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Retirement pre-announcement

August 18, 2008 — BarryK
From the Puppy project, that is. I have been thinking about this for sometime, it is just a question of when.

I had previously hinted that I would do so early in 2010, however I will probably bring that forward.

Reasons for retiring earlier

One of them is that I would like to move to developing an application, in particular I am interested in porting my EVE vector editor to Linux, running with one of the native GUI libraries such as GTK.

Also, I would like to do other things. The Puppy Project takes up all my time, I don't even have a part-time job anymore so income is too low. I intend to do some regular part-time work and make more time for other activities that I keep postponing.

Being "Commander in Chief" of the Puppy Project is something that I have never been comfortable with.


I will register another domain name for my site, and most likely hand over for the guys who currently run to also manage. I say "most likely" because this is undecided.

I will keep playing with a Puppy-derivative, with a different name. This will not be designed to work with a huge range of hardware necessarily, it will just be something that I tinker with sometimes. It will have a different name.

I may even focus on a niche derivative that runs optimised on one of the baby laptops, as some other Puppy-enthusiasts are doing.

I will probably turn over the keys to the download site. I do not yet know who will get that responsibility.


I am not going to suddenly pull out. That is why I am posting this advance notice, so that everyone knows it is is going to happen. Also, it is an opportunity if someone wants to advise me how best to streamline the transition (preferably by forum PM).

I certainly intend to keep going full-steam on version 4.1. It is shaping up well.


Instead of retiring
Username: linuxcbon
Now that puppy is almost perfect, you dont need to work full time on it anymore. But you dont need to retire forever from puppy. You can finish 4.1 and make it official. Then rest like 3 months doing other things. And then come back to correct the bugs and improve and make a 4.2. And then retire for like 3 months etc. And make 4.3. Etc. But remain chief of puppy.

Good luck!
Username: Roberto Bechtlufft
"You're probably right, you've been working on Puppy for years now. Puppy is well documented, and there is a pretty active community built around it. I think the community will be able to move the project forward. I know you're not retiring yet, but anyway, thanks in advance for all your hard work, and good luck on your new projcts!

Username: Puppyluvr
"BarryK, 5 years ago, when you "birthed" the first Puppy, you created something unique and special. Thru the years, you nurtured it and "trained" it well. Youve watched it grow into something amazing and begin to take on a life of its own. Now, like any parent, you have to let it go. But, also, like any parent, you can never really let go. Im sure whoever you chose to succeed you will do fine, but you will always be the "Commander in Chief". Retired or not, when Kirk steps on the Enterprise, he is always the captian. To say thank you isnt nearly enough. Having used a lot of distros, I realize they all lack that special quality, that cute and friendly feeling, of Puppy. You did that. Puppy has your heart in it, and it shows. An OS is just a bunch of code, but Puppy has a heart. Its name is BarryK. Yes, the Puppy community will continue to raise your "Wonder Child", but you will always be its Master in spirit. May God bless you and return to you the love youve given Puppy all these years, in your other endevours. Again, THANK YOU from us all.

dont leave it
Username: linuxcbon
"I think you are wrong to retire. If you leave puppy, it will die.

Username: tronkel
"As with anyone involved in developing and promoting Linux, seldom - if at all, can one make a viable income from it. I know the feeling well from personal experience. I would have liked to have seen financial backing coming from somewhere in order to at least oil the wheels. A great pity that that has not happened - at least as yet. Hopefully you will be able nevertheless to treat the Puppy project as a part-time hobby at least. I doubt if the project would die in the hands of others, but it may evolve in other directions as yet unknown.

money ?
Username: linuxcbon
"To make money : Remove things to make it "free but limited version". And promote update to "puppy complete" for 10 dollars via paypal. Put promoting infos in your blog and webpage. That's it.

