Kororaa 16 (Chum) released

It was a little while in coming, but it was worth the wait! It is my pleasure to announce the release of Kororaa 16 (codename “Chum”) which is now available for download.

Features
Derived from Fedora 161, this updated release comes with the usual Kororaa extras out of the box, such as:

  • Tweaked KDE 4.7, GNOME 3.2 and base systems
  • 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
  • and more..

Desktops
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.
Kororaa 16 desktop - GNOME

The KDE desktop has a custom layout with specific default applications, such as Firefox for the web and VLC for media, etc.
Kororaa 16 desktop - KDE

Upgrade
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:

  • Alan Gindlesperger (almigi)
  • Hedayat Vatankhah (Parsidora Fedora Remix)
  • Ian Firns (firnsy)
  • Jason Nielsen
  • Jim Dean (ozjd)
  • Liam Campbell (lijcam)
  • Matthew Oliver

Feedback
We’d love to hear your feedback on the forums, so download it today and let us know! :-)

Thanks!

Note: Kororaa is not provided or supported by the Fedora Project. Official, unmodified Fedora software is available through the Fedora Project website.

Recovering from 3rd party drivers, with Jockey

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:
  • jockey --list

  • Disable the driver (such as the ATI driver):
  • jockey --disable=kmod:fglrx

  • 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!).

-c

Using akmods with Jockey in Fedora

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
  • jockey-selinux
  • jockey-modaliases
  • 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.

Jockey driver manager

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!

Kororaa Facebook page

For anyone who’s interested in Facebook, I’ve created a page for Kororaa. I’m new to all this Facebook stuff, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know!

Thanks,
-c

FIX: Kororaa 16 GNOME Shell crash

This took me a while to find, but removing the nautilus-pastebin package will stop GNOME Shell from crashing when searching (as seen in Beta 16). No restart required.

sudo yum erase nautilus-pastebin

Sorry about that, it was very hard to find!

Thanks,
Chris

Kororaa 16 (Chum) Beta released

The first beta release of Kororaa 16 (codename “Chum”) 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, office and desktops (KDE 4.7 and GNOME 3.2).

Upgrade
We are currently working on a way for existing version 15 users to upgrade to the final release of version 16, 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 :-)

Known issues

  • Some addons for GNOME have caused crashes and the gnome-shell-extension-alternative-status-menu is not included in the beta. To shutdown, hold down the Alt key while hovering over Suspend option in menu.
  • Searching (Alt + F2) in GNOME causes Shell to crash.
  • Jockey (the proprietary driver manager) was accidentally left out, but is installable (GNOME: jockey-gtk jockey-selinux KDE: jockey-kde jockey-selinux)

Desktops
The GNOME 3 desktop has 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.
Kororaa 16 desktop - GNOME

The KDE desktop has a custom layout with specific default applications, such as Firefox for the web and VLC for media, etc.
Kororaa 16 desktop - KDE

Features
Derived from Fedora 161, this new major release comes with the usual Kororaa extras out of the box, such as:

  • Tweaked KDE 4.7 and GNOME 3.2 base systems
  • Third party repositories (Adobe, Chrome, RPMFusion, VirtualBox)
  • Firefox 8 as the default web browser (integrated with 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
  • and more..

Feedback
We’d love to hear your feedback on the forums, so download it today and let us know! :-)

Thanks!

Note: Kororaa is not provided or supported by the Fedora Project. Official, unmodified Fedora software is available through the Fedora Project website.

What’s in a name? The meaning behind Kororaa

Many users have asked me why Kororaa is called Kororaa. It’s hard to spell and it’s hard to say (it’s even a rude word in some languages, sorry about that). Well, I’d like to share the meaning behind the name.

The word Kororaa is an alternate spelling of the Māori word Kororā, which is a name given to the smallest of all penguin species, the little penguin (Eudyptula minor):

Korora Penguin
(Photo from Wikipedia licensed under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2)

They are also known as little blue penguins, but when I was in school I knew them as fairy penguins (I guess I could have called my distro Fairy Linux instead).

