Kororaa 17 has been ready for a few weeks now, but it is taking a very long time to sync to SourceForge mirrors. In addition, some bots picked up the new files and posted a release announcement (although I had not yet done one) which caused the few mirrors that had been sync’d to get hammered and as a result they dropped the files.
This has happened a few times now so I have changed the 17 release to staging mode for 3 days in the hope that it will be enough time to sync enough mirrors. When there are enough, I will release the files and post an announcement.
I was hoping to release Kororaa 17 by the end of this month, but it will most likely be delayed by a few weeks. I’ve been struggling mostly with getting SELinux to play nicely with Jockey, after upstream added a jockey module to default selinux-policy (which is a good thing). I think I have it cracked now, but it will need a lot of testing as it has now become a much complicated. In addition, there is an ATI driver coming which needs testing and I’m hoping to switch to akmods by default in this release, which also needs testing.
The other thing I was planning to release was an install DVD and I’ve run into issues there also, blockers with filesystem related I think to the removal of /bin and /sbin, etc. Not sure what to do on that one yet, so it might not happen.
I also need to fix some GNOME extensions which aren’t working (like alternate status menu) and customise Cinnamon at users’ requests (I haven’t even had time to really look at it yet).
The good news is that changes between the beta and final will all be pushed out via regular system updates, so if you’ve installed the beta you will probably not need to re-install. The only thing you’ll miss out on are any changes to default user skel like certain settings and mozilla profile updates, etc. Updating and then creating a new user will work around this, but there are unlikely to be any major changes any way.
The first beta release of Kororaa 17 (codename “Bubbles”) has been released and is available for download, in 32 and 64 bit versions for KDE and GNOME. This new release includes major updates of most packages including the kernel (3.3.7), office and desktops (KDE 4.8 and GNOME 3.4).
We are currently working on a way for existing users to easily upgrade, however this is not yet available for the beta release. For those wanting to test out this release, it is recommended to perform a fresh install or use a virtual machine. It’s a Live DVD, so it can be tested without installation too
GNOME – Cannot select session for live user at login. Set a password (for liveuser user) and it will work (upstream bug report).
GNOME – Poweroff menu entry missing, only shows suspend. Hold down the alt key, or activate Alternative Status Menu plugin using GNOME Tweak Tool.
Jockey – no driver for ATI cards. The proprietary fglrx driver is currently not compatible with X.Org 1.12, we have to wait for a new release that works.
The GNOME 3 desktop has a custom theme available, as well as several extensions to provide an enhanced user experience (and help ease the transition from GNOME 2.x). It also comes with the GNOME Tweak Tool to allow further customisation. GNOME Shell now has software rendering support and should work under virtual machines.
It appears that the updates to KDE 4.8 (from 4.7) may have broken the desktop for some Kororaa users. You might experience a black screen when you log in. You can still launch programs by pressing Alt + F2, but your regular desktop is missing.
This is because of incompatibilities between versions of the configuration file for the desktop plasmoids (plasma-desktop-appletsrc) that Kororaa ships (this bug does not affect Fedora as it does not ship this file). The upcoming 17 release will not ship this file.
To fix the problem, just move (or delete) this file out of the way. If that doesn’t work, you can try moving your entire .kde directory out of the way and it will create a new one when you next log in.
When it’s booted and before logging into KDE, switch to a terminal by pressing: Ctrl + Alt + F2
Then log in as your user, and run: mv .kde/share/config/plasma-desktop-appletsrc .kde/share/config/plasma-desktop-appletsrc-broken
Then logout: exit
Switch back to the graphical login: Ctrl + Alt + F1
And log in. You may have to re-create some KDE settings, like shortcuts in the panel, but it should get you going at least.
Alternatively you can press Alt + F2 and run “System Settings”, select “Workspace Behaviour” and change the “Workspace” type to the netbook interface.
Third party repositories (Adobe, Chrome, RPMFusion, VirtualBox)
Firefox 8 as the default web browser (with integration theme for KDE)
Firefox extensions included (Adblock Plus, DownThemAll, Flashblock, Xclear)
Microblogging client (Choqok for KDE, Empathy for GNOME)
Full multimedia support (excluding Flash, see next)
Installer for Adobe Flash plugin
Jockey device manager to handle drivers such as AMD/ATI and NVIDIA
Video editor (Kdenlive for KDE, OpenShot for GNOME)
VLC as the default media player
SELinux enabled (particularly worthwhile for Flash)
English (Australian/British) support & dictionaries
The GNOME 3 desktop has several custom themes available, as well as numerous extensions to provide an enhanced user experience (and help ease the transition from GNOME 2.x). It also comes with the GNOME Tweak Tool to allow further customisation.
The KDE desktop has a custom layout with specific default applications, such as Firefox for the web and VLC for media, etc.
It is still recommended that existing Kororaa users perform a fresh install, however we are working on experimental support for in-place upgrade and hope to post more information soon.
Users still on Kororaa 14 should upgrade to 16 as the older version is no longer supported upstream. Unfortunately for users who wish to stay with GNOME 2.x, this means you will need to upgrade to GNOME 3. Do not despair however, Kororaa includes a desktop switcher for GNOME 3, so that users can switch between the new Shell interface and the 2.x style Fallback mode. Just run the “Switch between Shell and Fallback desktops” link on the desktop (see screenshot above).
Word of thanks
We are starting to get a nice little community around Kororaa and I’d to thank everyone for their help and support, which is greatly appreciated. I’d like to especially thank the following people (in alphabetical order), who have helped make this release possible:
What happens if you enable a 3rd party driver (like ATI) with Jockey, but after a reboot your graphics is broken and you can’t log in to revert?
Answer: Use the command line version of Jockey!
Here’s how you can revert any installed 3rd party driver using Jockey from the command line:
At log in (perhaps with a broken X screen), switch to another terminal using the key combination:
Ctrl + Alt + F2
Log in as root
Get a list of enabled drivers from Jockey:
Disable the driver (such as the ATI driver):
Once it has finished, reboot!
When using Jockey, you should ensure that you have the latest updates applied, in particular the latest running kernel. This is because you might otherwise get a driver for a newer kernel, which might break your system upon reboot, or fail to activate.
You can also try using akmods with Jockey, which will build a new driver for you on reboot, if one does not exist for your running kernel (no matter what that is!).
By default, 3rd party drivers (such as NVIDIA and ATI) are pre-compiled against a specific kernel version and delivered in a kmod package. However when there’s a kernel update, it might block because there is no updated driver package yet available. This can also break a system if you update the kernel and reboot.
Wouldn’t it be great if the system could automatically build a new driver if required? Yes, and this is where akmods come into play.
With akmods, when your system boots it will check to see if a registered driver needs to be built. If you have an updated kernel, then akmods will build a fresh driver for that kernel and install it – no need to wait for a kmod to be updated upstream. This avoids the broken system scenario above.
While akmods are nothing new, you can now use them with Jockey under Fedora 16 (rather than just kmod packages). Simply download the RPMS from a Kororaa mirror and install (or you could build your own from SRPM).
You will need:
jockey-gtk or jockey-kde
Post install, edit the /etc/jockey.conf and set “akmods=true”. Then, you can run Jockey and install the driver you want.
You will also need build tools like gcc, make and kernel-headers (and of course, akmods), however these should be pulled in as dependencies of the akmod package.
This is still an experimental feature and any feedback is welcome!