KaOS - 2017.04
A nice way of celebrating the fourth anniversary of this distribution is releasing KaOS 2017.04 in two flavors. This time a Plasma Wayland version is added alongside the regular X-based ISO.
The Plasma Wayland version is a smaller ISO, ships with a more limited amount of applications than the regular Plasma version. At this stage, a Wayland session can only be run on free graphics drivers and the live mode (plus install) will automatically switch to a regular X-based Plasma session should the user select non-free drivers during boot-up of the Live session. A Wayland session will not run in VirtualBox.
Speaking of VirtualBox, this release is a first for KaOS to include all the needed modules to automatically scale to your desired monitor resolution (or set to full screen).
Fully working now is the option to install with GPT on BIOS systems (manual partitioning only). A text box is added to calamares to instruct how to setup for GPT once a BIOS setup is detected.
As always with this rolling distribution, you will find the very latest packages for the Plasma Desktop, this includes Frameworks 5.32.0, Plasma 5.9.2, KDE Applications 17.04RC & not yet released ports of KDE Applications. All built on Qt 5.8.0.
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.
Mesa includes experimental Nouveau patches so QtWebengine based applications and web-browsers can again be used on systems running the Nouveau driver. This fixes a long standing bug going back to the middle of 2015.
KaOS uses a First Run Wizard. It will run on the newly installed system and enables with just a few clicks to adjust mouse behavior, menu launcher, desktop theme, used wallpaper, color scheme, widget style, window decoration and virtual desktops used. With one click this Wizard will also link to KaOS Documentation and all contact info.
Most notable major updates to the base of the system are Qt 5.8.0, Python 3.6.1, Systemd 233, Kmod 24, Mesa 17.0.3, Perl 5.24.1, Xorg-Server 1.19.3, Linux 4.10.9, DBus 1.10.16, GCC 5.4.1, Ruby 2.4.1, Poppler 0.53.0, PyQt 5.8.2 and a move to qtwebkit-tp replacing no longer maintained qt5-webkit
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, has moved to the 3.1 series. Highlights of the changes and additions:
- Option to use a GPT partiontable on BIOS system with needed documentation added
- When a VirtualBox system is detected, proper Guest Modules will be installed
- Fixed operating system detection for automatic dual boot setup in GRUB
- Improved check for internet connection availability
- Double-click as a way to edit a partition in the manual partitioning view
- Fixed an issue in the partition module to always set the correct flags for an EFI system partition
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 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 mere a snapshot of the current status of the repositories. An idea what is currently available:
The ISO ships with Frameworks 5.33.0, Plasma 5.9.4, KDE Applications 17.04RC & not yet released ports of KDE Applications, Linux 4.10.9, Systemd 233, Kmod 24, NetworkManager 1.6.2, Calligra 3.0.1, Krita 3.1.2, Cantata, Plasma-nm 5.9.4, Xorg-Server 1.19.3, Mesa 17.0.3, Glibc 2.25, GCC 5.4.1, non-free Nvidia 378.13, Pepperflash and Python3 3.6.1 to name a few.
The package manager is Pacman 5.0.1, with the simple but powerful Octopi 0.9dev as GUI frontend. Default web browser is Qt based Qupzilla 2.1.1. GFXboot is included with KaOS artwork, Grub theme is Midna, Look & Feel is a KaOS exclusive version "Midna", fully redone for 2017.
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 4.10, Libreoffice 5.3.2, Qt 5.8.0, bumblebee packages, VLC, Vokoscreen, Blender, XBMC, Calibre, Sigil, Librecad, a few games like 0ad and Knights.
A limited number of the most well-known GTK applications are available, examples Firefox 52.0.2, Chrome 59, Ardour 5.8.0, Inkscape 0.92.1, GIMP 2.9.4 and Google-talkplugin 220.127.116.11.
Complete language packs are available for KDE, Calligra, Firefox, Libreoffice and Thunderbird. For IM, Fcitx 18.104.22.168 is available as a rather complete group.
- Installing on RAID or LVM is currently not possible
- Hibernate on LUKS enabled swap partitions needs manual intervention, the installer misses some settings to fully support this
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.