Korora is an old GNU/Linux distribution (originated in 2005) that used to be based on ‘Gentoo’. But in 2007 the development of Korora was abandoned, yet in 2010, it was reborn, but this time it was based on ‘Fedora’, rather than ‘Gentoo’.
But to be honest with you, I’ve never had used ‘Korora’ before. Yet, after installing ‘Korora 22’ (based on Fedora 22) and using it for the past three days, it’s goals became pretty clear to me. It is this good looking ‘Fedora remix’ that strives to be the ‘Fedora’ that hosts a mild attitude & a sense of practicality, although good folks at ‘Fedora’ don’t have that luxury. In a world that’s dominated by ignorance & selfishness, their struggle is a difficult one. I admire their courage.
Anyhow, let me come back to the story before I get lost 🙂 . You see, ‘Korora’ comes with a big number of both proprietary (multimedia codecs included) and open-source applications & a customized operating system, so that the end-user doesn’t need to worry about setting up a third-party repository or tweaking the system to get the most out of it. In other words, it’s ready to be used the moment you finish the installation.
Even for some of the applications that it doesn’t ship by default such as Google Chrome, you can simply use the package manager or the command-line and install it right away because its repository is enabled by default!.
‘Korora’ features pretty much all the desktops ‘Fedora’ supports: Gnome3, KDE, Cinnamon, XFCE & MATE. For this review, I used the Gnome3 flavor. Due to the long list of apps included, the ISO sizes around 2.1 GB (700 MB more compared to Fedora 22 Gnome edition). Being based on Fedora 22, ‘Korora 22’ comes with lots of changes concerning the Gnome3 desktop. But since I’ve covered them in the Fedora 22 review, I won’t be mentioning them here. So this review will be mostly based on the performance comparison between the two, and I will mention some of the applications that it ships with as well.
Before I begin, below is the hardware on top of which I tested ‘Korora 22’:
Intel Core i3-2330M CPU, Intel HD 3000 GPU, 4GB RAM (DDR3), Toshiba 7200 RPM (320GB) SATA HDD, Intel N-1030 Wireless adapter, Realtek network adapter ('RTL8168'), LED display with 1366x768 resolution (60Hz/60FPS). It's a Dell Vostro V-131 notebook.
As mentioned above, I’ve compared the performance of ‘Korora 22’ with ‘Fedora 22’, and added the data towards the end of the article (as usual). But it was the performance data that I measured first without changing any settings of the operating system. Though to help keep the accurate levels high when calculating the memory usage readings, I added the ‘system monitor’ to the application dock. I also enabled the user-auto login & used the ‘Gnome Classic’ as the default desktop session. They’re the only changes I made.
As always, I boot(ed) into the OS 5-6 times to let things settle down. And took five samples of Boot-up times, Memory usage and Shutdown delay readings. Power usage reading doesn’t require five samples as the tool that measure it does a great job of taking a big number of samples.
‘Korora 22’ uses the Fedora’s installer (‘Anaconda’) with the only modification being the ‘Fedora’ logo that’s displayed to the left and around the top, removed. Once I applied my changes and the installer was installing the system, as usual in ‘Anaconda’, I went ahead to create the user and to setup the root’s password. When I was setting up the user account, out of no reason I just unmaximized the installer, and as soon as I did that, the ‘Done’ button that is displayed around the top left corner disappeared!. It just went away and never came back and I knew I was in trouble, yikes! 😀 .
As a solution I tried the first thing that came to my mind. That is, I moved the cursor around the area where the ‘Done’ button is supposed to be, and then clicked on that area, and it worked!. Now I did not do something that weird while installing ‘Fedora 22’, so I don’t know if this is a bug that’s present in the ‘Anaconda’ installer or if it’s due to a change made by the ‘Korora’ developers because they’ve had changed the ‘Fedora’ logo area which covers this section of the installer.
‘Anaconda’ also failed to add an entry to ‘Fedora 22’. This was also the case with ‘Fedora 22’ installation previously, as it failed to add an entry to ‘Fedora 21‘ which happened to be my main operating system back then. Nonetheless, this is a major concern (again, it’s not Korora’s fault), even though it’s fixable.
Since you’ve already seen Korora 22’s GRUB menu, it’s time to show you the boot-up theme.
