Yoper is a Linux Distribution that takes the best of the best and rolls it into their own 686 optimized system. They released a beta of 3.0, dubbed Blacksand, a few days ago and someone  put a little bug in my ear to test it. So we downloaded the iso linked to at Distrowatch  and tested it this morning. So, how did Yoper stack up?
Yoper is said  to be "a high performance computer-operating system. It has been carefully optimized for PC's with either i686 or higher processor types. The binaries that come with Yoper have been built from scratch combining the original sources with the some of the best features from other Open Source Linux distributions."
They state  some of it's features are:
- The base system is built from scratch.
- Package management via rpm and smart-pm
- Kudzu Hardware recognition from Red Hat.
- as well as from KNOPPIX / KANOTIX
- Firefox and Thunderbird from Mozilla.org.
- Hwsetup from Knoppix.
- KDE 3.5
- Apt tools from Debian.
The yoper iso as downloaded is a traditional install cd. When it boots, one is given the choice of installing using text-based or gui-based. I chose the gui-base. This opens a unique install environment and starts the installer. The install environment is a drastically scaled-down kde with even a kde toolbar at the top of the screen. From there I could open a konsole and start ksnapshot to get wonderful real-time screenshots of the install.
The installer is also rather unique. It has some features that remind of redhat's/fedora's in a way, and some others that remind of kanotix's some. I suppose it is an original tool. It walks one through the basic setup configurations and installs the system onto your hard drive. My only problem with it was it only saw the first 9 partition on each of my hard drives. This limitation put me to a disadvantage as my swap partition is located at hda11 and the desired target partition was hda25. Well, it saw an old swap at hdb7 and I installed over a system that should have an update soon that was installed on hda7. One is given the opportunity to assign a /home and /boot partition if so desired at this same screen. Click install and off it goes.
The system installed in about 15 minutes and asked if we should configure a bootloader or do it manually later. I chose manually later. At that point I was asked to setup a root password. After the install one is asked for their language, to setup a new root password (yep, again), and a(n) user account. This is followed by timezone settings, alsa configuration, and X config.
Upon boot one is greeted by a graphical login screen with a lovely background of red balls stamped with an uppercase Y. I logged into kde and noticed the nice wallpaper and great looking icons. What I did not get was a kicker. I opened konsole and could get it to start with no problems. After logging out and back in, kicker still did not start with the desktop. I put a link in my .kde/Autostart folder. Not the correct or even the best method probably, but it works. It appears that we are in a complete KDE 3.5.0 desktop although not all of the kde apps are in the menu. The menu update tool tried to start from the menu, but didn't. So, I'm sure there are plenty of other apps installed that are not listed in the menu.
Besides all the usual kde applications, Yoper includes Firefox 1.5, Thunderbird, gaim, amarok, juk, koffice, xchat, gftp and smart package tool. The only problems apps I found here was the kde menu updater, kb3, and xmms, which would not open. Woefully missing even from the smart repository was OpenOffice.org and mplayer.
They include apt and rpm in order for their smart package manager to work and it does. It works wonderfully. My only complaint is that the repository is somewhat lacking in choice of applications. However, it appears that all of gnome is offered for installation.
Although I complained about mplayer being missing, kaffine is present. Upon testing, kaffine was found to play mpegs and avi without issue. There were no browser plugins available, but flash installed through firefox in a few seconds.
Under the hood we find Xorg-6.8.2, kernel 2.6.15, and gcc-3.4.3. They state the os is optimized for 686 machines, and it really shows here. It felt light-weight, fast and care-free. Apps opened amazingly fast. Firefox opened in about 3 seconds and rendered pages in an equally impressive manner. Of course the kde apps opened instantaneously. Despite this speed, the desktop and apps seemed remarkably stable.
So, all in all I found Yoper to be a great little system and even in this early beta state offers great usability, stability and performance. It's great looking with some wonderful artwork and icons. It could use a few more apps and plugins, but overall, I liked it a lot. Yoper 3.0 is gonna be a fantastic desktop system, I can tell already. More Screenshots .