Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Beta Review: Kanotix 2007 "Thorhammer" RC5B

Filed under
Reviews

The last Kanotix release (based on Debian Sid), KANOTIX-2006-01-RC4, came out in October, 2006. Shortly thereafter, a Kanotix co-developer (and many of Kanotix's other developers) left the project and founded their own, mainly due to a disagreement over whether Kanotix should be based on Sid (Debian's unstable branch) or something less volatile, like Etch (Debian's current stable branch) or Ubuntu.

Kanotix's founder, Jörg Schirottke (aka Kano), now has a new, Etch-based version of Kanotix in development, code-named "Thorhammer." It's not yet publicly available, but if you catch Kano in the #kanotix IRC channel on freenode.net and ask, he'll give you a download link. (Note: Only Kano himeslf can give you the download link. Also, there's a link to a Web-based IRC interface to #kanotix on Kanotix's main page for your convenience.)

Most of the forum discussion about Thorhammer's in German (not surprising), so it's a bit difficult for us English-only speakers to keep up with what's going on. When the final version's released, discussion in the English forums will undoubtedly pick up.

Thorhammer's based on Debian Etch, with around 40 backports and a patched Ubuntu kernel (v2.6.22-10-kanotix). Packages include:

  • Xorg v7.1.1 and Beryl v0.2.0
  • Video Disk Recorder v1.5.2
  • KDE v3.5.5a; OpenOffice.org v2.0.4; Iceweasel (aka Firefox) v2.0.0.6; Icedove (aka Thunderbird) v1.5.0.12
  • GParted v0.3.3 (with the ability to resize NTFS partitions); ntfs-3g (for mounting NTFS partitions in read/write mode)

...and many more. Of course, you can install your own from the regular Debian repositories.

Thorhammer runs (and installs) from a live CD, which has the same excellent hardware detection that Kanotix has been known for. (If, when the live CD starts X, the screen blanks — which is probably due to the time being set and power management thinking it needs to kick in — just wiggle the mouse to get it back.) It uses Cathbard's nice artwork.

   

It includes a slew of custom scripts (I call them "convenience scripts") that make, for example, installing the current NVIDIA driver as simple as running "install-nvidia-debian.sh" as root. (Afterwards, xorg.conf is properly configured for Beryl, and Beryl's ready to run.) It adds some custom applets to the KDE Control Center, in order to allow you to more easily administer your computer. It also comes with a comprehensive user manual (which, as of this writing, only seems to be missing a few screenshots of the installer).

(One difference between Kanotix and "stock" Debian is that Debian runs X in runlevel 2. Kanotix uses runlevel 3 for console mode (with networking but without X), and runlevel 5 for X. With Kanotix, you're encouraged to use runlevel 3 when installing packages (and, of course, video drivers).)

Kanotix comes with ndiswrapper, and a custom script to configure it, but you will need to find the Windows drivers (*.sys and *.inf) for your particular wireless chipset yourself. They're not included with Kanotix.

Installation on an external (USB) HDD went smoothly. The installer's named "AcritoxInstaller" (after its author), and is available in the "Kanotix" menu (in the K menu). The one glitch I found with it was that it stalled out when installing GRUB to the external drive's MBR when run straight from the Kanotix menu. It worked fine when I ran it from a console as root with X privileges: starting up Konsole; typing "sux" to log in as root with X privileges; and issuing the "acritoxinstaller" command.

Post-installation, the only glitch I encountered was that the installer set the keyboard in Xorg's configuration file to German, which made it a bit hard to log in. Changing the line

Option          "XkbLayout"             "de"

to

Option          "XkbLayout"             "us"

in the keyboard's "InputDevice" section fixed the problem.

Otherwise, Thorhammer works well, and seems quite stable.

Although I'll probably stick with my existing Debian testing installation for now, I'm thrilled to see Kano and crew back in operation. From the looks of things, it shouldn't be too long before the final version's out.

Edit: Iceweasel version corrected to 2.0.0.6

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Kanotix 2007 "Thorhammer" RC6 now publicly available

As of today, Kanotix 2007 Thorhammer RC6 is publicly available for download. So if you're a fan of Debian stable, or a previous Kanotix fan, check it out.

(The way Kano works, "RC6" actually means it's about the 10th version he's come out with, just the first one he's offering for public consumption. Smile )

More in Tux Machines

Android One (second-generation) review

With Lava pixel V1, Google has attempted to revolutionize the budget smartphone market again but has not been able to do so. The phone does offer good design, excellent touch response, smooth performance and decent camera, however at the same time lacks full-HD screen, 4G connectivity and the latest processor - features that are already available in various phones in this budget segment. However, users who value stock Android and priority updates may find this one to be a good option. At Rs 11,350 the smartphone fails to compete with Lenovo K3 Note, which is available at Rs 10,000 and offers better features including display, processor and camera. YU Yureka Plus also comes with better specifications at a lower price. Read more

Yesterday and Today in Techrights

Canonical Publishes Impressive Roadmap for All of Their Ubuntu Products

Canonical is working on multiple projects at the same time, and it's often difficult to understand their plans, but Director of Product Strategy Engineering Olli Ries has shed some light on how their inner workings are structured and how things are evolving, from the inside out. Read more

Making the Case for Koha: Why Libraries Should Consider an Open Source ILS

When Engard educates people on what open source is, what it means to use open source software, what types of software are available, which companies use it, and who trusts it, they see that their fears are unfounded, she says. To back up her discussions with facts, she maintains bibliographies on open source and open source security. She also has a set of bookmarks on Delicious, and she wrote a book, Practical Open Source Software for Libraries. “[W]hen people come to me and say open source is too risky … I have facts and figures, just what librarians want, to say no, all software has potential risk associated with it. You have to evaluate software side by side, and look at it, and really take the time to compare it. … I know you’re going to pick the open source solution over the proprietary because it is so quickly developed, so quickly fixed, so ahead of the curve as far as technology is concerned.” Read more