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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

exfat support in Quirky

March 11, 2017 — BarryK
Some of the guys on the Puppy Forum have been discussing exfat support in Puppy:
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=109803

And mavrothal has submitted patches to woof-CE:
https://github.com/puppylinux-woof-CE/woof-CE/commit/18bfb65c789d4f679fe744ead345c2c5d540cc8b

Ok, exfat support is missing from Quirky, so I have also added it to the Quirky build system. Added 'exfat-utils' and 'exfat-fuse' DEB packages to the package list.
And modified these files:

/usr/local/pup_event/frontend_funcs, frontend_change, frontend_startup,
/usr/local/bin/drive_all
/usr/sbin/pmount


Note that /sbin/probepart did not need changing. The applets guess_fstype and blkid are part of busybox, and already support exat.

Tags: quirky, linux

Quirky Xerus x86_64 8.1.6 released

January 14, 2017 — BarryK
This release of Quirky is codenamed "Xerus" and is built from Ubuntu 16.04 x86_64 binary packages.

The background, announcement and release notes are here:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/xerus-8.1.6/release-xerus64-8.1.6.htm

A very brief announcement blurb:

Quirky Linux 8.1.6 x86_64 is codenamed "Xerus" and is built using the woofQ Quirky Linux build system, with the help of Ubuntu 16.04 binary packages. Thus, Xerus has compatibility with all of the Ubuntu repositories.
The Linux kernel is version 4.4.40 and SeaMonkey is upgraded to version 2.46.
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.


Instructions to install are here:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/xerus-8.1.6/howto-install.htm

Quoting from the above link:

Quirky is provided as a 8GB USB Flash stick image, or for an SD-card. This file may be written to an 8GB or greater Flash stick. In the latter case, at first bootup there will be an offer to increase the filesystem to fill the drive.

Very easy install instructions for Windows users. The above link explains how to install from the commandline in Linux, though I intend to develop a simple GUI.

For those who still want one, there is also a live-CD ISO file.

Download
The primary download host is Ibiblio:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/xerus-8.1.6/

There are faster mirrors, such as NLUUG:
http://ftp.nluug.nl/ftp/pub/os/Linux/distr/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/xerus-8.1.6/

You will notice that the Flash-stick image file is 502MB, whereas the ISO file is 398MB. The reason it is so large (by Puppy standards) is because it is gzip compressed. The same file xz-compressed is only 333MB.
Gzip compression is used as that is understood by many Windows image-writer applications. The *.img.gz file is very easy to install for Windows users.

The live-CD ISO is 398MB. It is smaller because internally it uses xz compression.

Setup notes
Please do think about the security of your Quirky. When QuickSetup is running, you will see a button to manage daemons. You can also run this from the menu, System -> Bootmanager -> Manage system services.
I recommend disable all daemons that you don't immediately need.
Also, tick the checkbox for a firewall. Leave the firewall at defaults to block all ports.

You might find that the keyboard layout choices in QuickSetup don't quite meet your country/language/region requirements. Never mind, make the best choice, then later click the "setup" icon on the desktop, and you will find an "Advanced Xorg keyboard configurator", to fine-tune the keyboard localization.

Issues
There are some known issues.

1. There is Bluetooth support, but it needs work.
2. SeaMonkey has a few problems. It is stuck on DuckDuckGo for starters.
3. CLI VLC only. A full GUI video player needs to be installed.

Regarding SeaMonkey, it is version 2.46. The SM developers released 2.40 in March 2016, then nothing until 2.46 was released at the end of December 2016. Perhaps they were under pressure to get something out. Whatever, 2.46 has some issues, mostly annoyances.

Choice of video player is left up to the user for now. Here are instructions on how to install Xine or VLC:
http://bkhome.org/news/201701/xine-or-vlc-for-xerus64.html

Feedback is invited to choose the "best" and hopefully small, video player for inclusion in the next minor-point release.