You know I’m a big fan of boot-up themes that actually indicate the progress and ‘Korora 22’ comes with minimalist & a beautiful one. A simple blueish progress bar. I like it.
As soon as you login to the ‘Gnome Classic’ desktop session, you see the application dock (‘Dash’) that GnomeShell includes which gets shown only in ‘Activities Overview’, is now shown by default.
This is actually a GnomeShell extension and it’s a nice one too. It’s also ‘intelligent’ up to the point that when you maximize an application window or move one to the left edge of the screen, the ‘Dock’ hides itself. There are a couple of settings that you can use to further tweak its behavior as well.
Unlike ‘Fedora 22’ however, Gnome3 in ‘Korora’ comes with a file manager (‘Files’) extension that adds the feature of opening a terminal window in any location. All you have to do is right-click, in either on the desktop or in the file manager (both are the actually since in ‘Gnome Classic’ mode, the desktop is managed by the file manager), and select ‘Open in Terminal’. A very handy addition.
The next thing that you observe is the gorgeous icon set. I’m no theme addict, so I don’t know if this is an existing icon theme that’s being slightly modified by ‘Korora’ (though the icon set is called ‘Korora’), but it looks beautiful.
In my honest opinion though, it’s a bit too much beautified to the point it slightly takes away the element of seriousness, or the professional look, of the operating system. Otherwise, it’s perfect, almost.
Update: They’re actually the ‘Numix icons‘. Thank you ‘Ameya’ for the tip!.
As far as application windows are concerned, ‘Korora’ is inclined towards a darker theme and I have no problem with it. I think it highlights the icons more and blends in nicely. But the problem is that even though I choose the ‘Gnome Classic’ session as the default desktop layout, although ‘Korora 22’ looks gorgeous with the pure Gnome3 desktop layout, I don’t know about you, the top and the bottom bars look ugly!. The top and bottom section of my LED display looks as if those pixels gone crazy 😀 .
To make it worse, when you try to navigate the ‘Applications’, the ‘Places’ menus or the ‘System Menu’ (or anywhere this theme is applicable) , the selected item’s name (texts) gets set to the background color of the menu and its name thus vanishes from your sight, and it is irritating!.
‘Korora’ includes another theme called ‘Zukitwo’ and I love the colors it uses on the top and the bottom bars, but it too has the above issue. Luckily I just choose the default ‘Adwaita’ theme (‘Gnome Tweak Tool’ comes pre-installed) and was happy with it. But I don’t think enough attention has been focused on to ‘Gnome Classic’ session, because such issues cannot be found on the pure Gnome3 (default) desktop session.
Another issue that I noticed concerns the file manager. ‘Korora 22’ doesn’t include ‘Totem’ by default and thus suffers from a one of the consequences. That is, it doesn’t generate video thumbnails.
This is though easily fixable by installing either ‘Totem’ or by simply installing ‘ffmpegthumbnailer’ (just run: sudo dnf install ffmpegthumbnailer) which is more faster than ‘Totem’ anyway, plus, if you go with ‘Totem’ then you’ll first have to delete the cached entries in the failed thumbnails of the file manager.
As mentioned in the beginning, ‘Korora 22’ comes with a lot of applications pre-installed, and this is where it really shines. I’m certainly not going to go through all of them, but will mention some of them.
Kernel version is 4.1.3 and Xorg version is 1.17.2. The default web browser is Mozilla Firefox (39.0). Email client is Evolution (3.16.4). Multimedia player is VLC (2.2.2) and music manager is Rhythmbox (3.2.1). They don’t include Adobe Flash Player for Firefox by default because Adobe has abandoned its development. But you can still manually install it or can just use Google Chrome (Just for the record, I’m using Google Chrome 44.0 and the Flash playback performance has so far been excellent).
As for some other applications you have ‘Ekiga’ (4.0.1) for VOIP clients, Gnote, OwnCloud desktop client (1.7.1), Fonts and Gnome Tweak tools, Darktable (1.6.7), GIMP (2.8.14), INKSCAPE (0.91), Gwibber (3.4.2), Liferea (1.10.16), FBReader (0.99.4), LibreOffice (18.104.22.168), Planner (0.14.6), Audacity (2.1.1), HandBrake (0.10.2), OpenShot (1.4.3), SoundConverter (2.1.5), Sound-Juicer (3.16.1), Gparted (3.2), Pharlap driver manager and more.
