Monday, November 30, 2009

Live Rooting output color keyed

bash-3.1$ su
niPassword: *********
bash-3.1# adduser tbone

Login name for new user: tbone

User ID ('UID') [ defaults to next available ]:

Initial group [ users ]:
Additional UNIX groups:

Users can belong to additional UNIX groups on the system.
For local users using graphical desktop login managers such
as XDM/KDM, users may need to be members of additional groups
to access the full functionality of removable media devices.

* Security implications *
Please be aware that by adding users to additional groups may
potentially give access to the removable media of other users.

If you are creating a new user for remote shell access only,
users do not need to belong to any additional groups as standard,
so you may press ENTER at the next prompt.

Press ENTER to continue without adding any additional groups
Or press the UP arrow to add/select/edit additional groups
: audio cdrom floppy plugdev video wheel

Home directory [ /home/tbone ]
- Warning: '/home/tbone' already exists !
Do you wish to change the home directory path ? (Y/n) n
Do you want to chown tbone.users /home/tbone ? (y/N) y

Shell [ /bin/bash ]

Expiry date (YYYY-MM-DD) []:

New account will be created as follows:

Login name.......: tbone
UID..............: [ Next available ]
Initial group....: users
Additional groups: audio,cdrom,floppy,plugdev,video,wheel
Home directory...: /home/tbone
Shell............: /bin/bash
Expiry date......: [ Never ]

This is it... if you want to bail out, hit Control-C. Otherwise, press
ENTER to go ahead and make the account.

Creating new account...

Changing the user information for tbone
Enter the new value, or press ENTER for the default
Full Name []:
Room Number []:
Work Phone []:
Home Phone []:
Other []:
Changing password for tbone
Enter the new password (minimum of 5, maximum of 127 characters)
Please use a combination of upper and lower case letters and numbers.
New password: *********
Re-enter new password: *********
Password changed.

Account setup complete.

Are we having Phase Two Yet?

Taking my little CD forward.

With the "plain" and "elegant" versions of the Kiara 08 live CD built and uploaded, I feel that Kiara is much better than I originally intended, and development can proceed more slowly. After the download links hae been tested, I'm going to start making additional software available for Kiara, beginning with tarball Archives for the source files. Users will be able to use these files for installing Kiara to hard drives, flash drives and virtual machines, and to create their own custom builds of Kiara or Slax. If all goes well, the tarballs will be available before tomorrow.

After that, I intend to upload upload additional software for Kiara, in the form of almost all the packages of Slackware 12.2, ported to slax modules, but that may not happen depending on how my bandwidth is holding up. At the very least, I'll link to the Slackware files and provide instructions for porting the files to Slax format (It ain't rocket science.)

The course of future upgrades of Kiara will depend to a very great extent on the future of Slax. Kiara is intended as the last line of defense in keeping KDE 3.5 alive as a viable desktop, at least for the home user aficianado, at least some of the time. If KDE4 was ever an issue, I don't think it really is anymore. I use KDE4 frquently in a Sidux as a live CD, and I often run kubuntu froom the hard drive, when I'm not using the first partition to develop Kiara. I have nothing against KDE4-- but I'm not giving up my my KDE3.5. Why? Because I don't have to.

In a worst case scenario, Kiara is being built to run as a read-only "live root", running as a live CD with a hard drive partition mounted as /home. This provides a layer of extra security while allowing for all the data retention of a normal hard drive install. The security of of live root system can be compromised, but simply rebooting the hard drive. The catch is a few minutes extra prep time after rebooting, to mount and configure the /home partition. That's what the setup tool on the root desktop are about. If nothing else changes, future upgrades will follow upgrades of major third party applications, such as firefox, opera, and thunderbird.

When the software is finally established, I intend to start in on the documentation. This is the part that I've been truly looking forward to. More on that later.

Kiara "Plain" 08: 100 MB lighter, and still pretty elegant.

NOW AVAILABLE at The Kiara Download Page

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New "Elegant" Kiara 08: Did I go too far? Don't I always?

NOW AVAILABLE at The Kiara Download Page!

After accidentally uploading an ugly-ass version of Kiara 07 with a dreadful chrome/red velvet theme that was supposed to have been rejected, I decided that I was going to release a really great looking version no matter what it took. What it took was hours and hours of compulsive casting and recasting, maybe two dozen Cds being burned and discarded, a crapload of configuring, sacrificing some nonessential applications, and adding maybe a minute or more to the boot time. The next Kiara is going to be pared down, but here is what i worked so hard on. It looks great, if I may say so. If you like eye candy, suck on this.

The background images and icons are from the incomparable Vladstudio, Background images have been added to Konqueror, and it looks great. Konsole has been configured to run transparent by default. Desktop icons have been added, and arranged attractively, in alphabetical order.

Kiara 08 features the addition of the latest version of Mozilla's thunderbird email application (requires a normal user account) and a simple "memo" feature for fluxbox that works by opening the background image in the GIMP, so you can conveniently add text memos. I keep meaning to start writing the documentation, and as soon as Kiara is satisfactorily developed, I will. In the meantime, you can leave questions here, or email me at

Kiara 08 will be the first Kiara to be released in two versions. This is the "elegant" version, beautiful and perfectly responsive, but with a loooooong boot time because of so many added customizations. On my machine it's... maybe six minutes? The scaled down "austere" version will be released shortly. It's the austere version that will be the precursor of future releases.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kiara 07 Uploaded and Released

Download test in progress. As I always do, I'm downloading the image. I will burn and test a CD, test the CD, and report the results. 2009 11 25 19:39

Looks like I uploaded the wrong image.! It works fine, but it uses art that I rejected at the last minute, as being a little but garish. I'm going to try to find the rightimage and upload it. In the meantime, you can call this the limited edition "Red Velvet" Release!2009 11 26 18:23

New features include the Thunderbird 2 email application. New features specifically for Fluxbox include "Desktop Memo", a simple system for adding text notes to the desktop background by opening it in gimp, a homemade answer to the only KDE4 plasmoid I really love. Most of the pplication already had keybindings in Fluxbox, but the new menu shows the default keybindings on the menu for easy reference.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kiara 06 This is the one you want!

