Kanotix Requests - danboid's first impressions of Dragonfire preview

danboid - 27.05.2012, 14:13 Uhr
Titel: danboid's first impressions of Dragonfire preview
Hi Kano and co!

I've been mainly running regular Debian testing for the last two or three years now and so rather than create my own distro based upon wheezy I was hoping I might find an existing one that fulfills my needs and the new Dragonfire preview release is the nearest I've found to my ideal distro yet although I have a few suggestions that I think would improve the existing Kanotix experience. I was very happy to discover a Wheezy-based Kanotix as I was disappointed with Mint Debian which seemed to introduce many problems I didn't have with regular Debian.

First, I think the installation instructions and website need some clarification. It is common these days for machines to have no optical drive so many will need to install Kanotix off USB and I couldn't find any working, complete instructions on how to run or install Kanotix off USB on its website, although some working methods (if with incorrect instructions or dead links) are mentioned in the forums such as in this thread:


Although the link given there for image-writer didn't work for me so I'd suggest you add some simple instructions on the kanotix download page on how to get and use image-writer to transfer kanotix to a USB drive, such as downloading it with this command:

git clone https://github.com/juanje/moblin-image-creator.git

Then using the instructions in the previous link/thread. Using unetbootin with kanotix didn't work for me and I've yet to try simply dd'ing the iso but image-writer is nice as it gives a progress indicator unlike dd.

After booting Kanotix, my first minor prob was that I noticed that even though I'd chosen the English grub boot option, KDE's keymap was still set to DE. Its easily changed of course but I'd like to see the KDE keymap default to US if English is picked at boot if possible?

I was one of Kanotix's earliest users almost a decade ago and its gained a new QT4 insaller since I last tried the distro and I really like it! I was especially happy to see Kanotix still installs in under 10m even on old hardware and despite the fact its on a DVD instead of a CD now. Great!

The first real, major issue I have with Kanotix as it stands is its decision to stick with KDE's default knetworkmanager or whatever its called. As a Linux user of 16 years now I firmly believe that one of the (if not THE most important prob) major things holding back much wider adoption of Linux is the fact that both KDE and GNOME's default networkmanager apps are both useless, frustrating nightmares for anyone whos not permanently hardwired to a network socket. knetworkmanager is a nightmare to try and configure for use with wifi, not in the least due to its reliance/insistance on kwallet and its password upon password upon password!

Please please PLEASE!

Ditch the default KDE net management tools ASAP for regular wicd. wicd works great for both wired and wifi users and its a real shame that Ubuntu and other big distros didn't adopt it as default years ago as being able to easily connect to wifi is an absolute must in this day and age. Doing this one thing would mean I could start recommending Kanotix to Linux newbs without me having to come over, install it to HD and then swap out knet for wicd, which is a daunting process for someone new to Linux. Out of the 1000's of distros released over the years, I am shocked and saddened that so few distros have done the right thing and shipped wicd as default- antix being one of the enlightened ones but I'm ideally after such a distro with wicd and KDE as standard (unlike Antix).

Seeing as Kanotix includes Skype you're obviously not FOSS purists so it seems strange that you don't include the flash plugin too- why not? I know Flash is on its way out but I still make daily use of it as does most every other regular desktop, web-browsing user.

GNOME Mplayer seems a poor choice of alternate (to VLC) media player. smplayer is a vastly superior multimedia player and is what I recommend to those trying to play videos and get sound over HDMI as it seems to have more sound options than the alternatives. Its the best mplayer gui I know of and it fits in better with Kanotix as its a QT based app instead of a GNOME/GTK app like GNOME Mplayer.

Whilst we're talking media players, have you considered using Clementine instead of Amarok?

I've only just installed the Dragonfire preview on an old Vaio (PCG-8Q1M - its a 1.8Ghz Pentium M w/ 1GB RAM) laptop I have here so far. Kanotix seems to have installed fine but hi-speed (ehci) USB2 doesn't seem to be working right now - I'm only getting USB 1 transfer rates. Seems the ehci_hcd module is compiled into the kernel so I tried modprobing usb-storage and thats made no difference. I was running AV Linux on this laptop before - that used a 3.0.x kernel and USB2 was working fine so have you got any suggestions before I go installing other kernels? I can provide you with the dmidecode, dmesg and lspci etc if needed.

Thanks for your help and the excellent ('cept knetwork maybe Winken distro!

TheOne - 27.05.2012, 16:51 Uhr
Titel: danboid
Hi danboid,

welcome back to Kanotix. Thx for testing Dragonfire and your feedback.

