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fsck at bootup improved

July 13, 2017 — BarryK
Quirky is in one respect very different from Puppy, in that, after bootup, the first script /sbin/init, has the option of continuing to bootup (by executing /bin/busybox init), or switch_root to a ramdisk, where various diagnostic and maintenance operations can be performed. For example, a fsck of the installed partition.

The way this differs from Puppy, is Puppy can do a fsck earlier, in the initramfs. However, a normal full install of Quirky does not have a initramfs.

Testing on the Pi3, /sbin/init failed to switch_root to the ramdisk. It is a strange failure, but I think that I have fixed it. Have put the fix into the script, haven't tested on the Pi yet.


Fixing Quirky save-session

July 11, 2017 — BarryK
Testers of Quirky Xerus64 8.1.6 experienced issues with saving a session in a live-CD or frugal installation.

The good news is that I fixed one show-stopper bug. It was to do with an incorrect path when using overlay instead of aufs.

The bad news is that I have hit another show-stopper bug, that seems to be a fault in overlay filesystem.
I am running kernel 4.11.9, so very recent overlay driver.

Booting the live-CD, have a zram on top, the read-write layer, and q.sfs on the bottom, the read-only layer.
When I tried to run "rm -rf <folder>" it spat out lots of errors about directories "not empty".

I googled, and found people reporting this error when using btrfs, or overlay.
btrfs I expect, it is flakey.

This is one of the overlayfs reports:

OK, I am going to compile the 4.11.9 kernel with aufs, see if that fixes it.


New theme for Quirky

July 10, 2017 — BarryK
As I mentioned in a post yesterday, the last official release of Quirky Xerus x86_64 was in January 2017:

Ubuntu Xenial Xerus 16.04 is LTS (Long Term Supported), reaching EOL (End Of Life) in April 2021.
So, I intend to keep Quirky Xerus going for the next couple of years.

That being the case, we are due for another release. I intend this to be version 8.2, and a beta or RC before that.

Most of yesterday and this morning I worked on a new theme. Mostly created brand new themes for each of GTK, JWM, wallpaper and icons.
And, I have got to comment, it looks stunning.

I would probably have described some of my earlier themes as "stunning" also, such as the various green themes, but they weren't to everyone's liking.
This new one is very different, so we shall see ...I won't post a snapshot, will build the suspense

I will be monitoring this forum thread:

Tags: quirky, linux

Kernel 4.11.9 and firmware

July 08, 2017 — BarryK
Running Quirky Xerus x86_64 8.1.90 on my midi-tower PC, have compiled Linux kernel 4.11.9. This will be used in the next release of Quirky Xerus -- the official final release is expected to be version 8.2. Note, the current official release is 8.1.6, back in January 2017.

The PETs(31.4M, 1.1M, 145.7M):

The kernel source and build scripts:
u*se*rn*am*e: p*up*py p*as*sw*or*d: l*in*ux

Have also created firmware PETs for networking and gpu. Note that creation of these PETs is quite easy. In a recent Quirky Linux, look in /usr/local/firmware. There you will find a couple of scripts and instructions.

I am currently getting most of the non-free firmware from here:

Firmware PETs (6.2M, 28.1M):


Qsync internationalized

July 07, 2017 — BarryK
I wrote Qsync late last year, a GUI utility to sync the time via an Internet time server:

I neglected to apply 'gettext' to the strings. L18L has now done so:

Put into woofQ.

The last official release of Quirky, apart from various pre-alpha, alpha and beta experiments, was the PC x86_64 Xerus Quirky 8.1.6, in January 2017:

Ubuntu's Xenial Xerus is an LTS release, so still has life in it. Xerus 8.1.6 is what I am using everyday on my desktop PC.

So, time for a new release, I reckon. It will probably be Quirky Xerus 8.2, with at least one RC.
Apart from updating to the latest Ubuntu Xenial Xerus update DEBs, will probably also compile the latest SeaMonkey and Linux kernel (4.12?).

Tags: quirky, linux

Quirky Pyro64 0.2 alpha

May 19, 2017 — BarryK
It's out! This is the first upload of Pyro64, tagged as alpha-quality, but is looking pretty good.

We are familiar with Puppy and derivatives having the "kitchen sink" in their builds, in a very small size. Well, Pyro includes the "kitchen fridge" as well.

Pyro64 is built with packages compiled from source in OpenEmbedded. It will run on PCs with x86_64 (64-bit) CPUs, of at least "core2" vintage.

Release notes, and how-to-install links:

Download, primary host:

Download, fast mirror site:

Note, I will be uploading the OpenEmbedded development system, with my modifications, plus a tarball of woofQ, later today, watch this blog.

Post feedback here:

Tags: oe, quirky

Quirky installed on old PC

May 05, 2017 — BarryK
The old PC (without monitor) that I bought a few days ago, had Windows 10 installed. I reported on the purchase here:

I want this PC to be my workhorse for big compiling jobs, such as with OpenEmbedded. Windows is not wanted, so I wiped all the partitions, using Gparted.

Then I created partitions:
sda1 fat32 511MB
sda2 ext4 approx 860GB
sda3 ext4 approx 32GB
sda5 swap partition 16GB (logical partition)

The "BIOS" on the motherboard is actually UEFI-firmware, so it looks for what are called ESP fat partitions at bootup.
There is no need for any boot manager, other than that provided by the UEFI-firmware. There is nothing to configure in the UEFI-setup, the factory default is that it will look for ESP partitions, first on the internal hard drive.

I wrote how to do this kind of easy-peasy installation last year:

In Gparted, right-click on sda1 and set the "boot" and "esp" flags.
Copy the "EFI" folder and file "vmlinuz" from partition-1 of the USB stick (that I booted Quirky off) to sda1.

Open /mnt/sda1/EFI/BOOT/syslinux.cfg in an editor and change to "root=/dev/sda3" --- I am next going to install Quirky to sda3

In the menu, Setup -> Quirky Universal Installer, choose to install to a partition, and choose sda3

That's it. Shutdown, remove the USB-stick, power-up and you are running the installed Quirky.

Tags: quirky, linux

Yocto 2 woofQ 2 Quirky

April 18, 2017 — BarryK
Have completed all of the steps. Compiled from source in Yocto, imported the x86_64 binary packages into woofQ, and built a Quirky distribution. It works, there is a desktop.

So far, have only done a "core-image-sato-dev" build in Yocto, with target-native SDK components included, as described here:

It is configured to create binary DEB packages, however, I ran into multiple issues with importing them into woofQ.
Instead, I wrote a script named '0pre-yocto' in woofQ, that imports entire un-split binary packages, as .tar.xz files. It also creates the Puppy-format database.

As this is early days with Yocto, to get a reasonable desktop I used many packages from April, for example Gnumeric and Dia. These work fine in the Yocto build.

Installed to a USB stick, booted, got a desktop. Although a "devx" PET has been created, have not yet tested whether there is a sane compiling environment.

'core-image-sato-dev' has some packages that I would rather do without, 'pulseaudio' for example. Next on the to-do list is to have a go at removing pulseaudio, see if it will still compile.