KDE3.5.10, a turbocharged fluxbox, some awesome setup tools... and free! As in Freedom. As in Beer. As in KDE4 is very nice, but strictly voluntary. As in MicroWHO?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tech Problems apparently resolved Yadda Yadda Yadda

I had some problems figuring out how mediafire worked, and so I put up a quick blogspot page for downloading. The problem started when I noticed, to my dismay, that more people were downloading the flawed 04 version than the much more solid 05 version. So now is the only download link I'll be giving out, and when people go there, they'll immediately see which kiara is the new kiara.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Release notes on the fly (busy day)

Added (but not necessary tested) from the last release:

nano text editor 2.09

Kiara setup tools A directory on the root desktop, planned as a mixed bag of established desktop tools (e.g. kuser) homemade gui tools, scripts and documentation. Right now, the main object is helping the user get out of that scracthy slax root desktop, and into a nice safe comfortable normal user account.

kmount As part of the Kiara setup tools, My home made gui for manually mounting the hard drive partitions to the mount points I added last week. I know; "Kmount" sounds a lot like an official KDE application. What can I say? I couldn't think of a decent name, and at the last minute, I panicked. Any ideas would be appreciated.
Whatever you call it, it's a great simple tool for manually mounting your hard drive, based on konqueror.
***EDIT: I decided that, in retrospect, I shouldn't put on such airs. This interface isn't "based on" Konqueror; it's Konqueror. It doesn't get a name.

A link to this website from the KDE desktop

A "storage media" link on the root desktop

Other changes:
Fixed the "oscar" setup script by taking out the login prompt.

Removed the "Mount" submenus from the fluxbox menu and added "edit menu" and "edit keybinding"
buttons to a prominent place in the main menu.

IMPORTANT: I removed all instances of Firefox except for the most recent, which runs from the home directory.
In KDE you can run it from the desktop Icon, or you can type "sh firefox/firefox or you can create some kind of link.
In fluxbox, I believe that the whole menu is set up to run the present version of firefox, but you'll need to remember these circumstances if you add your own link.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cautiously ecstatic about Kiara 05!

The boot screen. I can imagine you asking: Back in the saddle again? What the hell does it mean? I dunno. It just seemed right, and looking at it now, it still seems right. I was thinking of Aerosmith when I wrote it.

I've uploaded, and now I've tested the link by downloading and burning a copy from the download. It looks pretty awesome, with a big caveat being that it's running on the machine it was built on by the guy who built it for thge purposes it was built for. As we all know, Oh how your milage may vary!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Kiara 04 Finally Uploaded!

Download the LIVE CD

Big News in the little World of Kiara GNU/Linux! The new release features a return to KDE3.5.10 as the default desktop, a better organized fluxbox menu, and something that I've always thought a live CD should have... mount points!

Mount Points, You Say?

Kiara's added mount points are nothing more than six empty directories located just inside of / (root) When you mount a hard drive, flash drive, or other device, the data essentially takes plugs into that space. The if I mount my usb hard drive /dev/sda1, to /files, everything in that hard drive is now /files. I like this better than the automatic mounting, which is easy enough, but generates a directory like /mnt/dev/sda1 of /media/dev/sda1. In my opinion, it's worth the extra effort of mounting manually to only have to deal with a url like /files /backup, or even /1.

It's especially helpful if you like to mess around with different distros, and if you like to write scripts that refer to the contents of your external hardrives, and use the same script in different distros. If I create the moun points and manually mount them, the same device that is automatically mounted as /dev/sda1 in a Slackware based distro like Kiara, and is /dev/sdb1 in Kubuntu, can be /files in both of them. This makes writing a script to run on the same hardware with two different distros a lot simpler.

And now I don't have to set the mount points manually every time I boot the Kiara CD. They are a permanent part of the filesystem.

Now, I created a menu addon for mounting the files by clicking for fluxbox. It works nice, but there's a catch. You have to have to be set up to use sudo without any password. Other than that, needs some work.

The special kiara mount points are:

/files /backup /1 /2 /3 /4

Here's a clickable thumbnail of a screenshot from Konqueror. The mount points are indicated with a red astirisk.

The command for mounting a device to the mount points is like this (as root, or with sudo):

mount /dev/sda1 /files

Two versions of Firefox?

Yep! Kiara 04 contains two different versions of the popular Mozilla Firefox Web Browser, and this will no doubt cause some consternation if anyone ever downloads it. Lately, the Firefox upgrades have been relentless. As of Thursday Night, when I was preparing the *.iso, Firefox 3.5.3 was the most recent version of Firefox that was available in English as a Slax module. As far as I can tell, Firefox 3.5.5 was released that same evening, since tht was when I started to get messages telling me to upgrade. It's located in the home directory, and in KDE can be accessed only by clicking on the firefox icon on the Desktop, or manually launched from the command line, for example by typing sh firefox/firefox from a terminal in the ~ (home) directory. The Kiara fluxbox menu was already edited to launch firefox from the home directory, and so fluxbox will probably use the never version for everything.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Technical Problems blah blah blah

Today's release of Kiara 04 is being held up by repeated broken attempts at uploads. I don't know what the problem is, but I'm going to keep plugging away until Kiara is hosted online. This is a pretty exciting release, including a last minute return to KDE 3.5.10 as the defualt desktop. It seems like I've done nothing today except attempt more uploads. Watch this space.