Quirky Linux: Pleasingly Peculiar

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LINUX PICKS AND PANS
Quirky Linux: Pleasingly Peculiar

Quirky Linux: Pleasingly Peculiar

Quirky Linux is a traditional instance of what makes Linux such a assorted and helpful working system.

Puppy Linux developer Barry Kauler earlier this month launched Quirky Xerus 64 model 8.6, which comes full of the most recent improvements for doing Linux stuff otherwise.

This newest within the “Xerus” collection is a must-try in case you prefer to push your computing expertise envelope. It affords a barely completely different strategy to mixing a conventional Linux desktop with the most recent in usability choices.


Quirky Xerus64 Welcome screen

Quirky Xerus64 is a far stretch from the feel and appear of Windows 10. Its Welcome display simplifies desktop setup.

Quirky is expounded to the Puppy Linux household of distros, however it’s not a mainline Puppy Linux launch. Rather, it’s a distinct distro in its personal proper. Its web site is minimalist, however you possibly can get your hands on technical help for Quirky within the Puppy Linux boards.

Version 8.6 is an incremental launch with package deal upgrades and architectural enhancements, together with the Linux kernel 4.14.63. One of its latest tips is offering help for file sharing with an Android telephone through the EasyShare community file and printer sharing device.

I’m a long-time Puppy Linux fan. I’ve relied on it for years as a pocket Linux device. Quirky goes a number of steps additional with improvements for enhanced productiveness.


Quirky Xerus64 tools

The foremost menu in Quirky Linux is full of most of the instruments and functions present in its cousin distro, Puppy Linux.

Different Strokes

Kauler forked Puppy Linux into Quirky Linux again in 2009 as a way to discover new ideas. He had stepped down as Puppy Linux’s lead developer just a few years earlier, solely to return with a brand new dogpound of concepts within the Quirky distro offshoot.

Quirky is binary-compatible with x86_64 Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS. Otherwise, it’s nothing in any respect like Ubuntu. It is architecturally very completely different.

Quirky is an experimental distribution that boots from a USB stick or CD and runs in system RAM for lightning-fast efficiency. Like its Puppy cousin, Quirky is a light-weight distro that gives a powerhouse of options and usefulness.

It seems like a Puppy Linux clone, however Quirky Linux follows a distinct path than its Puppy distro cousin. Quirky Xerus explores some new concepts whereas persevering with the Puppy Linux custom of offering a full suite of optimized functions, drivers and utilities in a really small measurement.

Common Ground

Quirky Linux’s desktop construction and look are just like Puppy Linux.

Under the hood, Quirky is way completely different than Puppy, however its functions, utilities and person interface point out a robust connection to Puppy.

Quirky makes use of Joe’s Window Manager for its desktop atmosphere. JWM is a extra compact desktop interface than present in GNOME or Xfce or LXDE. Both distros are designed to run on legacy, low-powered desktops and laptops.

However, Kauler didn’t cease at light-weight. He shoehorned a lot of heavyweight efficiency into Quirky. For occasion, he succeeded in hunting down typical light-weight functions in favor of full-featured heavyweights like GIMP and LibreOffice.

Puppy Linux just isn’t meant to be absolutely put in on a tough drive. It enables you to do a partial or frugal onerous drive set up. That is the place the persistent storage comes from by utilizing a particular private financial savings file on the onerous disk or a 2-GB USB stick.

Quirky Linux is form of structured to perform in reverse. It is designed to be absolutely put in. However, it doesn’t must be. You can run it from a CD or USB drive and preserve configuration updates for a pocket Linux system with a setup possibility.

If you might be actually adventurous and your {hardware} helps an SD card, you can also run Quirky from that storage gadget.

Strangely Functional

Quirky Linux is aptly named. It is peculiar in comparison with no matter working system you utilize. Still, it has conventional panel bars, familiar-looking menus, and plenty of configuration choices.


Quirky Xerus64 main control panel

Quirky Linux is configured from a foremost management panel and lots of menu instruments. You can entry the menu from the button on the left of the panel bar or by right-clicking on the desktop.

I’ve a protracted satisfying historical past with Puppy Linux. I began utilizing it a decade in the past on a USB drive once I traveled round often and was engaged on banks of Windows bins in no matter workplace I visited.

So Quirky Linux suits proper into my computing routines. It affords the following era of transportable Linux energy and productiveness. It takes the Puppy Linux idea to the following degree. That familiarity makes working with Quirky a snug expertise.

What’s Inside

Quirky just isn’t a dumbed-down Linux distro crammed onto a USB drive. It comes full with a full set of kernel, printing, scanning and digital camera drivers. It has an ample provide of multimedia libraries. The Adobe Flash participant is included as an non-obligatory set up. Quirky affords a fast set up possibility of some widespread packages.

Quirky additionally doesn’t skimp on functions. It features a full suite of top-rated packages. The present launch sheds a few of the earlier software program baggage equivalent to Ami Word and Gnumeric spreadsheet.

