*Linux Guide

My Kororaa 17 "Bubbles" KDE

Introduction

Note: Forgive me please, but my english is very poor, and with lot of errors. I constantly try to enhance it. I'm sorry :-)

Kororaa

There are few distributions KDE-based that are left in my PC, and Kororaa 17 is one of those. I chose it because I had a fairly positive experience with the previous version, but dressed with Gnome 3. I want absolutely to use KDE version.
Kororaa is for Fedora, that Ubuntu is for Debian, so a distro that makes Fedora more humanly approachable by the general public. Kororaa is suitable for those approaching the Linux world and want something that makes life easier.
The main goal of Kororaa is to provide a complete, easy to use operating system for general purposes. In order to do this, here is the Kororaa organization:

  • Support for the largest number of hardware
  • Predefined applications, desired by end users (eg Firefox over Konqueror)
  • Instant media playback capabilities, using free software (with the exception of Flash)
  • Ability to use Flash on the web (can be installed if the user wishes)
  • Specific applications by type of use, without adding unnecessary duplication
  • Provide howtos and guides on how to use the system
  • By creating a small community of users
Let us then proceed to illustrate the characteristics and basic uses of this Linux distribution.
Good reading :-)

Technical Data

  • Name: Kororaa "Bubbles"
  • Version: 17
  • Type: live/installabile
  • Orientation: Desktop
  • Architecture: i686
  • Based on: Fedora 17
  • Desktop environment: KDE 4.8.4
  • Kernel: Linux 3.4.4-5.fc17.i686 i686
  • Minimal requirements: Processor i686 at 1000 MHz, 1 GB of RAM, 5 GB of hard drive space, optical DVD reader, USB port
  • Release cycle: Follow Fedora stable releases
  • Update & Upgrade methods: Yum

Test

My experience was briefly in Live session, just in time for installation, while most of my time was spent with Kororaa after its installation. I used a PC with these characteristics and I must say that the system has recognized, and configured all the hardware without hesitation and with absolute effectiveness.
At booting the system, I had no changed the default boot settings.

  • Recognition and loading the kernel = OK
  • Start the X server = OK
  • Screen resolution = 1024x768, changed to 1280x1024 with the tool provided in the Control Center.
  • Devices Automounting = NO

Also in Kororaa 17 KDE I noticed that the use of the Nouveau drivers for nVidia cards, make the desktop unstable. For two times, when I was already writing this review/guide, the system closed suddenly, returning to the login screen, erasing what I had done, and only the goodness of Bluefish saved my job.
After full installation of the nVidia drivers, everything went fine and the system has shown excellent stability.
Kororaa use the same tool used by Ubuntu to manage drivers, Jockey. Then install the proprietary drivers in Kororaa is quite simple and effective.

Options and loading time

Once you start the PC with the Kororaa DVD in the drive, you leads quickly to the boot options screen. I selected the first one to load the desktop.
The loading screen has a black background with a white disk which is completed in a clockwise direction.
The KDE splash screen is elegant and there is a fade-in effect, announces the loading discs, services, desktop, network and the desktop environment itself.
Full desktop is complete in about 2 minutes, accompanied by a short intro music typical of KDE 4.x.
Being a live system, and considering that KDE starts many services, I can certainly say that this is a sleek, and lightweight Linux distro, compared to the most popular of them.
However, in Live session, it's impossible to mount the storage devices such as USB sticks. Accessing to the Dolphin file manager to open the USB stick, this shows a message announcing that the volume management daemon is not active. I was not able to move several screen captures in my USB stick. In order to have the installation screenshots, i sent to myself an e-mail with them!
However, apart that, I must say that Chris Smart has done a great job, and optimization.

Installation

Install Kororaa is a matter of minutes. The graphical Installer is the same for Fedora. Only when is time to choosing the right partition, it's necessary to pay a lot of attention. As always, before proceeding, I want to remember:
  • To perform a full backup of any system on the hard disk on your PC
  • Try to have a disk already partitioned, so you don't need to shrink data and partitions already on the disc, that may react badly to this process. Kororaa provide GParted to partition the hard drive. Remember to reboot your system when you have finished, to ensure that the installer has a clear partition table.
Let we proceed to installation on an hard drive already partitioned (ideal option for anyone).
Double click on the installer icon in the Folder-Viewer on your desktop. Follow these steps:
  1. Choosing the keyboard layout
    Just scrolling the keyboard layout list to the correct one, and select it.

