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Test drive: Kororaa

By Marcel Gommans on February 13, 2006 (8:00:00 AM)

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Ever wanted to try Gentoo, but you didn't want to spend hours compiling to get a working installation? Kororaa may be the answer. It's a great tool to get a working Gentoo installation, rather than a distinct distro in its own right. It takes some of the complexity out of installing Gentoo, but still provides the advantages of Gentoo's Portage system and extensive package availability.

I have seen a few distributions that offered a quick way to install Gentoo, but Kororaa is the first that I've tried. Kororaa is a young project that is still working toward its first official release. The current version is 2005 beta 2 r1. Kororaa is free and released under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

Kororaa is available in several flavors. You can choose between KDE and GNOME, and between x86 and AMD64 processor versions. The x86 version is optimized for Pentium III processors. To install Kororaa you need two CDs. You can download a universal install CD, and you have to select the package CD for your desktop environment of choice and your processor. I chose the x86 version for KDE and started the installation. For more information and available mirrors, take a look at the download page.

Installation

When you boot the installation CD, you can choose from several kernels and boot options. I decided to go with the default 2.6.14 kernel. After booting, you get a command line, and a message that invites you to type Kororaa and press Enter to start the installation.

Kororaa uses a text-mode installer rather than a GUI installer like Anaconda. During the install you can create and format partitions that you need, and choose between Ext2, Ext3, ReiserFS 3.6, or ReiserFS 4.

Next up is package selection. I decided not to select individual packages, but let Kororaa install the default packages. It took Kororaa about 40 minutes to install about 390 packages. Then Kororaa lets you choose the services to want to start at boot time, such as CUPS and hdparm, and installs the GRUB boot loader. Finally, you set up the root password and add a user, and the install is complete.

Hardware detection is a bit spotty with Kororaa. It recognized my Inter8x0 sound card, but it had trouble with my X Window System configuration. I had chosen 1280x1024 as the resolution for my monitor, but it brought up X at 1024x768. When I tried to fix this using the Configure Desktop option, the highest resolution available was 1024x768 -- though my monitor and video card support higher resolutions.

Software

Kororaa comes with a fine selection of packages. Kororaa's KDE version comes with KDE 3.5, Quanta Plus 3.5 for Web development, and SuperTux and Frozen Bubble for gaming. It has Kooka 0.44 for scanning, Kuickshow 0.8.7 and Showfoto 0.1 for image viewing, and the GIMP 2.2 for image manipulation. You get Ktorrent 1.0 for downloading BitTorrent files. Kororaa also includes the Konqueror and Mozilla Firefox 1.0.7 browsers, and provides a choice of Kmail and Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0.7 mail clients. Kopete is there for instant messaging. In the multimedia menu you can find K3b and GNOME CD Master for CD and DVD burning. For audio and video you get MPlayer, RealPlayer, amaroK, and Kaffeine.

Kororaa features OpenOffice.org 2.0, and uses the Blackdown JRE for OpenOffice.org's Java requirements. Overall, Kororaa comes with a nice set of software installed by default.

What Kororaa lacks is software for administration. For example, I did not find a tool to add users, so admins will need to perform that task manually.

For installing and removing software, Kororaa uses a tool called Kuroo. Kuroo is a front-end for Portage/Emerge, and it uses Gentoo's Portage repository. This means you have thousands of packages available, and it's a good reason for choosing Kororaa. It makes it easy to get exactly the packages you want to use.

Kuroo makes installing software pretty easy, but it requires some basic knowledge of the way Portage and Emerge work. If you're not familiar with Emerge or Portage, plenty of documentation is available.

I installed Inkscape to test Kuroo, and it worked flawlessly, but it took my machine, a 2.54GHz Pentium 4 with 512MB of RAM, about 15 minutes to compile and install it.

Although Inkscape feels like it works faster on Kororaa than on any other distro I have used on this PC, I wonder if it is really worth the time it takes to compile every package you install. Gentoo has some binary packages available, but most packages need to be compiled. I imagine that some applications make good use of the speed difference, but for the ordinary desktop user, I do not see that many advantages to this approach. Of course Gentoo is not focused on source packages. It works this way because it focuses on being as flexible as possible. But compiling takes so much time.

Conclusion

I liked using Kororaa. Installation is pretty easy, and without having to do all the compiling yourself you end up with a working system in a little more than an hour. It is also a fast system to work with, and because it is Gentoo-based, you can find just about anything you need when it comes to additional software.

Although the current release is a beta version, I did not have any real problems, other than the resolution settings. If you run into problems, you can ask for answers in the Kororaa forum.

I do not think Gentoo is a distribution for people new to Linux, but users who are a bit more experienced and want to give Gentoo a try should consider taking a look at Kororaa.

Marcel Gommans is an IT manager from the Netherlands who discovered Linux more than five years ago.

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on Test drive: Kororaa

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Who needs such a distro?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 13, 2006 09:33 PM
as a long-time gentoo user, i'm quiet disappointed with you consideration.
why?
Just because Gentoo is for users who want to choose their distro! Gentoo is all about choice, speed, and customization.
So this distro (which has tried to configure Xorg without success), seems like a no-choice distro (as the main distros [Fedora/Redhat/suse]).

And, please remember, that with a stage3 installation (which is now the defaut), you can be up&running within a couple of hours!

By

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Re:Who needs such a distro?

Posted by: Administrator on February 13, 2006 10:50 PM
Gonna have to agree here. I switched from Fedora to Gentoo because I couldn't stand the poor performance FC4 gave me. Using Gentoo is about getting maximum performance out of my machine. Now, what would be nice would be to have a Gentoo-based distro that installs a base system how I want it, and then it recompiles each package in the background or during system idle times. That way I could use the machine, and it will eventually be a whole lot quicker!

