Quirky Xerus pre-alpha

The last time that I played with the Raspberry Pi was back in 2011 - 2013, and I got Puppy Linux running on the Pi1. Then I moved on, and my Pi languished in a cupboard.

When the Pi2 was released, I bought one, but never did anything with it. Then the Pi3 was released and I bought that also.

Late August 2016, I suddenly got inspired to port Quirky Linux, my fork of Puppy, to the ARM architecture, specifically armv7, and to get it running on the Pi2 and Pi3.

Quirky 8.0.x is based on DEBs from Ubuntu 16.04, Xenial Xerus. Hence, I often refer to this series of Quirky as "Quirky Xerus".


I am providing image files for an 8GB micro-SD card. The file is compressed, using 'xz' compression. To write to the SD-card, running Linux, do this:
  1. Make sure the card is inserted but not mounted.
  2. Execute this in a terminal, in this example /dev/sdb is the SD-card:
    > unxz --stdout quirky-pi2-sd-8gb-xerus-8.0.7alpha.img.xz | dd of=/dev/sdb bs=4M
    > sync
Afterward, plug the micro-SD card into the Pi2 or Pi3 (not the Pi1) and power-on. Note that bootup is a bit slow the first time, but subsequent boot-ups are extremely fast, about 9 seconds for the Pi3 -- that is to the desktop fully loaded and ready to use.

Information about each release follows:

Version 8.0.7, September 7, 2016

This is the first upload. It has lots of issues. It is uploaded so that those who are keen to see Quirky on the Pi, can do so, play with it, and maybe even fix a bug or two.

These are some issues:

There is a tray applet named Retrovol. The executable is broken, however I have uploaded one that works, same place you are reading this file. Download it, replace /usr/bin/retrovol, make sure file permissions are set to "execute", then restart X-server (see Menu -> Shutdown). Click on icon in tray to adjust volume.
I can't get sound on my TV, but it works on the sound output jack. This is supposed to send output to HDMI:
> amixer cset numid=3 2
If you change the last parameter to "1", sound goes to the speaker jack.
I have a normal generic US keyboard, however the arrow keys don't work, but do in the num-pad. Nor do home and end keys. This is an Xorg problem, we need to figure out how to set the appropriate keyboard.
The Pi3 has built-in wifi, and the driver does load. Click on "connect" icon, choose SNS (Simple Network Setup), is does see the wifi interface, but when do a scan reports "no wireless networks found".
Note, I haven't got ethernet, so that not tested.
librdf.so.0 is missing.

...that's for starters, I am sure there are heaps more issues to resolve!

Note, I have not uploaded a "devx" PET package, so you can't compile anything. I discovered a strange problem with the devx, hope to fix it soon.

Version 8.0.11, September 17, 2016

This one is looking good. From the above table, Retrovol, keyboard-keys and Abiword are fixed.

Various other fixes, also I improved the bootup speed on the first boot -- it is now as fast as subsequent boots, creating a very good "first impression".

There have been some package updates, including zigbert's pMusic and pFilesearch.

There are still issues to resolve, such as wifi and bluetooth, but the rate at which bugs are getting resolved, it is likely that the next release will be a "beta".

if you wish to experiment with compiling a source package, there is 'devx-8.0.10-xerus.pet'. Download and click on it to install.

Version 8.0.18, September 20, 2016

This has to be the last "pre-alpha", as it is really beta-quality. There has been a lot of very helpful feedback on the Puppy Forum and I have fixed many bugs.

I have been hot on the trail of fixing wifi. See my wifi fix here:

I have also been hot on the trail of fixing bluetooth. I have put the fixes into 8.0.18, but have not yet tried it. My earlier post on bluetooth is here:

The really big surprise for 8.0.18 is that I have removed Abiword and Gnumeric, now have Libreoffice. In addition to Writer (word processor) and Calc (spreadsheet editor), there is Draw (vector graphic editor), Impress (Powerpoint equivalent) and Base (database manager).

The default database in Base is HSQLDB, which needs Java, which is not in Quirky. Instead, I am wondering if Firebird is adequate? Ubuntu has 'libreoffice-sdbc-firebird' DEB, that I have not included in Quirky. It does not require Java. This is an experiment for someone!

The 8.0.11 download is 321MB, 8.0.18 is 388MB. I reckon that is not too much of a size penalty to attain the power of Libreoffice, just an extra 67MB.
Raspian has Libreoffice, but the download is 1.3GB.

Quirky, as a Puppy derivative, continues the tradition of including the "kitchen sink", that is, just about every application you would need, in a very small download.

Feedback please, bug reports, fixes welcome. The Puppy Forum thread, page 4:

Blog announcements here:

Barry Kauler