Kahel OS Linux

Once again another interesting suggestion was recently made on the Request A Review page by a reader so I thought I’d follow up and do a review. This time around it’s Kahel OS. My thanks to reader Molen for the suggestion to review this distro.

Kahel OS is a remastered version of Arch Linux. Arch Linux has a bit of a reputation as not being particularly friendly to average desktop users. Kahel OS is an effort to change that perception and make it easier for people to use Arch Linux.

Kahel OS uses a “rolling release” model which essentially means that you never really have to upgrade it in the traditional sense. You simply update your packages and when you do that you have the latest release automatically. There is no grand jump from one version to the next as there is with other distributions.

Note that there was some controversy in the Arch Linux forums about Kahel OS. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from the thread itself.

What’s New In This Release
Given that Kahel OS operates on the rolling release model, there isn’t a list of “what’s new” along the lines of what you’d find for Ubuntu or one of the other distributions. I poked around the Kahel OS site just in case to see if there was anything useful to include in this section but I didn’t come across anything.

The login screen has the familiar orange coloring of the desktop.
The login screen has the familiar orange coloring of the desktop.

Requirements & Installation
Here’s a list of what you’ll need to install Kahel OS:

  • Kahel OS Enterprise Linux (desktop Edition) Installation Media
    An i686-based or x86-64 computer
    At least Intel Pentium Pro, Intel Pentium 3 or AMD Athlon/Duron.

Note that AMD K6, Transmeta Crusoe, CyrixIII, and VIA-C3 are NOT supported.

  • ATI, Nvidia or Intel graphics cards recommended for desktop effects
  • At least 256 MB RAM
  • 5 GB Free Disk Space

The install ran for about 20 minutes or so. Note that the installer is text-based so you won’t have the slickness of Ubuntu or some of the other distros.

Also at one point you have to use the editor nano to review a config file at the end. I absolutely positively dislike that part of the install process. I got through it fine but a total newbie to Linux would not know what the hell to do. That part of the install process needs to be removed entirely or otherwise automated.

You will also need to do a bit of partitioning, installing Grub and some other stuff that might throw off a newbie to Linux.

You'll need to first login at the command prompt to begin your install.
You’ll need to first login at the command prompt to begin your install.
You'll need to partition your hard disk as part of the install process.
You’ll need to partition your hard disk as part of the install process.
You'll need to pick your file system as part of the install process.
You’ll need to pick your file system as part of the install process.

Desktop & Apps
Kahel OS uses Gnome so if you’re a Gnome lover you’ll feel right at home. If KDE or one of the lighter-weight desktops is your preference then you might be a bit disappointed. I like Gnome so I was quite comfortable with the Kahel OS desktop. The wallpaper is bright and colorful. And the desktop itself isn’t cluttered with too many icons.

The selection of software is fair but contains some glaring omissions as I’ll note in the problems section. Here’s a sample of some of what you’ll find:

Games
Chess
Blackjack
Gnometris
Sudoku
Nibbles

Graphics
GIMP
F-Spot Photo Manager

Internet
Epiphany Browser
Pidgin IM
Ekiga Softphone

Multimedia
Banshee Media Player
Brasero Disc Burner
Cheese Webcam Booth
Jokosher Audio Editor
Moovia Media Center
Movie Player
Pitivi Video Editor

Office
AbiWord
Evolution Mail and Calendar
Evolution Tasks
Glom Database Designer
Gnumeric Spreadsheet
Project Management
gLabels Label Designer

Adding & Removing Software
Adding or removing software in Kahel OS should be simpler than it is right now. It uses Pacman and Package Kit as the basis for its software management.

If you want to try adding or removing software then just click System then Administration then Add/Remove Software in the menu at the top of your desktop.  If you don’t see an app listed that you want be sure to do a search and you’ll probably find it.

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8 thoughts on “Kahel OS Linux

  1. KahelOS Linux (Desktop Edition) Installer version: 12-25-2009

    Sharing and giving, that’s the Spirit of Christmas. And so on this very day of “Gift-Giving”, three months after our first installer release 09-09-2009, we give you the new KahelOS Linux (Desktop Edition) Installer Version: 12-25-2009 . Download installer at http://www.kahelos.org/downloads.php

    KahelOS Linux now has Kernel 2.6.32, Xorg 7.5 and Gnome 2.28.2 by default..

    We are merry and proud to impart the new KahelOS Linux Installer developed to make it much more simple, easier and refreshing to use:
    * Fast, simple and rolling-release Linux Desktop OS.
    * Based on Arch Linux
    * Faster Bootup Utilizing KMS (Kernel Mode Setting)
    * Included familiar apps for mainstream users
    -Firefox 3.5.6
    -OpenOffice.org 3.1.1
    * Added Enhanced and Stable Features for advance Users
    * GCM (Gnome Color Management) is installed by Default
    * Evolution Groupware
    * i686 and x86-64
    * Multilingual
    * Only 1 CD Installer

    For more details on this release: http://www.kahelos.org/newsdetails.php?newsid=39

    Happy Holidays!

  2. Hello!

    What's nice with this distro is that, when I viewed their Issue tracker, all your comments regarding KahelOS are already posted there to be reviewed!

  3. @ Brian Masinick:

    Hello!

    'only wanted to add a little notice concerning "Kanotix": It is not 'dead' at all, the creator only decided to work things out in "the IRC-underground"; you especially only get a link to freshest .iso's on this way. Just log in and show your interest. Kanotix is still the 'ultimate Debian-way' !

    greetings,

    Christian Oelte

  4. Hi Jim, I see Kahel OS as a starting point for those who want a bit more of a head start than Arch. Neither Arch nor Kahel are intended for beginners; they are intended to be "simple" in structure for those who know what they are doing and can take advantage of a simple structure.

    Did you know that a simple command: pacman -Syu is enough to completely upgrade a system? Invest one extra moment, and create this alias in .bashrc, then exec bash to reinitialize your shell:

    alias ug='sudo pacman -Syu' and you can upgrade by typing in ug and Enter.

    To create various other aliases is just as simple. To me, the button pushing and the GUI for installation just slows things down, and are not the sweet spot for a distro like this. I create ug, inst, and other aliases when I operate Debian based systems, too, and unless I use a tool, such as smxi, I tend to use apt-get with those aliases rather than synaptic, which I use primarily for searching for packages and installing individual packages (though I often just use apt-cache seach | more to do my package searching.

    Regarding Zeven Os and Kanotix for a new review, I have not previously heard of Zeven – would like to hear more. Kanotix was once a great distro – morphed to sidux. Has the Kanotix project resurfaced? Last I saw, 2006-7 was its last activity. Am I mistaken about that?

  5. I've used KahelOS, what's new with it compared to Ubuntu for one is its speed. I've never seen Ubuntu go this fast. Also, its much easier to use. Sorry for the generality of what i've said. maybe next time i'll be posting specific things i've noticed.

  6. Thank you Jim for this review. I will see if I use this distro in the future.

    Will you consider Zeven Os and Kanotix for a new review. Thank you!!

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