logo Quirky Xerus

The old "April" series of Quirky is compiled totally from source packages, using T2. Quirky "Xerus" differs in that it is built with Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus binary DEBs.

It must be emphasised that the mere fact of using Ubuntu DEBs does not make Quirky a clone of Ubuntu. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Quirky Xerus behaves just like the April series, with the one difference that packages can be installed from the Ubuntu DEB repositories. The binary compatibility with Ubuntu offers a huge collection of packages, which is the main attraction of this series.

However, some functionality of Ubuntu is castrated, such as systemd. These differences may mean that some Ubuntu DEBs may not work properly (but the vast majority should be fine).

if anyone ever asks you "what type of desktop does Quirky run?", tell them "JWM and ROX-Filer". This has been the standard for Puppy and derivatives for the last ten years. JWM is a window manager that also runs the tray, ROX-Filer is a file manager on steroids, that also manages the desktop icons and background.

Oh, and that systemd thing. No Puppy or derivative uses systemd. The standard for Puppy has always been the init mechanism provided by Busybox. You can find the guts of the bootup and shutdown scripts in /etc/rc.d. This works well, and is very fast -- the Pi3 boots to a fully-loaded desktop in about 9 seconds.

Quirky Xerus 8.1

All Quirkies prior to 8.1 have been built for x86 and x86_64 PCs. Version 8.1 is the first to be built for the ARM platform, specifically the Raspberry Pi2 and Pi3. Note that Quirky will not work on a Pi1. It is expected a build for the Odroid XU4 is coming soon.

The functionality is much as you have come to expect with a Puppy-derivative -- you get "the kitchen sink" in a very small package. That is, an application for just about everything and utilities to setup and configure just about anything.

A difference though, with the Raspberry Pi build, is that it includes LibreOffice and Inkscape, whereas Puppy-derivatives usually have light-weight choices, such as Gnumeric, Abiword and InkscapeLite. This decision was made so as to provide the same functionality out-of-the-box as Raspbian, and in fact a whole lot more.
This has resulted in a somewhat larger build than usual, a download file of 360MB. However, compare that with Raspbian at 1.3GB, and Quirky is still relatively small.

As this is the very first release of Quirky for the Pi, it may have some issues, though we have been testing at the Puppy Forum and have fixed, hopefully, most of them. Some outstanding issues are:


I will report on more as we discover, and fix, these. For now, this is what we know is either broken, incomplete, or needs improving:
  1. SeaMonkey web browser 2.40 is a bit unstable. On certain web sites, crashes. Do not yet know what it is on those sites, but they are media-rich sites. Note also, 2.40 was released in March 2016 so is getting a bit long-in-the-tooth. We are anxiously waiting on the developers to release another version.
  2. SimpleVLC is a GUI frontend to the CLI (commandline) VLC media player. It's capabilities are currently limited, basically it only plays local video and audio files. It is a very simple shell script, and if you are interested, take a look in /usr/local/SimpleVLC -- if you have basic shell scripting ability and an interest in media player setup (streaming, etc.), then you are welcome to have a go at editing the script.

Usage notes

The original concept of Puppy Linux was to load totally into RAM and run from there. The entire Puppy filesystem was one Squashfs (SFS) file, that was loaded into RAM. The main advantage of this is speed.
Puppy can also do a conventional "full install", just like you do for Ubuntu, Debian, etc., where the filesystem is in a partition on the hard drive. Puppy users know this as "PUPMODE 2".

Quirky only does "PUPMODE 2". Well, not quite, but for the purposes of these ARM boards, that is all that is being offered for now.

if you have a Puppy background, the most important thing to know is that there are no SFS files, as the layered filesystem does not exist. There are, however, PET and DEB packages, as with any other distribution.

Quirky can be turned into a complete C/C++/BaCon/Vala/Genie programming and compiling environment, with all needed tools such as git and svn, by installing just one PET package. This package is name 'devx-*.pet' and can be found in the Puppy Package Manager. Also, kernel source is available as a PET package.

Quirky Xerus 8.1 is built from Ubuntu Xenial Xerus 16.04 DEB packages, so has binary compatibility. The Puppy Package Manager (PPM) can install DEBs from the Ubuntu repositories.


Quirky 8.1 is built with Ubuntu 16.04 DEBs. If you want to install DEBs from 16.04.1 or later, the PPM Configuration window can update the local package database to whatever are the latest DEBs available online.

Regarding updating Quirky to versions beyond 8.1, this is usually provided by what are called "Service Packs". These are PET packages. This provides incremental upgrading, though support for this mechanism has been a bit haphazard, as Quirky is only my hobby project -- I tend to jump around onto whatever catches my interest, and cannot guarantee long-term incremental upgrades.

Anyway, if a Service Pack becomes available, you will be notified automatically whenever you run the PPM, or you can inquire for a Service Pack via the menu "Filesystem -> Quirky Version Upgrade Manager".

Online news and feedback

To read more about the latest release of Quirky, see my blog:


Puppy Forum thread for feedback about Quirky 8.1+:


Barry Kauler
October 2016