Forum thread for feedback:
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=106460&start=360

Tags: quirky, linux

Quirky 8.1.6 x86_64 released

January 12, 2017 — BarryK
This new Quirky is codenamed "SlaQ" and is built from Slackware 14.2 binary packages.

The background, announcement and release notes are here:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/slaq-8.1.6/release-slaq-8.1.6.htm

A very brief announcement blurb:

Quirky Linux 8.1.6 x86_64 is codenamed "SlaQ" and is built using the woofQ Quirky Linux build system, using Slackware 14.2 binary packages. Thus, SlaQ has compatibility with all of the Slackware repositories, including "slacky" and "salix".
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.


Instructions to install are here:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/slaq-8.1.6/howto-install.htm

Quoting from the above link:

SlaQ is provided as a 8GB USB Flash stick image, or for an SD-card. This file may be written to an 8GB or greater Flash stick. In the latter case, at first bootup there will be an offer to increase the filesystem to fill the drive.

Very easy install instructions for Windows users. The above link explains how to install from the commandline in Linux, though I intend to develop a simple GUI.

For those who still want one, there is also a live-CD ISO file.

Download
The primary download host is Ibiblio:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/slaq-8.1.6/

There are faster mirrors, such as NLUUG:
http://ftp.nluug.nl/ftp/pub/os/Linux/distr/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/slaq-8.1.6/

You will notice that the Flash-stick image file is 398MB. The reason it is so large (by Puppy standards) is because it is gzip compressed. The same file xz-compressed is only 238MB.
Gzip compression is used as that is understood by many Windows image-writer applications. The *.img.gz file is very easy to install for Windows users.

The live-CD ISO is 304MB. It is smaller because internally it uses xz compression.

Issues
There are some known issues.

1. There is Bluetooth support, but it needs work.
2. SeaMonkey has a few problems. It is stuck on DuckDuckGo for starters.
3. Paste into a terminal, does not wrap.

Also, the build does not have Samba. Nor python, but v2.7 is in the "devx" PET.

Regarding SeaMonkey, it is version 2.46. The SM developers released 2.40 in March 2016, then nothing until 2.46 was released at the end of December 2016. Perhaps they were under pressure to get something out. Whatever, 2.46 has multiple issues, mostly annoyances.

Tags: quirky, linux

Quirky 8.1.5 x86_64 released

December 26, 2016 — BarryK
My, how time flies! The previous release of Quirky for x86_64 desktop PCs and laptops, was version 8.0, on April 21, 2016:
http://bkhome.org/news/201604/quirky-linux-80-released.html

Since then, some of my time has gone into porting Quirky to the Raspberry Pi2 and Pi3. The most recent release is 8.1.4, on December 13, 2016:
http://bkhome.org/news/201612/quirky-814-for-pi2-and-pi3.html

WoofQ is the build system for building Quirky, and this has undergone significant infrastructure improvements. The release of 8.1.5 for the x86_64 CPU brings these infrastructure improvements, plus some package upgrades. Short announcement blurb:

Quirky Linux 8.1.5 is released for x86_64 CPUs. This is codenamed "Xerus", as it has binary compatibility with Ubuntu 16.04 package repositories. This means that Quirky is able to install DEB packages from these repositories.
Other than that, Quirky is in no way similar to Ubuntu!

8.1.5 has Linux kernel 4.8.8, SeaMonkey 2.40, Libreoffice 5.1.2, and a host of applications to fill every need. As per inheritance from Puppy Linux, Quirky includes the "kitchen sink" in a very small download.

Significant new features for 8.1.5 are mostly in the infrastructure, underlying improvements that you might not immediately notice. There have not been many package upgrades, however one major change is the removal of Abiword and Gnumeric, replaced with Libreoffice.


The full release announcement and notes are here:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/xerus-8.1.5/xerus-8.1.5-announce.htm
...a bit brief, but I am in "Christmas mode" right now.

