Posted by: duskfire | March 6, 2016

Korora 23 Xfce review

I’m going to start off my 2016 review season by taking a look at the latest edition of Korora Linux, which became available on February 3, 2016. I am using an old Gateway M460 laptop for this review, with 2 GB of RAM and an Intel Mobile 915GM card. This is a review of the 32-bit edition of Korora 23 Xfce edition.

Korora is heavily based on Fedora Linux, but it adds in useful packages that Fedora is not allowed to ship. I haven’t done a review of Korora in over 2 years, since the Korora 19 edition. I chose the Xfce edition because of the age of my laptop and the limited amount of RAM it can use.

Installation

Korora uses the Anaconda installer, the same as Fedora. It works all right, but I still prefer a more linear way of installing the operating system. Installation went smoothly as usual. Korora expects you to pick a root password and then a user, who can be assigned Administrator powers. There’s a strength check on the passwords, which is always nice.

Features and Software

Korora displays 2 virtual desktops by default. The top bar has the main menu on left, then at the right are icons for displaying & controlling volume, network, battery, time, and username (logout/shutdown).

In the Xfce edition, there is a left hand vertical panel that slides out when you hover along it, with 10 icons at the start, to let you open various programs. You start with Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin, VLC, a terminal, the file manager, a search tool, Settings manager, the File manager, and the Trash directory.You can remove or add additional applications to this shortcut panel as you wish.

Korora uses icons from the Numix project by default. I haven’t seen them in other distros, but they are simple and attractive.

The indicator icons on the right side of the top menu bar are always white – which means that many themes will make them very hard to see until you hover over them.

desktop

Korora installs a pretty good selection of software – not everything, but plenty to get you started. They no longer install Adobe Flash by default, due to their concerns over continued security problems in Flash, but it’s available thanks to the RPMFusion repositories which are part of Korora’s list of software sources.

Here’s a list of the software you start out with:

Accessories – 14 apps, including a virtual keyboard, calculator, text editor (Mousepad), CD/DVD burner

Administration – 11, including SELinux (if you installed it), a firewall, printer setup, Samba, and package installer (Yum Extender DNF).

Documentation – about Xfce and apps, includes a link to their online help.

Graphics – 7 including GIMP,  Inkscape, LibreOffice Draw, the pdf viewer Evince, and Shotwell

internet – 6 including Transmission, Firefox, Thunderbird, Liferea, and Pidgin.

Multimedia – 11 including CD player Audacious, Audacity, VLC, Handbrake, and a CD/DVD burner

Office – 10 including 4 LibreOffice applications, Evince, and the Xfce Orage Calendar.

Settings – over 20 tools to help you customize and adjust the appearance of your desktop.

System – 13 including Thunar file manager, a live USB Creator, and a bulk file renaming tool.

For playing CDs, I liked using Audacious. It plays the CD easily, and the volume can be changed with the mouse wheel. I usually use VLC, but in Korora it doesn’t show the title and song names by default like Audacious does. I am not sure how to fix that.

Audacious.png

DVD playing – It seems to be fine using VLC. Here’s an early scene from the movie The Hunger Games Part 2, Catching Fire:

VLC-Catching_Fire

Firefox has the extensions Hello, Pocket, and uBlock installed by default. It also has a few bookmarks that are Fedora (carried over from using the Fedora installer) – it would be nice to have some direct links to Korora support and community.

There are no games installed initially. It would be nice if a couple of them could be included but it’s not a serious omission.

To add or remove, or just update software, Korora uses Fedora’s Yum Extender. It could use a quick tutorial and maybe a facelift. Having to mouse over small icons to see which one you wish to use is a minor annoyance. There’s no obvious way to see what kind of updates you are getting – bugfixes, software improvement, or security patches. This definitely isn’t Korora’s fault, but I hope that Fedora puts some major effort into making this tool more easy to use and somewhat less plain-looking.

The side panel you see below can be toggled on or off (to view groups of software).

YumExt.png

My HP Photosmart printer was detected automatically; adding it was an easy process with no need to search a list. That’s always a major plus in my review criteria.

Games

Since Korora adds the RPMFusion repositories to the ones already provided by Fedora, there’s a decent selection of good games available for you to waste time….err I mean enjoy playing.

