Chakra /ˈtʃʌkrə/ is pure KDE. It is an independent and streamlined GNU/Linux desktop distribution optimized for the award-winning KDE Software Compilation and the Qt framework. Chakra is built around principles of freedom and features a half-rolling release model which allows fast, easy, and stable updates to the latest software. Our community-driven repository is designed to extend package choice and encourage community feedback.
Arch Linux and KDEmod - In June 2006, the KDEmod packaging project was brought to life because of the limits of the standard KDE build within Arch Linux. Meeting in a small corner of the Freenode network, KDEmod developers produced a "lightified and modular" installation of KDE exclusively for Arch. Popularity grew as users loved the improved customization and performance and by December 2008 the developers had custom built an installer and released their first ISO with Arch+KDEmod+Tribe.
Birth of Chakra - After several releases, Jan Mette expressed his desire to split from Arch to begin work on an awesome little independent LiveCD. Still strongly inspired by Arch and its philosophy, this split would allow a much closer integration of KDE. A meeting was called in February of 2010 and plans were made to push the project forward. Despite Jan's unexpected passing, the first build was released in May and the project continues today in honor of his vision. With this new direction, development on KDEmod was ended and the project took the name of "The Chakra Project," borrowing from traditional Indian medicine and suggesting the idea of continual motion.
The Chakra Project - Although Chakra has fully split from Arch Linux, its positive influence can be seen in much of what we do and we've had a great response from the Linux community. The project is now very stable and with the completion of a few more official tools, we plan to reach a feature-complete release later this year. Chakra has come a long way and we are proud of what we have accomplished, but there is still much to be done. We have developed a great community that has played a key role in our success, feel free to join us in the forums and IRC to see where you can help or just say hi.
The Chakra Vision
The Chakra community is dedicated to providing a pure KDE/Qt desktop operating system that is simple and transparent. The Live Media is an important tool and key to our users' first impression, while the half-rolling release model ensures cutting edge features with solid system stability and long life.
To support the developers, the Chakra community has grown into a great collection of ideas and talent from all over the world. Contributions and input from everyone is encouraged and has lead to many great improvements and features. It is also this resource that powers the Chakra Community Repository (CCR).
- A Note to Linux Beginners: Although simplicity is great for users new to Linux, getting the most from Chakra requires a certain level of competency and is more focused toward KISS-minded users who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. However, if you are willing to learn the inner workings of Linux and put in a little effort, please join us in the forums and IRC where we can help. There is also a wonderful Beginner’s Guide available in the wiki and on the desktop of the LiveMedia that can help guide you through the process of learning to use Chakra, KDE, and thus Linux, from the very beginning.
KDE and Simplicity
Chakra Linux is built by people who love the power and elegance of KDE and the Qt framework but also adhere to principles of simplicity. As a more "pure" Linux distribution, Chakra is modular and easily customizable.
Simplicity goes beyond the easy installation process and nice user interface. It is about being organized, uncluttered and efficient in all aspects. Simplicity in structure and code enhances stability, power, speed and ease of use. It involves a transparency of the system, allowing users to clearly understand what is going on behind the scenes. Often this will include graphical user interfaces (GUI), but Chakra is not afraid of the command line and may favor its use at times.
The heart and soul of The Chakra Project is its sleek, minimalist LiveCD which provides a solid foundation upon which a user can "build up" to meet all their needs without the bulk inherent to large “do-everything-for-everyone” distributions. Although the LiveCD is the preferred installation method, a community-driven LiveDVD has also been made available to showcase a more full-featured KDE desktop.
- A Note About GTK: Our core focus intentionally excludes some packages from the LiveMedia and official repositories that require GNOME and other GTK dependencies. However, many are still available in the [gtk] repository or through the CCR to provide users with some flexibility to get the few packages for which there is no suitable replacement.
The Chakra GNU/Linux operating system along with its appendant software and scripts are free software which we are proud to develop because it makes a difference. To us, “free software” is more than just about price, it's about liberty, and is more closely related to “Free Speech". However, to offer users the smoothest possible experience we occasionally bend the rules and include proprietary drivers and software if no viable free alternative is available. For those who choose, switching between this proprietary software can always be done at system start-up (for drivers) or once logged in (for everything else).
