Saturday, February 28, 2015

Korora 21 "Darla" Cinnamon Review: Linux Mint of Fedora world

Korora has always impressed me as an easy to use Fedora repackaged with all bells and whistles. Korora was born out of a desire to make Linux easier for new users, while still being useful for experts. The main goal of Korora is to provide a complete, easy-to-use system for general computing. Originally based on Gentoo Linux in 2005, Korora was re-born in 2010 as a Fedora Remix with tweaks and extras to make the system "just work" out of the box. I downloaded the 1.75 GB 64-bit ISO of Korora 21 Cinnamon for this review.

Korora 21 ships with Cinnamon, KDE, GNOME 3 and XFCE flavors. I chose Cinnamon as I never used a Fedora with Cinnamon DE. Further, Cinnamon as a DE seems more appealing to me these days for it's customization options over any other DE.

Korora 21 comes with Cinnamon 2.4 and Linux Kernel 3.18 series. Nemo is the default file manager in the distro.

From Korora 21 Cinnamon http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

Hardware Used
Asus K55VM Windows 7 laptop with 2.3 Ghz 3rd Gen. Core i7 3610QM processor with 8 cores, 8 GB DDR3 RAM, 1366x768 resolution, 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 630M graphic card. I installed Korora 21 on an 100 GB partition.

From Korora 21 Cinnamon http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Also, incidentally I was looking for a Linux distro for my Asus X200CA (1.8 Ghz Core i3 3217U processor, 4 GB DDR3 RAM (non-expandable), 500 GB 5400 rpm SATA HDD and 11.6" screen). It is a Windows 8.1 touch enabled laptop. I was using Ubuntu 14.04 LTS on it but got tired of laptop heat. Hence, I was looking for another Linux which would generate lower heat. My review would cover experience with the touch enabled Win8 laptop as well.

Installation
Installation is similar to Fedora 21. It is quite quick but the installer offers less options than, say, Ubuntu installer. Namely, Fedora installer doesn't have enable autologin option. Further, if user forgets to check the username for administrator privileges, then users with limited expertise in Linux may face issues.

From Korora 21 Cinnamon http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
In spite of these shortcomings, I still go with 100% score for Korora as the installation process is blazing fast.

Score for Installation: 10/10

Hardware Recognition
Korora 21 worked better than Fedora 21 on my laptop and I didn't face any issues on hardware recognition. Everything, starting from Wifi to touchpad, worked without any manual intervention. Even on Asus X200CA, touchscreen worked without any issue.

Score for Hardware Recognition: 10/10

Aesthetics
Korora 21 Cinnamon has quite a different take on Cinnamon DE with a top panel, colorful icons and a refreshing look. The desktop by default has icons for computer, home and trash. I only miss a docky here, it would have really complemented the top panel look.
From Korora 21 Cinnamon http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

So, I installed a docky and it took the default theme of Korora with colorful icons.

From Korora 21 Cinnamon http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
The icons are Korora special and windows borders have Adwaita theme. Overall, it is an aesthetically pleasing combination of theme and icons in Korora.
From Korora 21 Cinnamon http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

Menu is typical Cinnamon and presents control shortcuts and favorite applications at the right side with application categories on the left hand side.
From Korora 21 Cinnamon http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

On the top panel, shortcuts for Firefox, Thunderbird, terminal and Nemo file manager are present. I found them quite handy if you are not using a docky.

Nemo file manager looks simple with stylish folder icons on the left hand side. It is good but I faced some issues in displaying photos properly in Nemo - some photos displayed appropriately but some didn't and it was not because of size. I still rate Files better than Nemo.
From Korora 21 Cinnamon http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

Overall, Korora 21 impressed me with the Cinnamon spin - it looks different and is aesthetically pleasing. I go with 100% score in aesthetics.

