logo Quirky Beaver 8.7

Quirky is a "quirky" Linux distribution created by Barry Kauler, that forked from Puppy Linux a few years ago. The original intention was to experiment with new ideas, and Quirky has evolved into an exciting and unique distribution.


The Puppy family are built by a tool named Woof, with divergence as projects have forked. A precursor to Woof, named Puppy Unleashed, became the build system for Fatdog. Woof2 was the last Woof maintained by the creator of Puppy Linux, Barry Kauler, before he retired from the Puppy project -- the "Puppy community" forked Woof2 as woof-CE (Community Edition) circa 2013, and Puppy continues to strongly evolve.

Barry created Quirky as something to keep playing with Linux and to try new ideas. The main conceptual differences with Puppy have emerged as Quirky being a "full installation" only, special snapshot and recovery features, and Service Pack upgrades.

However, recently it was decided to give limited support to live-CD with session-save-file, and "frugal" installs, as alternatives to a full install.
For Quirky, Barry forked Woof2 into woofQ, which has steadily diverged as new ideas have been experimented with.

In a nutshell, Woof enables Puppy (or Puppy-like distro) to be built from the binary packages of any other distribution. Historically, these distributions have been mostly Debian, Ubuntu, or Slackware. Also, T2 has been used to compile packages from source, the resulting binary packages used as input for a Woof build. Recently, OpenEmbedded has been used to compile packages from source for input to woofQ.

Early in 2017, Barry forked Quirky to a radically different "container friendly" architecture, named EasyOS. Easy development is in parallel, and Quirky development continues, now at version 8.7.

Earlier releases

Early Quirkies were the April series, created from binaries compiled in T2. Later Quirkies were built from Ubuntu binary DEBs, the most recent named the Beaver series. A ballpark conceptualization of the timeline is that Quirky version 7.0+ was April, 8.0+ was Xerus, and 8.7 is Beaver.

Quirky Xerus is built for x86_64 PCs and armv7 Raspberry Pi3. In 2016, i686 support was dropped. The Xerus series is built from Ubuntu Xenial Xerus DEBs, now, the Beaver series has started, built from Ubuntu Bionic Beaver 18.04.1 DEBs.

In December 2016, Barry suddenly decided to build Quirky from Slackware 14.2 binary packages, and SlaQ was created.

SlaQ 8.1.6

The predecessor Woof2 had been used to build Puppy from Slackware packages, the most famous of these being Slacko, created by Mick Amadio. Slacko continues to this day as one of the official Puppy builds, created via woof-CE.

woofQ required a lot of work to build a sane SlaQ. Many improvements were made, and packages carefully configured, and in some cases recompiled, with an aim to create a very compact distribution. The first release of SlaQ is version 8.1.6.

Here are the highlights of SlaQ 8.1.6, in no particular order:
  • System infrastructure and utilities improved and fixed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
  • Easyinit, a tiny ramdisk Quirky for f.s. check and recovery 1 2 3
  • Linux kernel 4.4.40 1, SeaMonkey 2.46
  • New "peachy-red" theme for GTK, JWM, icons and wallpaper
  • Small download, yet has huge selection of packages
At the time of writing, there are some known issues, only minor.

Xerus 8.1.6

Xerus is the Quirky series built from Ubuntu Xenial Xerus 16.04 x86_64 binary DEB packages.
Version 8.1.6 matches the infrastructure of SlaQ 8.1.6, as documented above.

Functionally equivalent to SlaQ 8.1.6, however, a slightly different selection of packages. Xerus is bigger, with Libreoffice instead of Abiword and Gnumeric. The media player is also different, VLC instead of Xine in SlaQ.

Version 8.1.5 uses Linux kernel 4.8.8, however, Barry Kauler had problems with his Asus E200HA laptop, and decided to roll Quirky 8.1.6 back to the latest kernel in the LTS 4.4 series, 4.4.40.

