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The KANOTIX distro implodes

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As of today, the KANOTIX distribution is...not dead, exactly, but most definitely without a firm direction. Its co-developer has left, its Paypal donation link is down, and it's not clear what's going to happen with it in the future.

KANOTIX is a Debian unstable-based distribution from Germany, distributed on a live CD. Its kernel comes highly customized to provide support for lots of hardware. It comes with a graphical installer and many customized scripts for ease of configuration. It was originally based on Knoppix, but it was always meant to be installed, while Knoppix is more of a live-CD-only distro.

KANOTIX's user base is mainly German, although there is an active English-speaking user base.

The official message from KANOTIX's founder, Jörg Schirottke (a.k.a. "Kano"), reads, in part:

"Since financing Kanotix through donations has proved a failure and I am planning restructuring to a more stable base (be it Ubuntu or Debian will have to show in tests) and I myself regard Debian/Sid as unfortunately not compliant with a more commercial orientation, he (co-developer Stefan Lippers-Hollmann) has left the project."

The co-founder's reasons for leaving:
Why do I resign after two years of hard work for Kanotix?

As expected this isn't easy to answer and has evolved over time, but technical
and personal disagreements make this step inevitable and non revocable for me.
In particular I object about:

- almost one year without any form of suitable release:
- this is an eternity for an debian sid based distribution, clean upgrading from the latest release to current -sid is no longer possible
- no significant technical progress in those >11 months from upper leading personnel, planned milestones slipped, finished code improvements were neither incorporated nor even tested
- seriously deteriorating inter project communications and working athmosphere
- unequal distribution of workload and/ or responsibilities
- a siginificant shift of agenda in ways I can- and will not endorse

There is one thing about KANOTIX that will sorely be missed. By way of explanation, when you use Debian Sid and upgrade its packages frequently, things often break. Installation scripts are sometimes buggy. Things get moved around (for example, the shift from 6.9 to 7.0 entailed a shift to new X directories). Packages don't work.

Beyond its great user community, KANOTIX included people who would watch out for the "dist-upgrade" bugs, find fixes for them, and communicate that information to the user community in a timely manner. (If you wonder why Ubuntu became so popular so fast, probably the main reason is that it tries to actively make things easier for end-users. Debian, upon which Ubuntu is based, has the opposite reputation.)

A few of my opinions about this situation:

  • I don't expect professional developers to be great at communication. Especially when it's bad news. However, it would be nice if the KANOTIX team could be more forthcoming with its users about what's going on.
  • I hope Kano doesn't decide to base future versions of KANOTIX on Ubuntu. My personal opinion of Ubuntu is that it takes away a lot more from Debian than it gives back.
  • It's been a wonderful experience using KANOTIX these past 2 1/2 years. It's taught me a lot about Debian and Linux. My deep respect and gratitude goes to all those involved in its development. (And I think Kano's a genius.)

Note: The opinions expressed here are mine. I alone am responsible for them.

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dang shame

That's a dang shame. I thought it was a nice distro and hate to hear of this. Crying

You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

Sad News

This is rather sad news. But from my experience distribution that are based on other distros don't last a lot unless there a lot of developers working on the project especially since there are already numerous Debian derivatives.

Sad indeed

Sad news for all Debian livecds based... Here in Brazil we have some livecds that use Kanotix as based... They have nice hardware support... but I must agree, there are thousands of Debian based distros and Knoppix method for livecd is too old... linux live or morphix is better and faster to maintain.

We are seeing the future, more distros based on Ubuntu and Slackware, and less based on Debian...


Some of the project's devs have already started up a new project named sidux. They really want to keep focused on a Sid-based distro.
><)))°> Kanotix: Making Linux work.

I wonder who is next

Kanotix was one of the first Distros that I installed to my HD, along with DreamLinux(The Best) I had a whole lot of fun playing with it, after a while I found that updating and upgrading was too much of a challenge....easy to install, easy to use, hard to upgrade...too many bugs. I have since moved to Edubuntu, (I had trouble installing Ubuntu from the live CD) so I installed the Edubuntu install only CD, worked like a charm. Now my only issue is that "it just works"....not much problems to figure out it's like having Windoze, all I do is change the backgrounds and themes.

I hope Kanotix will stick with Debian-Sid, although I am sure it get's expensive and time consuming, too bad it was not Kano who sold his company for Millions, instead of Mark Shuttleworth....

Open Your Future to Millions

I got spanked for posting this

I got a rash of s**t for posting that snippet of Stefan Lippers-Hollmann's announcement. You can read all about that here if you want to.

Out of respect for Kanotix, I'll restrain myself to saying that I find their attitude both unreasonable and unacceptable.

Perhaps when things turn sour, it's human nature for things to get progressively ugly, and for people to be non-communicative.

Guess it's time to change my sig and move on.
><)))°> Kanotix: Making Linux work.

re: spanked for posting


I got a rash of s**t for posting that snippet of Stefan Lippers-Hollmann's announcement. You can read all about that here if you want to.

Dang, kinda cat-y huh? I can hardly believe it. If something is posted on the web anywhere, it's practically fair-game. It could be quoted, plagerized, mis-quoted, or parodied. We appreciate your sharing.

At least that one guy had your back. Smile

You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

Life goes on...

As eco2geek mentioned, some (most) of the kanotix devs have started up sidux, which will pretty much carry on where kanotix (as it was) left off.

Sidux works nicely!

"As eco2geek mentioned, some (most) of the kanotix devs have started up sidux, which will pretty much carry on where kanotix (as it was) left off."

Grab the
Current release: sidux-2007-02 “Τάρταρο”, install to disk, then add the multimedia packages they don't include from

I just replaced my Kanotix install on a Thinkpad A31 with Sidux. Kanotix was excellent work, but I see no need to go back.

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