April 18, 2019

DistributionWatch Review: Kondara MNU/Linux 2000 - page 4

Tough-Looking Penguins Everywhere

  • October 10, 2000
  • By Eric Foster-Johnson

After the installation, reboot and Kondara MNU/Linux is ready to go. Well, not quite--and this is an area where Red Hat doesn't provide enough documentation. You still need to configure a number of items--for example, the sound card using the setup or sndconfig utilities. This is the same as with Red Hat Linux 6.2.

To the basic Red Hat distribution, the Kondara Project has added some extensions, such as the sdr command to set up graphics environment.

The Kondara organization seems to be based mostly in Japan. Consequently, I expected to have a good support for Asian text processing and was not disappointed. With the basic X Window graphics environment, you can choose between English and Japanese versions. In the Japanese version of the X Window System, select an input method, such as Canna/kinput2, the default choice. (An input method allows entry of complex characters using multiple keystrokes. This is necessary for Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, due to the large character sets and the fact that keyboards can't hold enough keys for all the characters.)

The sdr command picks the language (English or Japanese), the input method, if needed, and the window manager to use. The GNOME and KDE desktops are considered to be window managers here.

The initial X Window display under GNOME (the default environment) is pretty nice. Obviously, the Kondara Project includes some graphic designers. The distinctive penguin with aviator goggles abounds--including on a custom screen background image, as well as the online help.

The default window manager is Amaterus, a window manager I hadn't used before. The GNOME/Amaterus desktop includes a theme manager and a clean, crisp look. There is quite a large selection of themes, including the mandatory LCARS (Star Trek) and a plethora of ways to use up colors and CPU resources.

Kondara provides its own penguin-oriented screen saver.

The default GNOME setup includes a bar across the top of the screen containing the main GNOME menus and a number of panel applets, along with the normal (and taller) GNOME bar across the bottom of the screen. This results in a look closer to KDE than to the normal GNOME. In addition, for some reason, the battery-watch panel applet was enabled by default, telling me that my desktop system had a low battery.

The applications on the menu seem directed toward user needs but there were surprisingly few games. This was odd because Red Hat Linux, upon which Kondara is based, includes about 20 games associated with each of the GNOME and KDE desktops. I was glad that Kondara includes gPhoto, a tool for working with digital cameras, which I hope to use to get my Agfa camera to synchronize (the Agfa Windows software fails to work with their own model camera, so I'm hoping I can use Linux in lieu of Windows).

One useful application missing, and one that is oriented towards end users, is GnoRPM, the GNOME RPM package manager.

The server version includes a set of tools called mph, a package-administration tool created by the Kondara developers. Short for Marvellous Package Hacker, mph aims to install packages more easily and better maintain dependencies than the Debian apt or Red Hat rpm and rpmfind utilities.

In addition to the package management, Kondara MNU/Linux Server 2000 includes a set of mph tools for configuring Linux. These tools include mph-sysv for setting up system network services, mph-kernel for configuring the Linux kernel, mph-ipfwadm for setting up a firewall, and mph-user for user management. Run any of the mph tools from the wrapper tool, mph-admin, which is similar to the Red Hat setup command, except that mph-admin runs the mph tools to configure parts of the system.

The Kondara project maintains a separate mph project page at http://www.kondara.org/mph/.

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