Easy Buster version 2.4.1

EasyOS versions 1.x are the "Pyro" series, the latest is 1.3. Easy Pyro is built with packages compiled from source using 'oe-qky-src', a fork of OpenEmbedded. Consequently, the builds are small and streamlined and integrated. The Pyro series may have future releases, but it is considered to be in maintenance status.

The "Buster" series start from version 2.0, and are intended to be where most of the action is, ongoing. Version 2.0 was really a beta-quality build, to allow the testers to report back. The first official release was 2.1.

The main feature of Easy Buster is that it is built from Debian 10 Buster DEBs, using WoofQ (a fork of Woof2: Woof-CE is another fork, used to build Puppy Linux).

The advantage of Buster over Pyro is access to the large Debian package repositories. That is a big plus.

On the other hand, DEB packages have many dependencies, and the end result is a release considerably larger than Pyro with similar app selection. For example, the download file of Pyro 1.2 is 418MB, Buster 2.1 is 504MB -- despite the Buster build having less apps (Pyro has Qt5 and big Qt5-based apps such as Scribus, this is all missing from the Buster build, but can be installed).

Another problem with Buster, potential problem anyway, is the choice of underlying infrastructure. For example, Debian uses systemd, pam, avahi, pulseaudio and policykit -- EasyOS does not use these, but as they are dependencies of many apps, they have to be installed, yet inactive.

EasyOS is an experimental distribution, and some features are a work-in-progress, and likely to be so for the foreseeable future. So bare that in mind, that the operation might not be "just works" in every respect as you might expect from an official release of one of the major distributions such as Debian or Ubuntu.

2.1 release notes

Here are links to the development, as posted on Barry's blog, in no particular order:

  1. Optical media read/write errors and ejection problems fixed 1 2 
  2. Xorg framebuffer in initrd workaround 1 
  3. Fixes when SFS layers change 1 
  4. Copy session to RAM & disable drives 1 2 
  5. Network handled by NetworkManager 1 2 
  6. SFSget SFS management improved 1 
  7. Kernel 5.2.7 with cap_sys_mount patch 1 
  8. Staying with ntmui GUI rather than network-manager-applet 1 2 
  9. Lovely new dark theme, based on contribution by Argolance 1 
  10. Various extra technical fixes and improvements 1 2 3 4 

Regarding point-8, network-manager-applet provides a nice GUI in the system tray, however it also has some annoying issues, and a significant limitation that the full configuration capability (such as wi-fi scanning) cannot be launched standalone -- therefore, it was decided to use the simple 'nmtui' GUI, which is a text-mode GUI and somewhat more primitive to use.

The situation with network management GUI will be re-evaluated for the next release. You can install 'network-manager-applet' yourself, to play with -- click on "petget" at top of screen, then click on the "pet-buster" radiobutton, then type "network-manager-applet" into the search-box and hit the "Go" button.

Buster includes the "kitchen sink", a huge collection of apps, including Audacious, Libreoffice, Gimp, Inkscape, Dia, Planner, Grisbi, SeaMonkey and Gnome-MPV. Here is a list of all apps builtin to this release:

http://distro.ibiblio.org/easyos/amd64/releases/buster/2.1/pkg-list.txt

These packages are only in the "devx" SFS:

http://distro.ibiblio.org/easyos/amd64/releases/buster/2.1/pkg-list-devx-only.txt

2.1.1 release notes

Thanks to the testers of 2.1, many little bugs were found and fixed, and some improvements implemented. In addition to the release notes for 2.1, these are added for 2.1.1, in no particular order:

  1. "Home" folder is now /home 1 2 
  2. Linux kernel bumped to 5.2.10
  3. Fixed dependency order when uninstall packages 1 
  4. Removed check for Internet before run SeaMonkey in container
  5. Fix for hanging at bootup 1 
  6. Easy Containers new Simple security options 1 
  7. PETget (PPM) database update fixed 1 
  8. EasyDD now has two-stage verification 1 2 
  9. Prevent "Copy session to RAM & disable drives" at first bootup 1 

Important bug fixes, but also significant improvements, more than would be expected for a 0.0.1 version increment!

