Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

A New Year, A New Kwort

Filed under
Linux
Reviews
-s

It was just about a year ago that I first tested slackware-based Kwort Linux. At that time I was impressed with its customized appearance and exclusive kpkg. Then kpkg wasn't included in the install image and I recall hoping it would be with later releases. I also recall being quite intrigued by the unique mascot of Kwort Linux, a creature I never quite defined. So, it was with great pleasure and anticipation that I began downloading their newest release, Kwort Linux 2.2.

Kwort is a slackware-based operating system featuring the Xfce4 desktop with Kwort's own Network Manager and kpkg package manager. Its minimum requirements are:

  • Processor: PC i486 or above.

  • RAM: 16Mb for base system (minimum). 32Mb for desktop (minimum), 64Mb recommended.
  • Disk Space: 200Mb for base system, 1.5Mb for full desktop (Openoffice 2.0 included).

Downloading the 486mb Kwort iso took a bit longer than one might wish, but it arrived and burnt without issue. Booting the disk brings one to a slightly modified slackware installer. It's not your more common mouse-driven framebuffered graphical installer, but still the nostalgically simple keyboard-driven ascii-graphical. There are but a few question to be answered in order to install Kwort, with the most difficult step for newcomers probably being partitioning if needed. Kwort has support for the ext2 and ext3 filesystems. This is a smart decision on their part as it will not require the use of an initrd image that be a bit difficult for newcomers to complete. Personally, my install went like clockwork and finished in very short order without issue. I could hardly wait to boot my new Kwort desktop. I admit, my fascination with the mascot was very motivating. What would I find on my desktop this time?

Seems Kwort Linux does have a new mascot this year. The new mascot appears to be a customized penguin in blue. He's pretty cute, but when I first saw it I thought to myself that his name must be Edward Scissorfins. I was disappointed he didn't reside on the desktop, but had to console myself with him on the start button. Kwort opted for more subtle wallpaper this time. Their new default background looks like a cross between KDE's and openSUSE's default. Looking through the settings one finds it's called aqua. The window decoration and style is just called xfce, but it looks very much like the one found as default in DreamLinux. In any case, the combination looks really pretty and polished.

Last year Kwort featured a 2.6.14 kernel, Xorg 6.9.0, gcc 3.3.6 and xfce 4.2.3.2 with Firefox 1.5 and OpenOffice.org 2.0. This year they have progressed to a 2.6.19 kernel, Xorg is still 6.9.0, gcc is 3.4.6, xfce4 is the 4.4.0 final, OpenOffice.org is version 2.0.4, and Firefox is 2.0.0.2. Some other interesting packages include wireless tool, ndiswrapper, openssl, iptables, wget, and bind. Also found are Gaim 2.0b6, Gimp 2.2.1.3, Sylpheed, graveman, ffmedia, and more.

        


        


Of course Kwort comes with all the great little modules found in Xfce4's settings center as well as the Xfce4 panel applet module. In addition, Kwort has added their own Kwort Network Manager to the Xfce settings manager. In it one can configure their network connection to suite their needs, including hostname, domainname server, gateway, and supposedly their ethernet or wireless specifics. I had a bit of trouble with the later mentioned. The wireless tool didn't open and the lan configuration opened the Xdialog box instead of the target app. However, the net connection is configured during install and remains afterwards. This whole app is a nice addition and I look forward to its future refinements and capabilities.

        


But I think one of the best things about Kwort is their package management system. Kpkg is a simple easy way to search for packages, install or uninstall individual or groups of packages, or upgrade the system over a net connection from a remote mirror. At this time it is still a commandline tool very much in the same ilk as apt-get. In fact, the operations mimic apt-get very closely. Some of the more common uses include:

  • kpkg update
  • kpkg install <package/app name>
  • kpkg search <package/app name>

There are more advanced options as well. In fact, they have some wonderful documention online at their site. I did run into a glitch or two when installing some packages. The first being dependencies. For example, I installed MPlayer and it installed without error and even put an entry in the menu. However it wouldn't open. Seems it needed libspeex and libsdl. Trying to start it from the commandline revealed the problems and the needed libraries were just a kpkg install away. Another was problems installing a package or two. I thought there might be a more major problem at first, but I think now it was due to Kwort's slow mirror. Rerunning the request a second time completed it just fine. So, there may be little hiccups along the way, but overall the kpkg system seems to function really well. I think Kwort could really use a faster mirror. If anyone knows of someone who might be able to mirror the Kwort isos and packages I imagine they'd like to hear of it. Please keep them in mind.

