Systemd discussion on forum

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Please note that there is an ongoing discussion on the Puppy Forum about systemd:

Right now, I am running my laptop off the battery, as there is an electrical storm.

As there is a USB hard drive powered off the USB3 socket, the battery is getting drained rather fast!

It is one great thing about a laptop though, to be able to unplug the power socket, and the laptop just keeps going.

Debian Fork coming?

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In my previous blog post I wrote about a proposed Quirky LTS:

A couple of days ago, I grumbled about systemd:

It is not certain that it will happen yet, but some Debian developers look to be serious about forking Debian:

...they are seeking donations.

If that actually does happen, I will be very pleased, and there is a high likelihood that I will build a Quirky from their DEB packages.

Quirky LTS?

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As I am retired from Puppy Linux development, and despite the current flurry of activity developing Quirky, I will likely soon lapse back to other activities, so I am thinking of creating a "Long Term Supported" Quirky.

With Quirky, my fork of Puppy and venue for experimenting with new ideas, there have been releases that are very different from each other. Quite bewildering for anyone checking out Quirky for the first time.

The latest Quirky, Quirky Unicorn 6.2.1, built from Ubuntu 14.10 binary DEBs, is OK, except that I have graphics rendering issues with my Intel graphics chip, plus, as usual, I very much dislike the bloat.

One of my great loves with Puppy has been to create a very small distro, and I still enjoy that. Even though we have more RAM etc., there is still a place for a very small distro. Like, for example, running fast in RAM-only, with plenty of "leg room" to run apps and save stuff.

For that reason, I think that my favourite Quirky is 6.1.4, which is built from binary packages compiled in T2. The xz'ed image file was about 105MB, I recall.

My recent experience with Buildroot has shown me ways in which I might be able to make that smaller, and this is something that I would like to do.
Not using Buildroot though, as I need a tool that will create binary packages and a resultant root filesystem that has the complete compiler toolchain in it.

For this reason, I am looking at T2 again, employing what I have learned from Buildroot.

My thinking is that I will create something that I will stick with for a few years. This will also give others the opportunity to contribute, packages perhaps, knowing that this version of Quirky is going to be around for a considerable time.

This will mean then, that Quirky is going to settle down, become mature, not change wildly from one version to the next.

Quirky history
A bit of an overview of the Quirky releases, going back in time:

Quirky Unicorn (latest 6.2.1):
This is built from Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn DEBs. 6.2 release:

Quirky Tahr (latest 6.0.5)
Built from Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr DEBs. 6.0 release:

Quirky T2 (latest 6.1.4)
Packages compiled from source using T2. The first release was 6.0:
But, version numbers grew to the latest, 6.1.4, which overlaps the later Trusty Tahr, so that is a source of confusion.

I think perhaps that my LTS Quirky will be version 6.3.x, to clearly show that it is later than all of the others.

If anyone wants to contribute a thought about this, feel free to post here:

Quirky Erik update, and EOL

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The latest xz'ed image file is only 96MB, with Midori, Sylpheed, Gnumeric, Abiword, and pretty much everything that you would expect to find in a Puppy or Quirky.

Not bad, considering that most of our pups and quirkies these days are pushing 200MB. The Quirky Unicorn 6.2.1 .xz file is 195MB.

With a bit more work, I could push it below 96MB, however, I have decided to leave working on Buildroot. Coz, I don't really know where I am going with it.

The desktop of QE works, I can go online with Midori, except it crashes when I go to Some pages render awful.
I am using old Gnumeric and Abiword PETs from Wary5, they work fine. Mtpaint also from Wary5, but it crashes when do File -> Open.

So, there are bugs, but I won't be fixing them. I will leave it to anyone else who might have the itch to compile a root filesystem with Buildroot and import it into the Quirky build system -- and build a Puppy-like distro.

I have uploaded the latest Quirky build system: I haven't, cannot upload to
...I will post a comment when succeed.

quirky-20141124.tar.gz needs to be expanded in a partition with Linux filesystem, and at least 20GB free space. It is recommended to create a top-level folder in the partition named something like 'quirky-project', and download the tarball inside that folder, and expand it there, it will expand as folder 'quirky'.

In quirky/woof-code/support/buildroot, you will find instructions on how to compile a root filesystem using Buildroot, and how to import it into Quirky.

What's next
I have learned quite a lot from this exercise, and can see how it would be fairly easy to apply the same principles to any other root filesystem. Might look into that.
Or might do some else...

Cutdown icu

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I made an extremely interesting discovery. I have lamented the size of icu, and the drift of many packages to adopt it as a dependency.

There is one file, /usr/lib/<version>, that is 22 - 25MB. That is a massive file, one that I would love to remove or reduce when striving for a lean-and-mean Quirky (and earlier, Puppy).

Well, I have found that I can. If the icu source is configured with "--with-data-packaging=archive", the database inside that library file is taken out. In the case of icu version 51.2, that I am using in Buildroot, the data file is /usr/share/icu/51.2/icudt51l.dat

The library file /usr/lib/ becomes a mere 3KB, and icudt51l.dat becomes 22MB.

The fat has just moved, however, I discovered this site:

...which enables one to create a cutdown .dat file.

Not having a clue what I am doing, I unticked all the boxes, leaving just the bottom 'base data' box ticked, and generated a icudt51l.dat file of only 320KB.

Now the remarkable thing is, testing this in my Quirky Erik, running Midori browser, which requires webkitgtk, which requires icu, browsing around on the Internet, I can't see any difference compared with having the full icudt51l.dat

Hmmm, maybe it's because I only looked at English sites.

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