1. I will fix the website after this post here immediatly.
2. I prefer KDEs network-manager frontend instead of wicd. You can use it even without kwallet support.
3. For flash plugin you should have an installer script, that comes out of kanotix-scripts package. Run as user "install-flash-local".
4. Towards mplayer frontend, yes my favorite is smplayer too. Maybe we can change it for the final Dragonfire version.
5. I know Clementine and yes, some Kanotix users prefer it instead of Amarok (stalin200 donate 100¤ to Clementine main dev for moodbar support), but I do NOT. I really like Amarok and I think it is the better audio player for KDE.
6. For this USB problem I would recommend to visit the IRC and discussing it there.

Best regards,

danboid - 30.05.2012, 18:30 Uhr
Titel: RE: danboid
Hi TheOne!

Thanks for your responses! I have been looking into my remaining issues and got most of my initial problems resolved so I just wanted to post a brief update here.

On the KDE network plasmoid, I did eventually get it to save my wifi keys and reconnect automatically at boot thanks to Kano explaining it on IRC. I still need to check with the plasmoids author but I have not been able to find any documentation for this process linked on kde.org or on what I think is the homepage of the plasmoid. If it does indeed prove to be non-existent I shall write one soon.

I wrote a long email to the NM plasmoid author detailing all my problems with it and he quickly replied with an answer to all my questions so full marks for dev responsiveness! It turns out that pretty much everything I don't like about it is due to its nm backend so I was actually misdirecting my grief, poor guy! Unfortunately he disagrees with me that the devices should be labelled with their driver names, which is a shame as I find it awkward to use as it is if you have multiple wifi or ethernet devices.

I'm going to try sticking with the KDE network plasmoid now and see how I get on. Now I know how to get it to save passwords properly I should be OK but I still think this process is an unfriendly mess and it has been and will continue to scare off potential users of KDE, Kanotix and Linux in general. GNOME nm suffers this same prob to a lesser degree and wicd is still the only gui Linux network manager that stores its passwords in a user friendly manner.

I've not tried it yet but there is also a KDE plasmoid GUI for wicd that could be a better alternative for some KDE users who don't like its default network manager:


As for the USB issue I had, I'm now thinking one of my ports on this ol' laptop has a hardware fault - in fact I'm pretty sure of it as it kept disconnecting and unmounting earlier but the other ports are working fine at full usb2 speed.

Kanotix is looking to be in excellent shape and I'm very much looking forward to the final release of Dragonfire!
Kano - 30.05.2012, 20:08 Uhr
Titel: RE: danboid
You can try to install the official debian kernel to compare if that helps with usb.

32 bit:

apt-get install linux-image-686-pae linux-headers-686-pae

64 bit:

apt-get install linux-image-amd64 linux-headers-amd64

be aware that these kernels are not the first choice in the grub selection.
danboid - 02.06.2012, 02:22 Uhr
Titel: RE: danboid
I was hoping to try sticking with the KDE networking plasmoid but on my fully dist-upgraded and rebooted dragonfire install here I have been unable to get kwalletmanager to run to manage KDEs and network manager passwords, I just get this error twice:

QDBusConnection: session D-Bus connection created before QCoreApplication. Application may misbehave.

I have noticed that DF currently uses KDE 4.8.3 whilst regular wheezy uses 4.7.x but I've not had chance to see if the regular wheezy KDE version also has this problem yet.
eco2geek - 02.06.2012, 22:13 Uhr
Titel: RE: danboid
I've been running Hellfire since it was introduced and like it a lot. For what it may lack in bleeding-edge applications, it makes up for in stability.

There's a short tutorial on how to install Dragonfire to a USB stick on Acritox's site.

Having KDE 4.8.3 is certainly nice, and is a nice feat of engineering, but...why? What's wrong with the version of KDE (currently 4.7.4) that ships with Wheezy?

Here are my criticisms of Dragonfire, for what they're worth. (This applies to Trialshot 120518a, installed and dist-upgraded to current.)

The biggest bugs are the inability to start gparted and synaptic from the kicker menu after installation. There are, of course, manual fixes for both issues, but the point is that we're in sort of a golden age for KDE distros right now. Why would people want to use a distro that can't run apps that need administrator rights from the menu from the get-go, when there are a bunch of other distros that can?

Two cosmetic issues of note:

The kdm theme was set to Ariya rather than Kanotix Star Rise.

One thing that's a personal gripe is not being able to use GUI tools to make GNOME-based applications look better. The GTK+ Appearance System Settings module seems to have no effect on the appearance of apps that use GTK2 themes, so you have to do it manually. (Out of the box, the GTK2 theme used is Industrial, which is kind of ugly) There isn't a System Settings plugin to change the GTK3 theme, so you have to do that manually as well. (Out of the box, the GTK3 theme used is Raleigh, which is really ugly.)

