Sabayon 7 KDE Desktop

There are perhaps hundreds of KDE Linux distributions available, and like an active volcano, more are “erupting” at a rate that is tough to keep pace with. While more choices are a good thing, and distro-hopping is a fact of life in the free software operating system community, sometimes, it is desirable to find one or two distributions that you like and hop off the distro-hopping train.

That is where this article comes in, to bring to your attention the best Linux distributions that use KDE, the K Desktop Environment. Though I do not consider any of the distributions listed in this article as perfect, they are, by my assessment, better than others. And as much as I believe that they are the best available, I am also acutely aware of the adage: One man’s meat is another man’s poison.

So, without further ado, here are the best KDE distributions of 2011, in alphabetical order.

Chakra: Chakra is officially a fork of Arch Linux. Compared to others in this list, it is relatively a young distribution, backed by a small, but very active development community. You may download the latest release here and read all articles published about it on this website here.
Chakra Linux Desktop Kickoff Menu

Pros: Semi-rolling distribution, offering the latest and greatest KDE packages. A “pure” KDE/Qt distribution with a good selection of GTK applications delivered via a Bundle System. All applications that you could possible need are available for installation via a lightning-fast graphical package manager. The semi-rolling feature allows for an install once, upgrade forever installation.

Cons: It is exclusively a KDE distribution, so you are out of luck if you like it, but want to use another desktop environment. The installer has no support for disk encryption, LVM, the Linux Logical Volume Manager, RAID, and boot loader password-protection. Tribe, as the installer is called, is preemptively listed by the developers as alpha software, so the fact that it is prone to crashes should not come as a shock. From a purely security angle, a new installation of Chakra is as porous as the US-Mexican border. Perhaps even more porous because there is no security system in place to protect the system from network attacks. There is a graphical firewall application installed, but the firewall is not active. Application-level “firewall.” None of the popular multimedia codecs are installed, even though they are in the repository.

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Fedora KDE Spin: The main edition of Fedora uses GNOME 3, but there is a Spin for KDE adherents. Download the latest release here and read all articles published about it on this website here.
Fedora 16 KDE Kickoff Menu

Pros: Installer has support for disk encryption, RAID, LVM and boot loader password-protection. Includes many enterprise applications and features. Firewall is active, and there is a very good graphical firewall application to manage it. Application-level “firewall” provided by SELinux,

Cons: Because of the developers software philosophical stance, copyright/patent-encumbered applications are not part of the default installation, so a new installation requires some customization to get it to the same level of usability as, say, a new installation of Pardus or Sabayon.

Kubuntu: Kubuntu is Ubuntu but powered by the K Desktop Environment. It is an officially-supported distribution, that is, officially-supported by Canonical, the parent company of Ubuntu. You may download the latest release here and read all articles published about it on this website here.
Kubuntu 11.10 Desktop

Pros: The alternate CD installer has support for disk encryption, LVM, RAID, and boot loader password protection. Because of these features, users are encourage to use this edition, rather than the regular CD installer.

Cons: The new package manager, Muon Package Management Suite, is unnecessarily divided into two graphical applications when only should have been enough.

Mageia: Mageia is a fork of Mandriva Linux by former employees and contributors of Mandriva S.A. Mageia 1.0, the first release, is basically the same as the last good release of Mandriva Desktop (See Mandriva 2010 Spring review.) The distribution will assume its own personality when Mageia 2, which is under active development, is released early May 2012. Download Mageia 1 here and read all articles published about it on this website here.
KDEdesktop

Pros: Installer has support for LVM, disk encryption, RAID and boot loader password-protection. Excellent firewall application that is coupled to the network manager. Application-level “firewall” services provided by the MSEC tools. Sports the best graphical management applications in the business.

Cons: Aside from the installer lacking a “Back” or “Previous” button at critical steps, none worth mentioning. At least, none that I am aware of.

Pardus: This is an original distribution, which means that it is not based on another distribution. It is developed by the Turkish National Research Institute of Electronics and Cryptology (UEKAE), an arm of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK). Like Chakra it is purely a KDE distribution. You may download the latest release here and read all articles published about it on this website here.
Pardus 2011.2 with Lancelot Menu

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Pros: Very good graphical installation program with support for LVM and RAID. Other than the usual KDE graphical management applications, includes other custom-developed graphical management applications that are better than equivalent applications in most other distributions.

