Kiwi is a free operating system based on Ubuntu Linux primarily targeted at users in Romania. The project comes on a single CD that can be used both as a live CD and for installing on the hard drive.
Why include proprietary software and non-open multimedia codecs?
We believe that while free data formats and free software are preferable to closed ones, compromises are acceptable when the alternative means even less freedom. We'd rather have our users run a combination of free operating system and proprietary codecs than only proprietary operating systems and software.
What is the relation to Ubuntu?
We plan on releasing versions keeping up with the latest Ubuntu. Features that are deemed appropriate for Ubuntu will be proposed for inclusion as we try to keep the differences contained to the packages that for various reasons are not included in Ubuntu.
Who develops Kiwi?
Most of the development work on Kiwi is supported by Startx SRL. Obviously the vast majority of what is on the CD is the work of the free software community of volunteers and paid developers who make Ubuntu, Debian, GNOME, Xorg, GNU/Linux and the rest of the free software ecosystem. The translations are the work of the Romanian and Hungarian free software localization teams and individual translators.
Here are some key features of "Kiwi Linux":
· Localization and spell-checkers for Romanian and Hungarian
· Better support for connecting to local ADSL providers (Romtelecom and RDS)
· NTFS write support via ntfs-3g on both the liveCD and on the installed system
· Adobe Flash 9 web-plugin
· Support for proprietary audio and video codecs
· Support for DVD playback using totem-xine (including encrypted DVDs)
· Miscellaneous apps (Inkscape for vector drawing, mc, vim)
· Customized artwork based on the original Ubuntu one
· Windows applications and language packs for languages not mentioned above were removed to make space
What's New in This Release: [ read full changelog ]
· It is based on Ubuntu 12.04.1, and keeping in line with the traditional and largely unwritten goals of the project, it targets Linux newbies who find some of the standard Ubuntu apps lacking or who are taken aback by anything too unfamiliar. Windows XP users for example. It also targets lazy people who would otherwise change about the same things on a vanilla Ubuntu install.
· So it features the Classic Gnome 2 desktop, Chromium, VLC, Pidgin, Flash, multimedia codecs and the rar and p7zip archive format handlers popular in Windows. Small changes compared to plain Ubuntu for someone who knows where to find these packages or change the defaults but for new users such small changes can save a lot of googling and digging in forums. I do not think there needs to be any rite of passage for someone to qualify to simply use a free OS.
· Besides the usplash theme and some changes to the installer slideshow the appearance is 100% Ubuntu. No point in spending time on custom wallpapers let alone entire themes and invalidating the hard work that went into the Ubuntu looks in the past few years just to gain some gratuitous differentiation. Besides, users tend to change their wallpapers.
· Also no separate community is encouraged, it is more or less Ubuntu, people should use the regular forums.