KaOS-2017.01 — a review
I have previously reported on KaOS, in 2015. I have actually kept it installed since August 2015. When I saw the announcement for 2017.01, I decided that it was time for a re-install. I’ll note that I could have just updated the already installed version, but it seemed like time for a fresh start.
What is KaOS?
KaOS is a rolling distribution, based on KDE.
I am a KDE user, with openSUSE Leap (currently at 42.2). But I also keep openSUSE Tumbleweed installed for looking at what will be coming up. And I’m using KaOS as an alternative view of what is going to be showing up in the future.
I have not used KaOS extensively, except for occasion testing and occasional updating. I’m expecting to continue that practice with the new install.
I downloaded from the download site listed on the announcement. I then checked the md5sum for the download. There did not appear to be a gpg signature that I could check.
After successfully downloading, I wrote that to a USB flash drive with
# dd_rescue KaOS-2017.01-x86_64.iso /dev/sdd
and note that “/dev/sdd” is the device for the first USB flash drive that I plug in on my main desktop.
I then tried booting the USB. I first booted with UEFI. Then I temporarily switched my computer to legacy boot mode, and again booted the USB. It booted up without problem either way. Or, at least, it booted with a problem that I noticed.
The installing itself is reasonably straight forward. There are few decision to make, except with respect to booting. So that’s what I’ll mainly comment on in this section.
If I boot the installer in UEFI mode, the only boot choice is systemd-boot, a derivative of gummiboot. That is what I used for my previous install because it was the only option I had at that time. But I don’t much care for systemd-boot. It works, and it is fine if you are only booting one linux system. But I have several installed, so I prefer the menu from grub2.
So I booted the installer in legacy mode. It looks as if it would have installed grub. For my previous install, it was too fussy to do that, but the calamares booter seems to be improved with respect to GPT partitioned disks.
In any case, I went with manual partitioning, which allowed me to configure it to not install a bootloader. I also set the install partition (“/dev/sda6”) to use “ext4” instead of the default “xfs” for a file system.
After the install was complete, but before rebooting, I mounted the installed system:
# mount /dev/sda6 /mnt # mount --bind /dev /mnt/dev # mount --bind /proc /mnt/proc # mount --bind /sys /mnt/sys
I then went into chroot mode, and installed the bootloader.
# chroot /mnt # grub-install --force /dev/sda6 # cd /boot # grub-mkconfig -o grub.cfg # exit
I’ll note that the use of “ext4” is what allows me to install grub in the root partition.
I then rebooted. I switched my system back to UEFI booting, and updated the bootloader in an openSUSE partition. That gave me a boot entry for KaOS (with UEFI booting). I later signed the KaOS kernel with my machine-owner key, so that I could turn secure-boot back on.
Running the installed KaOS
The installed system seemed to run well, except for problems with the network and with konsole.
I edited “/etc/crypttab” to add an entry for my encrypted LVM on the same disk. On rebooting, it asked for the encryption. I then modified “/etc/fstab” so that the home volume from that encrypted LVM was mounted at “/xhome” (where I can add symbolic links to it). And I also added an fstab entry to add the swap volume from the encrypted LVM.
It has been running well with those changes.
I noticed that I only had an IPv6 address, but no IPv4 address. This was strange, because that had not happened with my previous install of KaOS. But it had previously happened when testing Slackware, and I fixed that with changes to “dhcpcd.conf”. So I tried to do something similar here, but it did not help.
A check showed that “dhcpcd” was not even running. Further checking showed that NetworkManager was set to use internal dhcp. I commented out the line for that, and rebooted. And that gave me an IPv4 address. It looks as if the internal dhcp for NetworkManager does not like my home router.
I ran into some strangeness with Konsole. It worked fine with the initial user account setup in the install. But I had added a second account, and that’s where I had problems with Konsole.
I started the application, and configured it to my liking. Then I closed it. I reopened, and it had lost that configuration.
Well, not a big problem. That also happens in openSUSE. But the second time sticks with opensuse. Not so in KaOS. After configuring the second time, I closed and reopend. And again it had lost its configuration. I repeated that two more times. Then I investigated. It looked as if a new profile was being created everytime (Profile1, Profile2, etc).
In the settings, I then chose to create a new profile. I named that “Default”. Then I set that as the default profile. I closed the window, and reopened. And, this time, it picked up that default profile. So I deleted all of the other profiles. And it seems to have been working properly since then.
A couple of complications but, for the most part, KaOS is looking pretty good. I’ll post some more about KaOS in the next few days.