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Version

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 14, 2006 02:41 AM
Bad that it has Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird 1.0.7 when there is out 1.5

Maybe Gentoo is about speed, but to get that speed you have to very patient to wait for all that compiling.

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Re:Who needs such a distro?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 14, 2006 05:22 AM
Install using Stage 3 and the Gentoo Reference Packages (or is it Platform?) It includes all the big things compiled for you already. Just start using those, and if you want to recompile that stuff so it's optimized for your machine, do it in the background.

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Re:Who needs such a distro?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 14, 2006 11:08 PM
or while sleeping. decent pentium 4 can compile the whole desktop(kde or gnome) apps(browser, im, email, video, music etc) and libraries overnight, if that didn't scare new people off =)

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C'mon now

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 14, 2006 01:41 PM
5 years experience in using Linux huh...
It is reasonbly obvious Gentoo is foreign to this person. Anyone heard of a command called adduser or if you are using KDE how about kuser? But seriously, if you can't edit 2 lines in xorg.conf and use adduser then Gentoo and Kororaa have little to offer you and same goes for those who can't wait a few minutes for something to compile. For the n'th time, if you are not a serious Linux user stay away from Gentoo until you learn to use Linux without a mouse....

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Re:C'mon now

Posted by: Administrator on February 16, 2006 05:12 AM
I know all about the commandline.
But that is not what I and many other (potential) linux users are waiting for.
I want to be able to administer my system using X.
A nice GUI interface makes a distro much more pleasant to use. I want Linux to stop being a niche product. But we can agree to disagree on that subject.

Marcel Gommans

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Re:Who needs such a distro?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 15, 2006 04:27 AM
Compiling programs yourself doesn't make them run faster. Having less crap installed makes your computer run faster. That's why Gentoo is faster than Fedora.

I would suggest a distribution that allows you easily to build your system from the ground up, but has powerful binary package management. Having the ability to easily compile with custom options is good too, but there is no reason to compile everything from source (there are distros that do both well). You can have a system just as fast with binary packages (if not faster, actually- because it doesn't matter if you are using binaries or source), you just need to pick and choose what you install.

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Re:Who needs such a distro?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 18, 2006 02:26 PM
how about people that have lives not you childish l33t's!!!

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Re:lack of admin tools

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 18, 2006 02:27 PM
stop being childish<nobr> <wbr></nobr>..RTFM comments are OUT OF FASHION, because everyone knows that only insecure childish arrogant ignorant people use it .

get over yourself...

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Re:lack of admin tools

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on March 15, 2006 10:15 AM
stop being childish<nobr> <wbr></nobr>..RTFM comments are OUT OF FASHION, because everyone knows that only insecure childish arrogant ignorant people use it<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.


LOL...If you don't read the manual, how would you know how to do things?

How does an airline pilot know wtf to do when something goes wrong? Yes, they RTFM. And its a big-arse binder at that!

How come its so different for a computer? Why does everyone assume computing is easy, when its not.

It takes time and effort to get used to things...That also means to RTFM.

Apparently...Reading seems to be a lost art in the 21st century.

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Re:lack of admin tools

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 18, 2006 02:29 PM
also gui tools are the way to go nowadays..command line is for losers..

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Re:lack of admin tools

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on March 15, 2006 10:09 AM
also gui tools are the way to go nowadays..command line is for losers..


The "point and click" morons of the new generation. *rolls eyes* God help us all if you'll be writing programs in the future.

This is YOU => "I can't write a program because it doesn't have a GUI".

And what happens when the GUI fails? What do you do? Whine to the world that you have problems?

You call Command Line losers, and yet, the fundamental way to communicate with a system is via command line...Who's the loser? The person who doesn't have a fucking clue other than to "point and click"? Or the person who has more options when the shit hits the fan?

That's the difference between a person who's really into *nux and some Windows-to-Linux try-hard wannabe. Windows users sulk and live with problems. *nix people go and find out WTF the problem is and fix it themselves.

Apparently, you are neither...You're just a plain MORON.

I suppose its the same idiots that don't read manuals to program their VCRs?

The same morons who get drunk, hop in a car, and kill some poor SOB who was at the wrong place at the wrong time?

The same morons who think they know shit because they're so good at using Windows, that if you try to give them *nix, they'll favour their ego and run back to Microsoft land?

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Re:C'mon now

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 18, 2006 02:38 PM
exactly right...linux l33t'ers need to get over themselves,,,,linux needs good GUI"s , without them linux will go nowhere and in part I see gentoo going nowhere,,who really want to wait hours and hours over lifetime of their OS for something to compile, when its clear its not going to outperform a binary on any other distro by big margins if at all..unlesss someone has some figures they want to share ??

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Re:C'mon now

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on March 15, 2006 09:56 AM
Linux does not NEED a GUI. Its up to the person or admin to decide if a GUI is appropriate for their system.

Ever heard of choice?

Apparently, that's just not in your vocabulary, is it?

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Kororaa, the XGL LiveCD!!!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on March 11, 2006 01:03 PM
Check it out now... it rocks!

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lack of admin tools

Posted by: Administrator on February 13, 2006 11:10 PM
RTFM....<nobr> <wbr></nobr>;-)

From the docs page <a href="http://kororaa.org/docs.html" title="kororaa.org">http://kororaa.org/docs.html</a kororaa.org>


I would also like to let you know of some handy tools to help administrate your Kororaa system:

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)

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Re:lack of admin tools

Posted by: Administrator on February 18, 2006 02:54 PM
RTFM comments just point out the obvious... that someone didn't read the full page/README/INSTALL/manual whatever... What the are not is meant to be demeaning. As for being childish... that is akin to saying that any constructive correction is childish.

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