These gorgeous little penguins stand at just 30cm (12″) tall for fully grown adults. They are native to Australia (where I come from) and New Zealand, although there have also been reported sightings from Chile (where they are known as Pingüino pequeño or Pingüino azul).

Not only are they the cutest penguins around, they are also the penguins responsible for the Linux mascot, Tux. That’s right! Linus was visiting Canberra and while at the National Zoo and Aquarium was bitten on the finger by one of these little penguins. Later, when it came time to think of a mascot for Linux, Linus couldn’t get that cute little blue penguin out of his head and so Tux was born.

Story behind Tux
(Photo from Wikipedia licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)

So, Kororaa might be hard to spell and it might be hard to say, but it’s a real word and it has real meaning :-)

Kororaa 15.1 (Squirt) released

The second release of Kororaa 15 (codename “Squirt”) has been released. Version 15.1 is available for download, in 32 and 64 bit with KDE 4.6 and GNOME 3.

This release includes a number of fixes and enhancements, as listed below. A special thanks to Prashanth for the review of Kororaa 15 which outlined many of these shortcomings.

Major changes:

  • Fixed KDE crash in live mode (prelink wasn’t properly disabled)
  • Fixed Kdenlive bug which stopped it from running
  • Fixed KPackagekit crash in live mode
  • Bypass the login screen and load straight to desktop
  • Disable screensaver and locked screen in live mode
  • Renamed desktop switcher to “Switch between Shell and Fallback desktops”
  • Added Google Talk Plugin repo for easy installation
  • Added a wrapper package (skype-helper) for Skype dependencies (can’t ship Skype though)
  • Added more GNOME Shell themes
  • Removed Gloobus preview (not complete in Fedora)
  • Removed GNOME Appearance Properties link (deprecated in GNOME 3)
  • Removed Synaptic package manager
  • Removed Miro (currently broken upstream)
  • Updated to Firefox 7
  • Updated to Openshot 1.4

Kororaa 15.1 comes with an RPM metapackage to install and configure Adobe Flash, now that Add/Remove Extras is gone. To get flash, install the flash-plugin-helper package. To remove flash, uninstall the flash-plugin package.

Kororaa 15.1 also comes with an RPM metapackage to install the dependencies for Skype (but not Skype itself). Simply install the skype-helper package, then download the Skype package for Fedora from their website and install using the package manager.

Upgrade
Existing Kororaa 15 users need not upgrade to 15.1 as these changes mostly affect live mode, while others have been pushed out via system updates.

Users still on Kororaa 14 may wish to upgrade to 15.1 and should do so via a new install (backup your data if necessary). Users who wish to stay with GNOME 2.x should not upgrade to 15.1, as it comes with GNOME 3. However, Kororaa 15.1 does include a desktop switcher for GNOME 3, so that users can switch between the new Shell interface and the 2.x style Fallback mode using the “Switch between Shell and Fallback desktops” link on the desktop.

Desktops
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.
Kororaa 15 desktop - GNOME

The KDE desktop has a custom layout with specific default applications, such as Firefox for the web and VLC for media, etc. It now also comes with Linphone for those wanting a SIP client.
Kororaa 15 desktop - KDE

Features
Derived from Fedora 151, this updated release comes with the usual Kororaa extras out of the box, such as:

  • Tweaked KDE 4.6 and GNOME 3 base systems
  • Third party repositories (Adobe, Chrome, RPMFusion, VirtualBox)
  • Firefox 7 as the default web browser (with integration tweaks for KDE)
  • Firefox extensions included (Adblock Plus, DownThemAll, Flashblock, Xclear)
  • Microblogging client (Choqok for KDE, Gwibber 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
  • and more..

Feedback
We’d love to hear your feedback on the forums, so download it today and let us know! :-)

Thanks!

Note: Kororaa is not provided or supported by the Fedora Project. Official, unmodified Fedora software is available through the Fedora Project website.

Kororaa 15 (Squirt) released

The first stable release of Kororaa 15 (codename “Squirt”) has been released and is available for download, in 32 and 64 bit with KDE 4.6 and GNOME 3.