Note, for Xerus 8.1.6, it was decided to keep the same "dark brown" theme of version 8.1.5.

Xerus 8.2

Architecturally, Quirky Xerus 8.2 is the same as previous Quirky releases, since 8.0. Mostly there are incremental improvements, bug fixes, package upgrades, and some new packages. An announcement blurb:

Quirky Linux 8.2 x86_64 is codenamed "Xerus" and is built using the woofQ Quirky Linux build system, with the help of Ubuntu 16.04.2 binary packages. Thus, Xerus has compatibility with all of the Ubuntu repositories.
Quirky is a fork of Puppy Linux, and is mainly differentiated by being a "full installation" only, with special snapshot and recovery features, and Service Pack upgrades, though recently there is limited support for live-CD session-saving and "frugal" installation.
Version 8.2 has many architectural improvements and package upgrades, including new packages JWMDesk, UrxvtControl and Take-a-Shot. Among architectural improvements, the overlay filesystem has been dumped in favour of aufs, mime-handling fixes, and network-connection refinements. A significant change in application selection is VLC dumped in favour of Xine.
The Linux kernel is version 4.11.11 and SeaMonkey is upgraded to version 2.48b1.

Here are the release notes since 8.1.6, in no particular order:
  • Upgraded packages 1 2 3 4 5
  • Improved handling of NTFS 1 
  • New applications JWMDesk 1, UrxvtControl 2 , Take-a-shot 3
  • New utilities aemenu-pango, replaceit 1, bcm 2 
  • Architectural fixes & improvements 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
  • New multi-colour theme (see snapshot below) 1 
  • Revert overlay filesystem to aufs (see note below) 1 
  • woofQ improvements 1 
  • Linux kernel 4.11.11, with aufs patch 1 
  • Mime handling for markdown, and new viewer 1, .tar.xz mime 2 
  • Network connection improved (SNS, PGPRS) 1 2 
  • SeaMonkey browser suite 2.48b1
  • Xine multimedia player replaces VLC 1 
The previous release of Quirky uses the overlay filesystem for live-CD and frugal installations. However, this has been found to be broken, even with a recent kernel (4.11.11). Quirky has now reverted to aufs, which "just works".

There is a new theme for 8.2, featuring deep-blue backgrounds and multi-colour foregrounds, with bold text. In a running Quirky, the actual packages chosen for this theme can be found in file /root/.packages/woof-installed-packages. Here is a snapshot:


Xerus 8.3

Version 8.3 was intended to be a bug-fix upgrade from 8.2, however, in only 10 days since the release of 8.2, the development has been very intense, and 8.3 has turned out to be somewhat more than just a "bug fix" release.

Release notes, since 8.2, in no particular order:
  • USB Flash stick image improved 1 2 
  • Architectural fixes and improvements 1 2 3 4 
  • XkbConfigManager (Xorg keyboard layout) app fixed 1 
  • Pschedule (crond scheduler) fixed 1 
  • New SQLiteManager (SQLite3 manager) addon for SeaMonkey 1 
  • New MRUF-lst (menu of recently-used-files) app 1 
  • Linux kernel 4.11.12 1 
  • Fontwizard (improve rendering for LCD) app improved 1 
  • MSCW (Multiple Sound Card Wizard) app improved 1 
  • Quirky Installer app improved 1 
  • New Pmcputemp (temperature monitor in tray) app 1 

Xerus 8.4

There have been many bug-fixes, improvements and upgrades since 8.3. Announcement blurb:

