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Kwheezy 1.2

September 30, 2013
By

Debian has not always had a good reputation when it comes to being welcoming to new Linux users. Kwheezy is a Debian-based distribution that aims to change that by making Debian easier to install, and by offering the slick KDE desktop environment. Kwheezy is a blend of Debian 7.1 (Wheezy) and KDE 4.8.4.

Kwheezy 1.2 Live Desktop

Kwheezy 1.2 Live Desktop

What’s New in Kwheezy 1.2
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:

Incorporates a couple of remaining installer bug fixes.
Kwheezy Profiler, a new GUI tool to backup and restore user profiles.
Rekonq browser updated to 2.3.2.
Steam client installed by default.
PlayOnLinux installed by default.
Some open source games (kdegames, dreamchess) included.
deb-multimedia.org packages replaced by official Debian packages. The necessary codecs / decoders included from Kwheezy repo instead.
Some minor tweaking here and there.

System Requirements for Kwheezy 1.2
Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:

Minimum
CPU: Intel Pentium or above, AMD K5 or above
RAM (memory): 500MB (32bit) , 1GB(64bit) or above
HDD (free disk space): 18GB or above
Graphics: VGA capable of 1024×768

Recommended
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo or above, AMD K10 (Phenom) or above
RAM: 1GB (32bit), 2GB (64bit) or above
HDD (free disk space): 30GB or above
Graphics: 64MB with OpenGL 3.0 or above
Audio: 16bit audio, AC’97 or above

Kwheezy 1.2 Download
You can download Kwheezy 1.2 from this page. The file I downloaded weighed in at 4.05 GB, so it’s not the smallest distro to download. However, you do get a lot of software included by default (more on that below).

If you’re a distrohopper then you might want to try it in a virtual machine via VirtualBox before running it on real hardware.

Kwheezy 1.2 Installation
One of Kwheezy’s strengths is that it is generally easier to install than vanilla Debian. Newbies will particularly appreciate this.

Be warned, however, that the install is not quick. It took quite a while to complete. I didn’t time it exactly as I had other things to do, so I took off to do them while the install completed. Given the amount of software it comes with, the slow install was not a surprise to me.

Please note that if you need to upgrade from a previous release of Kwheezy, you’ll find instructions here to help you.

Kwheezy is also a live distro, so you can run it off the CD before trying to do an actual install on your computer.

Kwheezy 1.2 Install Drive Selection

Kwheezy 1.2 Install Drive Selection

Kwheezy 1.2 Install Drive Partitioning

Kwheezy 1.2 Install Drive Partitioning

The Kwheezy 1.2 Desktop
Kwheezy has a very busy desktop, there are a lot of icons on the desktop. You’ll also see stats about your system on the right side of the desktop.

I generally prefer desktops without a lot of icons all over the place. I think it might make sense for some of the icons such as Apper to be placed in the panel and removed from the desktop. This would remove some of the clutter and give Kwheezy a tidier appearance when you first boot it up and see the desktop for the first time.

Kwheezy 1.2 Installed Desktop

Kwheezy 1.2 Installed Desktop

Linux Software Included in Kwheezy 1.2
Here’s a sample of the linux software included in this release.

I wasn’t kidding when I said that Kwheezy comes with a lot of software. I generally type the apps into the categories below, but for this review I opted for screenshots to save myself a lot of typing. Note also the “More Applications” at the bottom of some of the screenshots. So you aren’t seeing all of the available apps in those screenshots.

There were also too many games to list them individually, so I just included a screenie of the game categories instead. You should note that PlayOnLinux and Steam are both included by default, so that’s good news for Kwheezy gamers.

Games

Kwheezy 1.2 Games Menu

Kwheezy 1.2 Games Menu

Graphics

Kwheezy 1.2 Graphics Apps Menu

Kwheezy 1.2 Graphics Apps Menu

Internet

Kwheezy 1.2 Internet Apps Menu

Kwheezy 1.2 Internet Apps Menu

Multimedia

Kwheezy 1.2 Multimedia Apps Menu

Kwheezy 1.2 Multimedia Apps Menu

Office

Kwheezy 1.2 Office Apps Menu

Kwheezy 1.2 Office Apps Menu

Linux Software Management Tools in Kwheezy 1.2
Kwheezy uses Apper as its front end for software management (it used to be called KPackageKit). Apper is functional but not elegant. It doesn’t come close to the Linux Mint Software Manager or Ubuntu’s Software Center in terms of ease of use or looks. But it is usable, and it will get the job done for you.