Score for Aesthetics: 10/10

Pre-Installed Packages
Korora ships with a whole lot of packages pre-installed, namely:
  • Office: LibreOffice 4.3.5.2.0 (Calc, Draw, Impress, Writer), Document Viewer, FB Reader, Project Management
  • Internet: Deluge, Ekiga Softphone, Empathy, Firefox 35.0.1, Gwibber, Liferea, Thunderbird
  • Graphics: Darktable, Font Manager, GIMP 2.8.14, Image Viewer, Inkscape, Shotwell, Simple Scan
  • Multimedia: Audacity, Brasero, gtk-recordMyDesktop HandBrake, OpenShot Video Editor, Rhythmbox, Sound Converter, Sound juicer, VLC 2.2.0
  • Accessories: Archive Manager, Calculator, Eekboard, Fonts Tweak Tool, gedit, Gloobus Preview, Gnote, OwnCloud desktop sync client, tintwizard, Fedora Live USB Creator, Firewall, Gparted, Print Settings, Samba, SELinux, Terminal
It is an impressive collection of applications, no doubt. Multimedia codecs and Adobe flash plugin are all pre-installed in Korora and works well for novice users.
From Korora 21 Cinnamon http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

Firefox is the default browser and it ships with extensions like Adblock Plus, Download them all, Flashblock, xclear, etc. and plugins like Shockwave Flash, IcedTea, iTunes, Xine, etc.
From Korora 21 Cinnamon http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

Gwibber is back in Korora. Ubuntu dropped Gwibber in favor of friends but it is a nice little app to integrate twitter and facebook. Deluge bittorrent client is nice application to download movies, music and software. Transmission is lighter but deluge provides more functionality. Liferea is a live feed reader but I rarely use it in this age of Androids and iPhones. Thunderbird is, as always, stable email client easy to configure for Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc.

Graphics section is impressive with darktable, gimp, inkscape, shotwell, etc. Korora has all the good graphic packages in the same distro.

Multimedia section is also very rich with packages like rhythmbox music player, VLC media player, Openshot video editor, audacity music editor, record my desktop, etc.

The settings manager presents the different controls like themes, effects, mouse, keyboard, display, etc. Basically it integrates all the settings options in a single window for the users to manipulate and customize as per individual preferences. However, the settings manager lacks option to enable autologin which is present in Linux Mint Cinnamon. I will discuss about it later.
From Korora 21 Cinnamon http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

In overall, I am very impressed with the application collection in Korora 21 and it offers more packages than what is required by an average user. I go with full marks for pre-installed packages.

Score for Pre-Installed Packages: 10/10

Repositories
This is where Korora becomes more functional than it's mother distro, Fedora. I have used Fedora on and often; I know it takes about a couple of hours to set the system up in Fedora, downloading all multimedia codecs and plugins, adding RPM fusion repositories, etc. Fedora, as a principle, do not ship restricted codecs/packages. Of course, there is Fedy Installer to make your life easy.

Yum Extender is the default GUI to browse and download packages. It is pretty fast and resembles synaptic package manager, sans the package categorization at the left hand side. There is a search bar to search packages if you know the name. Once you log in with password, it will show the packages to be updated. Unlike Ubuntu based distros, Korora does not push update package notifications and users have to check yum extender for updates. I normally update once in a week.

From Korora 21 Cinnamon http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Korora includes a variety of third party repositories like rpmfusion, korora, adobe, virtualbox, google-talkplugin (non-functional now after google dumped gtalk), google-earth, etc. It is a good start for a novice user.

From Korora 21 Cinnamon http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
I am pretty happy with what Korora provides. However, to make it more functional, I had to add a few third party packages and install bumblebee. I will take you through what I did to make Korora more usable.

Enable Autologin
I ran the following command to enable autologin in the terminal
$ sudo sed -i 's/^#autologin-user=.*/autologin-user=arindam/' /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf
$ sudo sed -i 's/^#autologin-user-timeout=.*/autologin-user-timeout=0/' /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf

Please replace username arindam with your own username. It worked for me.

Install Bumblebee for laptops with Nvidia graphics
I installed bumblebee from the terminal, using the following commands:

(1) As root add the dependencies before proceeding with the installation
# yum install -y libbsd-devel libbsd glibc-devel libX11-devel help2man autoconf git tar glib2 glib2-devel kernel-devel kernel-headers automake gcc gtk2-devel

(2) Install virtualGL by: # yum install VirtualGL

(3)Install BBswitch
# yum -y --nogpgcheck install http://install.linux.ncsu.edu/pub/yum/itecs/public/bumblebee/fedora21/noarch/bumblebee-release-1.2-1.noarch.rpm
# yum -y install bbswitch

(4) Install Bumblebee with Nvidia proprietary drivers
# yum -y --nogpgcheck install http://install.linux.ncsu.edu/pub/yum/itecs/public/bumblebee-nonfree/fedora20/noarch/bumblebee-nonfree-release-1.1-1.noarch.rpm
# yum install glibc-devel
# yum install bumblebee-nvidia

Bumblebee-nvidia is not available yet in Fedora 21 repos and hence, I downloaded it from Fedora 20 repos of NSCU. It worked perfect with Korora 21.