And if you want even more applications, ‘Korora 22’ comes pre-activated with third party repositories such as ‘RPM Fusion’ which includes lots of both proprietary and open-source applications, you can just search and install them using either the software manager GUI or using the new and improved ‘yum’ replacer, ‘dnf’.
Again, ‘Korora 22’ comes with a improved Gnome3 desktop environment and a new command-line based package manager called ‘dnf’ which packs pretty cool features. But since I’ve already covered all that in my Fedora 22 review, please refer to it if you desire attend to those details.
Now let me share with you all the performance related data that I’ve gathered, and I’ll start with the Boot-up speed as usual.
As you can see, both ‘Fedora 22’ and ‘Korora 22’, unsurprisingly, boot(ed)-up basically within the same time-frame, with ‘Fedora’ marginally ahead (1.4% faster). And even though I haven’t used previous versions of ‘Korora’, I’m sure they used to be much faster (especially ‘Korora 21’). Because, as I pointed out in the Fedora 22 review, starting with the version 22, ‘Fedora’ no longer includes systemd’s (although new, replacing its predecessor, it’s a core utility of GNU/Linux) readahead utility, which otherwise can improve boot-up times by around 39% in my tests!.
Memory Usage Upon Desktop Loading…
‘Korora 22’ is slightly lean (2%) compared to ‘Fedora 22’. But then again the conditions when the desktop is fully loaded are not exactly equal which can affect the memory usage readings.
For instance, in Gnome Classic desktop of ‘Fedora 22’ I had to go through the ‘Applications’ menu for opening the ‘system monitor’, and the very act of clicking on the main menu increases the memory usage.
But ‘Korora’ shows a Dock and as mentioned earlier, I had added the system monitor icon to it thus I can open it without going through the ‘Applications’ menu. So what about the ‘Dock’ then, shouldn’t that increase memory in ‘Korora’? Well it should. And that’s why I said the conditions are not exactly same. And these two scenarios might explain the slight difference in memory usage of the two distributions.
CPU USage at idle…
As you can see, when let to it, except for the system monitor process itself, all others left the OS alone for longer periods. Excellent.
Power Usage (idle)…
Unsurprisingly, both ‘Fedora 22’ and ‘Korora 22’ consumed virtually the same power when measured. Although I did not try, just like it did in ‘Fedora 22’, I’m sure installing an excellent tool like ‘TLP’ (power usage optimizer) will reduce the power usage significantly. If interested, you can install it using the below command:
sudo dnf install tlp
Hardware Recognition and ACPI…
Fedora 22 recognized and configured my hardware really well. And since it’s the underline core in ‘Korora 22’ as well, things are basically the same. Bluetooth adapter and the screen brightness ‘remembers’ the previously set settings and does not fall to default values, Suspension, audio & the Intel HD 3000 GPU… it all work well.
While copying a file that’s about 1.1 GB (I had to cut down the size from the usual 1.5 GB, because due to the list of default applications, ‘Korora’ had filled up my test partition & I was running out of space 🙂 ), I tried to open a multimedia file in VLC, then tried to open LibreOffice Writer, Terminal emulator (to run a command), system settings window all by searching in the ‘Activities Overview’ window and then tried to open Firefox and Shotwell from the ‘Dock’. And while all that was happening, I tried to open ‘/etc’ system folder in the file manager as it contains a reasonably large number of files & folders.
So how did it all go?
It was very good. I virtually observed pretty much the same performance that ‘Fedora 22’ delivered. The mouse sensitivity lost once or twice, but only for a 2-3 seconds, and even when that happened, the multimedia playback carried out without any interruptions!. It was very satisfying.
Again, here too, both distributions were virtually equal at shutting the system down. And 3.4 seconds delay is pretty fast too.
If you’ve been searching for a ‘Fedora’ that works right out of the box, requires very little tweaks (if not any at all), delivers virtually the same performance, looks gorgeous (except the ‘Gnome Classic’ session) and since it has happened already once, even if it gets discontinued in the future (I hope not), you can always roll back to ‘Fedora’ without much difficulty. Also, if you’re new to GNU/Linux, then you might be better off trying ‘Korora’ before getting your hands dirty with ‘Fedora’ 🙂 as well. So in the end, I see no reason why you shouldn’t try it out.
If interested, please head over to its official web page and make your choices. Thank you for reading!.