An elegant and simple Arch Linux-based distro

Productive Chakras

Click on Applications > Office to browse through Chakra's preinstalled Productivity apps. Chief amongst these is the Calligra Office Suite (Figure 7), which includes the word processor Words and the equally imaginatively named spreadsheet software Sheets.

Figure 7: View PDFs in Okular; create and edit text documents using Calligra Words. The Calligra Suite also supports spreadsheets and presentations.

Chakra also bundles the useful vector graphics tool Karbon. The suite also includes the presentation software Stage, but you'll need to install this separately. If you prefer, you can also install the more well-known LibreOffice suite instead via pacman.

Working with PDF documents is a breeze; the Calligra suite apps can export files as PDFs. You can also view other PDF files using the preinstalled Okular document viewer (Figure 7).

The Office section also includes the Storage Service Manager, which allows you to set up and manage cloud providers such as Dropbox and Nextcloud. Any credentials you enter here are protected by KDE Wallet Manager (Kwallet), which stores sensitive data in an encrypted file. You can choose whether to encrypt using the classic Blowfish cipher or gpg.

Chakra Conclusions

The Chakra Project website cautions that its Keep it Simple Stupid (KISS) approach, where users can customize their desktop environment and apps, makes the OS unsuitable for people new to Linux. This said, they do have a comprehensive Beginner's Guide to help newbies get started [11]. The guide can also be accessed from the desktop of the Chakra LiveCD. Further help for those new to Chakra is available from the forums [12].

From using the Plasma desktop and navigating the preinstalled apps, it's clear that the Chakra Project has succeeded in their stated goal of creating an easy-to-use, clutter-free environment.

The installation process also works like a charm, although the half-rolling release model means that you must run updates early and often. On the plus side, this also means any OS upgrades are incorporated into the package manager, sparing you the trouble of going through the install process again.

Overall, while Chakra OS is undoubtedly a KDE purist's dream come true, it also offers a snappy and appealing experience for those willing to convert or for Gnome lovers willing to manually install their favorite applications.

The Author

Nate Drake is a freelance journalist specializing in cybersecurity and retro tech.

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