Chakra Edn 2011.12 is the third and final edition of the Chakra Edn line of Chakra, a desktop GNU/Linux distribution based on Arch Linux. The first two editions were Chakra Edn 2011.09 and Chakra Edn 2011.11 (see Chakra Edn 2011.11 review).
I always like to start my reviews by providing information about the installer and installation process of the distribution being reviewed, but since there were no changes or new features in Tribe, Chakra’s installation program, there is no point in rehashing information that is already available in Chakra Edn 2011.11 review. A few screen shots should be enough.
If you are new to Chakra, you may want to read that review and Chakra GNU/Linux review for a detailed description of the installer and installation process. Also, all articles (reviews and tutorials) about Chakra that has been published on this website are on the distribution’s category page at http://www.linuxbsdos.com/category/chakra.
For users already familiar with Chakra, here are a few screen shots of the installer from the latest release. The screen shot below shows the list of available Bundles. Bundles are how Chakra makes non-native KDE applications available for installation.
By using BURG, Chakra gives you this beautiful (compared to that of GRUB) boot loader screen.
Ok, with the old stuff out of the way, here is a list of the new stuff in Chakra Edn 2011.12:
- KDE 4.7.4
- (Linux) Kernel 3.1.4 (220.127.116.11 optional)
- Updated sound-stack
- Tomoyo-tools 2.5 added to a default install, for more security options
- Wqy-microhei became the new default font for Chinese/Japanese/Korean
- QtWebkit 2.2
- Updated initscripts with the option to test systemd
- Updated mesa-stack
- Included more popular GTK-apps as bundles
The release announcement stated that more popular GTK applications were included as bundles, but I counted 28 in this release, while the previous release (Chakra Edn 2011.11) shipped with 29 bundles installable from Bundle Manager. Perhaps a few, less popular ones were replaced with more popular applications. The complete list of bundles that shipped with Chakra Edn 2011.12 are shown in the next two images.
And the list continues. Note that though QupZilla is listed as a ready-to-install bundle, it is installed by default, so I do not see why it is listed as such in the Bundle Manager. There must be something special about QupZilla because it is the only bundle that is also installable from AppSet-Qt, the main graphical package manager. Other bundles that I checked can only be managed from Bundle Manager. And considering that QupZilla is a Qt application, I am not so sure that it should have been listed as a bundle in the first place.
While the inclusion of more popular GTK applications is a good thing, for me, the most important new feature is Tomoyo-tools, a host-based application firewall, which is one of 3 available in Linux. An application firewall complements an operating system’s stateful packet filtering firewall. Fedora uses SELinux, while Ubuntu and distributions derived from it use AppArmor. Chakra is the first Linux distribution reviewed on this website this year to include Tomoyo in its stable edition. Note, though, that it is not activated by default. Tomoyo will also be the default application firewall in Mageia 2, but that will not be released until May 2012.
Making Tomoyo available is a nice addition to Chakra, but several shortcomings of the previous release which I drew attention to in Chakra Edn 2011.11 review, were not addressed in this latest edition. For example, the firewall is not activated out of the box. Also, CUPS, the printing daemon, is not activated, so setting up any printer on the system will always be a manual process. Always, until the developers set it up to auto-configure printers like we have in Pardus, Linux Mint, Ubuntu and other distributions.
Another minor issue which I drew attention to in that review of the previous edition, is that the home directory is missing the usual cast of folders that you see in other distributions. So the first task that you have to address in a new installation of Chakra Edn 2011.12, is to create the folders yourself. The screen shot below shows the default home folder of a user account as viewed from Dolphin, the file manager.