So, after figuring out the dependency issue with MPlayer and issuing a kpkg install win32codecs I was able to watch any of my video files on hand. Flash and java aren't included on the iso, but Flash is in the repository. I didn't find cups or xsane backends. Removeable media isn't automatically mounted upon insertion, but that is on the lead developer's wish-list.

Overall I really like this little light-weight system. It seemed very easy to install and use. It was stable and fast, even OpenOffice.org opened in a mere 2 or 3 seconds. It looks better than ever and includes a nice selection of apps to get one started. In addition, their package repository is being enhanced everyday. If you'd like a nice slackware based system with Xfce4 as the desktop, Kwort is a viable option. It's just a really cool little system.

More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: Ubuntu and Derivatives

  • 'Big Bang Theory's' Stuart wears Ubuntu T-shirt
    Am I the only person to notice that comic book shop-owning Stuart (Kevin Sussman) on the "The Big Bang Theory" is wearing an Ubuntu T-shirt on the episode airing Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017? (It's Season 10, Episode 17, if that information helps you.) The T-shirt appearance isn't as overt as Sheldon's mention of the Ubuntu Linux operating system way back in Season 3 (Episode 22, according to one YouTube video title), but it's an unusual return for Ubuntu to the world of "Big Bang."
  • Unity Explained: A Look at Ubuntu’s Default Desktop Environment
    Ubuntu is the most well-known version of Linux around. It’s how millions of people have discovered Linux for the first time, and continues to draw new users into the world of open source operating systems. So the interface Ubuntu uses is one many people are going to see. In this area, Ubuntu is unique. Even as a new user, rarely will you confuse the default Ubuntu desktop for something else. That’s because Ubuntu has its own interface that you can — but probably won’t — find anywhere else. It’s called Unity.
  • A Look at Ubuntu MATE 16.04.2 LTS for Raspberry Pi
    Installing Ubuntu MATE onto my Raspberry Pi 3 was straight forward. You can easily use Etcher to write the image to a microSD card, the partition is automatically resized to fill your microSD card when the pi is powered up for the first time, and then you are sent through a typical guided installer. Installation takes several minutes and finally the system reboots and you arrive at the desktop. A Welcome app provides some good information on Ubuntu MATE, including a section specific for the Raspberry Pi. The Welcome app explains that the while the system is based on Ubuntu MATE and uses Ubuntu armhf base, it is in fact using the same kernel as Raspian. It also turns out that a whole set of Raspian software has been ported over such as raspi-config, rpi.gpio, sonic-pi, python-sent-hat, omxplayer, etc. I got in a very simple couple of tests that showed that GPIO control worked.
  • Zorin OS 12 Business Has Arrived [Ed: Zorin 12.1 has also just been released]
    This new release of Zorin OS Business takes advantage of the new features and enhancements in Zorin OS 12, our biggest release ever. These include an all new desktop environment, a new way to install software, entirely new desktop apps and much more. You can find more information about what’s new in Zorin OS 12 here.