(5) I had to install primus as well to make it work
# yum install primus

(6) Now include user in the bumblebee group by
# gpasswd -a username bumblebee

(7) Finally, reboot and check if bumblebee is running by:
$ optirun glxgears -info
From Korora 21 Cinnamon http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

Install Chromium Browser
Google Chrome browser is available in the Korora repositories, but I had a tough time installing Chromium. I know if you have Chrome, you don't need a Chromium. For users who prefer Chromium, here is a way out.
#wget http://repos.fedorapeople.org/repos/spot/chromium/fedora-chromium-stable.repo
#rpm --import http://repos.fedorapeople.org/repos/spot/chromium-stable/spot.gpg

Put the downloaded fedora-chromium-stable.repo file in /etc/yum.repos.d/ as root. Right click in nemo file manager has an option to open folders as root.

Now do an update and you'll get chromium in the yum extender. Alternatively you can download from terminal as well by the following command as root.

#yum install chromium

Rest of the packages like Skype, virtualbox, Google-Earth, dropbox, etc. are there in the RPM Fusion repositories and can be easily downloaded from Yum Extender. Dropbox doesn't start automatically and hence, I had to save a text file with the following command:
~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd

I made it executable and added to Settings Manager -> Startup Applications. After reboot, dropbox client would start automatically once I switch on my laptop.

Performance
Korora 21 64-bit offered really good performance on both the machines I tried. RAM consumption was around 500 MB, fast boot up and shutdown time, CPU usage rarely crossed 10% with multiple apps (Chrome, Calc, Writer, Firefox, etc.) open and Korora offered decent battery life, better than Ubuntu 14.10.

RAM consumption
At steady state, Korora 21 Cinnamon took on average 517 MB RAM to boot the DE with system monitor running. It is about 150 MB higher than Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon, primarily due to SELinux running in the background.

Boot time
Korora 21 boots up pretty fast at 32 seconds with autologin enabled, 19% faster than average GNOME distros I have used between 2013-15. Compared to Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon, Korora Cinnamon takes about 14 seconds less to boot. 

Further, I haven't seen any Linux distro to shut down so fast. Korora shuts down within 2-3 seconds which is incredible.


