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Precise Puppy 5.7

July 29, 2013 — BarryK
This is going to take everyone by surprise! I decided that 5.7beta2 is pretty good, so haven't bothered with an RC. Here is a short announcement:

Another pup in the Precise series! This pup comes in two flavours, one for older hardware and/or those on dialup Internet, the other for those with relatively modern hardware.
The "retro flavour" is an upgrade path for those who have used our Wary Puppy, that targeted older PCs and analog modem dialup -- unlike most other Linux distributions, it continues to support a wide range of analog "winmodems". It also has two web browsers, SeaMonkey and Opera, the latter preferred for PCs with less than 256MB RAM.
The "modern flavour" only has one browser, SeaMonkey, and forgoes most of the analog modem and true-SCSI drivers, and is the choice that will suit most people with a PAE-capable i686 CPU, no ISA cards, and 256MB or more RAM. You also get the benefit of a much smaller download, the live-CD .iso file is 155.7MB.
There are many fixes, improvements and new features in this pup, and the release notes give details. In particular, there are exciting new features at the underlying "Woof-level", or infrastructure-level, such as the more efficient pup_event daemon and IPC mechanism, and support for running Internet applications as user 'spot'.

Full announcement and release notes:

Download from here:

Choosing a flavour
Regarding which .iso file to download, if you are a Linux newbie and have an "older" PC and don't know whether it is PAE-capable, or has ISA-bus cards, play safe and choose the "retro flavour". It is the same in all respects to the main, regular flavour, except has many more 3rd-party drivers for analog modems and true-SCSI drives, plus a slightly earlier kernel version.

The release notes mention that the regular flavour would be your choice for a PC with 1.5GHz CPU and 512MB RAM or more, but I have quite happily run it on a system with 256MB RAM. However, definitely not less than 256MB, as SeaMonkey 2.19 is a resource hog and in less than 256MB RAM will be extremely slow, with much disk swapping. The Retro flavour has both SeaMonkey and Opera, the latter being better in limited resources.

A warning if you try both: booting off CD, at first shutdown you are asked if you want to copy the .sfs files off CD to hard-drive -- if you reply 'yes', but you then want to try the other flavour, be sure to first delete it off the hard drive. You will find it in the partition in which you created the session save-file, as /puppy_precise_5.7.sfs.

The theme
The release notes describe the theme, with acknowledgements to the original authors. Thanks guys!
I have modified the original component themes and created a combined overall theme that is... well, I like it anyway. The orange menu button will probably provoke some comments!


Precise 5.7 Forum feedback
Username: BarryK
I have started a thread on the Forum for feedback:

Another great effort for community benefit
Username: GCMartin
"Thanks Barry for what you do for our benefit. Its your contribution to the world. I applaud YOU!

USB optical drive not detected
Username: BarryK
"rcrsn51 has reported that a desktop drive icon for a USB otical drive does not appear, though Pmount can mount it. I used to have one of those, but it got taken back when my house was burgled, just over two years ago: I really do need to have one of those for testing. OK, I will go out tomorrow and purchase one.

Username: aarf
" boots. slick work. posted with frisbee wifi [img][/img]

Bought USB DVD drive
Username: BarryK
"OK, I went out and bought one, got it from these guys for $39: Yep, I can confirm this bug. Will look into it.

Service Pack 1
Username: BarryK
"10pm and I have not yet had my evening meal! There is a Service Pack, fixes a couple of optical media bugs:

retro high memory use
Username: broomdodger
"retro high memory use Precise 5.7 retro manual frugal Boot, savefile, and restart Precise 5.7.00 memory usage 554 MB Precise 5.6.11 memory usage 184 MB When Precise 5.7 starts it displays something I have never seen when a savefile is present: (the 'copying to ram' part) Loading the 'puppy_precise_5.7.sfs' main file... copying to ram Is it loading the sfs twice? Bill

Re copying to ram
Username: BarryK
"broomdodger, That was a change in 5.7final. The sfs defaults to being copied to ram if there is plenty of ram, that is, more than 700MB free. You now need a boot param "puppy pfix=nocopy" to prevent that. No, it is not getting loaded twice.

Re copying to ram
Username: broomdodger
"Barry wrote: [i]You now need a boot param "puppy pfix=nocopy" to prevent that.[/i]Setting nocopy for Precise 5.7 brings initial RAM usage back down to near the same as Precise 5.6.11 that is... 199MB rather than 554MB with copy. Is copying to RAM mostly an advantage for flash installation?

Re copy to ram
Username: BarryK
"No, the only reason for copying the sfs file to ram is that it might be a bit faster reading it, during usage, for example, starting an application. So, if there is plenty of ram, why not? If the file is on a HD, and copied to ram, it might reduce HD accesses.