Just don’t get expect star ratings, user reviews and that sort of stuff. Apper hearkens back to earlier days in Linux software management tools. My hope is that it will eventually be on par with the other two software management tools I mentioned.

Kwheezy 1.2 Software Manager Categories

Kwheezy 1.2 Software Manager Categories

Kwheezy 1.2 Software List

Kwheezy 1.2 Software List

Kwheezy 1.2 Software Manager Install Chromium

Kwheezy 1.2 Software Manager Install Chromium

Problems & Headaches Found in Kwheezy 1.2
I noted the slow installer above. Beyond that I did not notice any problems while running Kwheezy 1.2. It seemed quite stable and reasonably fast while loading and running applications.

If you’ve run into any problems with Kwheezy 1.2, please share them in the comments section at the end of the review. Another reader might have a solution or might benefit from your solution if you found one. Thanks in advance for sharing.

Where To Get Help for Kwheezy 1.2
If you’re having problems, please post your questions in the comments below or register for the DLR forum. Other readers might be able to assist you. You might also want to check out the Kwheezy wiki, and the Kwheezy forum. You can also contact the Kwheezy developers on their support page.

If you’re new to Linux, you might want to check out some of the books available about it at Amazon. You can learn quite a bit that you will probably find useful later on. You can also save lots of money with deals on laptops and tablets, desktops and monitors, components, and computer accessories.

Final Thoughts About Kwheezy 1.2
I’m impressed with Kwheezy, although it’s only at version 1.2 it’s clear the developers have put a lot of thought into this spin of Debian. Kwheezy will be particularly appealing to those who want to combine the KDE desktop environment with the power of Debian.

Kwheezy’s enormous range of applications is both good and bad. Those who want everything installed in one fell swoop will appreciate the convenience offered by Kwheezy. This comes at a price, however. Kwheezy takes up quite a bit of disk space after being installed. Minimalists who prefer to pick and choose which applications are installed will thus probably want to avoid Kwheezy.

Kwheezy is suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users.

What’s your take on Kwheezy 1.2? Tell me in the comments below. Visit Eye On Linux for Linux commentary, distro previews and quick looks; visit Technology and Other Musings for other technology coverage.

Summary Table:

Product: Kwheezy 1.2
Web Site: http://www.kwheezy.com
Price: Free
Pros: Comes with lots of software installed by default. The Kwheezy installer is a bit easier for newbies than the one in vanilla Debian.
Cons: Large download size and lots of software included might not appeal to distro minimalists. The install takes quite a long time to complete, so plan on having something else to do while it happens.
Rating: 4/5

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3 Responses to Kwheezy 1.2

  1. Jodie on November 24, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    A friend gave me a copy of KWheezy on dvd the other day. I agree with the contributor who said a LITE version would be good, however, if the computer is used by several people with different requirements this would be a good choice. For me, a single computer user, there is just too much here and I think I will go for something more basic.

  2. Rev_Don on October 8, 2013 at 10:50 am

    This looks like something I have been searching for recently. I like the idea of a large amount of apps for a LiveDVD system, but I wish they had a Lite version for those wanting to install it on bare metal. Or better yet, have the LiveDVD contain all of the apps, but provide the option to pick and choose which apps to include during a hard drive install.

  3. Brian Masinick on October 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Thanks for writing about KWheezy Jim, Because I already have quite a few distributions and I have not been looking to expand upon them, I hadn’t looked at or previously seen this release.

    From the name, KWheezy, it seems that this effort evolved and emerged sometime during the Debian Wheezy project, and the K clearly indicates a KDE version, so the name makes sense.

    I’ve also tended toward moderate distributions recently; that may be another reason why I have not seen or tried this one, but it may be worth a look. I will think about that. Should I decide to download it and either run it live or install it, I’m sure that I’ll share further comments in the Desktop Linux Reviews Forum.



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