Version 2.3 of my homemade Linux distro has been downloaded 17 times. KIARA IS BACK... IN SLACK!
Breakthrough! Yesterday I installed Kiara 2.3 on my hard drive as a "live root" system, using the Always Fresh default. I did this by formatting the first partition as Fat32, instead of a native Linux filesystem, and using the Slax installer script that is usually reserved for installing on a USB device. This ought to mean that nothing changes the root directory from within a running system, and like any live CD, Kiara will spring back to shape after a reboot. A root system that won't be written to permanently from within is a powerful security advantage, and since my goal is to run KDE3 indefinitely, that's important. But it runs like a hard drive system: Fast, responsive, and so far it hasn't crashed once. It's the most robust KDE Desktop I've seen in ages. It's enough to bring a tear to your eye!
The /home/ partition was formatted in ext3. I wrote a script to facilitate mounting the /home/partition, , recreating the user account, establishing a root password, and enabling sudo. Of course, the normal user account is what retains my settings and personal data. So except for an extra three minutes of setting up at the beginning, it runs just like a hard drive installed system.
As a live CD Kiara comes by its stability from the same place the iPhone does... by being a closed system. Stability issues come out of running old software and new software together, but Kiara is ALL old software! Almost everything that I ported to Slax 6.1.2 to make Kiara comes from the same place, Slackware 12.2. The important exception is the Mozilla web browsers Firefox and Seamonkey, the Mozilla email client Thunderbird, and, for the time being, the Opera browser. These are built to run on any Linux, and they run beautifully. I scramble to keep these up to date, and the latest web applications go a long way give Kiara and up-to-date feel. But the older applications that I've been running on Kiara are just fine. I can point to one feature on Gimp that I miss, but I couldn't tell you what's different about Kwrite, emacs, Xchat, irssi. Of course, Konqueror is its awesome old self, and I've been rediscovering how much I love to run Konsole as transparent. They ever fix that for KDE4?
Nowadays, it's not so much KDE4 that people are unhappy with. It's Unity, and Gnome 3. The Linux desktop is changing dramatically, and I believe that Live media can provide a stable and secure environment for legacy software to provide an alternative to users who don't like what the Desktop developers are coming up with. I want developers to be free to explore and innovate, and giving users a stable and secure alternative will enhance their freedom. I believe that KDE4 works better for most users than it does for me, and it would be hypocritical for me to insist on my choice at the expense of another user's right to choose. But I do insist on my choice. Linux allows me to make sure of that.
I support the Trinity Project, but I have arranged for my own solution. I'm not taking any chances.