This release includes Ubuntu’s Jockey Device Driver manager, which has replaced the Add/Remove Extras script for configuring third party drivers (such as nvidia). While I am still working on the port of Jockey to Yum, in order to release Kororaa 15 now (already a month later than I was hoping) I am using Jockey packages created by fellow Fedora Remix, Parsidora, so thanks and kudos to them!

Kororaa 15 comes with an RPM metapackage to install and configure Adobe Flash, now that Add/Remove Extras is gone. To get flash, install the flash-plugin-helper package. To remove flash, uninstall the flash-plugin package.

Upgrade
Users still on Kororaa 14 may wish to upgrade to 15 and should do so via a new install (backup your data if necessary). Users who wish to stay with GNOME 2.x should not upgrade to 15, as it comes with GNOME 3. However, Kororaa 15 does include a desktop switcher for GNOME 3, so that users can switch between the new Shell interface and the 2.x style Fallback mode.

Desktops
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.
Kororaa 15 desktop - GNOME

The KDE desktop has a custom layout with specific default applications, such as Firefox for the web and VLC for media, etc. It now also comes with Linphone for those wanting a SIP client.
Kororaa 15 desktop - KDE

Features
Derived from Fedora 151, this updated release comes with the usual Kororaa extras out of the box, such as:

  • Tweaked KDE 4.6 and GNOME 3 base systems
  • Third party repositories (Adobe, Chrome, RPMFusion, VirtualBox)
  • Firefox 6 as the default web browser (with integration tweaks for KDE)
  • Firefox extensions included (Adblock Plus, DownThemAll, Flashblock, Xclear)
  • Microblogging client (Choqok for KDE, Gwibber 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
  • and more..

Major changes:

  • Add/Remove Extras script removed by default (still in repository)
  • Jockey device driver manager added
  • New Flash plugin RPM metapackage installer
  • New DownThemAll download manager addon for Firefox
  • Linphone VoIP client for KDE added
  • GNOME 3 switcher between Shell and Fallback desktops
  • Pidgin replaced with Empathy for better GNOME integration
  • KSplice has been removed by default

Feedback
We’d love to hear your feedback on the forums, so download it today and let us know! :-)

Thanks!

Note: Kororaa is not provided or supported by the Fedora Project. Official, unmodified Fedora software is available through the Fedora Project website.

Jockey device manager port for Fedora (using Yum)

One of the things I wanted to do for Kororaa was make Ubuntu’s Jockey device manager work. This would replace my current dodgy script and provide a mechanism for extending support for other devices over time (if needed). I’ve put my code on github if you want to check it out.

It wasn’t meant to be a joke, but on the 1st April this year I contacted Martin Pitt (the Jockey project lead) to pitch the idea. He helpfully replied saying that they’d written Jockey to be pretty vendor agnostic and that he had already discussed the idea of porting it to Fedora with Jon Masters. Indeed, he had did have the test suite working on Fedora 12 already (using PackageKit).

So I started out trying to understand the code and seeing what was possible. The core of the work is in oslib.py which implements the package management side of things (the default code uses PackageKit). Ubuntu has their own apt implementation, so I wanted to make a native Yum implementation.

There is some detection code (which shouldn’t need to be touched) and then there are the handlers for each device you want to manage (nvidia, etc).

A few weekends ago, Jason Nielsen and I got together to work on the code. In a few hours we had ported oslib.py to Yum, so I think the majority of the work there is done (thanks for your help, Jason!). It’s a much cleaner implementation than running PackageKit and parsing the results, because Yum is written in Python :-)

That’s where it’s at now. Next I need to create some handlers and then begin some testing. I’m holding off on the next Kororaa release, because I want to get this working before I ship it. Longer-term this naturally won’t go into Fedora, but perhaps into RPMFusion.

Parsidora (another Fedora Remix) has also been working on Jockey, but using the PackageKit implementation (I’ve sent them a message to see if they are interested in the native Yum version). You can try their existing implementation for Fedora 15 if you’re interested.

Hopefully I’ll have everything ready for Kororaa in the next few weeks, before Fedora 16 comes out! :-)