|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
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 Easy Linux. Easy development continues, with no official releases yet. In the meantime, Quirky has progressed, and version 8.2 is now out.
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 Xerus series. A ballpark conceptualization of the timeline is that Quirky version 7.0+ was April and 8.0+ was Xerus.
Quirky Xerus is built for x86_64 PCs and armv7 Raspberry Pi3. In 2016,
i686 support was dropped.
In December 2016, Barry suddenly decided to build Quirky from Slackware 14.2 binary packages, and SlaQ was created.
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:
At the time of writing, there are some known issues, only minor.
- 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
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.
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
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:
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".
- 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
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:
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
Alternatively, a full install to internal hard drive can be made. You
first need to be running Quirky from a Flash stick or live-CD, then read these
There is a single "devx" PET package with everything needed to turn
Quirky into a compile environment (including compilers, svn, git), also a kernel 4.11.9 (patched with aufs) source PET:
To compile the kernel, source and patches can be found here:
u#se#rn#am#e: p#up#py p#as#sw#or#d: l#in#ux
The place to go for news about Quirky is Barry's blog:
To read about user experiences with Xerus and post your own questions:
If you have a Puppy Linux background, and would like further clarification how Quirky differs, here is a short explanation:
Quirky Xerus 8.1.6 for x86_64 CPUs: http://barryk.org/news/?viewDetailed=00496
Quirky SlaQ 8.1.6 for x86_64 CPUs: http://barryk.org/news/?viewDetailed=00493
Quirky Xerus 8.1.5 for x86_64 CPUs: http://barryk.org/news/?viewDetailed=00482
Quirky Xerus 8.1.4 for Raspberry Pi2: http://barryk.org/news/?viewDetailed=00473
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: July 18, 2017