KaOS Anniversary: 10 Years of Cutting-Edge Linux Technology

KaOS reaches a milestone, celebrating ten years with KaOS 2023.04. Discover what's new in this KDE Plasma-centric distro's release.

KaOS, a Linux distribution known for emphasizing the KDE Plasma desktop environment, has reached a momentous milestone – celebrating ten years of existence.

The Linux world is dynamic, and few distributions can mark ten successful years of stable presence in the Linux field. KaOS is one of them, and while it doesn’t get the spotlight as often as the big names in the niche like Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, etc., it has consistently and predictably followed a course and enjoys a loyal group of supporters.

So, to celebrate its first decade with the release of KaOS 2023.04, before we go into what’s new in this edition, true to our tradition of always keeping you as informed as possible, let’s introduce our readers to what KaOS is.

What’s KaOS?

KaOS started its existence ten years ago, in April 2013. The initial version of KaOS is launched as “KdeOS.” A little later, in September 2013, the distribution’s name was changed to “KaOS” to prevent confusion with the desktop environment KDE, with September’s release of KaOS 2013.9, offering KDE 4.12.

Inspired by Arch and following the rolling-release model, KaOS is an independent desktop-centric Linux distribution. So, although it uses Pacman as its package manager, KaOS does not rely on software repositories developed and maintained by Arch. Instead, it is available from in-house ones, built exclusively for 64-bit systems.

One of the central distinguishing aspects of KaOS is that, unlike other Linux distributions that offer a variety of desktop environments and supported architectures, KaOS is entirely focused on only one desktop – KDE Plasma, one toolkit – Qt, and one architecture – x86_64.

As a result, users will find an excellent Plasma implementation combined with lightning-fast performance here.

Over the last decade, the distribution has remained faithful to its original goal of providing just one of the best Plasma desktop experiences, always giving users the most up-to-date version.

With everything said so far, let’s look at what the latest 2023.04 distro’s release brings us, which is also a celebration and symbolic reference to its 10th anniversary.

What’s New in KaOS 2023.04

KaOS 2023.04
KaOS 2023.04

To begin with the obvious – in keeping with its tradition of providing users with the best of KDE Plasma, KaOS 2023.02 ships with the most recent 5.27.4 release of the desktop environment. Apart from that, this update also includes the most recent software release of KDE Frameworks 5.105.0.

KDE Gear, a collection of software maintained by the KDE community, has been bumped to the just-released 23.04 version and features a lot of changes.

Among the most important things is that you can now run the Dolphin file manager with kio-admin. At the same time, the KDE screenshot app, Spectacle, added built-in screen recording functionality on Wayland and came with revamped UI. Finally, the Kdenlive video editor received support for nested timelines.

In addition, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, the devs have included the ability to play music during the installation process specifically and only for this release. This is an approach with a nostalgic reference to the past when 10+ years ago, this was used occasionally in then-current installers.

Under the hood, KaOS 2023.04 ships with the Linux kernel 6.2.11. In addition, of course, a number of the other core elements have also received updates, such as Systemd 253.3, Python 3.10.11, ZFS 2.1.10, GnuPG 2.4.0, and Clang/LLVM 16.0.1.

On the app side, users get in the default installation Falkon 23.04.0 web browser, LibreOffice 7.5.2 office suite, mpv 0.35.1 media player, and Haruna 0.10.3 media player.

Furthermore, we can’t miss mentioning the inclusion in this release of Tokodon, a Mastodon client that allows you to interact with the Fediverse community and easily read, post, and message. Signal Desktop, a privacy-focused messenger application, is also available for installation.

Tokodon Mastodon client.
Tokodon Mastodon client.

We’ll conclude by mentioning that, while being entirely focused on KDE Plasma, KaOS developers are already looking ahead to the impending Plasma 6. In this regard, there is a Plasma 6 preview ISO available.

But please, do not rush to rejoice. The ISO is more for preview purposes and cannot be installed as the Calamares installer still needs to be ready for Qt 6, and there are few KDE Applications available in their Qt6 version.

If you want to give it a shot, the autologin is not enabled, so log in using “live/live” as username/password.

KaOS Plasma 6 Desktop
KaOS Plasma 6 Desktop

You can refer to the official announcement for detailed information about all changes in KaOS 2023.04 where you can also find the link to the Plasma 6 preview ISO.

KaOS is a rolling distribution, so keeping up with the updates is enough to get you the latest packages. The command shown below will always give you the latest.

sudo pacman -Syu

The installation ISO image is updated every few months to keep it up to date with all the latest changes for new installations, so you are not presented with a sizeable first update.

In addition, for those who want to carry out a fresh install, the latest KaOS 2023.04 installation ISO image is available for download from the download section on the project’s website.

And last but definitely not least, Happy 10th anniversary, KaOS!

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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