Release Notes

KaOS - 2022.08

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

This is a release where quite a few changes that have long been wanted finally can be implemented.
The longest wanted of those is the final removal of Python2 from KaOS. The default install has been Python2 free for quite some time, but some major packages had still required it to build, now the last one of those, QtWebEngine, has been patched to build against Python3, so now KaOS is completely Python2 free.

Second is the move to Pipewire (away from PulseAudio) as the default sound/low-level multimedia framework. A switch had been planned for a while, but there were some issues on a Wayland session, so it had to wait. Those are now all resolved, and you will see Pipewire as the default on this ISO.
For those who still prefer PulseAudio, the installer Calamares now has a module added (KaOS only), that gives users the option to select which sound server they prefer (with Pipewire set as default).

Third is the removal of QtWebKit. Upstream Qt abandoned it some ten years ago, but a fork picked up maintenance. Unfortunately, that maintenance stopped a few years ago, so it is time to move away from QtWebKit. All that still depended on it are now ready to move to QtWebEngine. A couple could not do that move, thus they were removed from the repositories.

The addition of an Audio module isn't the only change to the installer Calamares, it is now also possible to do a typical install entirely from a touchpad or mouse, a keyboard is no longer needed. A virtual keyboard has been implemented for those modules that need text input.
The layout has also been adjusted, so it is now more intuitive to move through the steps and is more in line visually with the other KaOS application presented in Live mode and first boot into the new system.

Updates to the base of this distribution included ICU 71.1, Boost 1.79.0, kernel moved to Linux 5.18.17, Systemd 251.4, KMod 30, Mesa 22.1.6, Vulkan packages 1.3.224, Libnl 3.7.0, Hdparm 9.64, and Upower 1.90.0.

For the KDE parts, the latest Frameworks (5.97.0), Plasma (5.25.4) and KDE Gear (22.08.0) are included. All built on Qt 5.15.5+.

Frameworks (5.95.0), and KDE Gear (22.04.2) are included. All built on Qt 5.15.5+.

During the install, there now is an option to either view a slideshow with information about the distribution, or watch what the installer Calamares is currently doing by selecting the Log View.

A shift has started as to how all Python packages are built. Historically, just about all were built with setuptools through a setup.py script. PEP17 is the new standard for building python packages, see https://peps.python.org/pep-0517/. 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.

Qt 5.15 does not receive updates or maintenance from the Qt company (only closed source, paid support is available). KDE has stepped up though and published a maintained 5.15 fork https://dot.kde.org/2021/04/06/announcing-kdes-qt-5-patch-collection. KaOS now regularly does a patch update from this fork for all of Qt 5.15, so it basically is now at 5.15.6.

For Nvidia, a new longterm support version is included in this ISO, 470xx. The move by Nvidia to 495 meant the end of support for Kepler based cards, thus the need to add a new legacy version.

Qt 6.3.1 is included and is now far more complete since many more are ported from Qt5, this includes qt6-location and the big one, qt6-webengine (plus all the Qt6 webengine depends on). A few test applications have been build on qt6-webengine, including some web-browsers. All of the PyQt packages are now available in a Qt6 version too. Plus the Kvantum theming has support for Qt6.

Big thanks goes to Fosshost for not only providing the default mirror (through the Fastly CDN mirror network) but also providing a server for KaOS. This server is replacing an eight-year-old server (used for package upload, ZNC bouncer, and the old PHP based package viewer).

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, 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.

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.

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.

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 5.97.0, Plasma 5.25.4, KDE Applications 22.08.0, Linux 5.18.17, Systemd 251.4, Kmod 30, NetworkManager 1.38.4, LibreOffice 7.4.0, Elisa, Xorg-Server 1.21.4, Mesa 22.1.6, Glibc 2.35, GCC 11.3.0, non-free Nvidia 515 and Python3 3.9.13 to name a few.

The package manager is Pacman 6.0.1, with the simple but powerful Octopi 0.13 as GUI frontend. Default web browser is Qt based Falkon. 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. A gist of what is available, besides the stable kernel there is Linux-next 5.19, 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, examples Firefox 103.0.2, Chrome 106, Ardour 6.9.0, Inkscape 1.2.1, GIMP 2.10.32 and Thunderbird 102.1.2.
Complete language packs are available for KDE, Calligra, Firefox, LibreOffice and Thunderbird. For IM, Fcitx 4.2.9.9 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.