Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

KateOS - Getting Better with Age

Filed under
Linux
Reviews
-s

KateOS 3.6 was released a few days ago. Since KateOS has always been one of my favorite distributions and since I haven't looked at it recently, I decided to take it for a test run on my HP Pavillion laptop. It always supported the hardware on my desktop, so I was interested to see how it would fare with wireless ethernet and powersaving features. There are two versions available: a full 2.4 GB DVD and a 700 MB live CD. I chose the 700 MB live CD.

The live system starts in a text boot screen and allows one to input from a few boot cheat codes. I discovered this when my graphics weren't detected quite as closely as I like. Instead of the optimal 1280x800, I found myself at a 1024x768 desktop. This resolution doesn't look very attactive on that laptop, so I tested to see if using the screen=1280x800 would do the trick. It did indeed add that resolution to the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file, but I still was looking at a 1024x768 desktop. "nv" was used for the 7.2.0 Xorg and the refresh rates were close to what I normally see used for this machine. I don't know what the issue was, but I edited the configuration file to remove any other resolutions from the Modes line and restarted XFCE. I still only got 1152x768, but that was close enough for me.

I hate to start off with what sounds like a negative note as KateOS is a nice distro and offers many improvements this release. The first thing one notices is the new look. This time in shades of blue, my favorite, it looks as nice as ever - if not moreso. Kate always offers a nice customized appearance.

        


But as I began "computing" I realized I probably should have downloaded the DVD image. My first task after wrestling with X and my screen resolution was to get the internet connection working. I have a wireless ethernet chip that is not supported natively in Linux, so I must resort to Ndiswrapper. After loading the ntfs module, extracting the driver, and modprobing ndiswrapper I was not able to connect to my router as long as I kept WPA enabled. It seems the wpa_supplicant binary isn't included in the small version I downloaded. So, I moved on.

Next up was scaling down the cpu cycles to reduce heat and wear & tear on the processer (and to save battery power if I pulled the plug). Powernow-k8 and cpufreq_ondemand are all that's required for this basic purpose. Loading them and echoing ondemand to the /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor file did the trick. There didn't seem to be a graphical battery monitor, but you could manually monitor from /proc/acpi/battery/BATX/state.

Now with the cpu idling at 800 Mhz it was time to test the applications. Even the smaller image includes lots of great software. The default desktop is XFCE 4 4.4 with Linux 2.6.21.4, Xorg 7.2.0, and GCC 4.0.2 under the hood. MPlayer, Gxine/Xine, Audacious, and XFmedia was there for multimedia enjoyment. I tested several video formats, and MPlayer could play them all. As usual Xine had no idea what a .bin file was, but it was up for avis and mpegs. The Graphics menu had The GIMP, GQview, gtkam, Xpaint, and XSane listed. No trouble was experienced with any of those. Some of the Accessories included Graveman, xcalc, and Print Manager. Network apps include Firefox with multimedia plugins, Thunderbird, Pidgin, Xchat, gFTP, and Dillo. Firefox froze and hung on me after allowing it to install Flash while trying to use a video site, and I couldn't kill it off. kill, killall, kill -9, kill -15, just kill me... Nothing worked but rebooting. The OpenOffice.org suite is listed in the menu, but it wouldn't start here. The System menu was chocked full of tools and utilities for manipulating the system. Some of these were GParted, GTKfind, glxgears, terminals, and Services-setup. In this same submenu we also find several of Kate's original tools such as KateLan, KatePKG, Realm, neoconfig, adslconfig, update-notifier, and Agent.

        


KateLan is a network configuration tool. It listed such options as hostname and how to connect. My wlan0 device never did show up in it, but eth0 was there. KatePKG is a graphical package management tool. One can browse installed or available packages and install software. There were quite a lot of packages available including KDE and GNOME. Wpa_supplicant wasn't available. Realm is the repository manager. This is where one sets up the install mirrors. Realm comes with many already setup and about 4 enabled. I test installed a few packages and it worked good. Neoconfig appeared to be the hardware end to dsl configuration and adslconfig is a dsl connection config tool. The update-notifier checks KateOS mirrors for software updates. When clicked it reported no updates were available [just yet]. Agent is the new KateOS graphical hard drive installer.

KateOS of the past used a variation of the Slackware ncurses installer. But now we have this great graphical installer that is run from the live CD environment. It walks the user through the usually needed steps such as partitioning, choosing partitions and filesystems, and setting the bootloader option. After install one sets the root password and sets up a new user account.

        


Other than the Firefox and OpenOffice.org snafus, I found this KateOS as stable as ever. Performance when using the live CD was good. There was sometimes a second or so lag when navigating the menu or typing a command into the terminal. USB flash drives are detected automagically and icons appear on the desktop. Clicking the icon would mount the drive, but the user couldn't write to it. There are some handy help files on the desktop too.