Cons: Installer lacks support for disk encryption and boot loader password-protection. Out of the box, the firewall is not active, though there is a custom-developed graphical firewall application installed. New editions tend to be released before the corresponding repository is populated with the latest applications.

Sabayon: This is based on Gentoo Linux, but unlike Gentoo, it is part binary, part sourced-based distribution. In other words, it is a hybrid distribution. Download the latest release here and read all articles published about it on this website here.
Sabayon 7 KDE Desktop

Pros: Installer is a slightly modified version of Anaconda, the Fedora system installation program, so there is support for disk encryption, LVM, RAID, and boot loader password-protection. Comes loaded with all applications that most users would need to perform their daily computing tasks. Firewall is active by default, and there is a graphical firewall application installed. Because it is a rolling distribution, there is no need to re-install, when a new edition is released.

Cons: An overly aggressive release policy (more releases per year than any other Linux distribution), and new releases are not publicly tested prior to being made available for download. This translates into releases that tend to be buggier than most. Aside from the firewall, no other network security application is in place.

So, care to know which of the aforementioned distributions I use? Actually, none, none at this time, but one that most closely fits my need is Sabayon. It has most of the security features I look for in an operating system. Another that I am really excited about is Chakra, and I could be using it right now if it had a good security posture. And if I can get Stackfolder and Takeoff Launcher on Fedora (KDE), then I would most certainly be using it.

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72 Responses

  1. hi
    I have install a linux fedora 13 and dual boot it with windows 7, I have receive the congratulation from linux to install it when the instalation proceces complete, but when I want to choose the linux from my OS options(linux&windows)it dose not run and the pc restart!
    I have install it exactly from your help(these 4 pages).
    what is the problem, and, what should I do?
    with kindest regards

  2. Sir,

    This is a good tutorial… but I have a doubt… I had to install Fedora 14 and I formatted my complete PC (Windows was also removed) and used up all 320 GB for Fedora… Now, Since I have Fedora 14 installed… can I somehow install Windows 7?… Please help me…

    1. When dual-booting a Linux distribution and Windows, it is best to install Windows first. Doing that saves you a lot of headaches.

      So my recommendation is backup your data, install Windows, then Fedora.

      If you have another HDD, it is even better to install Windows on the first HDD, then Fedora on the second one. Hope that helps?

      1. Sir,

        yes thats an alternative… but installing Fedora and setting up the complete environment for my work… Netbeans My SQL and all took a lot of time and I dont want to do it again… plz if u could suggest smthn…

        1. With Fedora already installed, I have to assume that you used all available space on the disk for Fedora, right? If true, that means most of the disk space is under the Volume Group, even if they are not allocated to logical volumes

          With a setup like that, I do not see how you can reclaim disk space from a Volume Group to install another OS. Your two alternatives are, reinstall or get another disk. It’s a tough choice, but that the way it is.

          1. hey,

            Thanks for the reply… I think I wud get another disk and install win7… thats the most oblivious choice I shud make 🙂

  3. Thanks for this usefull tutorial. I install fedora 14 on a Dell Inspiron 1520 with windows 7 and work very well. God bless you !

  4. I am trying to dual boot WindowsXp and Fedora15..For that purpose I partitioned hard disk using Easeus partitioning tool.Here is the partitions from left to right-C drive-primary partition(90GB),unallocated space(11GB),D drive-logical drive(30GB),7GB-primary partition(ESIA),unallocated space-8GB..There are unallocated space of 11GB and 8GB in the system,but when I run the option “Use Free Space” it is showing as no space available..

    1. I’m not sure exactly what’s going on, but your partitioning scheme is confusing. It’s probably is confusing to the installer, too. Why the unallocated space between C and D.

      Here’s what I think is a better scheme:

      Since you have three Windows partitions, create them one next to the other, and you can make them all primary if you want. So, you new scheme will be – C (90 GB), D (30 GB), ESIA (7 GB), Unallocated Space.