PysolFC (a set of solitaire card games) didn’t want to run after I installed it, due to some bug. This is most likely from Fedora, but it means that the only way to have a casual solitaire game is to pull in some KDE libraries in order to play KPat (unless you are using the KDE edition of Korora). For some reason, the “aisleriot” solitaire game cannot be found at all, even from the RPMFusion list. Most other casual games are available, however.
Aisleriot is, in fact, available in the repositories if you search.

[Correction 3/7: The only reason I didn’t see “aisleriot” was that I had only looked in the Games and Entertainment Group. I mistakenly assumed that it was assigned appropriately. When I enabled all packages and searched for it, it showed up. Under the “updates” repo for some reason. So I  guess the lesson is, if you know the name of the package, search with “all packages” enabled, not just the Group you think it belongs to.]

Help and Support

Korora has a forum page, Engage, for people to ask questions and get help, and a Documentation page full of guides, one of which is a video showing how installation is done.

Likes

— Lots of software programs installed out of the box.

— Good default choices.

Dislikes

— Could use a bit more Korora branding, especially bookmarks.

Final Thoughts

I actually really like Korora Linux. I haven’t had any troubles with it, and it does a great job of adding extra value to Fedora. This is definitely one spinoff distribution that refutes the notion that we have too many choices. I will definitely consider reviewing the KDE desktop edition of 24 when that is released.

One word of caution: Unless you have experience using SELinux, do NOT select it during installation. I made that mistake and regretted it all week. SELinux is a powerful and complicated tool that will frustrate you to no end if you don’t know how to properly turn it off. For a home environment, I really don’t think you need to install it.
(I am no longer sure that the issue I was having is due to SELinux, so I removed this caution.)

UPDATE on 3/7:

In an effort to figure out the issue i was having with logging in, I installed Korora MATE edition. Things seem to work with it, and I actually did see the aisleriot card game in the repos. What I will do next is to re-install the Xfce edition and hopefully I will find out whether my laptop is cooperating this time. Korora is a very good edition and I want to make sure that any problems I mention are real issues, and not due to the old laptop.

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Responses

  1. Nice review, thank you.

    I don’t know why Aisleriot didn’t appear for you but it is definitely in Fedora’s repos.

    The subject of Firefox’s shortcuts was looked at a long time ago. At the time they were built into the package. I don’t know if that has changed since then but I doubt it.

    Not sure why you had issues with SELinux, it is usually quite stable. Its existence is one of the reasons Korora is built on Fedora.

    • Jim, the specific issue I had with SELinux had nothing to do with its stability. And to be honest, I am not certain it was SELinux, I just don’t know what else could explain the behavior.
      What was happening was that I could log in only once as a regular user, and then the login attempt would silently fail every time thereafter. It was definitely NOT a wrong password since if I did that deliberately I would get the message stating so. Root never had an issue logging in. I created a new user to see if the behavior repeated, and it did. First login was okay, then subsequent ones would simply return me to the login screen.

      EDIT: See my Update in the main review for an update on the issues I was having.

      • Interesting, that is one issue I’ve never seen. Thanks for the update.

  2. > Firefox has the extensions Hello, Pocket, and uBlock installed by default

    Hi there, thanks for the nice review. I just wanted to comment that Hello and Pocket are not Firefox extensions but rather native integrated features.

  3. I tried Korora 23 on a pc with more partitions switched by PCLOS bootloader with Grub legacy, very handy en easy, I always do it this way. This in spite of choosing some partition for installing.
    Korora distroyed the bootloader and there was no way to repair it via redo MBR which is always possible in PCLOS. (I tried the install several times after repair, one never knows what one’s is doing wrong.). Grub 2 boot was only possible for PCLOS afterwords; My other distro’s were off.. And Korora was first in the bootmenu… after PCLOS was.
    I had backed up enough so I went back without too much hustle.
    As far as I could notice on the liveusb Korora is a fine peace of software, but you have to look into this I think.

  4. Very nice and thorough review (as always). My experience original Fedora 23 Xfce runs much faster than Korora Xfce. I have tried both quite extensive, and ended up with vanilla Fedora, speedy and predictive. Also I like Fedoras philosophy on free software. Closed software are always a risk to run, however. Korora is not bad at all, it could be as simple as my outdated hardware.


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