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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Quirky, a Linux distribution derived from Puppy.

Quirky, a Linux distribution derived from Puppy.

Quirky is a Linux distribution from the "Puppy Linux family", also known as a "puplet". However, Quirky is not a mainline Puppy release -- it is a distinct distro in its own right.

Quirky is built with the Woof build system, as is Puppy 4.3.x and later official puppies. Quirky is my plaything, an avenue for me to try out some quirky ideas -- hence the name "Quirky".

Quirky ideas.

These are few of the ideas or objectives that make Quirky different. This list is just a start, and some may be dropped and others added. Some ideas may not even have have any practical usefulness -- they are just there because they are, well, quirky...

* Embed the distro inside the kernel
Recent versions of the Linux kernel have the ability to embed the initramfs and the entire distro filesystem inside the kernel. That sure is one big kernel!
* A distro that keeps getting smaller
Everything keeps getting bigger of course. Feature creep, inefficient coding. Puppy Linux started life as a 20MB live-CD and is now pushing 150MB in the latest betas. Quirky is currently 89MB and intends to move down with each new release.
* Chroot instead of switch_root
This is a very technical thing. The initramfs will stay in existence after bootup and perform a kind of "super root" security function and ensure clean shutdown of all partitions.

What Quirky is not.

Unlike Puppy, Quirky is not intended for "everybody". There will be less kernel drivers for example. Less video drivers. I'm not really aiming to please anyone except myself -- or rather, it will be nice if many people like Quirky, but given that it is the plaything for me to try ideas, it cannot be expected to cater for everyone.

But then, since anyone can build their own variant of Quirky using Woof, then like Puppy, there may end up being a lot of "quirklets" that cater to a wider audience.


Updates (via Distrowatch):

Quirky Barry Kauler has announced the release of Quirky 1.4, a mini-distribution by the founder of Puppy Linux, but built with a different toolkit: "Yes, this is an official public release. The main purpose of releasing Quirky 1.4 is to test my experimental simplified module loading and interface configuration boot scripts (codename 'zzz'). This is supposed to improve the detection and setup of sound, analog modems and 3G modems, and maybe more peripherals. 1.4 differs from 1.3 in that it is built from the Wary 5 PET packages, of which the main feature is X.Org 7.3. Also an older kernel is used, 2.6.31.14 and the live CD includes the complete collection of analog modem drivers as used in Wary, plus SCSI drivers. There are some new features, in particular, a 'heavy duty' file downloader backend for the Puppy Package Manager and Video Upgrade Wizard."

Read the release announcement and release notes for more details.

Download: qrky-140.iso (124MB, MD5).


Recent releases:


• 2010-11-27: Distribution Release: Quirky 1.4
• 2010-09-22: Distribution Release: Quirky 1.3
• 2010-06-05: Distribution Release: Quirky 1.2
• 2010-05-16: Distribution Release: Quirky 1.1
• 2010-05-05: Distribution Release: Quirky 1.0


Screenshots.











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