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

Sparky SU 0.1.0

This tool provides Yad based front-end for su (spsu) allowing users to give a password and run graphical commands as root without needing to invoke su in a terminal emulator. It can be used as a Gksu replacement to run any application as root. Read more

Leftovers: Linux in the Ham Shack and Golden Age of the iPhone Is Ending

  • LHS Episode #264: The Weekender XXI
    Welcome to the 21st Weekender episode of Linux in the Ham Shack. This time around, we talk about the few contests and special event stations that are around for December. We also touch on Linux distros to try, things to do in the amateur radio and open source world and then we dive straight into hedonism, discussing good food, good music and good spirits. Thank you for listening and Happy Holidays.
  • The Golden Age of the iPhone Is Ending
    Apple’s premier gadget faces a less certain future than ever as the market shifts under its feet.

OSS Leftovers

  • The fourth industrial revolution is under way, and leaders must adopt open source thinking
    For the first time in history, knowledge is free and abundant, ordinary people are more empowered than ever before, and almost every boundary to communication has been lifted. [...] Welcome to the 21st Century where everyone and everything is connected 24/7, and where exciting progress opportunities and daunting challenges coexist. In this century, life and business have become “open source”. In order to succeed and thrive, our thoughts and actions must also become open source. It is time for business leaders to shed myths of the past, question conventional wisdom, and adopt “open source thinking” around the following fundamental questions/challenges:
  • Can real-world enterprises digest all this open-source, startup stuff?
    Why does the Cloud Native Computing Foundation now host more than 30 projects? Why are cloud-based startups coming out of the woodwork with narrow point solutions? Mostly just so users can have a better time with an application. But it’s all getting a bit weedy. How can enterprises pick out the right technologies from the aisles of them? “It’s really easy to forget that infrastructure is not a thing in its own right — it’s solely there to enable applications and to enable other things,” said Steve Herrod (pictured), managing director at General Catalyst Partners LLC.
  • CableLabs Open Source IoT Project Shoots for Scale
    Opening up another chapter in its open source story, CableLabs this week took another shot at the industrial Internet of Things market with its LPWAN Server project. The general concept is to create open source LPWAN Server software that can run on off-the-shelf hardware and support a wide range of low-power, IoT wireless technologies designed to transmit small bits of data over long distances. (See Blog: CableLabs Intros Open Source LPWAN Server.) "We don't see one clear winner in the LPWAN space," said Daryl Malas, principal architect at CableLabs' advanced technology group. "We don't see NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT) dominating all use cases. And we don't see LoRA dominating all use cases."
  • The 10 Coolest New Open-Source Technologies And Tools Of 2018
  • The fight to keep ideas open to all
     

    “The only way we can preserve and nurture other and more precious freedoms is by relinquishing the freedom to breed.” This ominous sentence comes not from China’s one-child policy but from one of the 20th century’s most influential—and misunderstood—essays in economics. “The tragedy of the commons”, by Garrett Hardin, marks its 50th anniversary on December 13th.  

    The article, published in the journal Science, was a neo-Malthusian jeremiad about uncontrolled population growth. But it is remembered for the image that the title conjures up and for the anecdotes that Hardin used. The idea behind it is as simple as it is profound: a resource freely available to all will be used inefficiently. An actual common will inevitably be overgrazed. Who would restrict their cattle if other herders may not follow suit?  

  • Suriname community uses new open-source app to preserve storytelling traditions
    To prevent that from happening, the local community-based organization Stichting voor Dorpsontwikkeling Matawai has spent the last few years documenting their oral storytelling traditions using video recorders and interactive maps. With support from the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), the organization trained younger Matawai to record and interview their elders about the numerous named places and sites in their ancestral lands.
  • Bluespec, Inc. Releases a Second Family of Open-Source RISC-V Processors to Spur Open Innovation
    Flute is a configurable 5-stage application processor complementing the previously released 3-stage Piccolo microcontroller, both of which are suitable for IoT. The initial release provides synthesizable Verilog for a bare metal RV32IMA core and a supervisor level RV64IMA core. Future releases will add floating point and compressed instructions (RV32GC/RV64GC) and run Linux and FreeRTOS. The Flute download (here) provides working Verilator and Icarus simulations and the Verilog has been tested in Xilinx UltraScale/UltraScale+ boards.

Schedule a visit with the Emacs psychiatrist

Welcome to another day of the 24-day-long Linux command-line toys advent calendar. If this is your first visit to the series, you might be asking yourself what a command-line toy even is. We’re figuring that out as we go, but generally, it could be a game, or any simple diversion that helps you have fun at the terminal. Some of you will have seen various selections from our calendar before, but we hope there’s at least one new thing for everyone. Today's selection is a hidden gem inside of Emacs: Eliza, the Rogerian psychotherapist, a terminal toy ready to listen to everything you have to say. Read more