logo Quirky Tahr 6.0

Quirky 6.0 was released in December 2013, followed by many improvements. The latest release of Quirky is 6.1.4, whereas Quirk Tahr is debuting at 6.0. Read all about Quirky here:
Quirky 6.x

Quirky Tahr builds on the same ideas, except is constructed with binary DEB packages from the Ubuntu Trusty Tahr repository.

This offers the enormous advantage of compatibility with the large Ubuntu repository, and the Quirky Package Manager can download any package from it.

Yet, this is a quirky Linux, quite unique. Instead of Trusty Tahr, you have Quirky Tahr, and the difference has to be experienced!

As usual, please monitor my blog for further announcements, including links to where you can provide feedback and discuss Quirky with others:

For more details about Quirky Tahr, and how it is "the same yet different" from Quirky, read on...

Quirky versus Quirky Tahr

The Quirky 6.x series is based on ideas that are itemised in the Quirky 6.x Release Notes. Quirky Tahr is built with the same "Quirky build system", with the same infrastructure and basic ideas, with some differences.

Quirky is a fork of Puppy Linux, focused for "full installation" only, as opposed to Puppy's multiple modes of installation. Having this focus, Quirky is optimised to run as a full installation in the simplest possible manner, that is, extreme ease-of-use, with tools for upgrading and recovery that are aimed to prevent your installation from ever becoming broken or compromised.

Where Quirky Tahr differs from Quirky is use of the Ubuntu Trusty Tahr binary DEB packages when putting it together. This does not make Quirky Tahr a clone of Ubuntu -- please, never think that! -- it is just that by using the Ubuntu packages, binary compatibility is achieved with the Ubuntu Trust Tahr package repository, and the Quirky Package Manager is able to install packages from that repo.

It also means that some of the "retro" features of Quirky are gone. Quirky was built with packages compiled from source in T2, with minimal dependencies, and some rather odd choices, such as use of GTK 2.20.1 rather than 2.24.x (latest in the 2.x series). Quirky is very small, a build with light-weight browser weighs in at about 100MB (download file), whereas Quirky Tahr is around 150MB.

That's the difference mostly, with Quirky Tahr, built from Ubuntu DEBs, the packages have many more dependencies, and of course they also must be included in the build. If you want to know just what Ubuntu packages have been used in this build, see here:

With Quirky Tahr, I also made the decision to make it more "complete" than Quirky. For example, Quirky only has the 'modesetting' and 'vesa' unaccelerated Xorg drivers, whereas Quirky Tahr has most of the hardware-accelerated drivers. I even included all the DRI drivers. This of course adds to the fatness, but it will ensure that video rendering is fast as possible.

I usually build my quirkies (and earlier on, my puppies), with SeaMonkey, mostly because it is in integrated suite, and I regularly use the Composer component (WYSIWYG web-page editor). However, I was unable to compile SeaMonkey for Quirky Tahr, and found the official 2.23 binary to be somewhat unstable. Hence, Quirky Tahr 6.0 was built with QupZilla (a very nice Qt-based webkit-based web browser), Sylpheed (GTK2-based mail and news client) and qutIM (Qt-based multiprotocol chat client).

If you want SeaMonkey, the official binary is available as a PET package. Download this, then just click on it to install (28.4MB):

A note about choice of applications. It is perhaps a personal thing, but I don't like GTK3, hence in Quirky Tahr there are only GTK2-based and Qt-based apps. I made a policy decision to use GTK2 apps and never to move up to GTK3. The "next step" is to move more to using Qt-based apps, and this is already happening. Note however, there is nothing to stop you from installing GTK3-based apps from the Ubuntu repo, using the Quirky Package Manager.

While in personal-bias-mode, I should also mention another deviation from prior habit. I have always built my quirkies and puppies with ffmpeg and mplayer (audio/video player), but have found these to be increasingly troublesome, mplayer in particular. Quirky Tahr does have ffmpeg, or rather the forked project 'libav', but not mplayer. Instead, Quirky Tahr has the VLC multimedia player.

Using Quirky Tahr

Many people will of course want to compile applications, and this is made very easy (as with all quirkies and puppies), with a "one-stop-shop", a single PET package. Just download this, then click to install (94.9MB):

Quirky features quite phenomenal recovery features. If you do install the 'devx' PET, it is a massive installation and does over-write some existing files. If, later, you were to uninstall the 'devx' PET, those files aren't just deleted, which would break the installation, there is a recovery back to the previous files. The Quirky Package Manager handles this recovery automatically.

Quite separate, there is the "system snapshot" feature, which enables you to take a snapshot of the (almost) entire partition. A scenario where this would be useful is where you have compiled (and installed) a heap of packages from source, then just want to get rid of them, purge them from the partition. After installing the 'devx' PET, take a system snapshot -- later on, you can recover, roll your installation back to that snapshot -- see the Snapshot Manager in the Filesystem menu.

For developers who want the kernel source, it is available as a PET here (25.4MB):

A note about users and login. Quirky is intended as a "single user" system, and you login as the administrator (automatically, without password), and optionally run Internet applications as user "spot". Don't jump to any preconceived notions about the merit or otherwise of this -- install Quirky then run the Login and Security Manager (in the System menu), and click the "Help" button -- this explains the reasoning behind administrator, spot (and fido) very clearly.

Something else that you wll notice in Quirky Tahr, that I should mention. The top-level "/home" folder has various sub-folders, but not user-directories. Remember, Quirky is single-user. This layout is experimental, just introduced with this release. I am thinking of configuring applications to default to this for all your own files. For example, /home/downloads is the default folder where files downloaded by the web browser will go.
/home is "outside" the system, in the sense that system snapshots will ignore it. This is good, as recovery from any snapshot will not revert the contents of /home. Version upgrades will also ignore it.
Of course, usage of /home in this single-user manner is contrary to the standard Linux directory layout, and the subject will need further discussion -- feedback on the Forum welcome!


Quirky Tahr is released as-is. I don't claim that it is a polished and bug-free product, and you use it with this understanding. In other words, there is a complete disclaimer of all responsibility and you use Quirky Tahr entirely at your own risk.

If you want to chat with other users of Quirky and Quirky Tahr, please go to the Puppy Forum, here:

Don't report bugs direct to me, unless you have a fix. There are expected to be bug fixes and upgrades. Monitor my blog for news about these:

Hmmm, the offical SeaMonkey binary is not so bad, I am using it now for a couple of hours, running Quirky Tahr 6.0, and it hasn't crashed. I think just some web sites cause it to crash.
I will have another go at compiling it in Quirky Tahr, and maybe will wait for the next release of the SeaMonkey source.

Barry Kauler
January 2014