Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

KateOS 2.3: Kicking butt and taking names

Filed under
Linux
Reviews
-s

The release of KateOS 2.3 was announced a coupla days ago, and Tuxmachines takes a look at what's new since our last excursion. KateOS was amazing at that point and the developer took time out of his busy schedule to give us some inside information. If history repeats itself, no one will be disappointed.

  • Introduction

KateOS is a traditionally installed linux system in the incarnation we tested today. Frequently, KateOS is available in livecd format as well, but they aren't released for this version as of yet. This release brings the newest industry releases and upgrades including a modern kernel, availability of Reiser4, and a recent version of KDE. The announcement states, "KateOS 2.3 brings 2.6.14.2 kernel with Reiser4 support, the newest Glibc library, XFCE 4.2.3.2 desktop environment and many other aplications in current versions. We have modified system boot scripts so they present the boot sequence in a clear way. Another new addition in KateOS is a hardware detection tool - "discovery", which detects and configures system hardware."

  • The Install

The installer is a heavily modified slackware installer that brings much more functionality to the end user making it much easier to configure your system and start using it right away rather than reading a bunch of documentation. Rather than strip it down, as some do thinking that makes things easier, KateOS takes the logical approach and adds useful options to an already great installer. If you haven't seen it, it's is very much like Slackware's or Zenwalk's but utilizes a much more tasteful color scheme. The functionality is improved to include such things as asking if it should scan for other partitions and add them to /etc/fstab. The package/group selection seems to include a few extras as well as the start up services config. During installation it prompts for the second cd of packages. I wish it prompted for the KDE extension module cd as well. One of the best things it does is build an initrd image for you and stores it in /boot, installs it in the mbr if you choose to install lilo or on floppy if that's your choice of boot method. What a help! It will probe your video hardware and configure your x server for you. It even asks how many wheels your mouse has. One is given a choice of runlevels before it walks you through configuration of an user and password. These are just some of the amazing user-friendly improvements found.

  • Art Design

Once installed one is presented with a very unique desktop indeed. The almost "Quake-like" atmosphere is created using a strange background, unique colors, and novel theme. The wallpaper is the foundation of any theme and KateOS exploits that fact and sets the environment from the get-go. Our first hint that we are in for something extraordinary begins with the X-server/wm progress screen. We are presented with pulsating circulating discs of crackled orange and gray that you will soon see matches the wallpaper. Once the desktop appears the look and feel really begins to unfold. The wallpaper is a close-up of a suspended human heart sustained by industrial tubes and what I imagine to be electric leads or synthetic nerve-endings. The heart appears crusted over in an almost morphing metallic sheath as the artificial life supports mutate a more machine-than-human organ, glowing orange now as embers do when they are as hot as they can get. The background is a rough honed, almost concrete like in it's appearance, impenetrable wall, or perhaps grained steel, highlighted with more 'nerve-endings'. The theme is further accentuated by the bold use of a dark gray color widgets with orange fonts all coming together to formulate a veritable masculine, almost "kick butt and take names later" quality - no penguins in hairbows now buddy. It's difficult to describe, it must be experienced and this alone is worth the download. As you use the system, one is more and more drawn ...addicted to the raw energy this peculiar atmosphere creates. One can almost hear the thump thump of the heart, the hum of machinery and the metallic clanks of engaging mechanisms opening and closing the applications from the flawless precision of well greased menus. All these components come together to add this rock solid feel to already stable system. One knows from the start this isn't going to be another 'same ole same ole'. Kudos the developers for showing innovation and courage in the often times overlooked artistic realm of system development.

Damian Rakowski of KateOS says of the new design, "This special wallpaper, splash screen for Xfce etc. was made by my brother Adam (aka Rakhi), who loves making graphic-art. We spent two days making this default design. My brother and I sat next to the computer, and started to think. Big Grin We decided that the design should be original, dark, and connected with sci-fi. The mysterious heart seems to be an organic part of the system, which is connected with synthetic pipes, and it works as a complete body. It shows the connection between users and nowadays hi-tech technology. Rakhi made this heart using Free software - Blender and Gimp for post-production. We were worried about how people would react to such a dark design, which is something new in computing, but now we are happy that most of our users enjoy this new design. Smile "

        


  • The System

The system foundation is linux 2.6.14.2 and your gui is served up by Xorg 6.8.2. The compiler is gcc 3.3.6 and the default desktop is xfce 4.2.3.2. KDE 3.4.3 is installable and is presented as an extension module iso, unless you download the dvd version. The dvd version comes with KDE included as well as gnome.

