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Quirky Pyro64 0.5 released

October 29, 2017 — BarryK

This is the second alpha release of Quirky built from binary packages compiled in OpenEmbedded. Codenamed "Pyro", as that is the version of OpenEmbedded used for the build.

Installation

Primary download host is ibiblio.org:

http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/pyro-0.5/

There are three choices to download, a live-CD ISO file, an 8GB image for a USB-stick, or a raw image that can be written to a drive or partition by means of the provided scripts.

I recommend the 8GB USB-stick image if you have a PC with UEFI-firmware, as I have manually installed rEFInd in it, which gives a nice menu, and implements dual-booting.

This link explains how to write a USB-drive-image-file to a USB-drive. It is written for Easy OS, but applies equally to Quirky:

http://bkhome.org/easy/how-to-write-easyos-to-a-flash-drive.html

Then, there is a tutorial that explains how to get your PC to boot from an external USB-drive:

http://bkhome.org/linux/prepare-your-computer-for-booting-linux.html

There is a tutorial that explains about rEFInd and how it can implement dual-booting with Windows (etc.). Though it was written as a guide to installing Easy OS to the internal drive, the part about eEFInd applies equally well to booting off a USB-stick:

http://bkhome.org/easy/how-to-install-easy-os-on-your-hard-drive.html

Then there is the live-CD ISO file, for which you will need a cd-burner-app.

The third option is more for the Linux expert, who understands the commandline -- download pyro64-0.5.usfs.xz. Notice that it is the smallest download, at only 275MB. This is because it is xz-compressed.

In the case of downloading pyro64-0.5.usfs.xz, also download the three scripts. Have a look at them, so you can see what they do, and also check that the Linux distro you are running has everything that the script will require. The script 4install-quirky-to-drive-mbr-esp will write the .usfs.xz file to any USB-stick, any size (though it must be at least 4GB, 8GB or more preferred).

The USB-stick written-to by 4install-quirky-to-drive-mbr-esp will be bootable on old BIOS-firmware as well as new UEFI-firmware PCs. It uses syslinux, but note that I intend to modify the script in the future, to use rEFInd for the UEFI booting (and keep syslinux for BIOS booting).

Devx

If you want the "devx" PET, it is available via the PKGget Package Manager, or directly here (690MB):

http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/packages/pet_packages-pyro/devx-0.5-pyro64.pet

...yes, rather large. That is due to included static libs. I may filter those out next time.

Bugs

Testing 0.5, I have only encountered one small bug so far. The initial "jumping off page" that comes up in the browser, has incorrect URLs.

Video

The video is usually an area where problems arise. In the case of Intel video, the default is sna video acceleration. However, the Intel xorg driver was compiled with support for uxa acceleration, which is the older method. If you have problems, such as tearing on the screen, try uxa,

Here are instructions how to switch to uxa:

https://askubuntu.com/questions/638231/how-can-i-switch-graphic-card-acceleration-from-sna-to-uxa#947115

32-bit UEFI

The 8GB stick image has boot capability for both 32-bit and 64-bit UEFI PCs, however the 32-bit is untested, an "I wonder if this will work" experiment.

Feedback

There is a thread on the Puppy Forum for Pyro64 feedback:

http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=110541&start=60

Have fun!

Tags: quirky

Quirky Pyro64 0.5 coming soon

October 26, 2017 — BarryK

Advance notice, I plan to upload Quirky Pyro64 0.5 in a couple of days. This is Quirky Linux built from packages compiled from source in OpenEmbedded.

Right now, have started a recompile from scratch in OE, then tomorrow should be able to import the binary packages to woofQ, then build Pyro64 0.5.

I intend to upload all of the binary packages, and the source packages, to ibiblio. The binary packages are about 1.2GB, and uploading this lot is not something that I want to do that often, as my only Internet access is via my mobile phone.

I don't have a landline phone, just a mobile. I am on prepaid, not a plan, and pay AU$40 for 6GB, so that's my allocation per month, which is pitiful. I can top it up within a month, AU$10 for 1GB.

These Internet expenses add up, and I am thinking of bringing back a PayPal donate button. I had one years ago, and enough donations trickled in to pay the Internet costs. But that was when I was leading the Puppy Linux project.

Well, I will think about whether to put up a donate button or not. Actually, what prompted me to think about this, was recently there have been a couple of enquiries from people who wanted to donate to my work.

