Release Notes

KaOS - 2024.03

KaOS is pleased to announce the availability of the March release of a new stable ISO.

Plasma 6.0 (stable release) is of course to focal point of this release. Highlights of this new version include two major upgrades: a transition to the latest version of our application framework, Qt, and a migration to the modern Linux graphics platform, Wayland. These under-the-hood upgrades benefit Plasma’s security, efficiency, and performance, and improve support for modern hardware. Plasma on Wayland now has partial support for High Dynamic Range (HDR). On supported monitors and software, this will provide you with richer and deeper colors for your games, videos, and visual creations.

New defaults (configurable to whatever you prefer):

On many settings pages, buttons have been relocated to the toolbar, enhancing consistency with our other applications and creating additional space for the actual content.

You now have the option to customize your sound theme, and a new default sound theme named Ocean has been introduced to replace the Oxygen sound theme.

The Look & Feel is also updated for the Plasma 6 move, with the Midna theme, exclusive to KaOS, fully redone.

For the rest of the Plasma 6 desktop, KDE Gear 24.02.0 and Frameworks 6.0.0 are included. Changes included in KDE Gear 24.02 are KOrganizer now lets you send encrypted and signed email invitations — important if your work requires confidentiality. KMail now supports a few offline and open source AI features. Kdenlive added support for replacing the audio or the video of a clip in a timeline and further enhanced its subtitle feature, allowing you to incorporate multiple subtitles onto a single track. All built on Qt 6.6.2.

Four years after being end of life, GTK2 is finally removed from the KaOS repositories. The one major application left that had still required GTK2 was Ardour, but with 8.4.0, an internal YTK is used, thus GTK2 is now gone.

Updates to the base of the system included a move to a GCC 13.2.1, Glibc 2.39 & Binutils 2.42 based toolchain, Opencv 4.9.0, kernel moved to Linux 6.7.9, Systemd 253.17, ZFS 2.2.3, KMod 32, OpenSSL 3.2, Gstreamer 1.24.0, and Mesa 24.0.2.

Among the new packages included is Systemdgenie, a nicely in Plasma 6 integrated GUI to manage systemd.

SDDM 0.20.0 added the option to run this display manager in Wayland mode, so KaOS is one step closer to being ready to move away from X11. The shell used to run in Wayland mode is kwin_wayland (upstream default is using Weston).

The automated partitioning option in the installer (Calamares) now offers the use of all popular filesystems, so no need to use manual partitioning to be able to choose XFS, EXT4, BTRFS, or ZFS.

Big thanks goes to YourHostingSolutions for not only providing a mirror but also providing a server for KaOS. With the discontinuation of Fosshost, a new server was sorely needed.

After almost two years of testing IWD, it is now in such a good state that it has replaced Wpa_Suplicant as the default wireless daemon for KaOS.
Similar, Pipewire has replaced PulseAudio as the default sound/low-level multimedia framework.

A shift has started as to how all Python packages are build. Historically, just about all were build with setuptools though a script. PEP17 is the new standard for building python packages, see At this stage, KaOS is testing this transition with different new Python build tools, such as Python-flit & Python-build, with Python-wheel currently in use to install the build packages.

For Nvidia, longterm supported versions 390xx and 470xx are include, alongside the latest released version.

Since LibreOffice 6.2, it is now possible to supply this as a pure Qt6/kf6 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, includes a custom Wallpaper selector, distribution info, and the option to select packages to install from six different groups. It is written in QML and fits well with the Welcome application used in the Live system. The latter includes an 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.

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.

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

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 Based. 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 6.0.0, Plasma 6.0.2, KDE Applications 24.02.0, Linux 6.7.9, Systemd 253.17, Kmod 32, NetworkManager 1.46.0, LibreOffice 24.2.1, Elisa, Xorg-Server 1.21.11, Mesa 24.0.2, Glibc 2.39, GCC 13.2.1, non-free Nvidia 550 and Python3 3.10.13 to name a few.

The package manager is Pacman 6.0.2, with the simple but powerful Octopi 0.15.0 as GUI frontend. Falkon is the default, Qt based, web browser. GFXboot is included with KaOS artwork, Grub theme is Midna, Look & Feel is a KaOS exclusive version Midna.

Repositories of KaOS will stay limited in size and expect it to stay at the current maximum of about 2100-2200 packages. A gist of what is available, besides the stable kernel there is Linux-next 6.7, Calligra 3.2.1, VLC, Vokoscreen, Blender, Kodi, Calibre, Sigil, Vulkan packages, a few games like 0ad and Knights.
A limited number of the most well-known GTK applications are available, for example, Firefox 123, Chrome 123, Ardour 8.4.0, Inkscape 1.3, GIMP 2.99.18 and Thunderbird 115. Complete language packs are available for KDE, Calligra, Firefox, LibreOffice and Thunderbird. For IM, Fcitx 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.