’14 Status

It probably looked like a quiet four weeks for most. And it is true no major visible changes have occurred, but things were far from quiet.

As with the goal of this distribution, packaging took most of the time. Major groups were updated, resulting in well over 600 packages build. Expect new boost and icu to land in the stable repositories within a few days, all perl packages moved there about a week ago. Systemd moved to 216, new make, cmake, ruby were among the many core packages updated. New nvidia, gstreamer 1.0, mesa, xorg-server and mono were among those updated in main. Of course the new KDE 4.14.1 were build, as did libreoffice and calligra.

The shellshock bug found in bash caused a whirlwind of updates for that package. Partially because it took many people to find a good, final solution for that bug, and another part was because of finding the shellshock bug, bash code was reviewed by hundreds, maybe thousands. Inadvertently that actually became a nice side effect, with that many reviewing, many bugs were found and fixed.
snapshot4
The new installer Calamares has been used successfully a few times to install KaOS into UEFI systems. That part is not fully automated yet, neither is locale setup, but the last four weeks saw tremendous improvements for that installer, it is even hopeful it can be used as the default installer for the next stable ISO later this month.

Frameworks moved to the 5.3.0 release, plasma 5 to 5.1 beta, both were built on the pre-release of Qt 5.4. It is a pity plasma 5 is not fully usable or stable yet, since it is looking so good compared to KDE 4…….
Expect a new kf5 ISO as soon as plasma 5.1 has moved to a stable release (should be in 1-2 days). Image shows just two of the many, many new things you will find, widget style “breeze” and the option to just use right-click to switch the taskmanager style.

Early September ’14 Status

Two things stand out for the last 4-5 weeks in the development of KaOS.

A move to UEFI capable ISOs has been in the works for about 5 months, but there snapshot126finally is a working version available. The KaOS-kf5 2014.09.06 test-iso is a first that fully boots in BIOS, EFI and UEFI capable systems, using the simple but quite powerful and very transparent gummiboot as bootloader.
No UEFI installable ISO yet though, for that lots of work is ongoing to get snapshot124Calamares fully ready (trying to use grub for BIOS systems, gummiboot for UEFI in this installer).
Calamares development did see the addition of automated partitioning.

Second is the big strides in moving many more applications to frameworks 5/plasma 5. Frameworks 5 themselves are fully stable and have moved to the regular apps repository and are available to all users. A few regular applications (non KDE) are already using some parts of it, like Octopi using knotifyconfig for much better integration into KDE for octopi-notify. The amount of applications fully ported is approaching one hundred, stability of many has greatly improved. Just about all basics are available for plasma 5, like kmix, gwenview, kate, dolphin, okular and rekonq. Just to mention a few of others marble, kile, kanagram, kbounce, plasma-volume-control, k3b and ark.

And as always, all repositories are steadily rolling. Glew was a rather large update/rebuild, including LibreOffice 4.3.1. Among others llvm, linux-next 3.16.2, tcl/tk 8.6.2, all the texlive packages, mesa 10.2.7, firefox 32.0, chrome 39, kdevelop packages 4.7.0 and gimp 2.8.14.

KaOS ISO 2014.08

With KDE releasing the new major version KDE 4.14.0, offering primarily improvements and bugfixes, KaOS is happy to be able to present you a new ISO with KDE 4.14.0 the same day it is released. KDE Applications 4.14 is not about lots of “new and improved stuff”. As with KaOS, many KDE developers are focused on the Next Experience (Plasma 5) or porting to KDE Frameworks (based on Qt5). Mostly, the 4.14 release is needed by aspects of the workflow. This release offers more software stability, with little emphasis on new and less-proven stuff.

For KaOS, a new major KDE is not the biggest news on this ISO, that part goes Installerto the all new installer. The idea of always evaluating what is available and seeing what can be the best fit for KaOS really came through with selecting this installer. It is based on work from Cinchi by Antergos and Thus by ManjaroLinux, whose installers in turn used code from Ubiquity by Ubuntu and the old Anakonda (for partitioning) by Fedora. The postinstall jobs were written in python3 for KaOS (big thanks goes to arnt and cellix with helping to get this code ready). This new installer brings automated partitioning, option to encrypt the drive, much simpler locale selection and brings the minimal needed RAM to install KaOS down to 1 Gb.

Since the last ISO virtually every package available on that version has been updated. The Xorg group moved to 1.16.1, including mesa 10.2.5, libdrm 2.4.56. Another large stack was the glib2 2.40.0 update, this included a move to GTK3 3.12.2. Python3 is now at the 3.4 version, all that depend on it were rebuild to their latest available. At the core of the system you’ll find the linux kernel at 3.15.10, systemd 215, kmod 18, util-linux 2.25.

dropboxKaOS is in a transition phase to move to Frameworks 5, plasma 5 and KDE Applications based on those two, with that as many applications as possible are moved to Qt5 too. This does not only include those moving from Qt4, but lately also a few that have moved from GTK, an example in the repositories for this is gcompris-qt and available on the ISO is the all new Qt5 based dropbox.