      When you restart the installation of Fedora and tell it to use the Free Space, it will work. The installer will create an extended partition from the unallocated space, and create all the logical partitions it needs to install the system.

  5. Excellent article – the most helpful guide I have seen so far. I followed the instructions and was able to get the dual boot configured for Fedora 15 and windows 7.

  6. I followed your instructions but didn’t work (I just did not reviewed linux partitions, left as they were), when I boot to fedora I just see a never ending blinking cursor in the top left (but I can boot to Windows 7, of course).

    Maybe because the 3rd partition (Fedora /boot with grub at the beginning) begins after 1 TB? (I think this is the reason)

    Or maybe because it does not work good on a RAID 1 (2 x 2 TB)?

    p1: 100 MB Windows boot
    p2: 1 TB Windows C: drive
    p3: 500 MB /boot
    p4: Fedora LVM

    TX

    1. I haven’t configured dual-booting on a setup like yours, but the /boot partition starting after 1 TB couldn’t be the reason. There is no technical explanation why that could be.

      The most likely culprit is a checkbox on the Add Entry tab of EasyBCD. When you select “GRUB Legacy” from the Type dropdown menu of that tab, and the partition GRUB was installed in from the Device dropdown menu, you should enable the “GRUB isn’t installed to MBR/bootsector” checkbox. In this article, what I just described could be seen on the first image on this page. That should solve the problem.

      1. I had already tried that option 🙁
        News: I booted to Fedora 14 install media rescue mode and tried to reinstall grub, this is the problem:

        grub> root (hd0,2)
        Error 18: Selected cylinder exceeds maximum supported by BIOS

        BIOS is updated, mb is a ASUS P8P67 EVO, problem seems to be the old 1024 cylinders limit (???)

        Could it be a grub 1.x problem? And tx for your support…

      2. SOLVED – well to tell the truth I had to surrend, old error = old method. As I suspected the reason was that linux boot partition started too far, I just moved it before Windows 7 partition and now it works.

        – To resume –
        Old situation (ERROR 18):
        p1: 100 MB Windows boot
        p2: 1 TB Windows C: drive
        p3: 500 MB /boot
        p4: Fedora LVM

        New situation (OK)
        p1: 100 MB Windows boot
        p2: 500 MB /boot
        p3: 1 TB Windows C: drive
        p4: Fedora LVM

        and used your method 🙂
        Tx

        p.s. it works with Fedora 15 too

  7. When i try to install fedora 14 to my 34 gb free space at the time of partitioning the message show tha t”could not mount not enough disk space” , i have 320 gb sata hdd and windows7 home basic

    1. 34 GB is more than enough space to install any distro. At the installation methods step, choose the “Create Custom Layout” option. That will take you to the next step so you can see for yourself how much free space the installer is detecting.

  8. i have 500gb hard drive
    c drive 100
    and d drive rest of the space(containing my data)
    i want install fedora 14 by dvd.. (it is not live)
    i am confusing in choosing

    WHICH TYPE OF INSTALLATION WOULD YOU LIKE?

    Please suggest me clearly step by step…
    please i tried, i am not getting… please

    1. Since you have data on D, first step is back it up. Step 2 is to shrink D to free up space for Fedora. There are two ways to do that – from inside Windows, and from the Fedora installer. Either method will work, but I’ll recommend you do it from inside Windows.

      How? In the Windows menu’s search filed, type partitions. That will launch the disk management tool. Then right-click on D and select “Shrink Volume>” Windows will recommend the save size to shrink the volume to. Unless you know what you are doing, accept it. See example step-by-step screenshots in the “Existing Installation of Windows 7” section here.

      Once that surgical operation is completed, you should see the free space in Windows. Reboot into Fedora installer and when you get to the disk partitioning methods step, select the “Use Free Space” option. Make sure to enable “Review and modify partitioning layout.” That will let you see what the installer has done. How many Windows partitions does the Fedora installer detect? That should do it.

      Let us know how this story ends.

  9. This was VERY helpful. I was able to configure my PC for dual boot (into Windows or Fedora) specifically using these instructions. It worked flawlessly. Thanks.

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