*Linux Guide

Kororaa 16

Introduction

Kororaa is a distribution that in 2006 introduced in Linux the desktop compositing magic. It was originally based on Gentoo and it seemed pretty bright future. Then the developer decided to close the project. After few year of suspension, in 2010 Kororaa reappears on the Linux world scene, but with some differences. I leave you with the Kororaa home page contents to read further infos about the distro.

This article is translated with Google Translator help, plus some fixing by the author.

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Technical

  • Name: Kororaa
  • Version: 16
  • Type: live/installable
  • Category: Desktop
  • Architecture: i686 / x86-64
  • Based on: Fedora
  • Desktop environment: Gnome 3 e KDE 4.x
  • Kernel: Linux 3.1.5-1.fc16.i686
  • Minimum System Requirements: 1 GB of RAM, 4 GB of disk space, accelerated graphic card or able to support 800x600 screen resolution, optical drive for installation, at least 1 GHz processor
  • Release cycle: When ready
  • Update Method: Graphical tool, and by Terminal command like this:

    yum update

Test

The test was done briefly in Live session, and more completely after installation to hard disk. I also performed a test on virtual machine (VirtualBox) to test the installer and see how it handles the bootloader, but towards the end of the installation has sent me an error message indicating a corruption of the installation DVD, what then proved false.
The test took place on a computer with the following features and all the hardware components have been configured properly. The open source drivers provided by the system, have enabled my graphics card to work beautifully, and smoothly. All peripherals plugged to the machine have been configured and activated, such as my Samsung Galaxy S cellphone.

Options and loading time

Once you start the Kororaa DVD, you are in the boot screen where you can choose between boot the system directly or proceed to resolve any problems or to prevent them (Troubleshooting). Pressing the Tab key, you go to a screen where you can change the startup parameters. In my case I just let the system starts spontaneously without changing anything.

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The loading screen is semi-graphical, and loading advancement is shown on the screen by a white disk, which is completed gradually. No needs to change anything, and the X server is loaded regularly.
Over two minutes are necessary to access to the complete desktop.
For those who did not have accelerated graphics cards, the system show a warning window reporting that will be used the Fallback mode, as shown in the figure below.

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Installation

The Kororaa installer is graphicalì, fairly easy to understand and use. We thus see the stages of installation. But before I want to remember:
  1. To make a full backup of any system on the hard disk of your PC
  2. Try to have a disk already partitioned, so you do not need to compress data and partitions already on the disc. Kororaa provide GParted to partition your hard drive. Once done, remember to reboot the system, to make sure that the installer has a clear partition table already established.
The installer, which is in English even after the choice of the Italian language, will start by double clicking on the icon on the desktop, and the tool scan both the system and computer to collect informations.
  1. Select the system language - In this screen just scroll down the list and find your preferred language, then click on "Next" button.

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    Language selection

  2. Device selection - Select which device to install, and unless you have specific requests, the first option is the best one that is already selected by the installer. Click on "Next" button to proceed.


    Device type

  3. Naming the computer - You must apply a name to the computer, in order to put it in a home or business network. Once done, press the "Next" button.

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    A name to your computer

  4. Select the time zone - You can scroll through the list below the world map or move the cursor over your country. Once done, press "Next" button.

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    Time Zone

  5. Root password - You will need to type the password for the user with root privileges. If the computer is shared with other users, enter a complex password.

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    Root Password

  6. Installation Type - This is where things get a little 'more complex. There are five possibilities:

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    Installation type

    • Use All Space - which alludes to use the entire disk and is the option for those who want to use only Kororaa. Choosing this option, remember that all disk contents will be erased
    • Replace Existing Linux System(s) - Option for those who already have one or more Linux systems on their PC and want to replace them with Kororaa. If there is also a partition of Windows®, this will not be touched.
    • Shrink Current System - Option to choose whether you want to place Kororaa alongside Windows®. Remember that before you do something like that, you should make one or two Windows defrag and scandisk, in addition to the total system backup
    • Use Free Space - Option to choose if you have free disk space
    • Create Custom Layout - Option to choose if you have a disk already partitioned
    In my case I chose the last option. The installer has scanned the disk, has identified the existing partitions and provided to me the list.

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    Partitions Table

    I chose one (/dev/sda10) and pressed "Edit" buttonon the screen. In the window I chose the mount point (/) and the type of file system (ext4), so I clicked on OK to return to the partition table, where I double checked everything.