Operating System (64 bit) Release Year Size of ISO (GB) Base Desktop Linux kernel CPU (%) RAM usage (MB) Size of installation (GB) Boot time (sec) Power (Watt)
Pardus 2.0 2013 1.7 Debian Testing GNOME 3.8.4 3.10.3 0-5% 278 6.40 52
Mint Debian 201403 Mate 2014 1.4 Debian Testing Mate 1.6.1 3.11.2 0-5% 282 4.40 40
Mint Debian 201403 Cinnamon 2014 1.4 Debian Testing Cinnamon 2.0.14 3.11.2 0-5% 285 4.90 49
Mint 15 Cinnamon 2013 0.9594 Ubuntu Raring Cinnamon 1.8 3.8.0 0-5% 307 5.10 32
Ubuntu Mate 14.10 2014 0.983 Ubuntu Utopic Mate 1.8.1 3.16.0 0-5% 308 4.30 35 11.44
Mint 16 Cinnamon 2013 1.3 Ubuntu Saucy Cinnamon 2.0 3.11.0 0-5% 312 4.10 45
Ubuntu GNOME 13.04 2013 0.9878 Ubuntu Raring GNOME 3.6.3 3.8.0 0-5% 321 3.90 24
Tanglu 1.0 GNOME 2014 0.973 Debian Testing GNOME 3.10.1 3.12.1 0-5% 321 4.00 44
Mint 15 Mate 2013 1.0 Ubuntu Raring Mate 1.6.0 3.8.0 0-5% 325 4.50 30
Ubuntu GNOME 13.10 2013 0.9 Ubuntu Saucy GNOME 3.8.4 3.11.0 0-5% 335 4.10 27
Mint 17 Ciinamon 2014 1.3 Ubuntu Trusty Cinnamon 2.2.13 3.13.0 0-5% 345 4.50 44
Mint 17.1 Mate 2014 1.557 Ubuntu Trusty Mate 1.8.1 3.13.0 0-5% 349 5.30 30 10.59
Mint 16 Mate 2013 1.4 Ubuntu Saucy Mate 1.6.0 3.11.0 0-5% 355 4.50 31
Siduction 13.2.0 GNOME 2013 1.0 Debian Unstable GNOME 3.8.4 3.12.0 0-5% 357 3.50 53
Linux Deepin 2013 2013 1.3 Ubuntu Raring GNOME 3.8.1 (DDE) 3.8.0 0-5% 358 4.70 33
Mint 17.1 Cinnamon 2014 1.5 Ubuntu Trusty Cinnamon 2.4 3.13.0 0-5% 362 4.90 46 11.24
Zorin OS 7 2013 1.7 Ubuntu Raring GNOME 3.6.2 3.8.0 0-5% 364 5.60 28
Trisquel GNU/Linux 7.0 2014 1.5 Ubuntu Trusty GNOME 3.12 3.13.0 0-5% 370 4.60 26 11.65
Ubuntu 12.04.3 2013 0.7 Ubuntu Precise Unity 5.20.0 3.8.0 0-5% 370 3.00 39
Antergos 2013.11.17 2013 0.8 Arch GNOME 3.10.1 3.12.4 0-5% 376 4.10 43
Ubuntu 13.04 2013 0.8 Ubuntu Raring Unity 7.0.0 3.8.0 0-5% 377 4.00 26
Deepin 2014 2014 1.2 Ubuntu Trusty Deepin 2.0 3.13.0 0-5% 400 4.50 27
Ubuntu GNOME 14.O4 LTS 2014 0.9 Ubuntu Trusty GNOME 3.10.0 3.13.0 0-5% 416 4.50 33
Gajj 0.1 Cinnamon 2014 3.7 Ubuntu Precise Cinnamon 2.0 3.11.0 0-5% 419 9.20 75
Fedora 20 GNOME 2013 1.0 Fedora GNOME 3.8.2 3.9.5 0-10% 433 4.00 34
Elementary OS 0.2 2013 0.7 Ubuntu Precise GNOME 3.6.3 3.2.0 0-5% 440 3.10 22
Zorin OS 8 Gaming 2014 4.0 Ubuntu Saucy GNOME 3.9.90 3.11.0 0-5% 440 9.20 31
Zorin OS 8 2014 1.6 Ubuntu Saucy GNOME 3.8.2 3.11.0 0-5% 445 5.60 31
Zorin OS 9 2014 1.4 Ubuntu Trusty GNOME 3.10.4 3.13.0 0-5% 460 5.00 30
Ubuntu 13.10 2013 0.9 Ubuntu Saucy Unity 7.1.2 3.11.0 0-5% 466 4.40 30
ExTix 14 2013 1.5 Ubuntu Saucy GNOME 3.10.1 3.12.0 0-5% 468 4.80 33
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 2014 1.0 Ubuntu Trusty Unity 7.2.0 3.13.0 0-5% 486 4.20 31
Pinguy OS 14.04 2014 2.3 Ubuntu Trusty GNOME 3.12.2 3.13.0 0-5% 500 7.00 54
Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 2014 1.0 Ubuntu Utopic GNOME 3.12 3.16.0 0-5% 515 4.80 39 11.21
Korora 21 Cinnamon 2015 1.8 Fedora Cinnamon 2.4 3.18.6 0-5% 517 5.90 32 11.55
OpenSUSE 13.1 GNOME 2013 4.4 OpenSUSE GNOME 3.10.1 3.11.6 0-5% 531 4.90 37
Ubuntu 14.10 2014 1.1 Ubuntu Utopic Unity 7.3.1 3.16.0 0-5% 599 4.60 33 12.06
Fedora 21 GNOME 2014 1.4 Fedora GNOME 3.14 3.17.7 0-5% 654 5.40 36 11.57

Power Consumption
I used powerstat to measure power consumption. Korora 21 Cinnamon is not as efficient as Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon - it consumes about 3% more power. However, Korora is significantly more efficient than Ubuntu 14.10 and gives 5% more battery life.
Score for Performance: 9/10

Overall
I am highly impressed with what Korora has to offer. It is significantly more user-friendly than Fedora and provides a stable, cutting edge easier to use distro. You don't need to be a geek to use Korora. I am no geek in Linux - just an average user. 