Username: joe c
"thanks for all you have done. having created Puppy you have a special bond and vision for Puppy not likely to be duplicated by any one else. time will tell. enjoy your new endeavors. thanks again joe

re: retirement
Username: lstandish
"I discovered Puppy only a few weeks ago, and was immediately taken by its extreme ease of use and speed. It shows genius in its design, and beauty in its implementation. I have chosen Puppy Linux over other Linux distros for donations of used PCs to the poor in rural Costa Rica. Most of the recipients are newcomers to computers, or have a small amount of Windows experience. The donated hardware is often relatively slow. Puppy fits all the requirements perfectly. I believe it is the distro of choice for Windows refugees. I'm mentioning this just to let you know, Barry, that your work has reached into perhaps unexpected places all over the world. Thank you so much. I would like to second Puppyluvr's opinion that you will always be master of this wonderful project, even if you are not developing it actively. I will be sending a special "thank you" donation via PayPal to you soon. I suggest that others do the same. Warm regards, Lloyd

Username: alcatraz
"I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it has been for me to have Puppy and all the experiences and fun I am having with it. Its sad that you are retiring, but I guess that's what's best for you and hope you'll do just great in whatever you decide to do. To me, Puppy Linux has been the greatest gift from the whole open source community , congrats to you and the other guys and everyone who has been involved with Puppy for such great work. Well, its still hard to believe ,'s wishing you great luck for your future endeavors and a big thank you . Take care. :) Regards, Mohit

Benevolent Dictator For Life
Username: inged
"Barry, sorry to hear you are leaving, but good luck anyway. I was thinking in this title for you 'Benevolent Dictator For Life', but somebody else already did it on Wikipedia!

Thanks and good luck
Username: Leon
"Barry, Everything I know about Linux I learned using Puppy. It's also a pleasure to be a member of the community that is inspired by your work. Thank you and good luck. Leon

Username: dogone
"OK guys. Let's not bury the body until it's cold ;-). Barry is planing his future. He's not kicking Puppy off the bed. Software technology is dynamic and unpredictable. Sticking with a project for more than a few years is rare. Barry has contributed more time and energy to Puppy than any of us could possibly expect. But it may well be time for the community to take over core Puppy development. It's got the people and it's got the talent. I expect it's also got the will. Barry, we* would be honored if you would accept the position of "Chief Technology Officer" for the new Puppy project. We will need your experience, your guidance and your expertise in order to take Puppy to the next level. Puppy 5.0 will be a Community Edition and we'll need your help in creating it. Puppy 5.0 CE will be based on Puppy 4.1 - a superb foundation upon which to build. (*the above offer is of course subject to approval by The Community)

Username: Aitch
"Hi Barry I feel as though much of what I feel is said by Puppyluvr, but I've only just heard via the forum [SHS] of this announcement There have been many off-topic conversations/discussions around the area of freedom, and centred, without words, around a spiritual openness which I believe you inspired and attracted in the Puppy Community, both with Puppy Linux, and the way you mastered it as a project. Only yesterday I recovered the history of Puppy's origins from the Wayback Machine. Today I posted a link to a spacetimetravel video. In the future, we, your fans and admirers may call upon you always as the PuppyMaster and just maybe invite you to post as consultant to the longlasting Puppy you began May the energy and devotion you put into Puppy return a thousand-fold in both your and our future, wherever that may take us all Applause. Applause. Aitch

Username: Raffy
"Yes, Barry, you've created Puppy expecting/driving a trend in new and minimalist computing, and now it's here! So if you keep developing a niche Puppy, that will be excellent. The community can port what you do to other hardware, and you will have a less stressful hobby (huh, how could a hobby be like that, LOL [maybe ask Linus]). We still have the hosting, and probably I can use that to host Puppy archives (like the old sources from your DVDs, as well as website content that you want to archive). Lately, the MIT guys referred a school application developer to the community (see Caroline in the forum - you might find her project interesting). To me, this hints that you could have fun talking to the (ex) OLPC pioneers themselves, like Mary Lou Jepsen and Walter Bender. They would need a "hobbyist" like you. :)

Username: alphasurfer2008
"barry, I wish you the very best whatever you decide to do! Puppy will live on I believe, Hopefully you will still want to be a part of the project in some way! Thanks again barry and everyone out there for keeping puppy linux alive!

