KaOS Live distro with KDE5

KDE Applications

The KDE Applications program suite has now reached version 14.12.2, as a successor to version 4.14 from the fourth KDE cycle. The developer went for date-based versioning because, although Qt4-based applications are still prevalent, more and more Qt5-based applications will be joining the fray as the project moves forward. The complete migration is likely to take one to two years, say the project's powers that be.

The team updates the program collection every four months. An intermediate version (15.04) was released in mid-April. The developers and package maintainers were asked to clean up and optimize their software before the move but postpone major changes and new features to a later date. This approach is intended to allow for trouble-free coexistence of Qt4 and Qt5 packages.

Double KaOS

For almost a year now, the KaOS team has taken a two-pronged approach, publishing ISO images with KDE 4 while building the developer version of the fifth-generation KDE once or twice a month without publicly announcing these images. In January, this all changed with the announcement of KaOS KF5: A short time later, Kf5trans was released – a tool for converting KaOS installations from KDE4 to KF5. On February 23, KaOS 2015.02 was released as the first official next-generation image, and the developers closed down the KDE4 repositories at the same time.

Calamares Installer

It's not just the desktop environment that has new clothes but also the installer, which originated in the Calamares [3] framework. This is a joint project between distributions such as Kubuntu, Fedora, Manjaro, KaOS, Maui, and BBQLinux, which is supported by Blue Systems.

Thanks to the integration of systemd-boot [4], the Calamares Installer can now also handle EFI installations (Figure 4). After the graphical installation, it launches a system that – at first glance – is unmistakably based on KDE. However, the desktop looks as though someone disabled the colors and drew the lines with a more delicate hand. This is emphasized by the flat look, to which the makers of KDE now subscribe. The opulence of the past has given way to plainer elegance that does not distract the user's view from the essential tasks.

Figure 4: The Calamares installer now integrates systemd-boot and thus works on computers with EFI firmware.

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