Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Friday, May 31, 2019 at 14:48

(ROSA R10 with KDE4 desktop running in 2019)

While Ubuntu doesn't have KDE4 anymore, a Mandriva-based GNU/Linux distro named ROSA from Russia continued to ship KDE4 even in 2019. It is ROSA Desktop Fresh R10 released in 2017 and supported until 2020. ROSA is one among three splits of Mandriva, other two are OpenMandriva and Mageia, happened right after 2011. We cannot run KDE4 anymore on Ubuntu today, but we can still run it on ROSA and get support. This article briefly highlights ROSA R10 for you. I wish anybody who wants a good distro with KDE4 in 2019 finally find what he/she wants. Enjoy!

In a nutshell

ROSA R10 KDE4 is a normal release (non-rolling) distro with LiveCD Installer ISO.

ROSA includes this set of software:

  • KDE4 as desktop environment
  • Dolphin as file manager
  • Firefox and Chromium as web browser 
  • LibreOffice as office suite
  • GIMP as image editor and Gwenview as image viewer
  • Clementine and Rosa Media Player as audio and video player
  • SimpleWelcome as start menu (application launcher)
  • StackFolder as quick access for files and folders on system tray
  • Rpmdrake as graphical package manager
  • Audacity and Kdenlive as audio and video editor

Important links regarding ROSA are here:

Download links:

1. Start Menu

The application launcher is in full screen. The shortcut key is Alt+F1 and not Super key. First time I saw it, I admire the icon theme instantly. They're gorgeous and I didn't find such icons on other distros yet.

(ROSA application launcher looks unique compared to Ubuntu's and it's pretty faster)

A little bit talking about performance, the start menu above runs really quicker and responsive than menu on Ubuntu Bionic Beaver. Try it. And ROSA system as a whole runs very smooth on my Pentium 4GB Acer Aspire One laptop.

2. Package Manager

Old Ubuntu ships with Synaptic, while ROSA R10 ships with Rpmdrake, both are GUI package managers. It's still as user friendly as the package manager of Mandriva even today in 2019. To Reload repository information, simply go to menubar File > Update Media > select four Main selections on top > Update > go to menubar File > Reload packages list. After that, search anything and give check mark and press Apply button to install it.

Some most up to date versions of packages in the repository today:

  • Firefox 66
  • Chromium Browser 73
  • LibreOffice 6.0
  • GIMP 2.10 and Inkscape 0.92 and Krita 4.0.4
  • Kdenlive and Marble 18.12
  • Scilab 5.5.1 and GNU Octave 4.2.1
  • VLC 3.0.4

(Rpmdrake Package Manager installing Firefox browser)

3. Workspace

Remember this one? The old, bottom panel Widgets selection. And the transparent folder view, and the translucent clock. And, the handle on right edge of the widget.

(A fresh KDE4 workspace with widgets)

And applications work just fine with this workspace in modern days.

(LibreOffice Writer, Calc, and Impress running with a menubar opened)

And, not to forget the amazing 3D Cube desktop effect. Plus, ROSA still supports different wallpaper and widgets for different desktops, while nowadays Plasma 5 doesn't.

(ROSA 3D desktop with start menu opened in one workspace and System Settings in another workspace)

4. File Manager

It's Dolphin. With everything available on left panel. This file manager can do you F3 (split vertical), Ctrl+I (select by keyword), Ctrl+F (search), Show in Groups, Sort by anything and in descending mode, and more.

(Dolphin file manager running well on ROSA)

5. System Settings

It's Configure Your Desktop on start menu. You control panel is still like the golden old times with KDE4. Here you will find many configurations for KDE in general like Desktop Effects plus some system configurations like Firewall and Drakx Services, all are user friendly. We can determine which system component to connect to the network by click, and start/stop any service by click too, just as easy as that. Even we don't find such Firewall and System Services management by default on latest Ubuntu today.

(ROSA System Settings, Firewall manager, and Services manager running)

Difference to Ubuntu

To mention brief difference between ROSA and Ubuntu:

  • It's developed by Russian company LLC NIC IT ROSA, while Ubuntu's developed by United Kingdom-based company Canonical.
  • It is based on Mandriva, Ubuntu is based on Debian.
  • Its package format is .rpm, Ubuntu's is .deb.
  • Its package manager are rpm and urpmi, Ubuntu's are dpkg and apt-get.
  • Its user interface is KDE4 (an older version before current KDE5), Ubuntu's are GNOME 3.

Some final words

This short review shows briefly how it looks like and how good looking it is for you. For former KDE4 fans, I believe ROSA will make you happy once again, as it's pretty stable and quick even on old hardware like mine. For users who seek unique yet glossy interface, ROSA is promising one for you, try it first and have a nice day. Just see the desktop effects and icon theme! As Ubuntu users perhaps we can still hope that someday there will be a PPA to provide ROSA desktop (the supported KDE4) available for Ubuntu. Anyway, ROSA is a nice KDE4 distro, which is rare now, in this modern days. Enjoy ROSA R10!

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.