Kwort Linux 4.3.1


by Andreas Schipplock


Oh well, Kwort, my old friend, it's a love-hate relationship. Kwort is an experiment; it always has been for me. At some stage I wanted to use it more seriously, especially on servers but interests faded away at some point. I still take Kwort as an experiment.

The founder, project leader and maintainer of Kwort Linux is David B. Cortarello.

And just because David distilled a new version of Kwort, I'm more or less writing down how to set up Kwort 4.3.1. It might wonder you that this has to be explained but Kwort 4.3.1 doesn't have a real installer anymore and this is on purpose. I first thought "come on!" but it's better that way. In fact it's extremely flexible this way. You can set it up from an sd card, your usb pen and a cd. And in the end you really know what you did.

IMHO: Kwort isn't made for the every-day Ubuntu-Joe. If you have no real clue about Linux and related software, you will feel frustrated. Leave Kwort behind if you just want to get a working desktop in minutes. There's no community that will provide you all the packages and security updates. You will have to do all that on your own.

So if you still want to give Kwort Linux a try, let's move on and install it on a dedicated or virtual machine.

So here we go...

Setup Digest

Hint 1: mcedit is available if you don't feel comfy to use vi.

Hint 2: if you have a german keyboard layout: "loadkezs de".

Hint 3: you need at least 512mb of ram or it will panic at boot; the kernel image is big and allocates quite some ram.

Before we go into the details, here's what steps you need to do to setup Kwort Linux:

1. Boot from CD-ROM

2. Create partitions on your harddrive

3. Create a file system

4. Create a swap space

5. Mount your newly created file system

6. Mount the Kwort CD-ROM

7. Install the packages from this CD-ROM to your harddrive

8. Prepare the installed system

9. Install a boot loader

10. Reboot into your newly installed Kwort system

Boot From CD-ROM

Here's not much to choose from. Try the first item. After a lot of output you will be see the following screen:

To quit this text, simply type 'q'.

Create Partitions

First you need to identify which harddrive you want to partition.

To get a list of all attached drives, you can execute:

# lsblk

If you cannot tell from the SIZE of the drive which one you want to partition, you can use:


If it's a system with just one sata harddrive, it's probably 'sda' or 'hda'. In this case you start the disk partition tool like:

# cfdisk /dev/sda


# cfdisk /dev/hda

You will see the cfdisk interface with no partitions on it if it's a new disk. If you have old partitions there you can delete them if you are absolutely sure you can dispose them.

In any case you navigate with your arrow keys.

Choose 'New', then 'Primary' and choose the size. In this case I have around 15000 MB of space and because I want to spare some space for swap I choose 13000 MB for this partition. After you've entered the size, choose 'Beginning' so it will add the partition to the beginning of the free space. After that step navigate to the 'Bootable' menu item and press enter. You will notice that in the 'Flags' column the additional text 'Boot' will appear.

This is how it looks if you added one partition. Now add another partition; the swap partition. Navigate to the list entry where it writes 'Free Space' and select 'New', then 'Primary', size is 2164 in my case, then don't make it bootable but navigate to the 'Type' menu entry and enter '82' as the filesystem type (that's swap).

Now your partitions should look like this:

If that's the case, navigate to the 'Write' menu item and press enter. If you see the text 'Wrote partition table to disk', you can quit 'cfdisk' by pressing 'q'.

Create File Systems

Now that you know your partitions, you can create your file systems for them.

I recommend to create an ext3, ext4 or xfs file system. I prefer to use ext4 but choose one on your own.

Now create your file system:

# mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda1

Depending on the size of your partition, this will take some time.

Now create your swap partition:

# mkswap /dev/sda2

This will run very quickly. Keep in mind that this partition setup is the simplest form. It's good enough to experiment with Kwort Linux but for real systems you probably want a different layout. This, however, isn't covered in this little booklet.

Mount Your File System

You now need to mount your newly created file system so you can install the packages from the CD-ROM.

To do this simply enter this command:

# mount -t ext4 /dev/sda1 /mnt/install

The /mnt/install directory already exists so you don't need to create it. Depending on your partition setup you will have to mount a different partition here.

Now you also have to mount the CD-ROM:

# mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/kwort

As of Kwort Linux 4.3.1 the CD-ROM is probably already mounted. Just in case it isn't, mount it.

You can verify that you successfully mounted everything:

# mount

As you can see /dev/sda1 is mounted read-write on /mnt/install. And you can see that your CD-ROM is mounted read-only at /mnt/kwort .

Install The Packages

Simply execute the following command:

# pkgsinstall

You will see the following output:

After some time all the packages will be installed to /mnt/install .

You can verify the success:

# ls -al /mnt/install

Prepare The Installed System

Now that all the packages are installed, you need to prepare the system so you can boot from it.

To do that, you first have to chroot into your newly installed system. Kwort Linux has a utility for that:

# jumpOS

This will change the root directory to /mnt/install . Convince yourself:

# ls -al /

This produces the same output as the 'ls -al /mnt/install' before.

You will have to do the following things inside the 'chroot' to get a bootable Kwort Linux:

Edit /etc/fstab so your partitions can be mounted

Edit /etc/rc.conf to make basic configuration changes

Set a root password and add a user

Install a boot loader

You can use 'vi', 'vim' or 'mcedit' to edit the configuration files.


Add the following two lines to the /etc/fstab file:

/dev/sda1 / ext4 defaults
/dev/sda2 swap swap defaults


Modify at least:




For the keymap look inside '/usr/share/kbd/keymaps/i386'. There you can find 'qwerty' and 'qwertz' directories. If you have a look inside 'qwertz' e.g., you can see ''.

If that fits your needs, you would set:


For the timezone have a look inside '/usr/share/zoneinfo'. You will see directories for continents and inside these directories you will find the capital cities for all the countries. In case you live in Germany you would choose '/usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Berlin' and in your 'rc.conf' you would set your timezone like this:


For the hostname you are on your own. Choose whatever you like:


To give you an idea, this is how my 'rc.conf' looks like:

Set The Root Password

This is simple:

# passwd root

Add A New User

Add a user that doesn't have super user rights:

# useradd -m foobar

# passwd foobar

Install A Boot Loader

Still inside the chroot environment you have to install a boot loader; otherwise you cannot boot Kwort Linux.

First install the boot loader package:

# kpkg install /root/bootloaders/lilo-no-LVM*.tar.xz

Now edit '/etc/lilo.conf':


Save your '/etc/lilo.conf'.

Now it's important that you execute 'lilo':

# lilo

You will see the output 'Added Kwort *'.

Exit the 'chroot' with:

# exit

And reboot:

# reboot

Make sure to remove the CD-ROM; otherwise the setup will start again. Kwort Linux should boot now.

When you login into your freshly installed Kwort Linux, execute 'startx' to start the graphical environment.

Congratulations! You have successfully set up Kwort Linux.