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Review: Isotop, Mazon OS, and KduxOS

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Kdux boots to a console environment where we can once against sign in as the root user without a password. (Passwords can be set once we login.) The default installation is fairly minimal. The operating system uses just 2.5GB of space and consumes 35MB of memory. The GNU command line tools and manual pages are installed. The systemd init software and an up to date Linux kernel are installed. There is no compiler or development tools.

By default there is no network connection enabled. We can run the dhcpcd command to get a dynamic, wired address. Otherwise we need to manually set up networking. Once we get on-line, the Pacman package manager can be used to install and upgrade packages. Pacman connects to the Arch Linux repositories.

At this point, as far as I could tell, there is virtually no difference between running Arch Linux with the zsh shell and running Kdux. We have the same base packages, the same repositories, the same Arch documentation seems to be relevant. We are given the bare minimum building blocks for a distribution and left to build whatever operating system we want from the pieces.

Hardware support, out of the box is limited. Kdux was unable to detect my laptop's wireless card, preventing me from getting on-line. The distribution ran smoothly in a VirtualBox instance, but was unable to use more than a 800x600 resolution.

I'm not sure I see many benefits to using Kdux instead of plain Arch. The install process is less flexible and at least as cryptic, but once it is up and running, Kdux and Arch appear to be virtually identical. The one perk to using Kdux seems to be the Desktop edition which allows us to test our hardware prior to installing. However, this benefit is somewhat balanced by the apparent lack of installer on the Desktop edition, meaning I had to download the Desktop edition to test Kdux on my hardware and then use the Standard edition to install the distribution. I could have set up Arch in a similar amount of time with one download and without wiping out the contents of my hard drive.

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