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    Partition config

    The swap partition was automatically recognized by the installer and there is no need to do anything about that.
    Clicking on "Next" button a new dialog box warned me that all my choices would have been written to disk and data on the partition chosen, would be deleted. I pressed on "Write changes to disk".


    Confirmation

  7. Installing the System - The system is then copied to disk and it can take several minutes. In my case everything was resolved in about 7-8 minutes

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    Installing the system

  8. Installing the bootloader - the screen that you see below, show where to install the bootloader. You can choose to install it in the MBR, or install it in the same Kororaa partition, or proceed to enter a password for the bootloader

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    Installing the bootloader

  9. Installation Complete - At the end of the procedure, a screen clearly indicates that the installation was successful.
At the reboot there is a brief post-installation config, where you define the general user of the system and its password. Within a few seconds, you can access the desktop of Kororaa.

Graphical environment and Appearance

The appearance of Kororaa depends on the graphics card owned by the individual user. If the card has graphics acceleration kicks in Gnome Shell 3, with interesting and nice graphical effects, but basically useless.
Otherwise if the card does not have the characteristics listed above, user enter into the fallback environment, that resembles the old session of Gnome 2. This session will not only be more spartan, but also has the considerable advantage of not committing the computer and save resources, making it ideal for laptop or computer with limited performance.

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Fallback session

Anyway, the Kororaa desktop environment is Gnome 3.2.1 and is an excellent environment. Novice users can work well in normal Shell, while experienced users, might prefer the fallback session.
Kororaa's desk is clean and tidy with only three icons placed in the background (computer. Home, Trash). This shows a striking image of a submarine exploring the underwater world. The dominant color is blue.
The top bar in Shell session, show the "Activities" button on the left. Clicking it, you can enter in Shell that you see below:

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Gnome Shell

To the right there are applets for some useful functions, such as those showing mounted volumes, one that allows access to the subdirectories of /home, to increase the accessibility of the desktop, the audio volume, the Network Manager. At the extreme right is the menu from which you can close the session, turn off the computer, access to system settings and more.


The top panel applets

At the bottom of the screen there is another panel with the "Show desktop" button, the list of open windows, while to the right is the pager and the message area. As known to most experienced Linux users, Gnome Shell offer an applications menu if you log on to Shell (by simply pressing the Win key). There, you can immediately see the open windows of applications, like in the image below.

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Application windows side by side

If you press on the label "Applications", leads to the general menu of installed applications. In this tab there is a menu divided by categories. Just click on one of your interest to see the apps launchers contained in that category.

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Launchers of a single class of applications

Application windows are decorated with the Gnome 3 default theme, and is a simple theme, simple and clean. Change it is not hard to do. Just follow this path:

Win key → Applications → Accessories → Advanced Settings

and in the window, go to "Theme" to make your choices.
Of course in "Advanced Settings" you can apply a variety of configurations and customizations that will make Kororaa your "unique" operating system.

Software

Kororaa 16 is a rich Linux distribution with various kinds of software and the philosophy of the designer is to offer a program of high quality for each task. Versions of these software packages are the most recent and Kororaa is a modern, and updated operating system.
Office needs are largely met by the monumental suite LibreOffice, with Calc, Impress, Base, Draw and Write. There is also the planner Evolution and a tool that I have never seen in other distros, FBReader, an Ebook reader able to support a variety of formats.

Graphics needs are satisfied by software such as GIMP for bitmap graphics, Inkscape for vectorial graphics, Shotwell for image management, Simplescan to use the scanner, Evince for reading PDF/PS files.

For Internet and Network category, you can use this software:
  • Empathy for instant messaging
  • Firefox 8.0 for internet browsing
  • Ekiga for VoIP telephony
  • Transmission for Torrent file management

Multimedia entertainment is ensured by the presence of the appropriate codecs, that allows users to listen to mp3 music files, and watching movies and DVDs in any format. To view Flash movies there is a method of installing it via the package manager.
The instruments to enjoy the multimedia are Audacity as audio tracks editor and audio recorder. Cheese for appropriate use of webcams, HandBrake is an excellent video converter and DVD ripper, VLC is the multimedia player by definition, OpenShot is the open source video editor with many nice video editing tools. Rhythmbox is the audio player that in addition to the management of your music library, has many plugins for sharing your music, and more. Sound Converter allows conversion of audio files from one format to another with ease and speed.