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    Click on "Next"
  2. Choosing the drive
    Here you can choose between a normal drive (like that in your computer), or a special drive (like that in the server). Select the first (Basic Storage Device)

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    Click on "Next"
  3. Naming the computer
    Put in one you like, it's necessary if you will make an home network

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    Click on "Next"
  4. Choosing the Time Zone
    With the mouse cursor, place it on your own country. Once done click on it to see the correct time zone. If the world map is too little, use the zoom on the left side

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    Click on "Next"
  5. Setting the root password
    Put in the root password that is necessary to deeply change the system. Choose a strong password, specially if the computer has two or more users. If the root password is too weak, a dialog windows will alert you, and ask if you want to use it anyway. Make your choice.

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    Click on "Next"
  6. Choosing installation mode
    You have five possibility:
    • Use All Space - that will erase all the drive, to devolve it entirely to Kororaa.
    • Replace Existing Linux System(s) - that will erase all Linux systems in the hard drive, replacing them only with Kororaa
    • Shrink Current System - that will compress the system allocated in the drive, to create enough space to allocate Kororaa.
    • Use Free Space - to allocate Kororaa into the free space present in the drive (that must be at least 10 GB). A good choice if you want Kororaa among Windows®
    • Create Custom Layout - to choose one partition present in an already partitioned drive, or to proceed to a new disk partitioning, using the tool provided by Kororaa. Choose this option only if you know what are you doing.

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    Click on "Next"
  7. Choosing the partition
    In this step you must pay attention!
    Check the partitions list that is shown, and select the desired one by left clicking on it

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    Then left click again twice on the highlighted partition to ....
  8. Defining the mountpoint, and the filesystem
    In this small window you must select the mountpoint, that must be the root mountpoint (/). Select it in the drop-down list.
    Apply the selection next to "Format as" and choose the filesystem, from the list that is displayed by clicking on the arrow. I preferred "ext4", but there are many other possibilities.

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    Click on "OK" to go back to the previous window, where you will see that your preferred partition has its own filesystem, and mountpoint

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    Click on "Next"
  9. Check and accept the procedure
    In this window there is a message that notice to you that the selected partition will be formatted according to the previous settings. Click on "Format".

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    Another warning box will ask your confirmation. Click on "Write changes to disk"

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  10. Installing the Bootloader
    By default bootloader is installed in the MBR of the main disk (/dev/sda), but you can avoid installing it by removing the selection at the "Install boot loader on /dev/sda". Install bootloader anyway, and you can choose where to insert it, by pressing the button "Change device".

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    If you have chosen to define a partition or a particular device, the window you see below, provides you with options.

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    Click on "OK", and to "Next"
  11. Waiting the installation
    A suitable loading bar indicate the progress of the installation process. Wait with confidence.

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  12. Bingo!
    Congratulations, now you have your Kororaa system, ready to entertain you!

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    Restart the system clicking on "Reboot" button, remembering to remove the DVD from the drive.

Graphical environment and Look

Kororaa 17 KDE is a very beautiful OS, with attention to both visual and sound details. The manager of all that is KDE version 4.8.4, which by definition is an ideal system for customization. The desk is clear, and even in the Folder Viewer there are only two icons, one for inline help and one for reading a very interesting document, that explains to you, how to get some useful applications, such as flash-plugin-helper or the video drivers, but I will talk about this later. The background is soberly beautiful, simple, without sophisticated graphical gauges. Only the distro name, and logo on a blue-gray background with a lighter shade at the center.

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The Deskbar is typical of KDE with the main menu button on the left, flanked by a two desktop pager, a windows list, and on the right, the notification area, the applets for sound volume, for the network manager, and for the clock. Its extensibility is virtually endless, since you can provide it with dozens of other applets. In my setup I just added the shutdown/restart button.
In the past i thought that the KDE Main Menu was sadly useless, now i admit that after repeated use, it is logical and consistent.

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It's important to understand that the first tab is for favorite applications, and that it's good to put the preferred applications launchers in it. To do this simply go to the category where the application reside, right click on it, and click on "Add to Favorites" item.