Samba

Note, 0.5 will have Samba, that I have compiled in a running Pyro64, not in OE, so it is a PET package. The Samba in OE wants kerberus dependency, which I did not want, so experimented with configuration options, for the smallest build, and using the inbuilt heimdal instead of kerberus.

Even so, my PET is 11MB, whereas 01micko got his samba PET down to about 8MB -- though he has an older version.

I hope that I haven't configured-out too much functionality, and that it works OK. Well, testers will be welcome when 0.5 comes out.

For the record, here are my configure options:

# ./configure --prefix=/usr --localstatedir=/var --sysconfdir=/etc --libdir=/usr/lib --enable-fhs --includedir=/usr/include --bindir=/usr/bin --sbindir=/usr/sbin --with-configdir=/etc/samba --with-piddir=/var/run --with-privatedir=/etc/samba/private --with-privatelibdir=/usr/lib --with-modulesdir=/usr/lib --with-lockdir=/var/cache/samba --with-logfilebase=/var/log/samba --enable-cups --with-acl-support --with-automount --with-quotas --with-syslog --without-winbind --with-ldap --without-pam --without-ads --libexecdir=/usr/libexec --datadir=/usr/share --without-dmapi --without-fam --without-lttng --without-systemd --disable-avahi --enable-gnutls --without-sendfile-support --nopyc --nopyo --extra-python=/usr/bin/python3 --without-ad-dc --without-ntvfs-fileserver

...if you know something about configuring Samba, what do you think? Note that Pyro64 has all 64-bit libs in /lib and /usr/lib, with /lib64 and /usr/lib64 being symlinks.

Feedback can go here. This is where 0.5 will be announced:

http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=110541

Tags: oe, quirky

Sakura terminal emulator

October 24, 2017 — BarryK

There has been feedback on the forum, users not happy with urxvt and it's cousins. Recently writing documentation for Easy OS, I had to explain in a few places, the lack of support for normal clipboard copy and paste.

The time has come to do something about it. In Quirky Pyro64, I have compiled Sakura, a very nice GTK-based terminal emulator. It requires vte, that I also compiled.

Sakura presents the user with a simple uncluttered window, and a mouse right-click brings up a menu, that does all that you would want. Oh yes, clipboard copy and paste included!

Note, the vte package is a library, but it also has a simple terminal emulator, named "vte". This is probably useful for calling from scripts.

Sakura will be in the next release of Quirky Pyro64 (and Easy Pyro64). It is integrated in ROX-Filer, so that it will start when click the "console" icon on the desktop, and via the ROX right-click menu and the back-tick hot-key.

However, urxvt is retained, as many scripts require it. Some scripts use CLI options that Sakura does not understand -- and Sakura will not start. If I do eventually get rid of urxvt, I will need to write wrapper scripts for urxvt, rxvt and xterm.

Here is the Sakura project page:

https://launchpad.net/sakura

The last version supporting GTK2 is 2.4.2, see here:

https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/sakura-gtk2

Ditto, the same problem with vte, the last version that supports GTK2 is 0.28.2, see here:

https://www.archlinux.org/packages/extra/x86_64/vte/

There is absolutely nothing wrong with these older versions, Sakura works perfectly!

Tags: quirky

The future of Quirky

September 22, 2017 — BarryK

My previous blog at barryk.org/news was merged into this blog. It lumped all posts for Easy, Quirky, Puppy, and anything else Linux-related, into one category "linux".

I have identified many of the posts that are about Quirky, and added the tag "quirky", so that they can now be separated out:

http://bkhome.org/news/tag_quirky.html

I don't have an automated method to do this, so did in manually, and haven't got them all.

I have announced Easy OS as the "next generation", however, Quirky is still good, and I reckon should continue. The thing is, they are different, with different strengths and weaknesses.

Quirky started out as an experimental distribution sometime in 2013, and settled into a full-installation-only distro, but different from other Linuxes due to its snapshot/rollback/recovery mechanism. There is also a special rollback mechanism for installing and removing packages. Then later, a live-CD and frugal install was added on, though I have never thought of that as the way I want Quirky to go.

Then early 2017 I conceived Easy, a complete rethink, going back to a layered filesystem, with just one "pupmode", and support for containers.

