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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:

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:

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:
...a bit brief, but I am in "Christmas mode" right now.

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:

For everyone else, read these installation instructions:

Please try to move on from "legacy" optical media! Read this:

Primary site, courtesy of Ibiblio:

There are faster mirrors, such as courtesy of NLUUG (at time of writing, 8.1.5 has not yet propagated through):

For compiling source packages, you will need this PET (216MB):

And if you need the kernel source (140MB):

All bug reports and any feedback and discussion, can go here, from page 21:


Quirky installed on Asus E200HA

December 16, 2016 — BarryK
I bought this Asus E200HA baby laptop back in March 2016:

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:
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.


Quirky 8.1.4 for Pi2 and Pi3

December 14, 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:

The full release notes for 8.1 are here:

Improvements since 8.1 can be discovered by reading this blog. Of particular note is the increment from to 8.1.4, which has introduced more robust fault recovery:

Download from here:

Installation instructions with important newbie notes:

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

If you need to compile source packages, install the "devx" PET. Run the PPM to install it, or directly from here (191MB):

Kernel source PET (288MB):

Post questions, interact with other keen users:

Tags: quirky, linux

Quirky Pi 8.1.3 Service Pack

November 28, 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:

The 8.1.2-to-8.1.3 Service Pack is here (21MB):

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.

PET package uninstalling in Quirky is introduced here:

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

Tags: quirky, linux

Quirky 8.1.2 for Raspberry Pi2 and Pi3

November 25, 2016 — BarryK
This is a minor-point update for Quirky 8.1, that was announced here:

...please read that link for the full details, including how to install.

Version 8.1.2 is available here:

Version 8.1.2 has got smaller. The download file is 351MB, compared with 8.1 at 359MB. Just removed some dead wood.

Improvements since 8.1.1
SimpleVP (video and audio player) bug fixes and improvements.
Service Pack support. This was broken. From now on (touch wood) it should be possible to download small Service Pack PET packages to upgrade to later versions.

A further note about Service Packs. You will automatically be notified if an upgrade is available whenever you run the PPM (package manager), or you can check via the menu "Filesystem -> Quirky Version Upgrade Manager".
These Service Packs are also expected to have updated Pi kernel and firmware.

devx PET
Look in the "xerus" PET repository in the PPM, you will find '', that turns Quirky into a complete compiling environment. Everything needed, including all headers, compilers, git, svn, are in the one PET package.

Alternatively, grab it from here (200MB):

Join the discussion here:


Kernel 4.8.7 for Quirky x86_64

November 13, 2016 — BarryK
Well underway working on a new Quirky for x86_64 PCs.

A Linux kernel with btrfs builtin is required, plus wanted some extra firewall modules. So have compiled the 4.8.7 kernel. Note also, no aufs patch as am migrating to using overlay f.s.

Here are the new PETs (139.9MB, 31.2MB):

Kernel source, patches and build scripts are here, with our usual username/password:


Quirky 8.1.1 for Raspberry Pi2 and Pi3

November 07, 2016 — BarryK
This is a minor-point update for Quirky 8.1, that was announced here:

...please read that link for the full details, including how to install.

Version 8.1.1 is available here:

8.1.1 has got smaller. The download file is 353MB, compered with 8.1 at 359MB. Just removed some dead wood.


Quirky Linux 8.1 for Raspberry Pi2 and Pi3

October 24, 2016 — BarryK
This is the first release of Quirky built for ARM boards, specifically the Raspberry Pi2 and Pi3. Brief release announcement:

Quirky 8.1 is built using Ubuntu Xenial Xerus 16.04 armv7 DEBs and some especially compiled PET packages such as SeaMonkey 2.40.
Version 8.1 is the first to be built for the ARM platform, specifically the Raspberry Pi2 and Pi3. Note that Quirky will not work on a Pi1. It is expected a build for the Odroid XU4 is coming soon.

The functionality is much as you have come to expect with a Puppy-derivative -- you get "the kitchen sink" in a very small package. That is, an application for just about everything and utilities to setup and configure just about anything.

A difference though, with the Raspberry Pi build, is that it includes LibreOffice and Inkscape, whereas Puppy-derivatives usually have light-weight choices, such as Gnumeric, Abiword and InkscapeLite. This decision was made so as to provide the same functionality out-of-the-box as Raspbian, and in fact a whole lot more.
This has resulted in a somewhat larger build than usual, a download file of 360MB. However, compare that with Raspbian at 1.3GB, and Quirky is still relatively small.

The full announcement and release notes are here:

The primary download site is, though it can be slow:

A faster mirror of is thanks to nluug:

Quirky 8.1 has also been archived at

Quirky is provided as an "8GB" image, quirky-pi2-sd-8gb-xerus-8.1.img.xz, that can be written to a micro-SD card. Currently, this is only for the Raspberry Pi2 and Pi3, it will not boot on any other ARM board.

If you are running Windows, you will first need to expand the file. It is compressed with XZ, and a suitable Windows program to expand it is 7-zip. Almost 8GB of free space in the partition is required. Then, write the expanded image file to the SD-card, using a Windows program such as Win32DiskImager. The raspberry Pi website has some instructions for the latter step:

If you are running Linux, then it is easy-peasy, well, especially easy if you are running Puppy Linux, or derivative (such as Quirky) -- some other Linux distributions will automount the card, and give it a strange device name, so you have to unmount it and determine it's correct device name (/dev/sdb for example). Instructions here:

Expect on-going posts to this blog. Discussion, including bug reports and fixes, and general user experiences, are to be found at this thread on the Puppy Linux Forum, from page 12: