Today I had the pleasure of reviewing a distro i wanted to check out during its last stable release but I ran out of time. When I saw sourceforge had a new version of KahelOS available for download, I jumped on it. I was excited to try the Arch-based KahelOS on my Dell desktop for several reasons. Just like Arch, KahelOS is on a rolling release schedule and uses Pacman package manager. Also, this version of KahelOS uses Gnome 2.30.0. These all sit well with the goals of what I want my desktop computer to be.
Installation is still text-based in KahelOS so newbies won't enjoy the graphical installers seen in most top distros today. Although it was text-based I was able to finish the installation successfully. The directions seemed clear to me on what to do but it was all a bit intimidating, especially using nano or vi at the end of the install. I would guess a graphical installer is on the list of to-do's, or should be.
KahelOS features a matching login screen and desktop both include the KahelOs logo and cartoon mascot, the orange-shirted penguin. The login and desktop are bright and colorful switching to a green theme from the previous version's orange tones. The Gnome menu and panels were a light gray color which was a little boring but added some simplicity to the busy default wallpaper. I would prefer a little more of a professional look by default but this is easily changed under System --- Preferences --- Appearance but still the options there are kind of cartoonish for my taste. You may have to go a bit further and click the 'Get more backgrounds online' link, download and add the new backgrounds.
Applications that appeal to my internet use on KahelOS included the Chrome Web Browser, Empathy, Google Gadgets, and Transmission. KahelOS also includes Banshee, Brasero, Pitivi, Totem and Cheese Webcam Booth for multimedia needs. OpenOffice, Evolution, and Time Tracker could be used for productivity. These definitely wouldn't cover what I need for daily use but obviously additional applications can be added.
Connecting to the internet is a pretty big deal. Fortunately on KahelOS my Network connection was configured automatically and all I did was click on the Chromium web browser icon and I was online. Whew...
Pacman is the package management system found on Arch Linux and many Arch Linux derivatives such as KahelOS. KahelOS also includes the GTK archlinux package manager based on pacman for frontend management. Access it at System --- Administration --- Pacman Package Manager in the Gnome menu. I actually found the terminal just as easy to use. Located at Applications --- Accessories --- Terminal.
Here's a few commands:
Install a package
pacman -S packagename
Search for a package in the repos
pacman -Ss packagename
Remove a package
pacman -Rs packagename
Sync repos and update old pacakages
Full list of commands that will work with pacman on KahelOS
Even as a basic user, I was able to install and tap into some of the advantages of this Arch-based Linux distro. KahelOs gave me a very stable feel and with a little effort I was able to add packages, customize my desktop and everything else I needed to do in the short term. Making this my daily driver is another story though and would take some time to get used to.
Here's some screenshots of my experience.
The default KahelOS desktop
KahelOS desktop with Gnome menu open
KahelOS includes Google Gadgets
The default web browser for KahelOS