Korora 19 is a Linux distribution that takes Fedora and adds in the non-free bits that you otherwise have to install yourself from a third party (Korora uses the RPMFusion repositories). It’s offered in 32 and 64 bit versions, in either a GNOME or KDE desktop edition. For this review I installed the 32 bit KDE version.
The machine I have been using daily, and for these recent reviews, is a Gateway M460 with 2 GB of RAM and an integrated Intel card. I have noticed that it sometimes has an issue during the bootup sequence where it freezes, but turning it off and back on seems to take care of it. I’m assuming this isn’t an issue with Korora per se, but with this very old laptop.
The DVD-sized ISO is 2.2 GB, and after you install you will see why it’s so large – it gives you pretty much everything you’d need. Korora uses the same installer as Fedora, and if you set a wireless password while running the live disc, it is carried over to the post-install system.
Korora 19 live desktop
However, because it’s identical to Fedora, you cannot use the Unetbootin program to create a live USB stick or CD – for best results I suggest using “dd” on a linux system to directly write the .iso file to the thumb drive. If you have to create it on a Windows system, here is the page that discusses how to do it. The next page will help if you are using Linux and are unfamiliar with the “dd” command.
The release notes are for Fedora 19. Initially there was also a link to the Fedora 18 release notes, but that disappeared fairly soon after I noticed it.
Features and Software
The default browser (Firefox) comes with 5 extensions pre-installed, including AdBlock Plus, Flashblock, and “DownThemAll!”. These are enabled out of the box. I actually never use AdBlock – most ads are not annoying enough, and I don’t want to deprive websites of the revenue they get from ads. Also, you’ll want to disable Flashblock if you actually want to play games that use Flash, or watch most videos.
Just like with Fedora, you get 3 games installed – MahJongg, KPatience, and KMines.
The sheer amount of software installed with Korora is almost overwhelming. Both Apper (the KDE add & remove tool) and Yum Extender can be found in the Administration section of the menu.
In addition to the usual software you expect, you get applications such as Back In Time for backup, Handbrake (media encoder), Audacity (sound editor), kdenlive (video editor), Inkscape, and GIMP. Both Kate and KWrite (text editors) are installed, K3b is there for disk burning, you have digiKam for managing photos, and there’s also a program called LinPhone, apparently a VOIP client.
I had trouble getting a CD to play using Amarok. Usually Amarok works well, but it kept skipping most of the disc for some reason. VLC gave me better results:
VLC seems to be better than Amarok
Korora also uses VLC as the default movie player rather than the KDE application (Dragon), which is fine by me, since I have found that VLC is by far the best video player on Linux for any desktop.
playing a movie in Korora
After all this, I was somewhat surprised that certain KDE applications were NOT installed – namely the Calligra office suite, Kolourpaint, neither Dragon nor Kaffeine (movie players), and Kopete (instant messaging). Although 10 programs are in the development menu (including a CVS frontend), neither QtCreator nor KDevelop are installed by default.
Although the hplip software files were installed, I was unable to get Korora to supply the correct printer file and couldn’t add my printer.
Wine is not installed, but the repositories have version 1.7.2, quite close to the current version.
You can install all of the games that are found in Fedora and in the related nonfree repositories available at RPMFusion. Although a number of games found in Ubuntu aren’t available, most of the best ones are. If there is something you simply must have, your best bet is to download the .deb file, use the “alien” package converter to change it to an RPM file, and then install it.
I had a problem with Knights, the KDE Chess board, which just refused to start once installed. I’m not sure why it didn’t but I know I had a chess engine installed.
Help and support
Firefox and Konqueror both have quite a few links to Fedora and related websites. The Korora project forums are a good place to have questions answered, or you can join their IRC channel. There are also video tutorials on installing or upgrading your system.
- Lots of useful software installed out of the box
- playing movies and music, using Java, and Flash all work immediately.
- useful administrative tools such as a firewall, a backup tool, and services management are available from the Administration section directly, not simply buried in the KDE system settings.
- it isn’t a “pure” KDE edition.
If it’s important to you to be all set up after installation, Korora does improve upon its Fedora base. It provides an excellent desktop and all the main programs that users will want to have.
But the KDE version actually leaves me wanting more. The Calligra suite is not installed as it is in the Fedora spin, there are a few additional KDE programs I felt could have been included – and what’s GIMP doing in a KDE-focused edition?
Fedora 20 is scheduled for a November 20 release, and I intend to install the default version and review it. I haven’t had a chance to look at a GNOME 3 distro in a while, so I’m looking forward to it. Korora 20 will likely be released very soon afterwards, and if you love Fedora but would like more programs pre-installed, or just want the access to non-free items like Flash and DVD playing, Korora seems to be a very worthwhile option.