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Application windows are very well decorated with the Oxygen theme that adds to them a touch of purity and clarity. The blue shading is a touch of elegance that can captivate all users. The desktop theme is Beefy Miracle.
KDE support the 3D desktop very well, and you can setting a variety of effects virtually for all, but it's necessary to have a video card with graphic acceleration capability. By the Control Centre you can directly set up all desktop effects.

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Software

As stated in the Kororaa's targets list, this operating system provide all you need for a common computer use. The goal is fully achieved. So let's see what this great Linux system provide to the user.

Office needs are met by the monumental LibreOffice suite, version 3.5.5.3, and a handful of other useful software like Korganizer to plan your activities, Calibre for eBook management, and other.

For the Graphics don't lack anything. There is the irreplaceable GIMP for bitmap graphics, Inkscape for vectorial graphics, Okular for viewing PDF documents, Gwenview as image viewer, Scribus to build graphics files, such as brochures, digiKam to manage your own webcams, Font Manager for fonts management, and other small tools for graphics needs.

Internet and Network for those who surf, share, chat, send messages, reed, etc.. Kororaa not lack anything. There are two web browsers such as Firefox and Konqueror, KTorrent as BitTorrent client, the client Blogilo for bloggers, Akregator as feed aggregator, Telepathy as messaging client, Konversation as chat tool, KMail as mail client, Choqok as microblogging client, Linphone as VoIP tool, BlueDevil for bluetooth connections, KGet to manage downloads, and other small tools that facilitate the network management and other tasks.

Free Multimedia for Kororaa users, due to the presence of multimedia codecs and several tools. Amarok for music playback (which I personally hate), VLC for video and music playback (which I personally love), KaudioCreator to rip audio CDs, K3B for burning CD and DVD, HandBrake for DVD ripping, Audacity for editing audio tracks, Kdenlive for editing movies, Kid3 for editing audio TAG, and other tools.

In addition to everything listed above, there are many other useful tools for system administration and management, for fun (6 various games) and for security (firewall).

To install, remove and upgrade packages you can use an easy graphical tool called Apper. It's a slow, but effective tool. There is also a YUM graphical tool called Yum Extender, which does the same things and more. Install a package with Apper is a breeze, but for the first time, you must perform a packages upgrading. To do that, proceed as follows:

  1. Start your internet connection
  2. Run Apper:

    Main Menu → Software Management

  3. In the Apper window there are two areas, one above and the other below, "Lists" and "Categories". Click on "Updates" to reload all repositories, and the avalilable packages list.

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  4. Wait the lists loading, and once complete, you will see lots of available updates
  5. Select all and click on "Apply" button to start the updates/upgrades. You must put in the root password to do that. As it's necessary a lot of time, be patient please.
  6. Once all done, find the package you want to install, putting its name in the search field. If you don't know the package name, you can search for it in the Applications category, scrolling the list.

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  7. Once found, click on "Install" button, placed to the right

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  8. The tool notice to you what is going to do, accept it and proceed by entering the root password when prompted
  9. Once all done, a new dialog window notice you that the package was correctly installed.
Likewise, you can uninstall the software.
  1. In the Apper screen, click on "Installed software" to reach the screen which lists all installed packages
  2. In it, scroll the list and find the package that you want to uninstall. Bring on the mouse and you'll see the "Remove" button

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  3. Click on it to start the removal procedure. Proceed according to instructions on the screen.
Control panel
Kororaa, like all systems equipped with KDE, has a Control Center that is very useful and sophisticated.

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From it you can administrate the whole system. I leave you the pleasure of exploring and using it.

Use and Usability

As with all newly installed Linux systems, even for Kororaa there are things that must be made immediately and others that you should do later.