We also express freedom by offering choice to the user. Our LiveCD provides a customizable base that is powerful and stable. From there, a system can be purpose built without having to undo choices that have been made at the whim of the developers (e.g. uninstall unneeded packages or reorganize the Home folder). Although our core focus excludes some applications from the official repositories, many can be added through the community-supported CCR.
Chakra's success is proof that a system built on KDE/Qt-only software works and that there is a desire for more simplicity. However, there are some key applications that users may need that are left out of the official Chakra Repositories. The Chakra Community Repository (CCR) is open to any package or program and supported by the community. Users are encouraged to vote on the packages they use as the most popular are periodically moved to the official repository.
We are committed to KDE. We love it and it works very well. It is unfortunate that some great applications don't meet our requirements but we are happy to make them available through the CCR. If there is an application you would like to see included, feel free to let us know. Sometimes apps only need minimal tweaking to fit within our system, so be sure to let the developers of your favorite programs know there is an interest in a KDE-friendly version and offer your help if you can.
The Half-Rolling Release Model
The rolling release model dictates that any software is updated as soon as possible — whenever a new (stable) version is released upstream, and as long as nothing prevents the update from being performed. This model is followed by distributions such as Arch Linux.
In Chakra we decided to implement our own release model based on the former, which we named half-rolling.
Our model aims to provide a stable core of software, on top of which other applications can roll. The core of the system is not updated as soon as possible, but following a more traditional approach. Then, the rest of the software is updated following an application-based rolling release model, where applications roll, and their dependencies roll as long as updating them does not prevent applications from running as expected, or make them loose functionality.
- Read more about the Half-Rolling Release Model.
What We Are Working On
We have a couple of custom tools we're working on. Here are some of the more important ones:
- The Akabei package management framework: Once released, this will be a major milestone in Chakra's history. Some elements of the current package management system (Pacman) don't really suit us, so we're creating our own. Akabei will be a complete package management system with both command-line and graphical front-ends.
Don't just take our word for it. Take a look at what others are saying about us:
- "I love how amazingly fast the project's build of KDE is on my hardware and I like that the project does some things a bit differently." DistroWatch review of 2014.02 Curie (February, 2014)
- "I think this is the best timing for someone to start using Chakra and learn the way things work under the hood." Unixmen review of 2012.05 Archimedes (May 15, 2012)
- "Well suited to people who have dipped their toes in with Kubuntu or Linux Mint KDE but want to progress." -All Things Linux Blog review of 2012.02 Archimedes (April 16, 2012)
- "Personally, I think a distro which has such a strong support and respect for the community and its users will go a long way ... If you are a KDE fan then you must try Chakra." -Muktware review of 2012.02 Archimedes (February 15, 2012)
- "Definitely recommended for those looking for a new and expandable base." -Cosmic Cycle review of 2011.09 Edn (November 24, 2011)
- "I am really excited about Chakra..." -LinuxBSDos "Top 6 KDE distributions of 2011" (November 11, 2011)
- "At the moment, 8.5/10. Beautiful. Must try." -Dedoimedo review of 2011.09 Edn (October 21, 2011)
- "...Such a beautiful and easy to use distribution." -xjonquilx review of 2011.09 Edn (September 18, 2011)
- "Call me irrational, but I've been smitten by its virtues. [...] Bravo to the developers!" -Das U-Blog by Prashanth review of 2011.04-r2 Aida (July 28, 2011)
- "One of the fastest KDE-based distros we’ve ever tried ... Simply put, Chakra Linux is a corker." -Linux User review of 2011.09ms1 Edn (July 20, 2011)
- "I am very impressed ... It is one of the better KDE distributions I have used." -LinuxBSDos review of 2011.04 Aida (April 30, 2011)
- "It is essentially a sophisticated Project that keeps things uncluttered, linear and transparent." -UnixMen preview of 2011.04ms5 Aida (April 19, 2011)