The best thing would be to have them both pre-configured out of the box to use nicer-looking (perhaps oxygem) themes.
Kano - 02.06.2012, 23:12 Uhr
Titel: RE: danboid
The kdm theme is correct now, basically a 1 line change in the kdmrc, most likely you kept the old one. Btw. there is an annoying bug with kde 4.7 from wheezy/sid: just press the power button and compare when something happens.
Daddy-G - 03.06.2012, 10:02 Uhr
Titel: start gparted issue
eco2geek hat folgendes geschrieben::
The biggest bugs are the inability to start gparted and synaptic from the kicker menu after installation. There are, of course, manual fixes for both issues, but the point is that we're in sort of a golden age for KDE distros right now.

This annoying bug was in the last Dragonfire-trialshot-Image but NOT in the official LinuxTag-Dragonfire Release. Sehr glücklich

So let's test and find the golden way to Debian-Wheezy and KDE with Dragonfire...
danboid - 03.06.2012, 22:47 Uhr
Titel: Update on kwalletmanager problem
I have now successfully rebuilt Kanotix DF 32bit with the latest updates + KDE 4.7.4 instead of 4.8.3 but I'm experiencing exactly the same problem with kwalletmanager under both versions.

If I go to System Settings -> Account Details -> Kwallet as soon as Kanotix has booted then I can usually see and click on the 'Launch Wallet Manager' button (which does the same as typing kwalletmanager) in the bottom right of the window but then if I close the kwalletmanager window and the System Settings windows then try opening them again in going back to find the 'Launch Wallet Manager' button its normally disappeared and when it does go it doesn't return unless you logout or reboot.

I also get this same prob under DF 64bit, so its not a 32/64bit or KDE 4.7 vs 4.8 thing either it seems.
eco2geek - 04.06.2012, 01:08 Uhr
Titel: Re: start gparted issue
Daddy-G hat folgendes geschrieben::
This annoying bug was in the last Dragonfire-trialshot-Image but NOT in the official LinuxTag-Dragonfire Release. Sehr glücklich

Nice work.

I really like the 4-in-1 DVD, too.

(As to the original poll that started this topic, I have no preference -- clicking the networking icon in the system tray shows my wireless network [and those of my neighbors] graphically, and allows me to connect quite easily. Not sure why newbies would have a problem with it.)
danboid - 04.06.2012, 13:09 Uhr
Titel: RE: Re: start gparted issue

If you only connect hardwired or to open wifi connections, the kde networking tool is fine and I don't think anywould would have any probs with it. The problems arise if you are connecting to password protected WPA (or WEP) networks as then users will encounter the quagmire of options and places you can easily misconfigure kwallet.

I started writing a guide to managing kwallet passwords for the networking plasmoid but I've had to postpone this until I can get kwalletmanager to work reliably as I'd like to be able to recommend people use that instead of just deleting all the kwallet settings when things get misconfigured. You do not have any such issues using wicd as it doesn't use kwallet.

It is possible to configure the kde networking plasmoid to store passwords without KDE wallet but all this detail should make it clear why I'm writing some docs for this and advising most people/ distros switch to wicd.

I have wrote to the KDE dev who deals with this applet to see if he knows why kwalletmanager doesn't always work so I've not given up on it just yet.
danboid - 08.06.2012, 21:07 Uhr
Titel: RE: Re: start gparted issue
I still haven't tried the latest git version of network manager kde but after having spent a few weeks tryimng my hardest to get the version of it currently in the wheezy repos to behave well with wifi connections I can honestl;y recommend others not to bother.

The best solution for connecting to wifi under KDE right now seems to be to install wicd-kde, uninstall network-manager and add the wicd plasmoid/applet to your system tray - certainly if you don't enjoy compiling your own network tools which is likely required if you want to stand a good chance of getting the regular kde networking plasmoid working.

Just what percentage of users actually use more than one ethernet or wifi conection anyway? I think desktop/ ordinary user targetted distros like I think Kanotix is, or could be, should target the most common user setups and to me there is no question which networking app works the best in most usual use cases involving wifi.

The developer of the KDE networking tool doesn't even have a WPA router to test with. I offered to send him one for free but he didn't respond to my offer.
klausmerger - 05.07.2012, 10:36 Uhr
Titel: RE: Re: start gparted issue
Es gibt sogar eine (Un-)Menge Ratschläge in Kanotix.com für die Erstellung eines Boot-Sticks:
I couldn't find any working, complete instructions on how to run or install Kanotix off USB on its website, although some working methods (if with incorrect instructions or dead links) are mentioned in the forums such as in this thread:
Bei mir hat die Methode mit dem Meego Image Creator aus dem WIKI für die Dragonfire-Preview gut funktioniert:
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