Kororaa XGL - Part 0.2: The Harddrive Installer
"If wishes were horses, then dreamers would ride." I've heard those bars of music in my head more times than I can count during my life. So many times, that's the only possible response if you set your dreams on pots of gold or handsome princes on massive white steeds. However, if your wishes are more realistic, they sometimes come true. Such is the case today when Kororaa released version 0.2 of their wonderful XGL Livecd. In my original article I wished for a hard drive installer more than once. Today my wish was granted. As a Part 2 to that introductory story, today we test that hard drive installer and the performance of the installed system on my sparkling new tuxmachine. These are the results.
If you'll recall from that first article, we learned there were some fairly nice special effects awaiting the user if they sampled the livecd. As I said then, some of the effects available are rotating the desktops in a cube, shaking, stretching or warping the windows when moving, easy on-the-fly window transparency adjustments, keyboard shortcut for switching windows from a visual representation, and my favorite was resizing all the windows to line them up so all was visible on the desktop.
Now these effects can be your to keep. By downloading the newest version released today, you can install this amazing operating system as a permanent fixture on your system. It boots as a livecd and you can install from a nice environment to continue surfing and keep up with your email during the wait.
The installer was what some might call text, I calll ascii-graphical. It's a menu-based console application that makes installing kororaa a breeze. It may lack the fancy graphics of some of the other installers, but how important is that really? What matters is the functionality and user-friendliness. I believe this installer and the "first-boot setup" can meet those requirements. The steps depicted in the following screenshots is all there is to it. After installing the contents of the cd, the installer offers one the opportunity to configure and install grub if desired.
Upon boot of your shiny new kororaa system, a configuration box appears similar in appearance to the installer. It gives one the opportunity to set up some of the more tedious details of their system such as root password, user account, network options, sound system, portage source, and several other handy configurations. The only thing really missing here for me was the hostname setup. This can be done easily by editing the /etc/conf.d/hostname and /etc/conf.d/domainname files.
Then gdm appears so one might log in. Unfortunately xgl isn't immediately available, but easily fixed. Due to a tiny oversight in the construction of the livecd, the necessary configuration files are omited from /etc/skel. The developer states one can easily fix this by:
sudo cp -af /home/kororaa/ /etc/skel/
sudo chown -R root:root /etc/skel/
Logout and back in. Now one has a system with XGL already setup with kernel 2.6.16 (archck-sources), xorg 7.0, nvidia (or ati) drivers, and gcc 3.4.5 (iirc). I've been using the system since install and have found it to be very stable and experienced top notch performance. One would expect this kind of eyecandy to exert a massive performance hit on the system, but it doesn't. No lag or delays are experienced. The only problems encountered were the one described above and the network is automagically connected on the livecd. In the case of the latter, the simple one-word command of
dhcpcd was all that was required here. It does come up automagically with the hard drive install.
New on the desktop, you might notice this little file with a funny name. Called "xgl-cool," this intriguing file does just that. Click on it, chose "run" from the appearing dialogue, and experience the xgl coolness for yourself. Ok, I won't keep you in suspense. This script launches a matrix like program that scrolls those famous "characters" down your screen. This is not a screensaver per se, although it certainly seems be intended as such. The desktop behind it is still operable. There is a script called stop-xgl-cool in the home directory. For me I chose to mv that to the desktop as well right beside the start script.
In conclusion, I find myself rather taken with my new kororaa system and have already
emerge --sync. With gentoo's portage system, this is one easy way to not only to get a shiny new gentoo-based system up and running, but also to avoid the headaches and configuration nightmare of setting up XGL. The installer works great! This is unprecedented in the world of gentoo installers. Gentoo's own official unofficial gui installer is "hit and miss", rr's is downright destructive and phaeronix went so far as to pull theirs from their distribution. I can't encourage you enough to give Kororaa a try.
P.S. For those that don't know, Kororaa is named after a small blue species of Australian penguin. Hense the wonderfully cute logo of Kororaa Linux.