In particular, note point-1, the /home folder. This will be very odd to those familiar with Linux, no problem at all for those not.

2.1.3 release notes

Thanks again to the testers, yet more little bugs have been found! Also, there are some significant package upgrades. These release notes are added for 2.1.3, in no particular order:

  1. Built from Debian 10.1 binary packages (up from 10.0)
  2. SeaMonkey version 2.49.5 1  
  3. Bug fixes 1 2 3 4  

There are items on the to-do list, and this blog post lists a few of them intended to be tackled soon.

2.1.6 release notes

Apart from bug fixes, there is a significant improvement -- now using a nice GUI for network management, replacing the text-mode 'nmtui'. No particular order:

  1. Using SeaMonkey 2.49.5 official x86_64 binary instead of own compile 1
  2. XorgWizard CLI script fixed 1 
  3. Xlock screen locking fixed 1 
  4. New NetworkManager GUI tray applet 1 2 
  5. Other fixes and improvements 1 2 

2.1.7 release notes

A very small incremental release, fixing a few bugs:

  1. Bug fixes for SFSget and Easy Containers 1 2 

2.1.8 release notes

More bug fixes of course, but also app improvements. Release notes in no particular order:
  1. New pSynclient touchpad setup GUI 1 
  2. GetFlash player downloader fixed (again) 1 
  3. Kernel bumped to 5.2.21 1 
  4. Battery status tray applet improved 1 
  5. Screeny screen capture fixed 1 
  6. Other bug fixes and improvements 1 2 3 

2.1.9 release notes

The kernel is still 5.2.21. Release notes:

  1. Convert user-installed apps into containers 1 
  2. SolveSpace 3D parametric design app 1 
  3. Bluetooth fixes 1 
  4. Built with Debian 10.2 DEB packages (up from 10.1)

2.1.9.1 release notes

This is the same as 2.1.9, except built with 5.4.2 kernel. The 5.4.x kernel has the "lockdown" feature, and this is used in the "Copy session to RAM & disable drives" boot  option. Itemizing this:

  1. Kernel 5.4.2 with lockdown 1 

Note, audio does not work on some hardware with the 5.4.x kernel. If you hit that problem, use 2.1.9.  1 2 

2.2 release notes

A significant version bump! There have been many changes since version 2.1, justifying the version bump to 2.2. There have been many changes since 2.1.9.1, listed here, in no particular order:

  1. Major bug fix for version rollback 1 
  2. Significant fixes and improvements for containers 1 2  
  3. Kernel 5.4.6 1 2 
  4. New documentation 1 2 
  5. Other bug fixes and improvements 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

The problem mentioned with 2.1.9.1 regarding audio, has been fixed. Or rather, worked-around, and the work-around has been confirmed OK with actual Sky Lake CPU. This probably needs to be fixed properly by the kernel developers. 1

2.2.5 release notes

Mostly infrastructure improvements, such as hardware-profiling of video and sound, to automatically handle booting of Easy from a USB-stick on different computers. Release notes:

  1. Bluetooth improvements, including sound 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 
  2. Kernel 5.4.12 1 
  3. French langpack updated 1 2 
  4. Sound management, including MSCW and profiling 1 2 3 4 5 6
  5. Video hardware profiling 1 2 
  6. New utility to probe monitor 1 
  7. Gparted 1.0.0 1 
  8. Other infrastructure improvements 1 2 3 4 5 

2.2.10 release notes

Main improvements are refinements to hardware profiling and special handling of Intel GPUs, plus new apps. Also, the DEBs are bumped to Debian 10.3. Release notes:

  1. Handle special Intel GPUs 1 
  2. New ffplay-gtk media player 1 
  3. New screen brightness and tint control tray applet 1 
  4. Firmware for Intel network card 1 
  5. Bumped to 5.4.18 kernel 1   
  6. Debian DEBs now version 10.3
  7. fix for bluetoothd aborting 1 2 3

Item 7 introduces "dbus" dependency in pup_event service management, ensuring that the bluetooth daemon will start after the dbus daemon has started.

