Installing Quirky

If you are running, or able to run, any fairly modern version of Linux, then you will be able to use the Quirky Installer.
If for any reason that fails, or you prefer otherwise, or you are running Windows, then you can look further down this page, the 8GB ready-made drive image, or the live-CD ISO file.

The primary download location is here, choose the latest version of April:

What are all those files that you will find there? Just a quick guide:
april*-8gb.img.xz Ready-made image file, write straight to a 8GB (or larger) Flash-stick or SD-card.
Burn to a CD/DVD, also used for "frugal" installation.
Use this for full install to a drive or partition
This is the Quirky Installer, with a nice GUI.

The Quirky Installer, introduced below, will offer to download the appropriate file, however you can also do so manually, as the Installer only downloads from which is slow. There are some faster mirrors that you can download from.

Quirky Installer

If you are running in a x86 (32-bit) Linux installation, download installquirky.x86.
If you are running in a x86_64 (amd64, 64-bit) Linux installation, download installquirky.amd64.

Then, either click on it to execute it, or do it from a terminal:
# chmod 755 installquirky.amd64
# ./installquirky.amd64
Actually, given the experimental nature of the Quirky Installer, I recommend running from a terminal, so as to see any error message that might come onto the console.

You don't have to download anything else. The Installer will offer installation choices, and download the appropriate file, and install it.
But, you can manually download 'april*.usfs.xz' if you wish.

The first window that will come up looks like this:

I recommend, for first-time evaluation of Quirky, to install to a USB Flash stick or SD card. Even if you have an older PC which does not have UEFI firmware (all PCs prior to those that came with Windows 8), even so do click the "UEFI" radiobutton shown in the above picture, as the USB stick (or SD card) that is created will be able to boot on UEFI-based PCs and BIOS-based PCs.

Note in the snapshot above, the little help-buttons. These are throughout the installer, and provide detailed explanation.

The USB-stick will boot on PCs with UEFI-firmware and older PCs with BIOS-firmware. The steps to enable booting of a USB stick on a UEFI-firmware PC are described here:

The Installer will also offer to install to a hard drive partition, however, it requires that a boot manager such as GRUB already be installed.

Regarding performance running Quirky from a USB stick, this is a full installation on the stick, so there is a lot of traffic over the serial USB interface. Hence the USB is a bottleneck, and a USB3-stick is preferred. Even so, USB2 performance is quite acceptable, snappy even.

The Quirky Installer requires you to be running in a Linux installation, any fairly modern version of Linux should work OK.
However, if not, say you are still stuck on Windows, then you are going to have to look at installing from a ready-made 8GB image (for a USB Flash stick or SD-card) or a live-CD ISO file. These options are discussed next...

8GB ready-made drive image

There is a ready-to-go image for a 8GB USB-stick, that is not handled (yet) by the Quirky Installer, named 'april*-8gb.img.xz'. If you have a 8GB (or greater) stick available, that is a simple alternative way to install and evaluate Quirky. This is also an option if you are running Windows or OSX.

The steps, for Linux:
  1. Download *-8gb.img.xz.
  2. Expand and install (for example of Flash drive being sdb) (in a non-Puppy distro, you might have to do the 'sudo' thing, to run as root). Substitute correct name of .img.xz and drive for that of example given here:
    # xz --decompress --stdout quirky-6.1-8gb.img.xz > /dev/sdb
    # sync
    # xz --decompress --stdout april-6.89-8gb.img.xz | dd of=/dev/sdb bs=4M conv=fdatasync
    # sync
The first example works, but I recommend the second, using 'dd'.
Be careful, write to entire drive, for example 'sdb', not to a partition, example 'sdb1'.
Make sure that the drive is unmounted, as some Linux distros will auto-mount it as soon as it is plugged in.
Also be extra careful that it is the desired USB drive you are writing to, not your main hard drive!

Further documentation is required to do this from Windows. Well, you might look here:
...but, you will need to first install an application such as 7-zip (, that can uncompress an .xz file -- and be prepared, it will expand to a 7.6GB file, so make sure the partition has enough space!

This will boot on PCs with UEFI-firmware and older PCs with BIOS-firmware. The steps to enable booting of a USB stick on a UEFI-firmware PC are described here: 


Yes, there is a live-CD .iso file that you can download.

Warning: Unlike Puppy Linux, the Quirky live-CD boots into and runs entirely in RAM. For those who know something about the architecture of Puppy, Quirky does not support SFS files, nor support a "save file".
So, one restriction is that at least 2GB of RAM is required.

The live-CD does have some uses. It can be a means of booting and evaluating Quirky. It can also be a means of running the Quirky Installer as described above, so you can then do a proper install.

Another use for the live-CD is that it does have a "save" icon on the desktop, for remastering the CD, that is, creating another live-CD (or DVD). The point of doing that, is it would be configured for your video, network, etc. The remastered CD can be used to bootup without touching the hard drive, surf the web, then shutdown without having left any "footprint".

The live-CD also has an "install" icon on the desktop that will do a frugal installation to hard drive -- "frugal" is a term familiar to Puppy Linux users. This frugal installation has the same limitations as running from a live-CD. It also runs in RAM, and sessions are not automatically saved -- it does have a "save" icon on the desktop, and can do a save, to save settings, in the same manner as for the live-CD -- however, there is no "save file"!

Emphasizing again, the live-CD and frugal installation of Quirky has limitations and is only intended for evaluation, and perhaps to install Quirky properly.
Though, it should be noted that some people actually want those limitations -- for example, although the live-CD is slow to boot and needs lots of RAM and has extremely limited save capability, it does not even look at the hard drive, and once booted is very fast.

Another important point: live-CD requires that Legacy Boot be enabled in UEFI-Setup.
Though, it is on my TODO list to make the live-CD UEFI compatible.

Follow my blog for progress reports:

There is of course the usual waivure of all responsibility. I provide tools and documentation in good faith, however you use them entirely at your own risk.

Barry Kauler
October 7, 2015

Extra notes

Drive partitioning

Puppy and Quirky have Gparted, a drive partitioning tool. A Win8 PC typically has Windows installed in a large partition, usually the "C: drive", and it is unwise to decrease the size of that with Gparted, if you want to create a partition to install Quirky.

Instead, Win8 has its own disk partitioning tool, as described here:

Of course, booting Quirky from a USB Flash stick is no problem. But if you do want to install Quirky in a partition in the hard drive, then you will need to use the Win8 Partition Manager, then checkout how to install a Boot Manager.