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KIARA 2.4 My Homemade KDE3 Distro

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Learn your command line, kids! Nine years ago, I was such a nOOB that I was drummed out of a couple of Linux chats, and I couldn't even install Slackware... and now I have my own live CD, and it's been downloaded hundreds of times all over the world. It's an awesome hobby.

Of course, most of the credit goes to Patrick Slackware and Tomas Slax. But KIARA (Kiara Is A Recursive Acronym) is the best way I know to experience KDE3 without needing any harddrive "skin" in the game. In other words, it's the only KDE3 live CD I know that keeps the web browsers current. In my experience, Nothing brings New Life to an old Desktop like New Web software.

Complete List of added Software packages.


Added Web software
Firefox 8.0 Mozilla
Thunderbird 8.0
Mozilla Seamonkey 2.4.1
Opera Web Browser 11.52
Adobe Flashplayer 11

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Live Rooting

Why can't I edit this post? Every other blogpost in my archive has an edit button.

Well, I'll post later. I've got more to say about making a custom Slax. It's not that hard, and it's a happy coincidence that the most customizable live CD I know combines KDE3 and Slackware, which is a great combination for everyday desktop stuff that some folks think needs to be preserved.

By request I'm adding some packages to enable wireless internet, but since I've never used wireless internet, I can only add the software. Please test it and let me know if there's anything missing.

My favorite way of running KIARA (or I guess I should say "SLAX") is to run the system according to the "always fresh" option. I edited the boot menu to make that the default. Whatever the medium that you boot the Slax/Kiara system from, the system itself doesn't retain any new data, which makes it as secure as a read only CD.

So I'll mount an ext3 partition on my hardrive as /home (Slax doesn't read ext4 by default) and create (or REcreate) a normal user account with adduser, and THAT gives me a place to store my files and configuration data, while anything that compromises the system files can be removed with a reboot.

A read-only / partition, and a read-write /home partition. I'm sure I didn't invent this, but I needed to call it something and so I call it live-rooting. In theory it's a way to help make running legacy software like Slackware 12.2 with KDE 3.5.10 secure and stable. Secure because the system files can always be recreated by rebooting, stable because we already know KDE3 runs great on slackware 12.2, and nothing from outside needs to be brought in to mess with success.

Live rooting, using live media with complete hermetically sealed operating systems, might be a way for users to continue to use their KDE3s and Gnome2s indefinitely, if that's what they want, without the need to depend on huge quixotic forkng projects like Trinity. And it may be a way to make mission systems EXTRA secure.

Or so goes the theory. I'm not someone who knows enough to be sure of this. If I'm right, I'd love for someone to tell me, and if I'm wrong, I NEED for someone to tell me.

I recently used the boot install script to install KIARA to a FAT32 partition, so that it ran from the hard drive like it would run from a thumb drive, with the "always fresh" default, and it was the fastest, most robust, most responsive KDE Desktop I'd seen in a dog's age. Thanks, again Patrick Slackware and Tomas Slax!

So you will need to re-create

So you will need to re-create this every time there's a Firefox update? And the user needs to download it with the same frequency? Oh boy ... Smile

What do you mean by "recreate"?

I've been doing this for about two and a half years, with a year off when I tried to live with KDE4.

I boot my Kiara thumb drive, I edit three or four files, I add new wallpaper to make it fancy, I run a shell script to make a new iso image, and then i upload the image. It shouldn't take more than an hour and a half, though sometimes things go wrong. Things went bad in a big way last night because I was almost finished uploading when I remembered that I'd promised someone to add wireless software.

From a security standpoint, I don't know why it would be necessary for a live CD user to always have the very latest browser, but they can if they want to. And if they do, I don't think downloading and burning a CD is a big deal. It's something that I can offer that no one else is offering. Slax 6.1.2 comes with Firefox 3.5 or something. If I may say so, I think that's a little too old.

Of course, anyone can run Kiara from a flash drive and replace the browsers manually, just like I did.

To put it another way. KDE3.5+Firefox 8 = I get off!

Still the greatest Desktop Environment of all Time, and with the web browsers up to date I can only think of one obscure feature (in Gimp) that ever I miss when running a system that is essentially Slackware 12.2. With the web browsers up to date KDE3 doesn't seem old and dead at all. This must be what it's like for some people to drive a 57 Chevy, tuned up and running like new. Honestly, I don't use this all the time, there's all this video editing software I need. But I'm going to love keeping it up to date for a long time to come.

No, you don't have to download every release, but you can, and I recommend it. But that's only because I get off. No other reason.

Mind you, this is not to diss KDE4. Honestly, the worst thing you can say about KDE4 is that it's the second greatest desktop of all time.

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