Things to do immediately
  1. Internet connection
    Here I will show how to setting a web connection with an internet-key.
    1. Click on the Network Manager applet to the right of the panel

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    2. In the dialog box click on "Manage connections"

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    3. In the window that appear, go to the "Mobile Broadband" tab, and click on "Add"

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    4. In the little window select your own device, which should be automatically recognized, as in my case

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      Click on "Next"
    5. Choose the country, scrolling the list

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      Click on "Next"
    6. Choose the service provider (TIM in my case)

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      Click on "Next"
    7. Finally choose your phone plan. In my case i left "Default"

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      Click on "Next"
    8. End the operation by clicking on "Finish"

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    9. To start the connection, click on the applet in the panel, and in the "Connections" area click the connection you have just configured

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    10. To stop the connection, return to the applet, click on it and in the window, go to the "Interfaces" area, and put the pointer on the connection "Mobile Broadband" and click the red circle to the upper right corner.
  2. System upgrade
    Upgrade the system and their packages it's very important, and i have already discussed about that.
  3. Localization
    To have Kororaa in your own language, is quite simple. Follow these steps:
    1. Start your internet connection if you haven't already active
    2. Run Apper (Main Menu → Software Management)
    3. In the categories area, click on "Languages" icon
    4. In the next window search for "Your Language support" (in my case "Italian Language support")
    5. Click on "Apply", and wait that all is complete
    6. Go into Control Panel (Main Menu → System Settings)
    7. Clic on "Localization" icon
    8. In the next window, go into the "Country" tab, and choose your preferred language from the drop-down menu
    9. Then go into the "Languages" tab, where you'll see two areas. In the left there is the available language list, into the right there is the preferred language area.
    10. Select the preferred language, then press the right arrow in between the two areas, to make preferred the choosen language. You'll see it appear in the right area
    11. Click on "Apply" button. Your preferred language will be applied to applications that will run from that point onwards. In the next reboot, all system will be in that language
  4. Drivers Installation
    For those who have a graphics card that supports 3D acceleration, it is good to install the appropriate drivers. This is to avoid stability problems of the window manager and desktop environment. Doing so is easy, just like in Ubuntu, since that the instrument used is the same, Jockey. Follow these steps:
    1. Start the web connection
    2. Run the drivers manager:

      Main Menu → Applications → System → Additional drivers

    3. In the Jockey window you'll see that in the first area, there is the available drivers list
    4. Select what you need. I selected the recommended
    5. Click on "Activate" button
    6. At this point the tool will begin to download the drivers and install them. Wait patiently.
    7. When it was over, the tool suggest to restart the system. Do it.
    8. Probably the desktop will not have the correct resolution. Go to:

      Main Menu → System settings → Hardware → Screen and video

    9. Choose the correct resolution from the drop-down menu next to "Size" then click on "Apply"
    10. This will change the resolution to the best one for you. A new window ask if you want to keep this configuration or go to the previous one. Choose and click.
    11. Now you must save this configuration and make it the default. Click on the "Save as default" button.
    12. Done!

Kororaa 17 KDE is a well-organized, clean, and tidy operating system. The main menu has extensive alternative descriptions of the items in it, so you always know what's going to happen if you click something.
The language support is quite good, but some tools are still in English.
The reactivity in live session is good, but much depends on the computer features. The best way to use Kororaa is to install it.
The Software selection is superb and a novice user will found a system that goes beyond its wildest desires, especially when compared to Windows®, where usually there is nothing, not even the operating system!
The Intuitivity is very good for every users type.

Performances

At the moment I'm writing this review/guide are operative the music player Clementine (much better than Amarok), the web browser Opera 12.2, the Bluefish html editor, the system monitor and the file manager Dolphin. The consumption of RAM is 746 MB, while the processor is at 16%.
These consumptions are not trivial, but acceptable for a last generation Linux system, especially on the last generation machines. They become, however unacceptable for 5-6 years old machines.
Let's say that Kororaa 17 KDE isn't a suitable distro for older computers. For those there are other distributions!

Pros

  • Good distribution for those who wants enter in the Linux world
  • Rich, modern and powerful operating system
  • What you need when you need it
  • Fedora made human

Cons

  • I have yet to find them

Useful Links

Conclusions

Surprisingly it seems that Kororaa has not a great community, and in the Distrowatch top classific is in the 84th place. This is a real shame. Chris Smart has done a really excellent job.
The distro is really stable and reliable, easy to manage and suitable for all users.
It's the ideal distro for those who would enter the free software world, but does not know where to start, or don't like the Gnome 3 shell, and Unity interfaces. However is a suitable Linux distro for those who love the nice desktop with "full effects".
So, congratulations to the man who made this great piece of software.
Thanks a lot :-)

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