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:

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Comments

  1. Neil says

    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!

  2. says

    @ 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

  3. Brian Masinick says

    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?

  4. Neil says

    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.

  5. molen says

    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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