Kororaa - Close but no cigar...
The Kororaa* project released beta 2 of their 2005 Gentoo binary distribution installer this past week and we thought we'd give it a test run. This is a wonderful project and I think it has its niche. I love the idea of getting a gentoo install in a matter of minutes instead of days and in a manner more familiar or comfortable to folks. Kororaa is here fill the desire to install gentoo quickly and then later rebuild packages to your machine. In other words, the best of both worlds.
Also before I forget I should mention that the developers also offer a sister product called "Gororaa" that features a gnome desktop as opposed to KDE. They also offer versions for the 64-bit architecture as well.
The site states, "Other new features include lightweight window manager options, international keyboard language support, package selection, updated setup menus, as well as various new tools and configuration scripts and a prettier installer with progress bars KDE 3.4.3, Gnome 2.12, OpenOffice 2.0 and other carefully selected apps for everyday use are among the goodies that are included."
For those who are going to try this distro, I found these "handy tools" listed in the documentation:
systemconfig (the main configuration menu you see when you first boot)
genuser --simple (this command adds a user to your system)
genpass (generates a decent Linux password ? good!)
gensetpass (reset a user's password)
chooseres (set your preferred resolutions in X)
choosekeymap (set your keyboard language)
The installer boots up a nice "sorta" graphical environment, what I like to call ascii-graphical. It walks you through the install process with relative ease.
It begins at a prompt with the text message giving you instructions to type one of several options. I recall seeing:
*Don't forget to play a little moon-buggy if you get bored!
I chose kororaa and it began. First choose a keyboard map, Configure drives, and begin install. In configure drives, one can repartition, set mount points, and format. Begin install extracts the now default gentoo stage 3 tarball. Then one is asked to change to the "packages-cd."
At the next screen one can:
- Set date
- Set timezone
- Hostname & domainname
- Package selection
- Install packages
- Configure boot services
- Configure boot loader
- Setup Users
The package selection might be somewhat sparse in some folks' options, but not too bad in mine. It lists many useful applications under all the major categories. It seems to install and finish up.
Then it's time to do some configuration. Under the configure boot services, one checks the services they will need to start upon boot. Grub is the only choice for the bootloader. Finally one is prompted to set the root password and set up a user(s).
One is given two choices when setting up their user accounts. One option is simple, that allows one to input username and password. The other option is complex, where one can set up all the options, including the uid, groups, home and shell.
When one clicks Finish!, I assume it'd be time to setup X. Instead I got the error: can't find mkxfsetup.
Upon reboot, one is presented with a configuration dialog that again has some options that don't work (or didn't for me). The layout is similar to the following:
- Setup Sound
- Setup Sensors
- Resolution setup
- Portage Mirror
- Sync Portage Tree
- Update Locate database
- Prelink System
The setup sound and sensors didn't work here complaining it couldn't find the config files. Resolution worked as did network, portage mirror & sync, and Update Locate database. Prelinking said it worked, but I'm sure it didn't.
It turns out the problems I was experiencing were the result of the package installation step bombing out at an early point. I did several burns and new installations in an attempt to get the system to install as the developers intended, however in each instance the package installation just stops at about 18 of 269. This leaves one with a very crippled desktop. In fact, no desktop and very little applications were installed at all.
At this point one does have a basic base system with users and root privileges. Portage is functional and a make.conf is in place. The graphical setups that do work can help the newcomer get that base system installed much easier than downloading the stage-3 tarball and starting there.
So, although your system is not what it was advertised to be, one could finish their installation after boot through portage. emerge mkxfsetup gets one the utility to set up X, and emerge kde-meta would probably grind away for hours eventually leading to a kde desktop. However, that's not the promise or purpose of kororaa.
Kororaa was said to be a binary distribution with a kde desktop from which one could re-build their customized source based system. One can accomplish a complete system, just not at leisure from the luxury of kde.
This is a beta product at this time and the installer shows great promise. Perhaps my experience is isolated, but it appears at this time we need to let Kororaa simmer a bit more before it's done.
So, close but no cigar folks.
UPDATE: Please see my updated article concerning Kororaa Linux.