KaOS Linux remains one of the most aesthetically pleasing Linux distros around sporting the beautiful KDE desktop environment. A visit to the KaOS Linux homepage clearly informs on the focus the developers that have taken with this distro. They describe it as a lean KDE distribution built from scratch and focus on Qt and KDE. The developers pride themselves on the fact that all their efforts are focused on one DE (KDE), one toolkit (Qt) and the one architecture (x86_64).
Download and Installation
KaOS Linux is a rolling distribution so keeping up with the updates is enough to get you the latest packages. The official iso is also updated every few months to keep it up to date with all the latest changes for new installations so you are not presented with a large first update. The latest KaOS 2016.07 ISO can be downloaded from their download page.
Installation is pretty straight forward as you can easily create a Bootable USB or DVD. A 4Gb flash drive should be enough to create the bootable drive. On Linux, you have the option of using the “dd” from the command line or rather the straightforward SUSE Studio ImageWriter. On Windows, ROSA Image Writer is one other recommended option apart from the SUSE Studio ImageWriter. It is also possible to use “dd” in windows as it is clearly shown in the documentation. I used Rufus tool which also works quite well in making the bootable USB. One point to to note while making a DVD is to use the burn speed below 4x to prevent resulting in an unusable DVD.
UEFI is supported but Secure-Boot is currently unavailable. There is also the live mode to test-drive the os before installation. KaOS employs the Clamares Installer and it's quite pretty and that’s it. For about the 2 years that I have been testing KaOS, the one thing I am always uncomfortable is with the installer. It looks pretty simple but when you have to dual boot with another os, you have to be careful. Nonetheless, they provide a comprehensive documentation on the installation process on their website.
KaOS Linux employs the Clamares Installer and it's quite pretty and that’s it. For about the 2 years that I have been testing KaOS distro, the one thing I am always uncomfortable with is the installer. It looks pretty simple but when you have to dual boot with another os, you have to be careful. Nonetheless, they provide a comprehensive documentation on the installation process on their website.
KaOS In Use
The very idea that KDE remains the only desktop environment for this distro is very interesting. KDE remains the most customizable DE around and the developers are usually first to implement updates of the DE in the distro. KaOS is arguably the best os when it comes to implementing the best os when it comes to demonstrating the best that KDE has to offer. The Linux distro currently ships with the KDE Plasma 5 desktop. Once booted up, the default Midna theme is a beauty in all ways. There is also the option of a darker theme with the Midna Dark which also pleasing and less painful on the eyes in the dark. It is also very easy to customise form themes, icons, application style, fonts, colours, screen edges, desktop effects and virtual desktops in the OS as KDE builds all the tools and widgets into the system.
KaOS ships with KDE’s Calligra suite of office applications.
The default browser is Qupzilla browser also written with Qt and even though it is quite capable, you are better served installing Mozilla Firefox or even Google chrome.
Konqueror is another browser and also doubles as an alternative file manager to the default Dolphin file manager. Okular is the default document viewer as is on many KDE distros. The clementine player is also shipped along with SMPlayer and mpv Media Player and rather the so-so Simple screen recorder.
Out of the box, performance was ok as wireless and ethernet both worked without any problems. Multimedia playback for mp3 and all the file formats worked with mpv Media Player.
How To Install Applications In KaOS?
Installing applications in KaOS is a breeze as Octopi proves itself as quite capable front end manager for pacman written in Qt as are most of the default applications shipped in KaOS. You can easily install your apps and they usually are the very latest versions.
In conclusion, KaOS Linux is elegant, clean and focused. If you love KDE, then KaOS remains one of the finest showcases for the elegance of KDE. The out of the box excludes some of the most popular software including firefox and vlc but as I said earlier, the octopi pacman client does a very good job in finding and installing software. The direction taken by the developers to focus on KDE and Qt makes it quite unique. Newbies can try out KaOS without so much hassle and if you like me are a KDE enthusiast, surely check out the distro.