Quirky Linux 8.4 x86_64 is codenamed "Xerus" and is built using the woofQ Quirky Linux build system, with the help of Ubuntu 16.04.3 binary packages. Thus, Xerus has compatibility with all of the Ubuntu repositories.
Quirky is a fork of Puppy Linux, and is mainly differentiated by being a "full installation" only, with special snapshot and recovery features, and Service Pack upgrades, though recently there is limited support for live-CD session-saving and "frugal" installation.
Version 8.4 has many architectural improvements and package upgrades, including new packages Sakura, Refind, EasyApps, PupControl, VTE and EasyShare. EasyShare is a simple "one top shop" for network file sharing and printing, using Samba and SSHFS. Upgraded applications include Pclock (0.8.2) and seaMonkey (2.49.1). The Linux kernel is now version 4.14.17

Release notes:

Rather than itemizing them all here, please read the "Quirky" thread on Barry's blog:


Xerus 8.4 has retained the theme of 8.2, as per above snapshot. However, the desktop has a simplified icon layout, with new "apps" and "share":


..."share" launches EasyShare, and "apps" launches radky's EasyApps.

There is an introduction to EasyShare here:


Note that EasyShare works in EasyOS 0.7.1 and Quirky 8.4, but is designed to be able to be ported to other Puppy distributions.

Xerus 8.5

Incremental improvements since 8.4, with significant changes "under the hood", notably the new pup_event Service Manager. Release notes:

  • pup_event Service Manager, dependency manager to start and stop services 1 
  • PeasyScan, PeasyPDF updated 1 
  • Frisbee network manager updated 1 
  • New 'getlocalip' utility 1 
  • pup_event IPC improved 1 
  • Built with Ubuntu 16.04.4 DEBs
  • Bug fixes

Note that the pup_event Service Manager and IPC are infrastructure things, that may not have any immediate benefits to the end user. They will however, streamline development, going ahead.

Xerus 8.6

Many packages upgraded to later versions, and significant changes "under the hood". Release notes:

  • Package upgrades. ex: SeaMonkey 2.49.4
  • Kernel 4.14.63, with aufs patch.
  • Built with the latest DEBs from Ubuntu 16.04.x.
  • Improvements to EasyShare, including Android connection 1 2 3
  • New Gxlat language translator 1 
  • Architectural improvements and fixes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  • Bug fixes.

EasyShare is still considered to be a work-in-progress, though quite usable in its current state. The theme remains the same as Quirky 8.2, and of course with the new desktop icon layout of 8.4.

Beaver 8.7

The transition has now been made to build Quirky from Ubuntu Bionic Beaver 18.04.1 DEBs. This follows less than a month after the release of Xerus 8.6, so pretty much the same, just later packages right through. "Just" might be optimistic though, as sweeping package upgrades may have brought new problems -- there has been some testing, but time will tell if any new bugs emerge. Some highlights of 8.7:

  • Linux kernel 4.18.8 1 
  • Linux network and display firmware updated.
  • Various small bug fixes.

Note, it was intended to include Locator, a frontend to Google maps, however, Google has now disabled access without an API-key, so Locator no longer works. Don't know if there is a workaround, or maybe someone will port it to OpenStreetMap API. Discussion: 1


There are two choices, either download an image-file for a 8GB or greater USB Flash stick, or an ISO file for a live-CD.

Installation is explained in another web page:

Ibiblio is the primary download site:

For instructions on how to write the image file to a Flash stick, see the above link. This is easy to do for Linux and Windows users.

Quirky can run very happily from a USB stick, especially if it is a reasonably fast one (some el-cheapo sticks are incredibly slow). Note: if you have USB2 sockets, consider a USB3 stick -- Barry has found these to run about twice as fast as most cheap USB2 sticks, even in a USB2 socket.

There is a single "devx" PET package with everything needed to turn Quirky into a compile environment (including compilers, svn, git), also a kernel 4.18.8 (patched with aufs) source PET:

More information

The place to go for news about Quirky is Barry's blog:

To read about user experiences with Xerus and Beaver and post your own questions:

All releases of Quirky are provided in good faith, but there is a disclaimer of any responsibility for unexpected or adverse behaviour. Usage implies acceptance of this complete disclaimer.

Date: September 19, 2018