Installation
If you already have Quirky 8.0 installed, there is a Service Pack PET to upgrade. Unfortunately, due to the kernel upgrade and change to Libreoffice, this PET is rather big, at 186MB.
There should be an automatic offer to install the Service Pack when you run the Package Manager, or you can probe for new Service Packs via the menu "Filesystem -> Quirky Version Upgrade Manager".
Or, you can download it:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/packages/pet_packages-xerus/service_pack-8.0_TO_8.1.5-xerus64.pet

For everyone else, read these installation instructions:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/xerus-8.1.5/install-readme.htm

Please try to move on from "legacy" optical media! Read this:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/xerus-8.1.5/alternatives/alternative-readme.htm

Download
Primary site, courtesy of Ibiblio:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/xerus-8.1.5/

There are faster mirrors, such as courtesy of NLUUG (at time of writing, 8.1.5 has not yet propagated through):
http://ftp.nluug.nl/os/Linux/distr/quirky/quirky6/amd64/releases/

devx
For compiling source packages, you will need this PET (216MB):
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/packages/pet_packages-xerus/devx-8.1.5-xerus64.pet

And if you need the kernel source (140MB):
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/packages/pet_packages-xerus/kernel_src-4.8.8-patched.pet

Feedback
All bug reports and any feedback and discussion, can go here, from page 21:
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=106460

Read more...

Quirky installed on Asus E200HA

December 15, 2016 — BarryK
I bought this Asus E200HA baby laptop back in March 2016:
http://bkhome.org/news/201603/asus-e200ha-netbook.html

I wanted a machine with UEFI-firmware, for experimenting booting Quirky, but also as something compact to take on trips, for example with carry-on luggage on flights.

The guys on the Puppy Forum have been playing with various ways to run their Raspberry Pis "headless", controlled remotely from a desktop PC or laptop.
I also want to do this, as my Pi3 can then come along on trips, and I will be able to keep developing for it.
Anyway, that is another topic. Back onto Quirky and the E200HA story...

I knew before I purchased it, that there are some issues, such as sound not working, but I thought that they would get resolved in time, later kernels, etc. However, here we are in December, and I experimented with the 4.8.8 kernel, the same things are still broken.

It is not just sound. What has really made me unhappy is that the Linux kernel does not recognise the existence of an SD-card. The socket is there, and it works fine with Windows.

Which has kind of messed up my plans. The E200HA only has 32GB of solid state memory, of which about 11GB is free.
I do not want to have Quirky booting off a USB flash stick, as there are only two USB ports, besides, don't want something always sticking out. An SD-card is ruled out, so that only leaves the internal drive.

How I installed Quirky internally is very interesting. Here are the steps:

1. Shrink drive C:
Running Windows 10, I typed "Partition" in the search box, which quickly located the Partition Manager. Right-click on the C: drive and choose to shrink it by just over 5GB.

2. Create new partitions
Booted Quirky Xerus64 8.0 on USB flash-stick, ran GParted, created two primary partitions, 256MB fat32, and about 5GB ext4. These are identified as mmcblk0p5 and mmcblk0p6.
I set the "boot" and "esp" flags on mmcblk0p5.

3. ext4 without journal
GParted doesn't offer this, so after exiting GParted, ran this:
mke2fs -t ext4 -O ^has_journal -L quirky2 -m 0 -b 4096 /dev/mmcblk0p6

4. Populate ESP boot partition
I copied everything from the vfat partition of the USB flash-stick to mmcblkop5.
The only change needed is to edit syslinux.cfg and EFI/BOOT/syslinux.cfg and substitute the correct value for PARTUUID. I got it by running this:
echo -e 'in6nq' | ${PRE}gdisk /dev/mmcblk0

5. Install Quirky into mmcblk0p6
I then ran the Setup -> Quirky Universal Installer, and chose a full installation to a hard drive partition.
As I am running Quirky 8.0, the installer wanted the xerus64-8.0.iso, that I had already placed on the flash stick.

6. Configure UEFI booting
I have documented how to configure the UEFI setup to boot from a Flash stick:
http://barryk.org/quirky/uefi.htm
In this case, very interesting, the ESP fat32 partition that I created is identified as "Android-IA". Who cares, it works!