For 6 years I have used Ubuntu or Ubuntu based distros (like Mint, Zorin, etc.) for my production laptop and in 2015, I seriously wanted a break from Ubuntu. Korora gave me the option to formally shift from Ubuntu to Fedora. Further, I was facing issue of laptop heat in Ubuntu (not an nvidia issue), it has significantly minimized with Korora 21. Possibly the latest Linux kernel in Korora 21 helped to reduce heat.

I definitely recommend Korora Cinnamon for it's superior aesthetics, great user experience, cutting edge applications and commendable performance. It is to Fedora what Linux Mint is to Ubuntu. I go with a high score of 9.7/10 for Korora 21 Cinnamon.

You can download Korora 21 Cinnamon, KDE, GNOME and XFCE, 32 and 64 bit editions from here.

Overall Score = 9.7/10

Parameter Weights (%) Score
Installation 20 10.0
Aesthetics 20 10.0
Hardware Recognition 20 10.0
Pre-installed Packages 10 10.0
Performance 30 9.0
Overall 100 9.7

13 comments:

  1. hi arindam,

    I always find your reviews helpful..i am in a bit of quandary..till now i used to install linux with relative ease..however i recently bought a new laptop(lenovo g50-45 with amd-ati combo)...Everytime i tried to install linux, it gets rebooted...one of my technically sound friends warned me that it might be because there is no uefi support...i somehow got through that by changing the settings in the bios...i got to install it (during installation it goes into software rendering mode..dont know why...)but it refuses to show the desktop...i am further told that there is no support for ati cards :(...could you please confirm and let me know if korrora has uefi support and also support for ati cards ?

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  3. Hello Sir,

    I am writing this comment from my Korora 21 XFCE distro. This is one good distro in RPM based I like. All of ther RPM based distro are, huge system resource consumption, less system responses etc. I was using NetRunner 14, which was the fastest and most system responsive one, I even used. Though it was KDE, the performance was super cool.

    I have a 2GB RAM machine, Can you please suggest me a Distro which is super fast, stable and performance oriented ?

    thank you

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jeevan,

      Please try LXLE 14.04. It is super fast and has a really attractive interface. Also, I find Zorin OS lite really good.

      As you rightly said, rpm based distros are slightly heavier than debian or arch based distros.

      Regards, Arindam

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    2. I agree Arindam, but since jan 2015 I m using CHALETOS, and I personally feel it very good. Before that I have used both as Arindam suggested.

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  4. Thanks for this review! I'm currently running Mint 17.1 KDE and looking to switch to a less traditional gui and Korora looks very interesting. I'm just a bit worried about power consumption for my laptop as Korora seems much less battery friendly compared to Mint KDE based on your reviews. But I'll have a look and try to switch. Perhaps installing tlp and enabling powersave intel p state will make a difference. Thanks again!

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    Replies
    1. On that note, may I ask what made you decide to use Cinnamon instead of for instance Gnome?

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    2. Somehow Cinnamon seems more appealing to me as of now than stock GNOME. I really like how Cinnamon has progressed over the last couple of years, it is now more efficient than GNOME 3 hands down.

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  5. Any reviews on CHALETOS? waiting eagerly for it

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    Replies
    1. I haven't downloaded yet :). I'll download this week.

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    2. Thanks, Waiting since Jan2015.

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  6. After reading your review about this linux distro, I'm quite impressed and wanting to give it try. I'm wondering that whether this is stable enough to stay for daily activity uses. I have also tried quite a lot linux distros, but couldn't have found the best one for me ^ ^. There are things with Linux distros unsatisfied me, at least up to now. I am running and experiencing Linux Lite 2.2 - it's been good so far. Do you have any suggestions/ ideas for the best linux distros ? My machine is Dell Laptop: Inspiron N4050; 2GB of Ram; AMD HD 6400/7400 & Intel HD Graphics 3000. Thanks.

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  7. I like the flat GUI. How does the speed on Korora compare to Fedora?

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