GNU/Linux Events

  • Takeaways from the Open Source Leadership Summit: Mainstream Open Source, Security, Policy, and Business Models
    The 2017 Open Source Leadership Summit, put on by the Linux Foundation, brought together leaders from the open source community in Lake Tahoe last week to discuss timely open source topics. The topics that came up most throughout the conference included: open source becoming mainstream, future open source business models, security in a time where everything is connected, and a call to action to be active in technology policy. Open source is becoming a larger focus for major companies, from Toyota to Disney to Walmart. While open source vendors continue to look to the Red Hat model as one of the most successful open source business models to date, entrepreneurs believe there are new models that can surpass this success. As the world becomes ever more connected to the internet, there are general concerns about security, and a call to take action in policymaking. Read on below to learn more about the conversations at the Open Source Leadership Summit.
  • Persistent Memory Usage within Linux Environment by Maciej Maciejewski & Krzysztof Czurylo, Intel
  • Persistent Memory Usage in Linux
    In most cases, when a machine crashes or fails, we lose whatever we had loaded into memory, which for some applications can result in quite a bit of time and effort to recover when the system comes back online. At LinuxCon Europe, Maciej Maciejewski, Senior Software Engineer at Intel, talked about how persistent memory can be used to retain its contents after a power failure.
  • Amidst Bias, Women Work to Find a Place in Open Source Communities
    Despite efforts to enhance diversity, women continue to be under-represented in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, and open-source software is no different. A talk at the Linux Foundation’s Open Source Leadership Summit (OSLS), held last week in Lake Tahoe, highlighted some of the issues facing women in the open source community, from low participation to gender bias and unequal pay to overall job satisfaction.
  • Engineer Finds Passion and Community With Kids On Computers
    If you love technology, you can find a space for yourself and connect with others around mutual interests, according to Avni Khatri, president of Kids on Computers (KoC), a nonprofit that sets up computer labs using donated hardware and open source software in areas where kids have no other access to technology. During LinuxCon North America 2016, Khatri organized Kids Day, a day-long workshop that’s aimed at helping school-aged children get interested in computer programming. For Khatri, it’s also a way of furthering her dream of giving children unlimited access to education and helping them succeed in technology.
  • Join Hackaday And Tindie At The Southern California Linux Expo
    Do you like Open Source? Join Hackaday and Tindie at the largest community-run Open Source conference in North America. We’ll be at the Southern California Linux Expo next week, and we want to see you there.

Linux on Servers and Networks

  • Thanks to Red Hat, India's biggest stock exchange is now the world's fastest
    "Red Hat is now our backbone. Our business cannot run if Red Hat is not there." That is India's biggest stock exchange's CEO talking. Established in 1875, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) is considered to be Asia’s earliest established stock exchange with an overall market capitalization of $1.43 Trillion in 2016 making it the world's 11th largest. Open Source have had many major wins last year, and this has to be one of the biggest.
  • CORD Partners with xRAN to Bring SDN to the RAN
    The Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center (CORD) open source project is partnering with the xRAN Foundation. The two groups plan to work on a software-based, extensible Radio Access Network (xRAN) architecture. Apparently, the xRAN Foundation is a new standards group that was formed in late 2016. Deutsche Telekom, a founding member, is hosting a press event at Mobile World Congress next week to introduce the group and explain its mission. Other initial members of xRAN include AT&T, SK Telecom, and Intel.
  • OpenStack sets its sights on the next generation of private clouds
    Today, the OpenStack Foundation is launching the latest version of its platform that allows enterprises to run an AWS-like cloud computing platform in their data centers. Ocata, as the 15th release of OpenStack is called, arrives after only a four-month release cycle, which is a bit faster than its usual six-month cycle, which will resume after this release. The reason for this is a change in how the Foundation organizes its developer events over the course of a release cycle. Because of the shorter cycle, this new release focused more on stability than new features, but it still manages to squeeze a number of new features in as well.
  • “I Am A Mainframer” Interview Series: IBM
    In our second conversation of our “I Am A Mainframer” interview series, Jeffrey Frey talks with Emily K. Hugenbruch, OpenStack Cloud Enablement Engineer, z/VM and Software Engineer at IBM about the OpenStack Newton release and her overall career experience as a woman working in the mainframe space.

Leftovers: Software

  • systemd 233 Is Around The Corner With More Additions, Changes
  • Peek – A Simple Animated Gif Screen Recorder for Linux
    Peek Gif Recorder is the perfect screen capture tool for short and sharp video clips. It was designed to use ffmpeg and imagemagick to take screencasts of your desktop and animate them to make them Gifs. It’s that nifty tool for those who might want to demo a bug or a brief gameplay session quickly.
  • Git v2.12.0
    The latest feature release Git v2.12.0 is now available at the usual places. It is comprised of 517 non-merge commits since v2.11.0, contributed by 80 people, 24 of which are new faces.
  • Git 2.12 Ships With A Variety Of Changes
    Looking through the release log, Git 2.12 doesn't bring any big breakthrough feature, but has a variety of improvements throughout. Git 2.12 brings updates for its p4 sub-command, finer-grained controls for what transport protocols can be used for clone/fetch/push can now be setup via the configuration file, a variety of updates to other sub-commands, several performance improvements, build updates for Cygwin, and quite a number of fixes too.