2.2.11 release notes

  1. HelpSurfer crash workaround 1 
  2. German and French translations updated 1 2 
  3. Setting system time in initrd fixed 1 
  4. SeaMonkey upgraded to version 2.53.1-beta1 1 
  5. New Skype SFS 1 
  6. EasyDD now handles ISO files (writing to USB-sticks) 1 2 
  7. Linux kernel 5.4.20 (with RTC drivers builtin, see point-3)

The previous version of SeaMonkey, 2.49.5, would sometimes crash X. Version 2.53.1-beta1 is so far looking more stable.

2.2.12 release notes

No major changes since 2.2.11. Some system-level refinements, French and German language upgrades, SeaMonkey 2.53.1 final.

  1. Journal enabled in ext4 working-partition, for clean shutdown 1 2  
  2. fstrim runs on SSD working-partition mount-point at bootup 1 
  3. SeaMonkey version 2.53.1 final 1 
  4. French and German translation upgrades 1 2 
  5. Snap2 package removed (hopefully temporarily) 1 2 
  6. HelpSurfer (local HTML viewer) crash fixed 1 
  7. fftag replaces pmetatagger 1 

Point-1 will only be for new installations, not a version upgrade of an existing installation. However, any ext4 (unmounted) partition can have the journal enabled manually: tune2fs -O has_journal /dev/sd<n>

Point-2 is an experiment. 'fstrim' will run on every 20th bootup, if a TRIM-compatible SSD is detected.

The Linux kernel is still 5.4.20. The latest release is 5.4.23, however, instability was experienced on Barry's HP desktop PC.

2.2.14 release notes

Steady progress, improving, refining. In particular, many new applications.

  1. Blueman version 2.1.2 1 
  2. Snap2 backup manager returns 1 2 3 
  3. Linux kernel 5.4.27 1 
  4. gtkdialog with vte support 1 
  5. New pdvdrip DVD ripper 1 
  6. New fftag metadata editor 1 
  7. New PackIt and Uextract 1 
  8. Various updates, improvements and fixes 1 2 3 

2.2.16 release notes

The kernel has remained at 5.4.27. Lots of little changes this time, and one new PET:

  1. New download-only button in PPM 1 
  2. New getNVIDIA PET 1 
  3. SFSget faster and improved handling multiple repos 1 
  4. mtPaint updated to version 3.49.25 1 
  5. PackIt PET right-click menu fixed 1 
  6. Various improvements and fixes 1 2 3 4 

2.3 release notes

The last release announced on Distrowatch was 2.2, and there have been huge changes since then. Version 2.2 is built with Debian Buster 10.2 DEB packages, 2.3 is built with 10.4 DEBs, and there are significant infrastructure and utility/application improvements. As well as those listed above since 2.2, version 2.3 has these, in no particular order:

  1. Built with Debian Buster 10.4 DEB packages
  2. Kernel version 5.4.40
  3. Gpptp VPN network connection tool fixed 1 
  4. Improvements and fixes for EasyDD 1 
  5. Major overhaul of ethernet connection logic 1 
  6. SeaMonkey version 2.53.2, with ChatZilla, profile workaround 1  2  3 
  7. ffplay-gtk media player improved 1 
  8. mtPaint version 3.49.27 and bug fixes 1 
  9. MoManager updated, translation separation from EasyPup 1  2 
  10. Rxvt-unicode instability fixed 1  
  11. Extra b43 firmware 1 

Easy uses NetworkManager by default, and one user of 2.2.16 reported ethernet not being detected and no ip lease obtained at first bootup. This has resulted in considerable redesign of ethernet detection, with, hopefully, fallbacks to catch situations where NetworkManager seems to be failing. This is point-5 above.

2.3.1 release notes

Released soon after 2.3, with some bug fixes.

