Information Technology, Thank You Sir May I Have Another

Doing Battle With KaOS

Those of you who follow this blog and Interestingauthors.com/blog know I’ve been experimenting with quite a few Linux distros lately. The YABU (Yet Another uBUntu) tree has frustratingly broken wireless networking (it will usually connect, just disconnect and reconnect you a lot.) You also had to hack it to make it recognize the Doro 626 (and probably many other) phones. The latest candidate for both my desktop and laptop is KaOS. This is a good looking but odd distro. It is completely KDE and Qt 5.x centric. It deliberately has a rather eclectic and unfocused limited repo. They are very adamant about the “built from scratch” moniker yet they use the Arch Build System (ABS) and many times binaries from the Arch repos will install and run just fine. Makes one thing about that old adage involving a duck.

One of the things I have noticed from the user forum is that much of the core group behind it are boys not old enough to drive and find a significant other who would actually go out with them on a date. <gasp> <faint> thud. Calendar wise some of the pictures look older, but it is that mentality of “everyone should want to stay up all night building packages from scratch” which gives it that feel. Another thing which gives it that feel is the ever forward zest for a rolling distro. Most distros these days, whatever the sizes of their repos, have both a rolling and an LTS/stable which is kept around for a few years. LTS versions are what get your distro onto company desktops and that in turn gets you support contracts along with donations. (The bottom of the home page has a PayPal link to submit donations.)

Perhaps the distro is just too new, but the whole donations aspect does not seem to have been thought through. Besides the lack of an LTS, the hunspell-en-us dictionary isn’t in the repo. I had to go pull that from Arch and build it. The repo is unique in the live DVD has the option to boot the nvidia non-free video drivers and once this is done, when choosing to install the OS it will actually install the latest nvidia driver. It doesn’t appear to install everything though. opencl-nvidia did not appear to get installed as it does with other distros. At least when I was trying to install a boinc build boinc could not find the GPU. Then I installed the nvidia-340 driver with same result so I re-installed the latest nvidia from the repo and that time it installed opencl-nvidia making all right with boinc.

The default office package is Calligra which is, in a word, useless. It’s been horrible since developers started working on it and speaking as someone who has written many books using different word processors, I would never consider using it. I pulled up my current resume, which was created with Libre Office from another distro and I saw the same cumbersome interface which was there years ago. Thankfully the repos have both Libre Office and FocusWriter so you can have both a top notch office package and a lightweight word processor. You just have to install them yourself. While you are at it you probably want to un-install Calligra.

Since it is nearing tax time I needed to install PostgreSQL. They have the package, but it doesn’t have a proper POSTINST (or whatever this package manager calls the post installation script.) Most every other distro you simply install the main postgres package and once it is done you can open a terminal and type “psql” and have it spit up saying a database by the name of your username does not exist. No such love here. You have to manually finish.

$ sudo -u postgres -i
[postgres@sdb ~]$ initdb --locale $LANG -E UTF8 -D '/var/lib/postgres/data'
sudo systemctl start postgresql.service

You will find they do no force Kontact on you. It’s there but few install it. Thunderbird is in the repo as well as FireFox and Opera. The default browser is based on Chrome so if you don’t want Google tracking your every click, you may wish to un-install it.

Now we must return to the discussion of donations and limited repos. Boinc has to be built. You have to follow the setup procedure outlined here, but at least once completed you can find what you need in /var/abs/community/boinc on your system. It is extremely odd that boinc client and server were excluded despite the militant “Qt only – no Gtk” mantra. People who run boinc to cure AIDS, map the human genome and other support other great humanitarian efforts are, by nature of what they commit their resources to, much more likely to donate to a repo which makes performing those tasks easy.

Have you ever donated to a Linux distro? I have and do. I’ve donated to Mint more than once.

Have you ever donated to public television/radio? I have and do. They provide a much needed service.

I wish we could run an actual survey of people answering those two questions. Why? Because the people who answer both of them “yes” will overwhelmingly answer “yes” to “Do you run boinc to help support humanitarian projects around the world?”

Let me spell it out for Linux distros looking for donations from users. Your target donors run boinc with nvidia GPUs to help the human race. Your second target market are business who want an LTS for company desktops. That’s how you get money.

Unlike other distro installs in the past, KaOS isn’t a 20 minutes and done thing. Been hacking at it for about 2 days to get it where it needs to be. There is an annoying bug with external NTFS drives. Create a subdirectory then create half a dozen or so .txt files on a distro like Mint. Drag that folder off to an external drive using NTFS. Now create a different directory and open it, then drag the other directory/folder back from the NTFS to copy it. All is well, the .txt files are still just .txt files without being flagged as executables. Drag that same directory/folder into your home directory on KaOS and every file will have the executable attribute set. Tedious turning them all off.

Tomorrow I will finish entering expenses for taxes then do the first image backup of it.

I like much of it, but could like it better if it manages to grow up.