Chakra is not a repo for Arch anymore - it is a full fledged distro based on Arch but going in another direction. There is a clear filisofy behind it too.
The want to deliver an effiecent KDE desktop, bleeding edge and fast! To achieve this they have divided KDE into modules so you can install what you need and drop those "zillion" games that you don't. That is a good idea and of course it will make chakra less bloated.
Further more they have a strict Apartheid between Gtk and QT. Anything coming from Gnome will "pollute" the system so they thought of a clever way of doing it. (Well you need Gtk applications like Gimp and Firefox etc.....).
They squash every file needed into a "bundle" and you can just klikk on Gimp or firefox on the Chakra webpage and run it. And that is it.
KDE is kept clean.
This is possible because a Bundle is a squashed filesystem, an ISO-like image with all the files needed to run your app. Pretty innovative and the tools that have been experimental for years are starting to work too. The package manager is nice and the search function is fast. Updates are done with the click of a button.
Yes the terminal and good old pacman is there and I can update with the CLI if I want to. But this is not the point with chakra. They are trying to make a user friendly KDE distro. And yes - with blistering fast Arch under the hood.
The GUI installer called Tribe, actually worked this time so I pointed and clicked may way through the partitioning, and set up my hardisk succesfully.
Every time I did something wrong I got a clear message.
So yes it has improved.
And the secret lies in the tools - that is what will make Chakra easy to use. The CInstall bundle manager works fine, and in the background - you don't even have to know what it is. Just click on the Gtk application you would like to install.
In fact newbies coming from windows will love this - just like Windows. It is not installed in the traditional way - it is kept apart on purpose but it is as fast as anything, so there is no sacrifice.
Also you get the tools to create your own live media, in the shape of LiveScripts2.
Chakra is going to be "Half rolling" but they do promise to have the KDE integrated a fortnight after it is released so it is going to be cutting edge anyway.
My install came with KDE 4.6.3 and looked nice - I liked it. And not all modules are installed by default you can use the package manger and install what you need. But it is very functional right out of the box.
My problem with KDE has always been that it is so heavy on resources - Chakra may have found the solution to this.
So who should use chakra?
Mandriva users, Mageia users, Kbuntu users and eventually even new Linux users. Although there is a lot of High tech stuff going on there is no big geek factor to Chakra; it is relatively user friendly good looking, and fast.
Given some more time this could become a major distro.
If I would switch to it?
No I don't think so I like the Arch way where I do the stuff myself and only have myself to blame. This is very different - and very interesting!