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Big changes are afoot

August 10, 2017 — BarryK
I have been swapping between using Quirky and Easy, and one thing has become very obvious: Easy is much faster.

No quantitative measurements, just eyeballing, noticing a significant difference in app startup times and general responsiveness. Compiling times are also remarkably faster.

Fundamentally, the reason is that Quirky is a full installation, and in my case on a magnetic platter mechanical hard drive. Whereas, Easy is a layered filesystem, where, if there is enough RAM, 'q.sfs' (which is all of Easy) gets loaded into RAM at bootup.

So, you pay the price of a slightly slower bootup, but faster running.

One extra point: q.sfs is xz-compressed, however, after download and at first bootup, there is the option to recompress it gzip-compressed. This can make a small but noticeable difference to the responsiveness.

Another point: aufs is configured without support for writing directly to the lower layers. This makes aufs faster.

In all, it is a pleasant experience using Easy. So, the title is hinting something!

Tags: easy, quirky

Easy Linux 0.3 alpha released

May 30, 2017 — BarryK
Easy Linux 0.2 pre-alpha was released on March 17, 2017, see blog announcement:

Version 0.2 was built from Ubuntu 16.04 DEBs. Version 0.3 is built from packages compiled in OpenEmbedded. There are many posts about this in my blog, for example:

Easy Linux is the latest in the Quirky series of experimental Linux distributions. It is a fundamental rethink. I wrote an overview here:

Easy is deployed as an image file that can be written to a 2GB or greater USB Flash stick or SD-card, and booted up on any PC with x86 64-bit CPU (core-2 or later). The above link outlines how to write the image to a Flash stick or SD-card.

Easy can also be installed to an internal hard drive. So far, I have written one how-to, for a "frugal" installation:

Note that it is particularly easy to do a frugal installation if you have booted up Easy from a USB stick. Ditto for Quirky Linux.

Download Easy 0.3 from here:

You will also see the 'devx-0.3-pyro64.sfs' file at the above link. If you download this to /mnt/wkg/repository/easy-0.3, then run Filesystem -> Easy Boot Manager from the menu, you will see an "SFS" button, to choose extra SFS files to load.

You can also choose to load the devx SFS file in the "sh0" container, if you want to experiment with compiling inside a container.
Containers are managed from the menu Filesystem -> Easy Containers.

See Utility -> Urxvt terminal in container sh0, in menu. You can examine this container at /mnt/wkg/containers/sh0. When the container is running, you can access it from "outside" at /mnt/wkg/containers/sh0/container folder.

Note that containers are highly experimental at this stage. In some respects still a primitive implementation.


Easy frugal installation

May 29, 2017 — BarryK
I have written a web page that explains how to install Easy Linux to internal hard drive, in the famous "frugal" mode:

If you are interested in doing this, I recommend waiting for the release of Easy 0.3, due out in a day or two. It has a lot of improvements and bug fixes.

I plan to write another how-to page for installing to internal drive on PCs with UEFI-firmware.

Tags: easy

Easy Linux returning

May 21, 2017 — BarryK
I designed Easy Linux early in 2017, a radical rethink of how Linux works, a new paradigm even.

Version 0.2 pre-alpha was released on the 17th of March 2017, see blog announcement:

...there is a link to a web page that outlines the architecture.

There was some great feedback on the Puppy Forum, however, I got diverted, worked on compiling everything in OpenEmbedded. That has reached a milestone, have compiled almost ever package needed by Quirky/Easy, and wrote a script to import the binary packages into woofQ.

Have just built Easy 0.2.1 with the packages from OE, using it now. Works great.

Now I am back on developing Easy. The first thing that I plan to do is simplify the loading of sfs files. This was an area of difficulty reported in the forum.
I know what to do to make that super-easy. Will do so and build a new version for release.

Tags: easy

Links for Ubuntu for Pi2

March 30, 2017 — BarryK
Right now, looking at building Easy Linux for the Raspberry Pi2 and Pi3. As did for Quirky 8.1.4.

As Easy/Quirky built with same DEBs as Ubuntu Mate for Pi2, what they have have done is very helpful to look at.

Here are some useful links. The ubuntu-pi-flavour-maker home site:

The project code is hosted here:

They use a lot of customized DEBs, that can be found here:

The Ubuntu Mate website also has a Pi page:

Tags: easy

VLC fixed for Easy and Quirky

March 21, 2017 — BarryK
My simpleVP frontend for the commandline vlc and other CLI video players, remains in a primitive state. I haven't had the time to work further on it. So, video playing in the latest Easy and Quirky (versions 0.2 and 8.1.6) is broken.

I have fixed VLC. This is now the GUI version, that uses Qt libs. A lot of extra DEBs were required.

I got it working, but found videos would not play full-screen, and VLC crashed at completion of playing a video.
My laptop has intel graphics. VLC defaults to using libva and intel_vaapi for video output, and this is the cause of the trouble.

I have created a wrapper script, that causes VLC to default to "xcb_x11" or "xcb_xv" video output, unless the user has explicitly chosen something else. For me, "xv" (xvideo), works fine.

I also fixed the File->Open folder path, as appropriate for Easy or Quirky.

Tags: easy, quirky, linux

Easy Linux 0.2 pre-alpha

March 18, 2017 — BarryK
Here it is, the very first upload of Easy Linux!

I have designated this as "pre-alpha", as in some respects it is incomplete, untested, or immature.

On the otherhand, you might find it works fine for your needs.

To get an idea of what Easy is all about, please do read my How Easy Works page:

The status of Easy is like how an artist creates a painting with broad strokes to build up the overall picture, then later uses finer brushes and more colours. Easy is at the "broad strokes" stage.

Having read the intro, if you are still interested, download from here:

There are no installation instructions yet, but there are some notes in the How Easy Works page. In Linux, you can write the file to a Flash stick or SD-card from the commandline, or use a GUI app.

A GUI app for Windows is USB Image Tool, that I wrote about here:

Etcher is another GUI image writer, for Linux, Mac and Windows (I haven't tried this):

You will need a Flash stick or SD-card of at least 2GB.

Please provide feedback on the Puppy Forum:

Tags: easy

Easy Linux maybe soon

March 17, 2017 — BarryK
I haven't mentioned it on my blog, but have been in India for six weeks, just got back a week ago. Brought diarrhea back with me, so haven't felt 100% -- test shows no parasites, so the cause is a mystery for now, but getting better.

Anyway, Easy Linux. I have been working on some new ideas, or kind of a rehash of old ideas. It has been very intermittent, but do have something. It is very interesting, so even though incomplete, will probably upload it as an alpha release. Soon.

Tags: easy