KateOS comes with all the usual xfce-ware, but in the menu are many applications not found in your plain jane xfce. We can find all sorts of games, graphic programs, multimedia applications, as well system tools and utilities. It's a horn o'plenty to be sure. This was my first introduction to TuxMath. TuxMath is a real cute little game in which one needs to enter the correct answer to a small mathematical problem to shoot a lazer beam at bombarding fireballs (I assume) before the innocent civilizations are destroyed. Also included is CircusLinux. I didn't realize that game was still being developed. I didn't play CircusLinux today as my last round of clown shooting resulted in the total meltdown of my ps2 port about 5 years ago. Big Grin I don't play that game anymore, although I'm sure it was a freak occurrence and never happened to another soul or since. But I digress... other games include FreeCiv, Tuxpuck, and ppracer. In the graphics menu we find Gimp, GTKsee, and Inkscape amongst others. Under Multimedia we find xine, gxine and mplayer! They play all my movie files fine. Also are music players and rippers. If interested in communications, we have Dillo as well as Firefox/Thunderbird, gaim, and Xchat. Abiword is the featured word processor and Rox is thrown in for good measure. In addition there are tools for burning cds, file searching, and package management. All applications performed well and no crashes were experienced. It is a nice and complete setup all around, way too much to screenshoot. But if you desired more, KDE and all that implies is available as an extra extention module. I didn't have much luck with the Xpkgtool installing it, mayhaps I was doing something wrong, but mounting the cd and executing the setup script did just fine. Logging out of xfce4 and starting kde was all that was left to do. I was disappointed to see the default KDE after the build up xfce4 gave us, but xfce4 is the default desktop.

        

        


  • Conclusion

KateOS was found to be a very capable and stable system to use and work in. With version 2.3, KateOS is better than ever and features a great and original theme. The included apps are more than adequate and might even be considered plentiful. It was great fun running KateOS and tuxmachines was very happy with the results. The only problem I experienced was the detection of my add-in ethernet card first over my built-in. Had I a cable hooked up to it, I might have never noticed. Kernel sources are included and installed if you chose the d group, so installing nvidia drivers was no problem, not that the vesa drivers left much to be desired. I was quite taken by KateOS 2.3, I liked it a lot. It was catchy and easy to dance to.

Download your copy today. You really got to try this distro. My screenshots can not do it justice. Also found on the site are documentation, forums, and information on their irc channel.

More Screenshots here.

More in Tux Machines

OSS and Sharing/Standards Leftovers

  • Linux Announces New Open Network Automation Platform Project
    The Linux Foundation has announced the creation of the new Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) Project with the merger of Open Orchestrator Project (OPEN-O) and open source ECOMP. This new platform will help in designing, automating, orchestrating, and managing network services and virtual functions by creating a comprehensive and a harmonized framework that allows virtual network functions to be automated by using real-time, policy-driven software.
  • Open-Source Networking Is Coming of Age
    Service providers of all sizes and types should take note of some changes occurring across the open-source community—changes that promise to accelerate the adoption of software-defined networks (SDN). The first is a decision by AT&T to open source the ECOMP management and orchestration (MANO) framework it developed via the Linux Foundation. Through a variety of working groups, the foundation has been accelerating the development of core network function virtualization (NFV) software and associated SDN technologies. But a big piece missing from that equation has been the management plane.
  • CAVO Continues to Advance Open Source for Democracy [Ed: Remember what Microsoft did there]
    OSI Affiliate Member, the California Association of Voting Officials (CAVO), has shared some exciting news regarding their advocacy work in San Francisco: according to the San Francisco Examiner, the city of San Francisco is pushing forward with plans to develop their open source election system. In addition, the paper is reporting that the San Francisco Elections Commission voted unanimously on Feb 17th to request $4 million to fund the initial stages of the open source voting system. For many years board members of CAVO have been urging San Francisco to expedite, "the creation and deployment of a GPL v3 open source / paper ballot printing system that would set the standard for voting systems nationally." According to CAVO, currently only New Hampshire has deployed a voting system using open source software, Prime III.
  • Mozilla Acquires Pocket, Will Open Source Pocket Code
    Chances are you've heard the new: Mozilla has acquired Pocket, the go-to 'read it later' service, and says it plans to open-source Pocket code in due course.
  • The Speed Of LLVM's LLD Linker Continues Looking Good
    LLVM's LLD linker still isn't too widely used yet on Linux systems, but the performance of this linker alternative to GNU Gold and GNU ld are quite compelling. We've written many times before about the much progress and better performance of "the LLVM linker" while some new numbers were committed to the LLD documentation.
  • Welcome to Code.mil - an experiment in open source at the Department of Defense!
  • DoD Announces the Launch of “Code.mil,” an Experiment in Open Source
    The Department of Defense (DoD) announced the launch of Code.mil, an open source initiative that allows software developers around the world to collaborate on unclassified code written by federal employees in support of DoD projects.
  • An Introduction to Open Data Kit

