Episode 117 – In-da-Couch

Posted by Tony on January 19, 2014 in Show-mp3, Show-ogg |



MP3 format (for Freedom Haters!)
OGG format (for Freedom Lovers!)
Total Running Time: 1:26:00

Un-edited Live session – http://youtu.be/tCvR7tlnjHc

Contact Us:

show (at) smlr.us or the Contact us page


Kernel News: Mat
Time: 12:20
Distro Talk: Tony
Time: 15:15
Mary Distro Review
Time: 34:50
Tech News:
Time: 54:15
Security Bit
Time: 1:06:45
Listener Feedback
Time: 1:14:30
Outtro Music
Time: 1:18:55


Tony Bemus, Mat Enders, and Mary Tomich
Sound bites by Mike Tanner

Kernel News: Mat


Distro Talk: Tony



  • 5-22 –
  • 5-22 –
  • 5-23 –
  • 5-24 –
  • 5-25 –
  • 5-27 –
  • 5-27 –

Distro of the Week: Tony

  1. Fedora – 1247
  2. Mageia – 1343
  3. Debian – 1840
  4. Ubuntu – 1867
  5. Mint – 3348

Top 25 for both 2012 and 2013

Snowden Tribute

Mary Distro Review


This episode’s distro review is of a relative new distro on the Linux scene. The best way to describe this distro is chaos– pure chaos…because that’s its name…with a K. its name–KaOS, or Kaos. It touts itself as an “independent” distribution that uses the KDE desktop. Although it is an independent distro, it takes many of its cues from Arch (rolling release, pacman package manager, community build repository—KCP).

The Vitals:
Name: KaOS
Maintainer: KaOS project
Distro Latest Birthday: Rolling release – last updates were applied on December 28, 2013.
Derivative: Independent but has its roots in Arch Linux
Kernel: Linux 3.12.5 (The Illumos kernel is under constant evaluation and a future switch is on the wish list.)
Review Desktop: KDE (that must be what the “K” in KaOS stands for!)

KaOS is built from scratch with a very specific focus on one DE (KDE), one toolkit (Qt), one architecture (x86_64)–you are SOL if you have a 32-bit machine… The team spends a notable amount of time explaining the difference between them and Arch (Arch makes no decisions; KaOS)

The idea behind KaOS, according to their web site, is to create a tightly integrated rolling and transparent distribution for the modern desktop.

This focus on simplicity extends to their repositories: Core, Main and Apps.

Core contains the base system packages that are required for a system to boot, connect most hardware, and set basic shell options.
Main contains all needed libraries, extra drivers and firmware to make the Desktop and Applications function. Many of these can be fully rolling and will move to the end-user after a seven to ten days testing period.
Apps includes all packages seen and used by the users, including KDE desktop. It is fully rolling and updates can be expectedto hit this repository after a brief testing period,

However, they also acknowledge that some excellent GTK tools exist and those tools are also available for install from the Apps repository.

Live Environment:
KaOS live boots to a simple dashboard with several buttons: Install, Guide, About, Passwords, Package List and Forums.

Graphics:  ( i915)
Wireless:  (b43)

The first thing that impressed me about this distro was the ease with which I connected to my wireless network– that’s right the broadcom chip was handled expertly by KaOS without a problem. I am off to a good start.

The Defaults
Browser: Qupzilla
Office Suite: Calligra
Mail Client: None
File Manager: Dolphin

The Install Process:

Very straightforward install process. The first installer screen provides a brief caveat: “This is a solid installer but it does have its limitations.”

Release notes are available for your perusal. By the way, KaOS uses systemd. The Create User screen also allowed set up of the root account—including a check-box if I wanted to use the regular user password for root. I am liking these options.

The Advanced button led to the external partition manager. You’ll remember that KaOS does not include automatic partitioning. The disk setup page included option to use external partition manager…which I used. During my testing I experienced one installer crash when I pressed the reload button to update the list of partitions. I just restarted the installer and had no further problems.

Anyone who has listened to my review of Chakra Linux over a year ago may recall who enthusiastic I was for their eye-candy installer. KaOS’ installer is laid out similarly as Chakra Linux’s installer, albeit with more muted theme. And the user guide provides a complete walk-through, complete with screenshots of the steps. It’s in two languages: English and Spanish, although there was one French screenshot in the English section!

Installing to USB drive is also supported. Instructions are here: http://kaosx.us/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=5

Installed Environment:

Boots to the familiar KDE desktop. By default it uses the QML launcher widget which organizes the menu similarly to Cinnamon Desktop. My only complaint about the launcher is that it does not reset when you close it. The previous character string I had typed to find a program was still in the search box when I reopened it later.

Checking the KDE System settings utility, I find the standard fare and a few extras including firewall (running with no rules) and a systemd tool (showing the state of various system processes)

I also tested the printer set-up with a wireless HP printer. I found the printer but the specific driver was not listed in the default list.