Known issues:
Using the automated method for partitioning and selecting a separate /home fails to select the correct filesystem in fstab, to correct this there are 3 options:

  • Use the advanced option to create partitions for root, home and if desired, swap
  • Do not select separate home, but move the home partition after the install
  • Install the updated installer in live mode with “sudo pacman -Sy thus”

For further info about the ISO please see the release notes and the Download page.

About 420 packages will be moved with the release of this ISO, so for all current users, give your mirror a few hours to fully sync, or wait until tomorrow to do your update.

Early August ’14 Status

Last 4-5 weeks no visual major changes, weeks were more marked with update, rebuild and prepare.

Preparation is in full swing to be ready for KDE 4.14 later this month, latest RC is build and currently tested on an ISO. KDE 4.13.3 is the latest currently available to all KaOS users.

Lots of work is ongoing (not visible yet for most users) in preparing to switch to a new installer.  One is fully working, is in the final testing snapshot4_1phase and will be used on an interim base until what hopefully will be the end solution for an installer, Calamares, is ready.  A video is up to see were Calamares is currently.

Another section were lots is done to prepare, is the eventual move to kf5/plasma 5.  Several kf5 ISOs have been made available last month, a new one with all the latest from frameworks 5.1.0, plasma 5.0.1, many newly ported to frameworks 5 applications will be released within the next 24 hours. It will include the option to try both new installers.

wayland-screenshotWayland saw a nice step forward to be able to use in the future too, the addition of many Qt5 applications (including all the plasma 5 apps) and the availability of qtwayland makes it now possible to truly run a wayland desktop.

To speed up the use of the kcp application, Cellix completely rewrote it using the Go language. Searches with kcp are now almost instantaneously.

But as always, most hours are spent on keeping all the repositories updated, rebuild any that need in large group updates. Major updates were seen with the move to xorg 1.16, glib2 moving to 2.40.0 (which included moving gtk3 to 3.12.2), python3 3.4 group update is almost ready to move to all users–make sure to rebuild any package you have from KCP that depends on python3, once you see python 3.4 being part of an update–, linux 3.15.9 or 10 and all that depend on it will move in about 8 days, systemd 215 and mesa 10.2.5, to mention some of the hundreds and hundreds of new packages at the base of the system. snapshot114
Changes among the applications from the [apps] repo is the move of libreoffice to 4.3.0, with a complete rewrite of the PKGBUILD and a very simplified install for all users. Among the application that are now available in a Qt5 version include qbittorrent, webcamoid and gcompris (this is a complete rewrite of the app from GTK to Qt5).

Early July ’14 Status

Responsive forumAnother month passed where a lot of interesting things happened in KaOS.
First the most visual change. The website has undergone a complete overhaul, this to get easier navigation, have all the navigation menus being fully compatible with Qt5 browsers and have more info about this distribution right on the home page. Change was also needed to make it translatable (thanks to dago, cellix and shalokshalom, the site is available in four languages) and have it fully responsive. This includes the forum too.
The online Package Viewer has the added function of linking directly to the correct bug/issue reporting pages from the single package view, links to the git entry for each individual application is also implemented.snapshot85

A gallery page is added were you can find an overview of user provided screenshots, instructional video links and videos to showcase the latest development.
A set of instructional videos is up for Octopi, raw footage was provided by the Octopi developer himself, arnt. If you are interested in what music was used, it is from the Four Seasons by Vivaldi, some allegros and largos, and a little piece of the Godfather. One example, Hands on with Octopi, part 3 – KCP

Last month saw a lot of improvement in the status of kf5/plasma 5. The kde-next repository is fully dedicated to the development of this next version of KDE. Regular test ISOs are made available for anyone wanting to follow the progress, see this forum post for the latest ISO. There is also work started to move to a new installer, you can see a preview of both the status of this installer and plasma 5 in this Early preview plasma 5 video

Both Calligra and LibreOffice moved to using the new librevenge filter with their latest updates.
For LibreOffice, there is another change, it is no longer split up in a dozen packages, but it is build the same way as upstream makes it available, one package that includes all functions, easier installation much cleaner packaging. This means on the next update though, you will be asked to replace all current LibreOffice packages, answer “yes” to all (default), and you will receive this new way of shipping Libre.snapshot80

The linux-lts kernel used in KaOS was from the 3.2 series. From the updates to systemd 213 and up, it is no longer compatible with the latest systemd. KaOS skipped 213 for this reason, but it is a change that is here to stay, so the lts kernel had to move to a newer version, the 3.10 lts series was chosen, it will be supported through 2015.