Leftovers: Software

  • Linux Command Line Browser To Surf Internet
    Links is an open source text and graphical web browser with a pull-down menu system. It renders complex pages, has partial HTML 4.0 support (including tables and frames and support for multiple characters sets such as UTF-8), supports color and monochrome terminals and allows horizontal scrolling. It’s very useful for low resources computers because day by day the web pages are bigger and heavier. If your computer doesn’t have a suitable performance you’ll have some mistakes while you’re surfing. So, Links is much faster than any common web browser (with GUI) because it doesn’t load all the content of a website, for example, videos, flash, etc.
  • Stacer – The Linux System Optimizer You’ve Been Waiting For
    System optimizer apps are quite the thing on platforms such as Windows and Android. Their usefulness, however, is debatable considering how notorious they are when it comes to using system resources. On the Linux platform, however, we can almost always find the applications, a developer puts their time in developing to be mostly useful. Stacer is one such app created to better optimized your Linux PC in the sense that it packs quite the list of features you’d normally expect from an optimizer and more to give your system a refresh whenever you feel the need.
  • Ulauncher – A Lightweight Application Launcher for Linux
    Each Desktop environment has the own launcher and doing their job nicely but it take a while to launch the application whenever we are searching. Ulauncher is a lightweight application launcher that loads instant search results, usese low resources, and remembers your previous choices and automatically selects the best option for you. It’s written in Python and uses GTK as a GUI toolkit. When you are typing wrong application name, after few words or spelling, it will figure out what you meant. Use Ulauncher to open your files and directories faster with fuzzy search. Type ~ or / to start browsing. Press Alt+Enter to access the alt menu.

Linux Kernel and Graphics

Security News

  • Windows 10 least secure of Windows versions: study
    Windows 10 was the least secure of of current Windows versions in 2016, with 46% more vulnerabilities than either Windows 8 or 8.1, according to an analysis of Microsoft's own security bulletins in 2016. Security firm Avecto said its research, titled "2016 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Study: Mitigating risk by removing user privileges", had also found that a vast majority of vulnerabilities found in Microsoft products could be mitigated by removing admin rights. The research found that, despite its claims to being the "most secure" of Microsoft's operating systems, Windows 10 had 395 vulnerabilities in 2016, while Windows 8 and 8.1 each had 265. The research also found that while 530 Microsoft vulnerabilities were reported — marginally up from the 524 reported in 2015 — and 189 given a critical rating, 94% could be mitigated by removing admin rights. This was up from 85% in 2015.
  • Windows 10 Creators Update can block Win32 apps if they’re not from the Store [Ed: By Microsoft Peter. People who put Vista 10 on a PC totally lose control of that PC; remember, the OS itself is malware, as per textbook definitions. With DRM and other antifeatures expect copyright enforcement on the desktop soon.]
    The latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build doesn't add much in the way of features—it's mostly just bug fixes—but one small new feature has been spotted, and it could be contentious. Vitor Mikaelson noticed that the latest build lets you restrict the installation of applications built using the Win32 API.
  • Router assimilated into the Borg, sends 3TB in 24 hours
    "Well, f**k." Harsh language was appropriate under the circumstances. My router had just been hacked. Setting up a reliable home network has always been a challenge for me. I live in a cramped three-story house, and I don't like running cables. So my router's position is determined by the fiber modem in a corner on the bottom floor. Not long after we moved in, I realized that our old Airport Extreme was not delivering much signal to the attic, where two game-obsessed occupants fought for bandwidth. I tried all sorts of things. I extended the network. I used Ethernet-over-powerline connectors to deliver network access. I made a mystic circle and danced naked under the full moon. We lost neighbors, but we didn't gain a signal.
  • Purism's Librem 13 Coreboot Port Now "100%" Complete
    According to Purism's Youness Alaoui, their Coreboot port to the Librem 13 v1 laptop is now considered complete. The Librem 13 was long talked about having Coreboot over a proprietary BIOS while the initial models still had shipped with the conventional BIOS. Finally in 2017, they have now Coreboot at what they consider to be 100% complete for this Linux-friendly laptop.
  • The Librem 13 v1 coreboot port is now complete
    Here are the news you’ve been waiting for: the coreboot port for the Librem 13 v1 is 100% done! I fixed all of the remaining issues, it is now fully working and is stable, ready for others to enjoy. I fixed the instability problem with the M.2 SATA port, finished running all the tests to ensure coreboot is working correctly, fixed the headphone jack that was not working, made the boot prettier, and started investigating the Intel Management Engine issue.
  • Linux Update Fixes 11-Year-Old Flaw
    Andrey Konovalov, a security researcher at Google, found a use-after-free hole within Linux, CSO Online reported. This particular flaw is of interest because it appears to be situational. It only showed up in kernels built with a certain configuration option — CONFIG_IP_DCCP — enabled.