The High Commander
Username: cthisbear
"Solomon is the High Commander of a highly trained alien unit, sent to Earth by their leader. I immediately thought of this show. You are like this in the Linux world. A little off centre, a bit wacky…. In the nicest possible way. “”””””””””””””””””””” Thanks for the ride. Michael Nesmith “Thunder rumbling Twice the size Echoes distant To my goodbyes I'll just mosey on Thanks for the ride “ :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: YOU DONE GOOD BAZ!!! “To sum it all up, Michael gave all he could possibly give, and his audience received as much as they ever could have asked for. YOU DONE GOOD NEZ!!! Chris

re-think please!
Username: orlando_ombzzz
""But remain chief of puppy." +1 :-))) orlando ( from argentina )

Username: WN2A
"Barry, this little distro has offered an incredible combination of functionality and practicality not seen in any other OS. But (as I have said before) it is the Forum and the Puppy Community that sustains it. So, I don't see this as an end, at all, as evidenced by all the CE's and Puppy remasters and derivatives. By planning this transition carefully, I know the distro will thrive well into the future. The next Chief Developer will need to be as driven as you to keep all the desirable attributes that Puppy has offered, but will have to "steer their own course" through those waters. I will, for my part, continue to package those applications I find useful and hope the dotpet package format stays intact. Good Luck in your future projects, and please accept the title "Developer Emeritus". 73! WN2A

Username: eprv
"Puppy is great for learning Linux, the simplicity and open structure permit endless different uses, you can take it in any direction and it always works. Great vision that came true. A good 3d cad system for Linux is missing, would you take that as your next project? Wish you all the best.

The Future
Username: ANOSage
"Of course everyone wishes you well, Barry. But, retiring from the mainstream of development of Puppy would simply hand the main prize to the likes of M$; they have only to sit back and wait. Community Editions have been something of a disaster - committees design metaphorical elephants whilst arguing about nomenclature. Derivatives are derivatives: fixes and add-ons are just that. And Linux doesn't do money, especially of the $US$ variety. Sole developer distros create considerable paradoxes/-doxi/-doces? Patrick V experienced the same problem with Slack - his previous health scare nearly scuppered substantial progress of his creation since that hiatus. The excellent Wolvix is stalled due to the developers being unable to devote time to their project. Only a distro originator has the vision, as well as all the other necessary qualities to push onwards and upwards. There are moderately successful distros resulting from team development, most where the team is located in the same physical, rather than cyber- space. But they tend to fail, too, as everyone suffers from the human condition; one member of the team will eventually take umbrage at another's word choice, personal habits, choice of ladies or aftershave. All of this poses a considerable conundrum. Maybe Mark U could be persuaded to take over the project, especially as he and his colleague have the skill and are able to operate a parallel commercial operation? Perhaps it could be incorporated into Hacao as an English language version, ditto Happy. There might be All-Aussie options, but it is unclear whether the skilled contributors on the Forum are other lone outposts in your vast country? Perhaps a busy young man like tombh has the skill and drive to learn the ropes? It is self-evident that the project should remain well outside the clutches of Uncle Sam. Best Wishes, whatever.

Dont go..
Username: mcastles
"I was just about to find out how I could donate to you Berry, then I found some people talking about your retirement from this. I think your a smart and hardworking guy, seems to me the things you figure out are not nearly as half as much as I know about computers and linux you know a lot more defenetly! As a website maintainer myself I know it is not easy to keep things in motion regarding the subject no matter what it is, I find myself quiting and starting all over again or beginning where I left off after I have thought of quiting my website suff. Well no matter what your reason is, you know best! Thanks for such a good operating system! 3.01 is my fav.

Username: Mike
"Many thanks for this great distro. Have 4.00 on 2 old laptops (12 and 9 years old) and also on VirtualBox under XP. Tried all the others but this is the best. Good luck for the future Regards

Username: jimhap
"You've made a great invention. It changed the world in some way. Sure, I'd like to retire too from my project, but I made it, and I don't want my project to be dead. So, I keep it alive. If you really do need to, you can still work on it part time. Seriously, your creation is a marvel. You should really realize how important your creation is. Before, you made a distro (Puppy) that would let a user save data. People hated Microsoft and never liked it. But where to go? They could go to Macs, but they are expensive. Or Linux. Ubuntu then required installation. (Until now, but still needs install) But Puppy let other users simply save, not install, which gets users into the Linux world. Truthfully, I am using Ubuntu these days, but without Puppy, I would never thought of using Linux at all. Thanks again for you hard work. I suggest you to be a cheif tech guy, if you don't want to maintain a distro. The community can take over, as I see they can. As ANOSage said, there could be fights and stuff. But, the community made some good Puppy CE, and it actually worked. So again, thanks for all the work Barry.