So, future bootups will always boot Quirky. If I should ever want to boot Windows, I will have to hold down the F2 key at power-on and make the change in the UEFI Ssetup.

This is a very interesting way of installing a Linux distro. It is completely non-invasive. No need for a special boot manager. If I delete my special ESP partition, the UEFI firmware will default back to normal Windows bootup.

One extra note about Linux compatibility. I have also discovered there is something wrong with the USB3 interface. The E200HA has one USB3 and one USB2 socket. The latter works fine, but getting strange behaviou with the former. For example, hanging when I plugged in a drive.

It is a pity that such a popular little laptop has so many Linux compatibility issues. It is a Cherry Tree CPU. One does live in hope that things will improve with upcoming kernels.

Read more...

Quirky 8.1.4 for Pi2 and Pi3

December 13, 2016 — BarryK
Quirky Linux "Xerus" 8.1.4 is released for the Raspberry Pi2 and Pi3. This is a minor-point release of Quirky 8.1, with important bug fixes and improvements.

Please read the release announcement for Quirky 8.1 here:
http://bkhome.org/news/201610/quirky-linux-81-for-raspberry-pi2-and-pi3.html

The full release notes for 8.1 are here:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/armv7/releases/xerus-8.1/release-xerus-8.1+.htm

Improvements since 8.1 can be discovered by reading this blog. Of particular note is the increment from 8.1.3.1 to 8.1.4, which has introduced more robust fault recovery:
http://bkhome.org/news/201612/introducing-easyinit.html

Installation
Download from here:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/armv7/releases/xerus-8.1.4/

Installation instructions with important newbie notes:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/armv7/releases/xerus-8.1.4/install-quirky.htm

Upgrade
If you already have Quirky Xerus running on the Pi, an earlier version, upgrade to 8.1.4 is available by small Service Pack PET package.
Starting the Package Manager (PPM) will automatically probe for availability of a Service Pack, or run from the menu:
Filesystem -> Quirky Version Upgrade Manager

Compile
If you need to compile source packages, install the "devx" PET. Run the PPM to install it, or directly from here (191MB):
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/armv7/packages/pet_packages-xerus/devx-8.1.4-xerus.pet

Kernel source PET (288MB):
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/armv7/packages/pet_packages-xerus/kernel_src-4.4.34-rpi2.pet

Feedback
Post questions, interact with other keen users:
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=108132&start=495

Tags: quirky, linux

Quirky Pi 8.1.3 Service Pack

November 27, 2016 — BarryK
As promised, from Quirky 8.1.2, upgrades will be available as Service Packs, small PET packages. At least, for as long as I am motivated to do so!

You need to have 8.1.2 running on your Pi2 or Pi3:
http://bkhome.org/news/201611/quirky-812-for-raspberry-pi2-and-pi3.html

The 8.1.2-to-8.1.3 Service Pack is here (21MB):
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/armv7/packages/pet_packages-xerus/service_pack-8.1.2_TO_8.1.3-xerus.pet

You could download it and click on it to install. Alternatively, a check is made for a Service Pack whenever the Puppy Package Manager is started, or a check may be made via the menu "Filesystem/Quirky Version Upgrade Manager".

What is new in 8.1.3
I have compiled the Linux kernel, now version 4.4.34. various small changes, including both 8192cu.ko and rtl8192cu.ko drivers -- this is for experimenting with wifi dongles that use that chip, and one of those drivers will have to be blacklisted.

We will experiment and get this wifi chip going!

Tex Dog in the Puppy Forum reported that the 'xrefresh' utility is missing, used by omxplayer. Fixed.

Uninstalling
PET package uninstalling in Quirky is introduced here:
http://bkhome.org/news/201312/package-uninstall-management.html

This means that you should be able to uninstall the 8.1.3 Service Pack, and be rolled back to 8.1.2.
However, I have not yet verified that it works.

Ongoing discussion
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=108132&start=390

Tags: quirky, linux