All in all, I saw some wonderful improvements with the inclusion of the new graphical installer and katepkg. I like the new look. There were some handy gui tools to configure your system. The included software was sufficient and the repositories were amply populated, well other than the wpa thing. I think for a desktop machine it would be a great out-of-the-box Linux solution for your personal needs. For a notebook, it could still be great but one would have to work a little bit to get it all going.

KateOS Homepage
Purchase and download information.




Great review!

Thanks for the great review! Official wpa_suplicant can be downloaded from testing repository http://kateos.org/download/packages/testing3/wpa_supplicant-0.5.8-i486-4.tgz Smile I've never noticed any problems with OO.org on LIVE hmm maybe it was CD fault? As you can see on that video: http://reviewlinux.com/graphics/kateos36/kateos36.html (or screenshot http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/5460/ooorgre0.png) OO.org works Smile

Comment viewing options

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

More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: OSS

  • Anonymous Open Source Projects
    He made it clear he is not advocating for this view, just a thought experiment. I had, well, a few thoughts on this. I tend to think of open source projects in three broad buckets. Firstly, we have the overall workflow in which the community works together to build things. This is your code review processes, issue management, translations workflow, event strategy, governance, and other pieces. Secondly, there are the individual contributions. This is how we assess what we want to build, what quality looks like, how we build modularity, and other elements. Thirdly, there is identity which covers the identity of the project and the individuals who contribute to it. Solomon taps into this third component.
  • Ostatic and Archphile Are Dead
    I’ve been meaning to write about the demise of Ostatic for a month or so now, but it’s not easy to put together an article when you have absolutely no facts. I first noticed the site was gone a month or so back, when an attempt to reach it turned up one of those “this site can’t be reached” error messages. With a little checking, I was able to verify that the site has indeed gone dark, with writers for the site evidently losing access to their content without notice. Other than that, I’ve been able to find out nothing. Even the site’s ownership is shrouded in mystery. The domain name is registered to OStatic Inc, but with absolutely no information about who’s behind the corporation, which has a listed address of 500 Beale Street in San Francisco. I made an attempt to reach someone using the telephone number included in the results of a “whois” search, but have never received a reply from the voicemail message I left. Back in the days when FOSS Force was first getting cranked up, Ostatic was something of a goto site for news and commentary on Linux and open source. This hasn’t been so true lately, although Susan Linton — the original publisher of Tux Machines — continued to post her informative and entertaining news roundup column on the site until early February — presumably until the end. I’ve reached out to Ms. Linton, hoping to find out more about the demise of Ostatic, but haven’t received a reply. Her column will certainly be missed.
  • This Week In Creative Commons History
    Since I'm here at the Creative Commons 2017 Global Summit this weekend, I want to take a break from our usual Techdirt history posts and highlight the new State Of The Commons report that has been released. These annual reports are a key part of the CC community — here at Techdirt, most of our readers already understand the importance of the free culture licensing options that CC provides to creators, but it's important to step back and look at just how much content is being created and shared thanks to this system. It also provides some good insight into exactly how people are using CC licenses, through both data and (moreso than in previous years) close-up case studies. In the coming week we'll be taking a deeper dive into some of the specifics of the report and this year's summit, but for now I want to highlight a few key points — and encourage you to check out the full report for yourself.
  • ASU’s open-source 'library of the stars' to be enhanced by NSF grant
  • ASU wins record 14 NSF career awards
    Arizona State University has earned 14 National Science Foundation early career faculty awards, ranking second among all university recipients for 2017 and setting an ASU record. The awards total $7 million in funding for the ASU researchers over five years.

R1Soft's Backup Backport, TrustZone CryptoCell in Linux

  • CloudLinux 6 Gets New Beta Kernel to Backport a Fix for R1Soft's Backup Solution
    After announcing earlier this week the availability of a new Beta kernel for CloudLinux 7 and CloudLinux 6 Hybrid users, CloudLinux's Mykola Naugolnyi is now informing us about the release of a Beta kernel for CloudLinux 6 users. The updated CloudLinux 6 Beta kernel is tagged as build 2.6.32-673.26.1.lve1.4.26 and it's here to replace kernel 2.6.32-673.26.1.lve1.4.25. It is available right now for download from CloudLinux's updates-testing repository and backports a fix (CKSIX-109) for R1Soft's backup solution from CloudLinux 7's kernel.
  • Linux 4.12 To Begin Supporting TrustZone CryptoCell
    The upcoming Linux 4.12 kernel cycle plans to introduce support for CryptoCell hardware within ARM's TrustZone.

Lakka 2.0 stable release!

After 6 months of community testing, we are proud to announce Lakka 2.0! This new version of Lakka is based on LibreELEC instead of OpenELEC. Almost every package has been updated! We are now using RetroArch 1.5.0, which includes so many changes that listing everything in a single blogpost is rather difficult. Read more Also: LibreELEC-Based Lakka 2.0 Officially Released with Raspberry Pi Zero W Support

Leftovers: Gaming