Kiara 2 thread
It's been more than two years since my last thread about KIARA, my own live CD based on SLAX 6.1.2 and Slackware 12.2, so I feel justified in starting over. I've been wanting to write some documentation for Kiara, and I'm thinking that maybe I'll find it easier to write here, where maybe someone will read it.
KIARA ("Kiara Is A Recursive Acronym") is not a great feat on my part, but it happens to be a great live CD. It started out a couple of years ago as a way for me to insure that I could keep using KDE3 no matter what.
I'm no guru. What I did to create my own version of Slax was not that complicated, and that's no coincidence. Slax is not that complicated, because it builds so directly on the simplicity of Slackware, and it's built to customize. One of the things that makes Slackware important is that its special simplicity allowed for some terrific second-generation distros. Besides Slax, there's also zenwalk, and a special favorite of mine, Vector Linux.
Here's basically what what I did, and if anybody wants more detail, I'll supply it. I took the basic 100 MB Slax disk and ported packages from Slackware by running the tgz2lzm script (converting to .tgz slackware packages to .lzm slax modules) and added the files that were generated to the "modules" folder in the Slax CD. These included all KDE3 packages for a full-featured desktop, some packages that I considered essential for console operatiion such as GNU emacs, elinks and requested packages like nano, and also some alternative desktop guis like fluxbox, twm and xfce (there was room, so why not?)
I also learned how to use the "rootcopy"directory in the slax CD to make customizations-- cosmetic at first, but over time more significant. Most importantly, I learned how to keep the mozilla web software current, and how to create startup scripts that would link the new browsers to the path.
I made my peace with KDE4 long ago, with one big exception: Someone recently gave me an old IBM Thinkpad, and no distro that I tried will run KDE4 on that thing no matter what. Sometimes it won't launch at all, but usually it's just too slow to be feasible. KIARA, however, runs with KDE3 very nicely on the Thinkpad, from a USB thumbdrive.
Nevertheless, on everything else I've got, KDE4 runs just a little bit slower, but not bad, and I like some of the features. I've learned what's useful and what's not useful in KDE4 and at last no longer tempted to endlessly dick around with all those crazy features. But even with KDE4 no longer an issue,. KIARA still seems worth doing. Most of it is never upgraded, except for the web software, and so I am able to pay special;l attention to keeping the web software current. It is the only live CD I know that continually upgrades the web browsers. With new versions of firefox, thunderbird, seamonkey, and opera, Slackware 12 and KDE3 don't really seem out of date at all. The web has changed over the past couple of years, but text editing is still text editing. I used to say that the only thing I ever missed in KIARA was a feature in Gimp, but with the recent changes in GIMP, I think I prefer the version in KIARA. (But I'll probably get used to the New Gimp, like I got used to KDE4.)
Last edited by blackbelt_jones; 01-12-2012 at 04:29 AM.
If I'm reading this right, this distro is for old hardware. I've tracked your progress over the years with Linux, it's awesome you have your own distro.
Is there a "to ram" option on boot? Puppy Linux (and I'm sure others) can be loaded entirely into ram to make the OS run much faster than if it was running off disk media.
I like to take a distro that will run entirely in ram (something for old hardware) and run it on a system with 4GB of ram (as an example) and a good processor. The OS speed is amazing when used that way! Does kiara utilize multicore processors?
Don't know about multicore processors, or even new hardware. I have neither. It does work great on old hardware. It runs faster on my IBM thinkpad as a live CD than Slackware 13.37 installed to the hard drive. I often run KIARA from the RAM on my Dell Optiplex with 2 GB of RAM.
Originally Posted by Chess007
I've started working on a CD based on Porteus, the remixed version of Slax, but it's a lot more convoluted and buggy than Slax, but it's a lot more likely to support new hardware.
KIARA is a great live CD, but it's not a great feat of engineering. Making a customized version of Slax is really easier than you might think. I'm working on the documentation, and soon everybody's going to not be quite as impressed.
I think the answer may be at least a qualified "yes". KIARA is a modified version of SLAX 6.1.2, which was released 2 and a half years ago, in August 2009. Multicore processors were all over the place by then, no?
Originally Posted by Chess007
I'd love it if someone with newer hardware could test a KIARA CD.
I believe that there's a way of adding modules to the kernel. I still don't understand how that works, but I may get around to figuring that out.
New Release: KIARA 2.7
I don't know if I mentioned that, but KIARA releases immediately follow Firefox Releases. 2.7 is a response to Firefox 10.0.
Linux has had multi-core support for a long time (it's why all of the supercomputers use it), so at least at an OS level it should work. Whether applications are designed to make use of it is a different matter, but that's an ongoing problem for everyone.