Posted by: absolutevoid | ജൂണ്‍ 5, 2011

Chakra Gnu/linux now with Malayalam support

I suppose, many of you have heard about Chakra Gnu/Linux, a distro based on Arch + KDE. It is still in Alpha.

Here is the website: and the wiki:

The newest release, Aida 2010.04 for X86_64 architecture is available with zyxware. i686 may be made available upon request.

The news is that, ttf-malayalam-fonts package maintained by SMC has found place in their official platform repository. This is especially sweet because, even Arch linux have not kept malayalam fonts in its official repo, but is still in AUR (Arch User Repository).

There is a slight difference in packaging scheme of Arch and Chakra. Based on Ashik’s AUR package, I had created a CCR (Chakra Community Repo) package and submitted it yesterday. Seeing the strategic importance of supporting Malayalam, a happening language in the FLOSS world, they acted fast and moved it to official repo even without waiting for any user votes. This decision was made after a brief IRC discussion between the developers.

Now the call is ours too. Chakra is a fast evolving KDE based distro and very user friendly. Installing it in newer machines are quite easy. It maintains a half rolling release cycle and is bleeding edge. Installation and boot time seems to be much faster than many known distros. Do try it with new hardware you purchase and you would get a perfect stable modular KDE desktop. Only the bare minimum programs to get a running KDE distro is provided in live media.

Another speciality of this distro is that they keep their official packages, gtk free. Even libre office is provided removing all its gtk dependencies. But this can’t be possible with every gnome utilities. Therefore, those gtk based programs, we might need, like firefox, gimp, etc are provided as bundles and won’t be installed in the core system. Clicking on a bundle will run it instantaneously. Perfomance wise, there won’t be any delay in running them or any glitch in utility value. (Bundle system was unique for Mac systems until chakra adopted it.)

If there are more takers to this new distro, we could even think of starting localisation efforts. As KDE Malayalam is strong, only few distro specific packages would need to be localised, like the tribe installer.

Some tips for new chakra adopters.

to install a new package, there is appset-qt, a pacman front-end. (pacman is the default package management tool in arch linux)

But here, I am gonna talk about the command line.

Installing packages from official repository

$ sudo pacman -S <package-name>

(without the brackets. more package names separated with space. )

Installing packages downloaded locally

$ sudo pacman -U <package-name>

Removing an installed package

$ sudo pacman -R <package-name>

Removing an installed package with its dependencies and deleting it from package cache

$ sudo pacman -Rsn <package-name>

Installing a package from CCR (chakra community repo)

$ ccr -S <package-name>

Installing a package from AUR (arch user repository)

$ packer -S <package name>

Searching official package for availability of a package

$ sudo pacman -Ss <package-name>

Searching local package cache to determine whether a package is installed or not

$ sudo pacman -Q <package-name>

Clearing package cache and deleting them from system:

$ sudo pacman -Scc

Refreshing package database, checking for new updates and installing them

$ sudo pacman -Syu

Refreshing the package database without installing anything

$ sudo pacman -Syy

To refresh the mirrorlist and list according to speed and nearest location there are rankmirror script and reflector script in arch which is so easy to use.  installing locally downloaded packages using apt is a headache for n00bs whereas, in arch way, it can be done by changing just one letter in a command.

instead of “pacman -S”, it would be “pacman -U”

pacman is inferior to none

All of this can be done through GUI interface too in chakra but not in arch.

When installing from live media, there are two options. To boot from Its-Kernel and to boot from standard kernel. Its-Kernel would be an older Kernel, but tested, stable and reliable. It won’t have the latest functionality added to new versions of Kernel. If possible, boot from standard Kernel.


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