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Multimedia On Air

Kororaa also has 6 games, typical of Gnome.
The Other software is studded with real jewels, suitable both for utilitarian purposes, and for system configuration and customization. Among the first I want to remember Brasero CD/DVD burner, DejaDup for system backup, IcedTea for the inspection of web contents, Nautilus Config Manager for plugin, and actions configuration of the file manager.
For system configuration, you can use Gnome Shell Config Manager to configure Gnome Shell. dconf and gconf for more deep system settings. These two tools require a certain experience, and knowledge.

Connectivity is handled by Network Manager, and in my case, i was able to configure a 3G connection with Huawei e1692 Internet Key, in a couple of minutes and without issues.
The package management by Yum, the default package manager, which run through the terminal, and also has a graphical frontend called gpk-application.

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Graphical Package Manager

Using yum from the terminal is very simple.
  1. Run the Terminal (Alt + F2 → ENTER → gnome-terminal)
  2. Type the command "su" and press ENTER
  3. Type the root password and press ENTER
  4. To install a package you type the command:

    yum install packagename

    and press ENTER
  5. Will be made a list of packages to be downloaded. Accept typing "s" and press ENTER
  6. Done.
The use of the graphical package manager has a flaw, it is extremely slow, in downloading informations, in the dependencies management/resolution, and in the packages installation. If you can, and do not feel too uncomfortable with the terminal, it is best to use it.
Unfortunately there is no method to easily configure your startup applications (solved).
The control panel is extremely thin and almost useless.

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The Control Panel

Usability

Kororaa 16 is a system offered with the two most frequently used interfaces, KDE and Gnome 3. I tried and installed the Gnome edition. The more experienced users believe that Gnome 3 has not brought anything to improve it in terms of desktop usability. Kororaa however, has improved the usability with the inclusion of the bottom bar that allows the user to have an organization similar to the previous Gnome 2.
You only need to do a bit of practice with the many keyboard shortcuts and the Win key, which makes access to Shell and applications. I would mention some of the more useful shortcuts:
  • Alt + Space to activate the window menu (minimize, maximize, move, etc..)
  • Alt + FMV etc.. To open the menus in the menu bar
  • Alt + F5 to restore the window
  • Alt + Tab to cycle through open applications
  • Alt + F2 to access the command prompt
  • Alt + F1 to get an overview of running applications
  • Ctrl + Alt + Up/Down Arrow to move from one workspace to another
The intuitiveness of Kororaa is quite high and an inexperienced user, can discover, and use the system in minutes.

Performance

Kororaa is not a high fuel consumption, however, the difference between using Gnome Shell and fallback session, is sensitive.
With Firefox, Bluefish, Rhythmbox and Nautilus running, the Gnome Shell use 603 MB of RAM, with a 15% of the processor use, in session Falback the use of RAM dropped to 452.7 MB RAM and the processor was used for the 9 % of its capacity.
There are substantial differences when you want to use Kororaa on old computer.

Pros

  • Based on Fedora / Red Hat
  • Gnome 3 in two variants, for use in different conditions
  • Excellent software bundle
  • Fluidity and solidity
  • Excellent customization and high security

Cons

  • The system will not shutdown with usual button, and must turn it off from the terminal
  • Is not able to set the startup applications

Why use this distro

  • To get Fedora, but enhanced and improved
  • To have a system ready to use
  • In order to enter the Linux world painlessly and friendly

Links

Conclusions

If Linux Mint enhance Ubuntu usability and user-friendliness, then Kororaa do the same for Fedora.
Kororaa is a system that make easy the way for those who go into the Linux world. Modernity, ease of use and setup, software, and security are all features that make Kororaa an excellent product.
Kororaa is not so tricky like Fedora, not so rigid like openSUSE and not so out of the chorus like Ubuntu, but resume in it all the best quality of these three famous Linux distros. Fedora modernity, openSUSE stability and Ubuntu friendliness.
Kororaa is a product that deserves attention. Many thanks to Kororaa developers.


How to setup Autostart applications
How to set Firefox as an autostart app.
  1. Run Gedit, the Kororaa text editor
  2. In it paste the following code:

    [Desktop Entry] Encoding=UTF-8 Version=2.0.3 Type=Application Name=Firefox Comment= Exec=firefox StartupNotify=false Terminal=false Hidden=false
  3. Save it in your /home with the "firefox.desktop"
  4. Reboot your computer

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