24 December, 2008


The Chackra project is cool.

They're the guys behind KDEmod, a modular set of KDE packages for Arch linux. For those who don't know Arch, the highlights:
- KISS (simplicity and flat config files over graphical point-and-click)
- Vanilla packages (as little deviations from upstream as possible)
- Rolling release schedule (no fixed releases - if a new app comes out, it gets packaged, tested, and put in the repositories. Releases are just snapshots, done when a new kernel becomes available)
- binary packages by default but excellent automatic source building system (ABS)

The KDEmod packages have always been great. Not just because they were modular, but during the KDE 3.5.x series the developers added interesting patches. Apparently, with KDEmod 4.1.x completely vanilla, they turned their attention to writing their own stuff. Meet Chackra, a livecd based on arch & KDEmod. Comes with an installer (which looks incredibly cool) and after using it you have a fully vanilla arch installation. Finally, they also work on package management tools, hardware configuration - really nice stuff.

The guys made great artwork (just check the Chakra logo & its design) and the whole thing looks already quite polished.

Lovely boot messages (they even mention that pagan party we have every year, whatsitcalled, Xmas).

I've been looking for a distro which could be installed on my netbook (Acer Aspire One). Had to be a (live) usb & easy & fast. And I would love KDE 4.2 SVN or something for demoing it at talks I give. I have Kubuntu now, with KDE 4.1.2. Has done great, but I'm looking for easy KDE 4.2 packages. My desktop PC runs Arch with KDE 4.2 SVN packages updated daily (actually, it's often twice a day, the guy doing that is just as nuts as I was when I still compiled SVN myself). But I didn't look forward to installing Arch on the Aspire One - too much work to get wireless working and such. I've been looking at Suse, even Fedora, even though the first of those isn't exactly fast (at least didn't use to be) and the latter comes with all kinds of GTK stuff I would have to remove for performance & diskspace reasons. Couldn't get either with KDE 4.2 on USB anyway.

Tribe installer

Arxin hardware configuration

Shaman package management

So now there's Chackra. And they even said they might do a second alpha with the KDE 4.2 final release, so within a month I can have that stuff on my laptop. If they can actually make the installer work, as it currently refuses to mount my disk thus stops the installation. Yet, it boots, works & looks pretty decent already, so a big Thank You to the developers!


  1. Got hold of this article through KDE Planet. It's great to get Xmas presents from someone I don't know.

    Thanks and merry Xmas.

  2. You're absolutley right! I also tried the live cd and KDE really shines, kudos to the devs. Kwin effects, NVIDIA driver, everything works like a charm.

    My notebook currently runs PcLinuxOS, but when 4.2 is stable I'll definitely switch to Chakra / Arch.

  3. Any idea if they have this in a USB-installable form? I love the Mandriva Flash product, but wish I could do that with rolling releases...

  4. I like the Chakra FAQ. Very clear and modest too, accepting that it is not for everybody, not abusing other distros.

  5. @ Troy Unrau: http://chakra-project.org/bbs/viewtopic.php?id=33

    This sounds like an interesting distro, but how does it compare to Kubuntu? I mean, I'm an experienced Linux user so I can handle Arc Linux' difficulty, but why would I want to choose Chakra over Kubuntu?

  6. To be more specific, you mentioned the rolling release schedule as an advantage, but what is the effect of the policy to deviate from upstream as little as possible? Kubuntu is quite close to upstream as well, right? And where it does deviate from upstream, like the automatic codec search and download, it's quite a good thing, isn't it?

  7. KDEmod's KDE 4.1 is not anywhere near vanilla, they have tons of Plasma backports: they use plasma-4.1-openSUSE wholesale, plus at times assorted other backports.

  8. I had waited for something like this, and now I'll give a try to this distro, cool since its slogan. When the torrent finishes, I'll try my Christmas present. Thank you!

  9. @Kevin Kofler: Not 100% correct... we had a bunch of backports once, but most got removed, since they were pretty buggy :/ Now it's almost vanilla (only 2 patches applied or something like that...).



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