  1. Fix run EasyOS in container via menu 1 
  2. Enhancements for EasyDD script 1 
  3. New NetSurf PET, fixed missing icons 1 
  4. Xsane startup fix 1 
  5. mtPaint screen snapshot fix 1 
  6. SFS menu entry modified 1  
  7. Problem with psynclient, changed to flsynclient

2.3.2 release notes

Of particular interest is the kernel now has "I/O accounting" enabled, and the iotop application is included in the build to monitor I/O activity -- very handy to find out what processes are accessing a drive. Release notes in no particular order:

  1. genisoimage script redirect to mkisofs 1 
  2. Translated image in welcome page 1 
  3. Alternative Skype SFS 1 
  4. Updated Chromium SFS 1 
  5. Strategies to reduce writes to drives 1  2  3 
  6. New iotop application (see System menu)
  7. TRIM support for USB Flash drives 1 
  8. Pmcputemp temperature tray applet improved 1 
  9. 5.4.47 kernel, with I/O accounting 1 
  10. EasyDD improved to run on all Linux distributions 1  2 
  11. Youtube-dl GUI update fixed 1 
  12. More system and infrastructure improvements 1  2  3 

2.3.3 release notes

Amazing how many improvements, in such a short space of time. In no particular order:

  1. PupRadio, fftag, ffplay-gtk version bumps  1  2  3 
  2. Linux kernel 5.4.51  1 
  3. SeaMonkey 2.53.3  1 
  4. File encryption GUI app changed from bcrypt to ccrypt  1
  5. Support for Zstd mime and tarballs/packages  1  2 
  6. Android phone data transfer fixed  1 
  7. rEFInd boot manager ext4 fix  1  2 
  8. Initrd change from static /dev to devtmpfs  1 
  9. More infrastructure and utilities fixes  1  2  3  4  5  6  7 

With the demise of the murga-linux.com/puppy forum, EasyOS now has his own forum: https://easyos.org/forum ...this includes sections to discuss the French and German builds.

2.3.8 release notes

Very exciting changes this time! Apart from many package version upgrades, there are significant infrastructure enhancements, in particular for booting up in particular modes, debugging in the initrd, and automated updating. In no particular order:

  1. Built with Debian Buster 10.5 DEBs (up from 10.4)
  2. Linux kernel version 5.4.53  1 
  3. shfm and nnn console file managers in initrd  1  2  3 
  4. Job control fix in initrd  1 
  5. More reboot items in Shutdown menu  1  2  3 
  6. Dropping out to shell in initrd (see also items 3 & 5)  1 
  7. MP console text editor now supports UTF-8  1  2  3   
  8. New "update" icon on desktop, difference-only download  1  2 
  9. Various fixes and improvements  1  2  3  4  5  6 

The automated updating has yet to be tested by users (Barry has done some testing and it appears to work). When there is a new release of EasyOS, click the "update" icon on the desktop, and a version upgrade will be performed. This is using a technique that only downloads the differences between the .img.gz files. The latest 'vmlinuz', 'initrd' and 'easy.sfs' files will be placed in the boot-partition, and all that the user has to do is reboot.
You will be able to try out this new feature when version 2.4 is released, expected soon.

Note, the manual update method still works, as described here:
https://easyos.org/user/easy-version-upgrade-and-downgrade.html

2.4.1 release notes

More exciting changes, in particular this time, improvements to "lockdown in RAM". In no particular order:

  1. Save session while running totally in RAM  1 
  2. New MATE Calc scientific calculator  1 
  3. Menu change from inline to cascading  1  2 
  4. Session erase choices  1 
  5. Infrastructure and app improvements  1  2  3  4  

Here is a new tutorial:

https://easyos.org/dev/guidelines-for-debugging-easyos.html

This tutorial updated:

https://easyos.org/user/easy-version-upgrade-and-downgrade.html


To follow future progress, please see Barry's blog:

https://bkhome.org/news/tag_easy.html

To participate in discussion, report bugs, etc., see the EasyOS Forum:

https://easyos.org/forum/

Originally written August 25, 2019, last update August 30, 2020