Chakra (operating system)
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Chakra with Heritage theme
|Source model||Open source|
|Latest release||(Half-Rolling release) / Installation medium: 2017.03-Goedel|
|Kernel type||Monolithic (Linux)|
|Default user interface||KDE Plasma Desktop|
Free software licenses|
Chakra (officially Chakra GNU/Linux) is a GNU/Linux distribution originally based on Arch Linux and focused on KDE software, intending to provide a KDE/Qt minimizing use of other widget toolkits where possible. It has been well received by critics.
In June 2006 a group of Arch Linux users initiated the KDEmod packaging project to improve and simplify a standard KDE installation with Arch Linux. In December 2008 the group released their first custom made ISO with a preconfigured Arch + KDEmod + Tribe. After several releases lead developer Jan Mette suggested to split from Arch to allow for a much closer integration with KDE software.
Chakra includes both free and proprietary software, though the latter may be disabled during installation. It is only available for the x86_64 architecture, with support for i686 having been dropped in August 2012. It is based on KDE Software Compilation.
Chakra does not schedule releases for specific dates but uses a "Half-Rolling release" system. This means that the core packages of Chakra (graphics, audio, etc.) are frozen and only updated to fix any security problems. These packages are updated after the latest versions have been thoroughly tested before being moved to permanent repository (about every six months). This allows stable base to ensure stability to the rest of the programs. The other applications (web browsers, games, media players, office suites, etc.) are updated following the rolling release model and are generally available immediately after their release.
The Chakra website supplies ISO images that can be run from CD, DVD or USB. The ISO images provide two versions, full edition and minimal edition. The graphical Chakra installation program is called "Calamares".
Currently, the following main repositories exist:
- core, which contains all the packages needed to set up a base system.
- desktop, which contains KDE Software Compilation packages and Chakra tools.
- gtk, which contains various well-known GTK applications.
- lib32, a centralized repository for x86_64 users to more readily support 32-bit applications in a 64-bit environment.
And, testing repositories that include package candidates for other repositories. Currently, the following testing repositories exist:
- testing, with packages for stable repositories.
There are also unstable repositories that include applications that are still considered to be unstable. There are also packages built right from the git, not waiting for an official release. Currently, the following unstable repositories exist:
- unstable, which contains development versions of general packages.
- kde-unstable, which contains development versions of KDE Software Compilation packages.
Chakra Community Repository (CCR)
In addition to the official repositories, users can install packages from the Chakra Community Repository (CCR), which provides user made PKGINFOs and PKGBUILD scripts for software which is not included in the official repositories and is inspired by the Arch User Repository. CCR packages simplify building from source by explicitly listing and checking for dependencies and configuring the install to match the Chakra architecture. The CCR helper programs can further streamline the downloading and building process.
A CCR package with many votes and which conforms to the Chakra software policy may be transferred to the official repositories.
Jesse Smith reviewed Chakra GNU/Linux 0.3.1 for DistroWatch Weekly:
Moving on to the technology itself, Chakra is downloadable as a 686 MB ISO. We begin our experience of the live CD with a graphical boot menu where we can select our preferred language. From there we're given a variety of boot options, including booting graphically, booting graphically on older machines and booting into a terminal. Taking the default option brought me to a KDE 4.5 environment featuring a blue background and a dark panel. On the desktop is a collection of icons for viewing licenses, reading documentation, visiting the project's forum, launching the installer, seeing a list of installed packages and there's an icon labelled "passwords". I decided to start with the "passwords" icon in case I would need to perform authentication later. Upon clicking the icon my system froze. I rebooted and this time Chakra locked-up before it finished loading the desktop. Going back and trying different boot options didn't get me any further.
LinuxBSDos.com wrote review about Chakra Linux in 2011:
This is what the disk setup step looks like. You can only specify that a partition be formatted, and a mount point and a file system for the partition. Disk partitioning itself is done by a helper application which you can access by clicking on the Advanced… button. The helper application is KDE Partition Manager. Ext3 is the default file system, but ext4, xfs, jfs and reiserfs are supported. NTFS, FAT16 and FAT32 are also supported. Disk encryption is not supported. Do you notice the number of primary partitions in the image?
Dedoimedo reviewed Chakra 2011.09. Dedoimedo wrote:
Chakra does not presume to be the most beautiful or functional, just an equal dose of both, and I like this approach. First, all of the expect network connectivity was there, including Wireless, Samba sharing and such. A good start.
Today, Chakra maintains its own repositories, with a schedule that Anke Boersma, one of the founding developers, describes as a "half-rolling release" as opposed to Arch's continual updates. In other words, while many applications are continually upgraded, they are tested and released in sets to minimize potential problems. In addition, core packages are upgraded on a semi-regular schedule. In this way, Chakra hopes to avoid the problems its founders found in maintaining KDE support for Arch.
Everyday Linux User reviewed Chakra 2015.11:
Chakra also requires a certain amount of skill to use. When I first started using it I did get to the stage where I wondered exactly who the target audience for Chakra is. Arch has a huge set of repositories and if you really want to get your hands dirty would you not just use Arch? In which case, what is the point of a similar distribution that is smaller in terms of the size of community?
- "Chakra 2017.10 "Goedel" released". Retrieved 2017-10-08.
- "Chakra Linux review – KDE and Arch make for a winning combination". Linux User & Developer. 20 July 2011. Retrieved 2014-09-10.
- "Chakra Review: Arch Fork For Mortals". Muktware. January 2012. Retrieved 2014-09-10.
- "Welcome". Retrieved 2018-06-11.
- "Distribution Release: Chakra GNU/Linux 0.2.0". August 30, 2010.
- "Goodbye KDEmod !". Retrieved 2014-04-08.
- "Chakra phasing out i686 support". Retrieved 2014-04-08.
- "CCR home". Retrieved 2014-04-08.
- DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 390, 31 January 2011
- Chakra GNU/Linux review | LinuxBSDos.com
- Chakra 2011.09 review - Interesting and powerful, Dedoimedo
- Chakra: An Arch Linux fork that is rough but promising [LWN.net]
- An Everyday Linux User Review Of Chakra 2015.11 "Fermi"