After opening Octopi for the first time, I discovered that I had 66 packages that required an update. The work-flow for updating the system was not immediately intuitive, but within a few minutes I had figured it out: Click the red splat at the bottom of the window and the window above refreshed to show the list of packages to be updated. Click the inverted caret next to the spat which revealed the next logical step “Install”.

Full system upgrade
1. Resolving dependencies
2. Check for inter-conflicts (black text)
3. Download the packages (yellow texrt)
4.Upgrade packages (green text)
Obvious this is an over simplification of the upgrade process, but from a regular user perspective, Octopi was very easy to use. I test installed Audacity and it went very well.

Updates – The KDE desktop provides the notification widget which alerted me to updates when they were available. There was no link to click that opens the update manager so I was left to peruse the menu to locate it. As it turns out, Octopi also handles this step. It’s not clear that it does save for the little red splat drop-down at the bottom the single option of which was install. After confirming it, the system proceeded to download the needed updates. On the confirmation page there is a button that allows you to run the command in a terminal.

I also used the command pacman -Syu to update the system and it performed as well as any apt-get upgrade I have ever done. The CLI update process consists of a yellow C that moves to the right “eating” little “o”s which are replaced with dashes.

The laptop has a camera, and when I could not find an app for that, I checked the forums and found a great little utility called Vokoscreen. Not only did it activate my web cam, but it also recorded my desktop. You can download it from here: http://www.kohaupt-online.de/hp/.

Other interesting Programs:
SpiderOak comes pre-installed. This cloud storage company is based in Europe and could be a replacement for any US-based cloud service if you have the NSA blues.
Yaquake – Drop-down terminal that I LOVE.
Qupzilla (Qt and webkit based browser)
Suse Studio Imagewriter
Clocks – a Qt-based tool that shows three clocks (NY, Mumbai, Tokyo) but no way to change the cities or the time. Not too useful.
Plasma Media Center is actually installed. This XBMC-type program allows you to play videos music, Youtube videos. The fonts and graphics are large-scale because it’s meant to be played on your TV, now a 15 inch laptop.


3.0 KaOS, aside from the couple of negatives (non-clearing filter, installer crash) merits a look. It looks like a soid distro.


Tech News:


Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to Implement the Bleeding Edge GRUB 2.02 Beta 2 Boot Loader


First update of KDE 4.12 has been released.

Join the Game initiative

The web converger team has released Snowden Tribute


PC-BSD fourth release candidate has been released

10.0-RELEASE notable features

* Includes FreeBSD 10.0-RC4 from 01/3/2013
* Updated KMS / AMD driver support
* ISO file is a hybrid USB file, and can be “dd”ed to a USB media.
* New text-based installer
* New UEFI loader on installation media
* Able to select between GRUB/BSD loaders during installation
* New desktops! Gnome 3, Mate (Replaces Gnome2) and Cinnamon
* And much more


The Security Bit

Tunnel your SSH Trafic through a SSH Server
ssh home.hostname.local -D 1080

Set your global proxy
Good to go!

Android SSH setup with SSHTunnel

From the mdlug.org website: December 2011 Tech Tip – How to use sshfs – Matt Enders

Listener Feedback:

show (at) smlr.us or 313-626-9140

Outtro Music


This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


  • Alex says:

    Hi, thanks for the show.

    Couple comments for Mary:
    1. You brought up your Verizon ball game experiment again; I think last time you mentioned that their DNS is open.
    In this case you could try and use an IP over DNS tunnel like iodine:

    You’d need to setup a reachable machine with a DNS record and a tun/tap driver on your (rooted) Android.
    It sounds like a lot of work and it’s probably a blatant TOS violation, so don’t get into trouble, please 🙂

    2. I know you’re a KDE person and KDE is obviously a popular SMLR topic. I’ve tried to use it myself – it’s probably the most promising and professional environment – but I find their default look, theme and icons so appalling that I just don’t want to bother with it.
    So, I’d be curious to hear how you feel about the default KDE appearance and whether you do much at all to customize it.

    Hear you in two weeks,


    • mary says:

      Hi Alex– thank you for your comments/information.

      1. I do plan to try the Verizon network experiment again.I’ll check iodine out–thanks for letting me know about it. I shouldn’t get into trouble. 🙂

      2. Regarding KDE theme/environment– I agree that the stock icons, etc aren’t that great. I use the “icon only” taskbar widget and the KFaenza icon set which I really like. Another icon set that I like is the set that was developed by ROSA Labs, the same group that puts out ROSA Linux. The icon set was available for download a year or so ago.I’ll drop an image of my desktop in the next episode’s show notes.

      These icon sets should still be available on the interwebs. If not, email me and I can send a link to my public share

      Thanks for listening to the show.

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