KaOS - 2018.08
It is with great pleasure to present to you the August release of a new stable ISO.
With almost 70 % percent of the packages updated since the last ISO and the last release being over two months old, a new ISO is more than due. No major changes this time to announce, as was with last ISO, just the usual large package movement. News for KDE Applications 18.08 included Dolphin updated context menu and a modernized 'Settings' dialog, Gwenview received a major overhaul, KMail has added support for travel data and Spectacle now has a magnifier to help you draw a selection rectangle.
As always with this rolling distribution, you will find the very latest packages for the Plasma Desktop, this includes Frameworks 5.49.0, Plasma 5.13.4 and KDE Applications 18.08.0.All built on Qt 5.11.1.
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 Xorg-Server 1.20.1, Linux 4.17.17, Pacman 5.1.1, Wayland 1.16.0, Gstreamer 1.14.2, LLVM/Clang 6.0.1, Systemd 239, Mesa 18.1.7, NetworkManager 1.12.2, Rust 1.26.0, Protobuf 3.6.1, Intel-ucode 20180807, Openjdk 8u171 and Ruby 2.5.1
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 Either they actually are no longer maintained or their development is ignoring the implications of building on a possible insecure toolkit.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. There was a complete redesign of the Midna theme for 2018. Some 2500 new icons in use, rewritten sddm login theme and a KaOS community selected new wallpaper (created by Jomada).
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 3.2 series. Highlights of the changes and additions:
- The branding module has also seen an overhaul and the slideshow framework has been extended with some new classes which can be used.
- The GeoIP service provided by FreeGeoIP.net is closing down and a different API is being offered, including a free (gratis) service tier. KaOS has moved to using ipapi.co
- UI annoyances in the partitioning module were fixed; the mount-point selector is now more obvious when no mount-point has been chosen, and the mount-point and flags are preserved when (re)editing partitions.
- The list of languages on the welcome page, where the user can select which language to use for the installer, now displays languages in their native representation, rather than the English name for each language.
- The user shell is no longer hard-coded to /bin/bash, but follows the default setting for useradd(8), e.g. those set in /etc/default/useradd.
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 merely a snapshot of the current status of the repositories. An idea what is currently available:
The ISO ships with Frameworks 5.49.0, Plasma 5.13.4, KDE Applications 18.08.0, Linux 4.17.17, Systemd 239, Kmod 25, NetworkManager 1.12.2, Calligra 3.1.0, Krita 4.1.1, Elisa, Xorg-Server 1.20.1, Mesa 18.1.7, Glibc 2.26, GCC 7.3.0, non-free Nvidia 396.54, Pepperflash and Python3 3.6.5 to name a few.
The package manager is Pacman 5.1.1, with the simple but powerful Octopi 0.9dev as GUI frontend. Default web browser is Qt based Falkon 3.0.1. GFXboot is included with KaOS artwork, Grub theme is Midna, Look & Feel is a KaOS exclusive version "Midna", fully redone for 2018.
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 4.18, Libreoffice 6.1.0, 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 61.0.2, Chrome 70, Ardour 5.12.0, Inkscape 0.92.2, GIMP 2.10.6 and Google-talkplugin 126.96.36.199.1.
Complete language packs are available for KDE, Calligra, Firefox, Libreoffice and Thunderbird. For IM, Fcitx 188.8.131.52 is available as a rather complete group.
- Installing on RAID or LVM is currently not possible
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.