Release Notes

KaOS - 2019.10

It is with great pleasure to present to you the October release of a new stable ISO.

Quite a few big changes for this release, probably the biggest news for this release is that this ISO is for the first time python2 free. Python2 will be depreciated by the end of this year, so it is time to get this distribution ready for this change. The repositories still contain python2 packages, but those are in the process of being phased out too. Next change is a new GCC 9.2.0/Glibc 2.30 based Toolchain. Normally KaOS stays about one year behind major new GCC versions, but the changes between 8 and 9 are not as big as usual and all in the repositories have caught up to GCC 9, thus it is now available six months after the initial release. A big part of the core repository was rebuild in this new Toolchain, plus the whole Glib2 and Boost stack was updated. This meant moving to Glib2 2.62.2, Boost 1.71.0, Gobject-Introspection 1.6.20 among the many moved to their latest version. Systemd is now also available in the most recent release, 243. Libarchive gained ZSTD support, a needed feature for upcoming Pacman changes.

You will find Plasma 5.17 on this ISO already. Highlights of Plasma 5.17 include start-up scripts have been converted from Bash (a slow, interpreted language) to C++ (a fast, compiled language) and now run asynchronously. Night Color, the color-grading system that relaxes your eyes when the sun sets, has landed for X11. For Wayland, Plasma now comes with fractional scaling, which means that you can adjust the size of all your desktop elements, windows, fonts and panels perfectly to your HiDPI monitor. The Settings interface itself has been overhauled in general, and the user interfaces for the Displays, Energy, Activities, Boot Splash, Desktop Effects, Screen Locking, Screen Edges, Touch Screen, and Window Behavior configuration dialogs have all been improved and updated. Frameworks is at 5.63.0, Plasma at 5.17.2 and KDE Applications at 19.08.2. All built on Qt 5.13.1.

Non-free Nvidia gained a complete new feature, no longer needing Bumblebee for hybrid systems, instead it now can also use PRIME, just like (free) Nouveau & AmdGPU hybrid systems. For this Nvidia-utils 435 has GLVND support fully enabled but Xorg-Server will need to include 3 needed commits to include Nvidia PRIME, scheduled to be included in Xorg-Server 1.20.6.

For the installer Calamares two major CVE's were addressed among the many changes for 3.2.14. https://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CVE-2019-13178 and https://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CVE-2019-13179

Since LibreOffice 6.2, it is now possible to supply this as a pure Qt5/kf5 application. LibreOffice has thus replaced Calligra as the default Office Application for KaOS.

KaOS' creation Croeso (Welsh for welcome) for helping with configuring a new install is included. It will run on the newly installed system and offers to adjust some 15 commonly used settings and replaces the formerly used, PyQt based first run wizard Kaptan. It also includes a custom Wallpaper selector, distribution info and news. It is written in QML and fits well with the Welcome application used in the Live system. The latter now includes a fully rewritten (also in QML) Installation Guide.

There is an option to verify the authenticity of downloaded KaOS ISO files through GPG signature verification, see the Download page for further details and instructions.

A KaOS specific tool to write ISO files to USB is in use. Not only does IsoWriter write to USB it also gives the option to recover your USB stick after using it for an ISO, something that regular dd copy or the previously used Imagewriter were not able to do. It includes the option to verify the written USB in comparison to the used ISO file.

Most notable major updates to the base of the system are GCC 9.2.0, Glibc 2.30, Systemd 243, Bison 3.4.2, Python3 3.7.5, Linux 5.3.8, Protobuf 3.9.2, Mesa 19.2.2, NetworkManager 1.20.4, Poppler 0.81.0, Nano 4.5, GStreamer 1.16.1 and Qt 5.13.1

KaOS repositories no longer provide Qt 4. It is a good three years ago that development for Qt 4 stopped, late 2015 all support including security fixes ended. Any application that has not made the transition to Qt 5 in all this time can no longer be supported in KaOS. Either they actually are no longer maintained or their development is ignoring the implications of building on a possible insecure toolkit.

The artwork includes custom icon themes for light and dark themes. Midna and Midna Dark both create a complete unified look from boot-up all the way through logout.

This ISO uses the CRC and finobt enabled XFS filesystem as default. CRCs enable enhanced error detection due to hardware issues, whilst the format changes also improves crash recovery algorithms and the ability of various tools to validate and repair metadata corruptions when they are found. The free inode btree does not index used inodes, allowing faster, more consistent inode allocation performance as filesystems age.

Calamares, the used installer framework, is at the 3.2.14 series. Highlights of the changes and additions:

Octopi is becoming a very crucial part of full system maintenance for KaOS. It is not just a GUI frontend to pacman. Tools like making sure a mirror is synced before starting any update, looking at the pacman logs, an option to get a paste from a complete snapshot of all info of a system with the SysInfo tool are included. Also included are very simple ways to open files, like copy to clipboard the file path shown in Octopi. To make sure the system doesn't start using too much disk space for the pacman cache, but still giving the user the option to retain some recent packages, the cache-cleaner tool is a great addition. The built-in tool to access KCP has now a much clearer place with the addition of its own "foreign" icon in the menu-bar. When viewing package info it is now possible to click the depends of such a package. New added is the option to select custom icons for the systemtray.

For UEFI installs, KaOS uses the simple, transparent but quite powerful systemd-boot as bootloader.

To learn more about the goals and ideas behind KaOS, please read the Home, About and FAQ pages.

To avoid any misunderstanding and confusion, KaOS is not based upon, derived of, or inspired by any one particular distribution. It is completely independent, build entirely from scratch with its own repositories. To read more about this see FAQ. A rolling release distribution never has a "final" release, every ISO is merely a snapshot of the current status of the repositories. An idea what is currently available:

The ISO ships with Frameworks 5.63.0, Plasma 5.17.2, KDE Applications 19.08.2, Linux 5.3.8, Systemd 243, Kmod 26, NetworkManager 1.20.1, LibreOffice 6.3.2, Krita 4.2.7, Elisa, Xorg-Server 1.20.5, Mesa 19.2.2, Glibc 2.30, GCC 9.2.0, non-free Nvidia 435.21, Pepperflash and Python3 3.7.5 to name a few.

The package manager is Pacman 5.1.3, with the simple but powerful Octopi 0.9dev as GUI frontend. Default web browser is Qt based Falkon 3.1.0. GFXboot is included with KaOS artwork, Grub theme is Midna, Look & Feel is a KaOS exclusive version "Midna", redone for 2019.

Repositories of KaOS will stay limited in size and expect it to stay at the current maximum of about 2100-2200. A gist of what is available, besides the stable kernel there is Linux-next 5.3, LibreOffice 6.3.3, bumblebee packages, VLC, Vokoscreen, Blender, Kodi, Calibre, Sigil, Librecad, a few games like 0ad and Knights.
A limited number of the most well-known GTK applications are available, examples Firefox 70.0.1, Chrome 79, Ardour 5.12.0, Inkscape 0.92.4, GIMP 2.10.14 and Google-talkplugin 5.41.3.0.1.
Complete language packs are available for KDE, Calligra, Firefox, LibreOffice and Thunderbird. For IM, Fcitx 4.2.9.6 is available as a rather complete group.

Known issues:

To create reliable installation media, please follow the instructions from the Download page. KaOS's ISO's do not support unetbootin or rufus, and DVDs need a burn speed no higher than 4x.