Chakra Linux 64bit Review

chakra

Posted on the Distro Review section at Linux-Hardcore.Com


Distrowatch: http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=chakra
Homepage: http://chakra-project.org/
Wiki: http://chakra-project.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
Forums: http://chakra-project.org/bbs/
Download location: http://chakra-project.org/download.html


|IT-4| Install/Live Test Install
Time to Boot/Install: Boots quick, Installed in about 15-20minutes
Problems?
The installer (Tribe) offers to update itself prior to install. Selecting this option will download the update, but then the installer will freeze. Others have reported this issue as well. Selecting not to update the install will allow you to install it just fine. The GUI installer is of the typical, enter data and click next, installers and it works well. At this time there is no command line installer for Chakra for those used to the Arch way of doing things.

|N-5| Network (router/modem/wireless)
Wifi: N/A
Nic: Not sure on my NIC, but wired worked OOTB
Modem: N/A
Problems?
None. Worked OOTB in the Live and Install environments.

|U-5| USB peripherals
Peripherals: Keyboard, mouse
Problems?
None, again all worked OOTB. And as a bonus, the multimedia keys on my keyboard worked OOTB…sweet!

|G-5| Graphics Card
Make and Model: Nvidia 9600 GSO SLI
Problems?
Live CD recognized my card and loaded the proper drivers…which later transferred to my install. Works great! Although, occasionally I will see some font flicker…but it only happens in KDE4 apps, so it may be KDE.

|S-4| Speed+ DM
Desktop: KDE4.3.1
Slow or Fast?
The system boots quick and runs quick as well. However, once in a blue moon, (very rare) the desktop seems to get stuck for about 5 secs and then resumes. It seems to happen after automatic updates.

|F-4| Forum Support
URL: http://chakra-project.org/bbs/
Seems to have good forum support and it’s well laid out. Staff seems friendly enough as well.

Points Guide
0. Didn’t Work
1. Unsatisfactory
2. Satisfactory
3. Good
4. Very Good
5. Excellent

NOTES:

I would like to point out that this is still an Alpha release so it should carry all the usual Alpha software warnings with it. However, for an Alpha release it exceeded my expectations. I tested the 64 bit version and the Live CD is fast, as is the install. I did hit a few bumps in the road. One was after an update, all my KDE4 apps would seg fault. A quick restart of KDE solved it. Cups was not started by default, and thus gave me grief when trying to set up my printer. After starting Cups my printer installed without a hitch! In SystemSettings there are some apps that require root access and most (KDE)distros will either ask for the root password first, or when the app requires it. Chakra did neither. Instead I got an invalid password error. Starting SystemSettings as root OR changing some permissions on your default user account will solve the problem. Another issue…well not really an issue, but…during boot you are presented with the “old school” display of text scrolling up the screen like crazy. However, a graphical boot screen is in the works. The last issue I see is when shutting down. The system will FAIL to shutdown several apps/services. But, Chakra continues to shutdown. Once the PC is off, I guess you could consider the apps/services shutdown.  Grin

Overall, I was very impressed with Chakra! Everything worked OOTB! Although, the 64 bit version was lacking the usual apps by default (Gimp, Firefox, etc.) but all are available in the repos. It was also missing a lot of KDE4 apps and add-ons by default, but again…all available in the repos. Like Arch, the 64 bit version tries to stick to a true 64bit setup (i.e. no 32 bit apps). Attempting to install XAMPP (LAMPP) prompted a error stating the 32bit compatibility layer was required. Again, a quick stop at the repos for a couple of 32 bit libs and all was well.

Chakra has some neat tools as well. Such as; Tribe, the installer works well… Shaman the package manager performs well and is fast, and easy to use.

If you’ve wanted to try Arch but didn’t want to deal with all the manual labor of setting things up, then this could be the distro for you. I will be running it as my main distro while awaiting DL4.0, so if I come across anything else I’ll be sure to post it here.

Ed

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