KateOS is a Linux distribution originally based on Slackware. It is designed for intermediate users. Its package management system uses so called TGZex (.tgz) packages, which unlike Slackware packages support dependency tracking (optional), internationalized descriptions, and are much easier to update. There are two native tools for package management: PKG and Updateos. The current version of KateOS is KateOS III (3.6), and is also available as a Live CD.


The KateOS project was founded at the end of 2003. The founder and current leader is Damian Rakowski.

KateOS version Release date
1.0 9 October 2004
2.0 9 April 2005
2.1 23 June 2005
2.3 13 October 2005
3.0 9 July 2006
3.1 7 October 2006
3.2 21 December 2006
3.6 17 September 2007

Kate Linux 1.0 Rabbit (series I)

The first version of the system was published on 2004-10-09. The system was based on Slackware 9.0 but unlike Slackware, it used the PAM authentication mechanism, and possessed an enriched package set. Due to the problems with the main server which only worked once in a blue moon, hardly anyone learned about the existence of Kate 1.0. After a move to another server, the project has begun to gradually acquire users. After some time, Kate 1.0.1 (a fix release including UpdatePack 1), and a Live version have been published.

Kate Linux 2.0 Zyklon (series II)

Version 2.0 was published on 2005-04-09, and was no longer based on Slackware. It was a long-term edition, the base for further development. It was also the first edition using Linux 2.6.

On 2005-05-06 the name of the project has been changed to KateOS.

On 2005-05-22 version 2.0.1 was published, providing a tool for managing and remote updating the TGZex packages. The tool was called Updateos, and was written by Piotr Korzuszek.

On 2005-06-23 version 2.1 was published. Updateos now could install packages remotely.

On 12 August 2005 the first Live edition of series II was published. It had a more distinctive graphical design, used the squashfs technology (2 GB of data packed on just one CD) and unionfs. It detected the hardware and configured the X Server automatically.

On 2005-10-13 the last version of series II was published - 2.3. Updateos gained new possibilities, and the system had a better hardware autodetection with the Discover tool.

KateOS 3.0 Virgin (series III)

On 12 April 2006 the first snapshot of KateOS 3.0 was published.

On 2006-07-09 the long awaited version 3.0 was published. It has entirely been built from scratch, basing on the most up-to-date components. The packaging system has been completely rewritten resulting in the PKG and Updateos2 tools, and the libupdateos and libsmarttools libraries. Again the functionality of the TGZex packages has been widened, this time to include dependency tracking and descriptions in many languages. The installation process has been simplified to allow a full install in just 15 minutes. The system used udev, D-Bus and HAL to detect hardware and mount devices automatically.

On 4 August 2006 the first 'Live edition of series III was published. It was aimed to demonstrate the possibilities of KateOS 3.0, and to be used as a data rescue system. The CD contained 2GB of data, including the Xfce desktop environment and many office and multimedia applications. It detected and configured hardware automatically, yielding a fully usable system in a few minutes' time.

On 7 October 2006 version 3.1 was published. It contained fixes, and the updated GNOME desktop environment. It was the first edition of Gnome adjusted especially to the KateOS system. It also included Update-notifier, a daemon whose system trace icon changes and blinks when update possibilities are discovered. It let the user easily chose packages to be updated and update them. It was based on the libupdateos library, and only supported the KateOS packages and repositories.

On 21 December 2006 version 3.2 was published. Apart from fixes and updates, it included a new tool, KatePKG KatePKG is a graphical package manager written in PHP with the PHP-GTK library, making KateOS the first system to include this library in the default distribution. It allows the user to easily install, update, and remove packages from the system. It supports any number of repositories, including local ones (located on the user's hard drive). Also, the libsmarttools library has been thoroughly reviewed and optimized, resulting in an up to a 60% speed boost in the applications using it (such as Updateos2). With this version KateOS has switched its bootloader from LILO to GRUB, hoping that it would better satisfy users' needs and make kernel updates easier.

On 17 September 2007 version 3.6 was released after eight months of development. This version brought several new and updated features to KateOS such as software driven suspend mode, improved internalization support, and the addition of several new programs such as KateLAN and Realm to help make configuring the system more user friendly. The Live CD version of 3.6 was the first KateOS to sport an on disc installer called Install Agent, allowing the user to directly install to their hard disk after trying the system live.

Additional information

All new KateOS releases are supported for around two years. Users are encouraged to update via the updateos command to newer versions of the distribution, although major version updates (series updates), e.g. II--->III are not recommended.

Damian Rakowski, the 'project initiator, leader, and 1st developer', stated that the project was named after a friend and because the name Kate is "simple, nice and everybody knows it."

External links

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