Username: broomdodger
"Barry The EeePC has only an SSD. Do you consider f2fs ready to use? Should I copy everything off, reformat f2fs and copy back. Bill

Re f2fs
Username: BarryK
"broomdodger, I don't know, I only tried it briefly. Others on the Forum have reported that they are using it. This keyboard bug, is this something new? If so, I don't see how that could be, as I haven't made any changes in that area. Unless something has changed in the kernel. Even the 3.2.48 kernel could have had something applied to it that is backported from later kernel.

re keymap bug
Username: pemasu
"I have noticed the reports only from Upup Raring, kernel 3.9.9, woof used at the time, before new Precise development. Jwm 835. I have noticed that some times, keyboard defaults back to en_US for me. It happens randomly, now I havent had it days.... Here is charlie6 report: Strange.

re f2fs
Username: 01micko
"@broomdodger The latest slacko beta is geared up to run a FULL install from f2fs. Your mileage will vary depending on the media type as to how fast it runs. On my eee-701sd I dd'd a stick prepared with my f2fs_installer straight to the SSD and it works fine, however f2fs, IMHO, is still to be considered 'experimental'. In June they finally brought fsck to f2fs so that shows signs that it is maturing. Note, there is a severe storage penalty to be paid because of the logging nature of the filesystem. You stand to lose somewhere around 11% of available storage. Also note that it isn't supported by any bootloader as yet so you need to boot from a recognised filesystem (vfat, ext2, whatever you choose). In the future I'd like to see either (or both) the ability to save to an f2fs save file or mounting of an f2fs partition as an AUFS layer.

Anoher kernel panic on K6-2 500
Username: Jades
"First attempt at booting Retro version on K6-2 500 bombed out with a kernel panic on pfix=ram boot off CD. Checking disc on Pentium D to see if it works. It would be helpful if there was an explicit check for CPU features as part of the boot sequence like recent builds of Upup Raring and Slacko - those halt and state they can't continue due to lack of cmov. Will post more on forum thread.

Re keyboard layout bug
Username: BarryK
"Yes, I can reproduce this. I tried all sorts of things, bug is still there. It is not in recent Slacko builds, which hints that problem is in a recent Ubuntu DEB. I just don't know. I am building Racy with latest Woof, to find out if there is anything in Woof that is the cause. Or maybe a change in a PET. Building Racy now, will report back.

Keyboard layout announcement
Username: BarryK
"To everyone out there, just to let you know what this bug is: If you choose a non-US keyboard layout, the first application that you start will still have US layout. If you type something, then quit, then start any application, the keyboard layout will be correct. This problem occurs at every bootup. At this stage we haven't got a clue what is causing this. The workaround for now is, after bootup, click on, say, the "edit" icon, type anything, quit, then your keyboard layout will be correct. Yeah, I know, very annoying.

Racy OK
Username: BarryK
"I have built Racy from Woof, and non-English keyboard layout works properly. This is now pointing very strongly to an Ubuntu DEB in the 'precise-updates' repo. I will now do a test build of Precise using the same DEBs as used for Precise 5.6.1.

non-US success
Username: BarryK
"Just reporting in briefly, got other things to do this afternoon. Note, in previous comment, that should have been "non-US" layout, not "non-English". I have rebuilt Precise 5.7, but using the DEBs used to build Precise 5.6.1. Guess what... success! With each build of Precise, I use the DEBs from the 'precise-updates' repository. Well, it seems that someone has stuffed up, one of those updates is causing the problem. The build with the slightly older DEBs works fine, no problem with non-US keyboard. I suppose that we could narrow it down, find all changed DEBs since Precise 5.6.1. Do the same for Upup. Take out those highly unlikely to be responsible, then install the older DEBs until the problem goes away. Then we should have determined the culprit -- then we go and tear strips off the developer responsible :happy:

what about other usb drives?
Username: Annie_LINUX
"HI baz :) just wondering if you have tested any usb-to-sata or usb-to-ide connected drives as i use one of these to mount hdds an optical drives via usb to desktops an laptops when needed im sure i used one of these with older pup versions with no issues, one thing that did come a croper with older versions of pup was mounting sd cards via the internal slot in my compaq an fuji siemens machines, some times it would find them an i could mount them, some times i would need to eject the sd card an re insert it a number of times before i could get it to pick it up, other times i could not get it to show up, an then i left it inside an did a reboot an it was ok an mountable :) im going to try the latest iso today ive got a spare 32gb sd card to test later ile try it out an post up any issues :) thanks for all you efforts with puppy barry an every1 else in the community who helps out your all stars in my world :o)

Precise 5.7.1 soon
Username: BarryK
"Notice to everyone! Precise Puppy 5.7.1 is due out very soon. It has some important bug fixes, so you might want to wait for it. Should be out tomorrow.

Precise 5.7.1 released
Username: BarryK

Tags: puppy