Instead, you get the LibreOffice 5 workplace suite and much extra enterprise and multimedia software program headliners. The default Web browser is SeaMonkey model 2.49.4, however different decisions can be found within the PETget Package Manager.

Also included are Leafpad textual content editor and Geany IDE/editor. Other normal apps are ROX-filer file supervisor, the MPlayer media participant and CUPS (Common Unix Printing System) help for printing. Overall, the software program accessible by the Quirky repository will deal with most, if not all, of the standard person’s wants.

Look and Feel

If you might be conversant in Puppy Linux, you may be proper at residence working Quirky Linux. If you recognize any of the Ubuntu Linux desktop flavors, you will want a while shifting in and getting cozy with Quirky.

The menu is sort of overwhelming. The classes are full of functions that seem international. You will acknowledge some traditional software program titles. Mostly, although, you’ll have to click on round to see what the Puppy/Quirky titles do.

Like Puppy Linux variants, Quirky’s software program format is the Pet file construction. The Pet repository has its distinctive traits. It offers you entry to quite a few Ubuntu software program warehouses, however these functions are packaged within the Pet format.

As is typical for light-weight desktops, the JWN atmosphere is bereft of glitz, glitter and animations. But the pace and the vary of performance will impress you.


Quirky Xerus64 background images

Quirky Linux has only some background pictures. Its Qwallpaper switcher app lacks a random or timed show perform.

Using Quirky

I final reviewed Quirky Linux in January of 2014. I used to be happy with its efficiency then, but it surely did not displace my well-worn earlier model of Puppy Linux put in on a USB drive.

Quirky Linux succeeded this time round in changing that well-worn Puppy distro. After testing this newest launch, it was a simple resolution to maintain utilizing it moderately than course of an upgraded set up of a more moderen Puppy Linux launch.

Being conversant in how Quirky operates, I used to be extra involved with newly developed variations Quirky Xerus 8.6 displayed in establishing and working its numerous choices for full and partial operation. One of its chief benefits is utilizing it as a reside session OS with the flexibility to take care of persistent reminiscence simply.

Installing an OS to a USB stick is a possible dogfight. The variables contain each the appliance that burns the system to the USB drive and the standard of the USB drive itself. The drive’s switch pace is a think about how properly Quirky on a Stick performs.

Choices and Workarounds

As I anticipated, Quirky booted up from CD with none points. However, working the OS from CD (or DVD) includes a protracted ready interval for the code to switch to system RAM.

You can proceed to run Quirky from the CD if you’re happy with the default settings and software program. Or you possibly can click on the SAVE button on the desktop to retailer your configuration settings and software program updates in a particular file anyplace you want on the onerous drive.

This strategy offers you a computing resolution that quantities to a reside session on steroids. This methodology is an effective way to run a first-class Linux OS in your Windows laptop in a dual-boot setting with out the onerous drive partitioning points.

From the reside session startup, you possibly can click on the INSTALL button on the desktop to do a full set up of Quirky Linux to a tough drive. Do you might have an exterior USB onerous drive hanging round? Use that and take the total set up to any laptop, however plug it into the exterior drive.

Be ready for some troubleshooting in case you go for the USB stick set up methodology. You may need to strive a number of completely different USB units. It appears that the set up course of for Quirky Linux could be a bit quirky.

Making It Work

The developer gives detailed instructions for putting in Quirky Linux to a USB stick in addition to different storage choices.

One of the instruments for putting in Quirky to a USB stick is the dd utility — however that didn’t work properly. Neither did just a few different instruments.

What did work was doing the set up from the working reside session utilizing the Setup possibility in the principle menu. I clicked on the Easy DD Frontend for dd device and had Quirky put in on an 8-GB (really useful minimal measurement) USB thumb drive.

It is way simpler — and apparently simpler with Quirky Linux — than utilizing the dd instructions in a console window. The utility requested me to click on on the placement to the picture file after which click on on the placement of the USB drive getting the set up.

It is a protracted course of — it took 30 minutes — but it surely labored.

Bottom Line

Get Quirky Linux here. You have two decisions. One is the usual ISO to burn to CD. The different is the gz archived package deal used for putting in Quirky Linux to a USB drive.

Quirky Linux just isn’t a distro that meets everybody’s computing wants. Unlike different distros, equivalent to Linux Mint or Zorin, Quirky Linux doesn’t have the feel and appear of a Windows desktop.

Want to Suggest a Review?

Is there a Linux software program utility or distro you’d prefer to recommend for assessment? Something you like or wish to get to know?

Please email your ideas to me, and I’ll think about them for a future Linux Picks and Pans column.

And use the Reader Comments characteristic under to supply your enter!


Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His foremost areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open supply applied sciences. He has written quite a few opinions of Linux distros and different open supply software program. Email Jack.



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