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EasyOS Dunfell-series 64-bit version 4.5 released

November 12, 2022 — BarryK

EasyOS Dunfell-series version 4.5 is a milestone release. The last release announced on Distrowatch was version 4.0, on June 9, 2022, over five months ago. There has been a lot of "water under the bridge" since 4.0, and the challenge now is to summarise the huge number of changes down into a short announcement...

Here goes, an announcement blurb:

The Dunfell-series of EasyOS is built from packages compiled from source using "meta-quirky", a build system based on OpenEmbedded/Yocto (OE). The binary packages from a complete recompile based on Dunfell 3.1.20 release of OE was used to build EasyOS 4.5.

There has been a major structural change, completely separating the EasyOS installation from the boot-loader, and the rEFInd/Syslinux bootloaders have been replaced with Limine. The latter handles both UEFI and legacy-BIOS computers.

As the packages are cross-compiled from source, the repository is rather small compared to other distributions; however, this is compensated by a much increased collection of SFS files. These are large packages, even complete operating systems, that can run on the main filesystem or in a container. These are downloaded and installed by clicking on the "sfs" icon on the desktop -- a very simple operation. New SFSs include Android Studio, Audacity, Blender, Openshot, QEMU, Shotcut, SmartGit, SuperTuxKart, VSCode and Zoom.

It is expected that more will be added.

SFSs can be thought of as being like appimages, snaps, or flatpaks, but more light-weight and flexible.

Lots of packages have been updated, including the kernel now at 5.15.78 and Firefox is 106.0.5.

And of course lots and lots of fixes and enhancements. So many, but just picking out a few: printing from GTK3 apps fixed, support for the nim compiler (and 'debdb2pupdb' system utility rewritten in nim), improved 'dir2sfs' utility, new 'deb2sfs' utility, openGL fixed in containers ...and so on.

For a more detailed list, see the 4.5 release announcement:

The meta-quirky cross-compiler system and woofQ (that builds EasyOS), has up until recently only been available online as tarballs. Now however, they are on github:

Anyway, on to how to get hold of EasyOS. It is available as an image file, in English, French and German languages, from here:

Also mirrored here, thanks to NLUUG:

If all you know is ISO files, and don't know how to write an image file to a USB-stick, read this:

So, you write the image file to a USB-stick, bootup from it, and you have a desktop:


The default is that you are running in RAM, so there are no writes to the USB-stick, thus greatly extending its life. You can choose to save at any time, or at shutdown, or not at all. For a HDD or high-quality SSD, you can also choose the traditional behaviour of writing directly to the drive, bypassing the need to save.

If you would prefer a desktop without icons, click the "setup" icon, and there is a choice to move the icons into the tray.

Then there is the "share" icon, for simple network file and printer sharing, including with an Android phone.

When the time comes to update to the next release of Easy, click the "update" icon. This will download a small "difference file" to update; also a very simple operation. And you can roll back.

The icons you can see above with little pink lock overlay are apps running in containers. But, there is yet another ultra-secure strategy; you can bootup running totally in RAM with all drives disabled.

Anyway, this is all great fun. You will quickly get the picture that EasyOS is unique, unlike any other Linux distribution. To get an idea just how different, see this summary:

You are most welcome to join us in the EasyOS section of the Puppy Forum:

Discuss any problems that you encounter. There are always issues, as Easy is an experimental distribution, continously evolving. You do need to be aware that Easy might not be as polished as the mainline distributions. It is basically a one-person project, with a small band of enthusiatic testers.
Some things are a work-in-progress, and likely to be so for the forseeable future.
Having stated all that though, the usual feedback we get is one of pleasant surprise.

EDIT 2022-11-19:
EasyOS version 4.5.1 has been released:

Version 4.5.1 is a bug-fix release.   

Tags: easy