Regarding Quirky, one problem is the slowness of the snapshot/rollback/recovery. It uses the cmptree utility. However, I could use diff to do the same thing. I ran a test, compared roofs-complete/usr with /usr, where the former is a build of Quirky in woofQ and the latter is in a running Quirky 8.3.

cmptree /usr ./usr took 195 seconds,
diff -rq /usr ./usr took 44 seconds

EDIT
Ha ha, my memory gets a bit fuzzy when haven't worked on something for awhile. I have already removed cmptree. Did it back in Nov-Dec 2016, replaced with xdelta3.

Tags: quirky

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

Quirky Xerus64 8.3 final

July 29, 2017 — BarryK
Quirky 8.2 was released only 10 days ago:
http://bkhome.org/news/201707/quirky-xerus-82-final.html

Version 8.3 was intended to be a bug-fix upgrade from 8.2, however, in the short interval of 10 days, the development has been very intense, and 8.3 has turned out to be somewhat more than just a "bug fix" release.

Announcement blurb:
Quirky Linux 8.3 x86_64 is codenamed "Xerus" and is built using the woofQ Quirky Linux build system, with the help of Ubuntu 16.04.2 binary packages. Thus, Xerus has compatibility with all of the Ubuntu repositories.
Quirky is a fork of Puppy Linux, and is mainly differentiated by being a "full installation" only, with special snapshot and recovery features, and Service Pack upgrades, though recently there is limited support for live-CD session-saving and "frugal" installation.
Version 8.3 has many architectural improvements and package upgrades, including new packages JWMDesk, UrxvtControl, Take-a-Shot, SQLIteManager, MRUF-lst and Pmcputemp. Among architectural improvements, the overlay filesystem has been dumped in favour of aufs, mime-handling fixes, and network-connection refinements. A significant change in application selection is VLC dumped in favour of Xine. The Linux kernel is version 4.11.12 and SeaMonkey is version 2.48b1.


Detailed announcement and release notes are here:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/xerus-8.3/release-xerus64-8.3.htm

Snapshot:


There is a choice to download, either a live-CD ISO file, or an image file for 8GB or greater USB Flash stick. Install instructions:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/xerus-8.3/howto-install.htm

Primary download site:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/xerus-8.3/

Forum feedback:
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=106460

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Testing 8.2.2 flash stick

July 28, 2017 — BarryK
Development has been very intense since the release of Quirky Xerus64 8.2. There has been so much help on the Puppy forum!

Lots of bugs have been found, some improvements, and even new packages. So many changes, that the next release will be 8.3, not just a "bug fix" release.

I have a request for testers. I have built an image for a 8GB or greater USB Flash stick, now at version 8.2.2, take this as being a beta for 8.3.

There is a need to confirm that this image file works. Back in the early days of UEFI-firmware "BIOS" -- though, I use the word "BIOS" to refer to pre-UEFI PCs, for simpleicity, and just call the new type "UEFI". Anyway, the early days -- I read that UEFI does not boot on flash sticks with MBR, rather than GPT, because some early UEFI firmware was buggy, did not follow the UEFI Standard.

However, I think that might be OK now, so with great relief have built the 8.2.2 image with MBR rather than GPT. It still should bootup on PCs with UEFI, and "legacy boot " NOT turned on.
I tested on two UEFI PCs, but would like more confirmation.

Also, if write to a bigger stick than 8GB, say 16GB, there is a checkbox in QuickSetup to grow the partition to fill the drive -- I would like confirmation that this works.

Here is the download link:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/xerus-8.2.2/

Tags: quirky, linux

Partition resize fixed

July 27, 2017 — BarryK
At first bootup from a USB stick, full installation, the QuickSetup window has a checkbox asking if want to resize the partition to fill the drive. This is for the situation where the nominal "8GB" image was written to a bigger drive.

Or rather, it is supposed to ask. In 8.2, the checkbox is missing. Which, it turns out, is a good thing, as resizing is broken.

It came about from a 12th-hour fix that I did before releasing 8.2. Fixed one thing, broke another.

Now have the checkbox appearing, testing with a 16GB stick. Also fixed the scripts in the "easyinit" ramdisk, so resizing now works.

Looking back over development since 8.2 was released, only 8 days ago, it has been very intense, so the next release should be much more than a "bug fix" release. Reckon will make it 8.3, with an RC before that.

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