Username: amico
"Your annoucement revived a feeling in me I had after watching (long time ago) an old movie titled "the last picture show". I can hardly imagine no more news on Barry's blog: the first page I read when I switch on my computer. The reason is obvious: no other distro is much active, much dynamic, much interesting in its concept from the first moment it existed. I feel that you're right to aspire for a change, but on the other side pup's getting more and more momentum, its gaining it's place as a reference distro in it's niche, I believer it's a strategic mistake to leave it now (or soon) completely. The boomerang you throw in the air some years from now is on his way back full of promesis. 2010 was a good estimation in my point of view. Until then, starting any other project in parallel is a must seeing what beautiful things coming from Barry's "heart" (Barry's "kernel" is more appropriate ). Thank's a lot and much luck and success

Thanks so much
Username: xaer0knight
"Thanks so much for the years of Puppy Linux. it ran great on my old machines from my P2/350Mhz, my P3/850Mhz, and now it sets on my Sempron/2.4 Ghz. It sets proudly on a 1GB Flash Drive and I use it for data recovery :) I learned a lot from Puppy Linux 3.01 and still continue to learn. Heck, I have taught 3 people linux by using Puppy. Puppy has more speed than any other distro that i have used, from Ubuntu, Fedora, SUSE, GoblinX, Slackware, and BSD. Hats off, Jason Wisconsin, USA

Username: Rarsa
"Well, just a short thanks for all the fun and learning I've had with Puppy. I hope people will continue working on it and improving it. My self? I'm always hoping to have more time to do more with Puppy.

What about working only on a bare puppy
Username: NeverMore
"I was thinking if you might consider working only on a bare version of puppy, so that the community can work in adding and removing stuffs.. This way you need to care only the kernel and the thing that need a very specialized work!

Retiring from Puppy
Username: capoverde
"Life means change. If you feel you've had enough of it, Barry, I can well understand you: and surely no Puppy enthusiast wants you to become a slave of your own creature! I often wondered how you could endure so much hard work. Puppy Linux got its power from you, without any financial help; now I just hope nobody will really believe money can make it better. Money doesn't make things better, it just gives an easy illusion: a hungry man doesn't need money, he needs food... Food for Puppy can come from anyone expert and savvy enough to keep things absolutely simple, straightforward, efficient as you did: it seems to me that the "Puppy Team" has quite a few such people in daily service. ...Well, probably many of us will always think "Barry would have done it better"... Thanks a million, have fun! (And if you ever come to Italy, drop me a line).

Great Stuff and Good Luck
Username: Henry Fieglein
"Thank you for conceiving and giving birth to such a wonderful OS. Having given over some major projects myself, I know how difficult it can be to let go. I believe that with one voice we can all say that whenever you wish to "un-retire" or feel that you have "mis-retired" (you are going to have to understand American sports to understand those 2 jokes) that all of us will welcome you back with open arms. You have a way of thinking about problems which is unique and not always conventional. I hope that your next ideas stay along those lines and that you follow through on them as you have done with this project. As a side question for you, I have archive files on my version of Linux (Wyse Linux) which were created using the ar command. I cannot seem to find that command in any of the packages. Can you point me in the right direction (it is in busybox on my Linux)? Thanks again!

A million thanks ...
Username: seldomseen
"I've been running Linux-only 'puters for five or six years, using a lot of different distros, but Puppy has been the constant. Ever since 0.91, when I was intrigued at how small a working system can be. Using Dingo now. While I'm using a Debian Sid system in the front line, there's always a Puppy CD nearby, pup-save files on the hard drive, a QEMU-Puppy on my key ring, and the computer always has barking capability. Can't think of any other distro that's as much fun as this one -- and yeah, computing ought to be fun. Travel easy, and the best of luck to ya. We'll keep a light in the window.

Username: B
ιθm"Good luck and thanks for the work done so far. Hope will hear about some niche development then.

Username: hachpie
"Don't go. You enlightened the path Linux should follow. Puppy was / is a major breakthrough.

its nice to be trusted
Username: hairywill
"I thought I'd reply, though interestingly many people you named have not. I suspect they are busy working on their dog. I think what is important is to identify a bunch of people that can work together. So many people seem prepared to fall out out over which is their favourite browser/window manager/desktop background. This group need to all trust each other and be prepared to cooperate. I also think it is important to have a single person as head though this could rotate monthly as I think so other distros do. I think it was Plato that said that you should not appoint a leader who wants the job, maybe thats behind the success of your leadership. I personally intend to continue to work for puppy in the way that I have done. I give it too much of my time as it is.

Tags: retirement