KaOS ISO 2014.06

KaOS is proud to announce the availability of the June release of a new stable ISO. The last two months updates were done to a good 1100 packages and to stay with the policy that a first pacman -Syu should be an uncomplicated one for new users means a new ISO is needed.

At the base of the system some of the updates this ISO has, linux 3.14.6 with the futex bug fix included, gcc 4.8.3, llvm 3.4.1, Qt5 5.3.0, openssl 1.0.1.h, mesa 10.2.1, bash 4.3.018, poppler 0.26.1. Systemd 213 was part of the updates tested but did not make the cut, 212 is the version of systemd on this ISO.

With this ISO, KaOS makes the switch to present XFS as the default filesystem, a good explanation for the reasons behind this switch can be found in this XFS presentation.

The latest KDE 4.13.2 version is available on this ISO, the second in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.13 series. It includes 40 recorded bugfixes, includes improvements to Personal Information Management suite Kontact, Umbrello UML Modeller, the Desktop search functionality, web browser Konqueror and the file manager Dolphin.

The sound group had a complete rebuild, this included a move to ffmpeg 2 (2.2.3), and a bigger change, a full move away from gstreamer0.10 (maintenance for it stopped 2-3 years ago). This ISO only includes gstreamer 1. Most applications were ready for this move, a few needed some patching for this switch (qtwebkit for example). The only application left in the KaOS repositories needing gstreamer0.10 is clementine, that is why it is replaced on this ISO with Amarok.
snapshot71
To include the community more into shaping how the end users’ installs looks like, KaOS Community Packages is available to locally build missing packages and share the needed files with other KaOS users. To automate the use of KCP, Cellix developed the package “kcp”, which is also fully integrated in Octopi, the KaOS GUI package-manager. This ISO includes kcp and the base-devel group needed to build packages from the KaOS-Community-Packages. In octopi, just highlight the KCP group, type a few letters to search for a desired package, hit “enter” and a list will be shown. Marking a package for install will build and install. To use kcp as standalone application, type “kcp -h” for a list of options.
This is not the only improvement you will find in octopi, the ability to search or list packages by repositories is also added.
snapshot72
A few hundred new icons have been added to the flattr-icons set.

Major apps that were updated to their latest include Calligra 2.8.3, LibreOffice 4.2.4, Google-Chrome 37, Firefox 30.0.

To accommodate Linux-users living in the Eastern globe, a full set of Input Method packages (fcitx) were added to the repositories.

For further info about the ISO please see the release notes and the Download page.

About 580 packages will be moved with the release of this ISO, so for all current users, give your mirror a few hours to fully sync, or wait until tomorrow to do your update.

Early June ’14 Status

A very busy month for KaOS is behind us. To start with the usual, though it was a bit more then normal, a good 700 packages were updated, this combined with the 500 or so more the month before, makes it clear, a new ISO is needed soon to stay with the policy to have the first pacman -Syu for new users be an uncomplicated one.
Just a glimpse of all that is new, KDE moved to 4.13.1 (4.13.2 build will start shortly, expect that version to be on the upcoming ISO), linux 3.14.5, gcc 4.8.3, Qt 5.3.0, poppler 0.26.1, nvidia 337.25, llvm 3.4.1, google-chrome moved to 64bit with the 37 series and libreoffice 4.2.4.

To accommodate Linux-users living in the Eastern globe, a full set of Input Method packages (fcitx) were added to the repositories. Among others added are a good amount of python3 packages.

Those addition do not change that the repositories of KaOS are limited. To help users with adding to and maintaining needed packages for their system KaOS Community Packages was opened rather quietly last January. This last month though, a lot more activity has happened in KCP, and the available packagessnapshot64 there are well over one hundred.
But it was still a bit of a chore to use.
Thanks to Cellix, this has changed, the application “kcp” was developed and added to the repositories.
With it any user can easily search for any package in KCP with:
kcp -s partial_package_name
Or build and install with:
kcp -i package_name
Octopi was also adjusted for this addition, kcp is fully integrated in octopi.
snapshot56
The preparation to move KaOS to the new kde-frameworks/plasma-next has started in earnest too. The kde-next repo is now only used for these packages. Two full builds were done (kf5 beta 2 & 3, plasma-next 4.96.0 & 4.97.0). The results already bring a quite usable system. If development of kf5 continues as is now, expect KaOS to fully switch 2-3 months after KDE declares kf5/plasma-next stable.

The move to kf5 will also hasten the need for a new installer, currently used is fully depending on KDE 4/Qt4, and would need a major rewrite. That still would not eliminate the need for many missing parts (UEFI support, automated partitioning, support for LVM, LUKS to name some).
Transition to a new installer has entered a testing phase. To see this new installer, plus an early test ISO with kf5, a kf5/plasma-next video is up.

More exciting news is underway for a possible brand new installer, there is a start of cooperation between KaOS and a few other distributions to come to one universal, Qt5 based installer.