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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Puppy Linux 4.3

Barry Kauler once again release a new version of the Puppy Linux Project, the released version 4.3.

"After I released Puppy 4.1.2, I "kind of" retired and WhoDo (Warren) took over coordinating 4.2.0 and 4.2.1. WhoDo did a superb job, but he then decided he had enough, so I have stepped back in to coordinate 4.3. There are various reasons why I have taken on this role again, one of them that I have developed a whole new system for building puppies, that I name Woof. This replaces the Unleashed build system. I also designed a new package management system, called the Puppy Package Manager, or just PPM, needed to cope with Woof's ability to build a Puppy from the packages from any distro (Debian, Ubuntu, Arch, Slackware, T2, etc.)." --said Barry Kauler in the official release announcement.

Highlights of 4.3

These highlights are in no particular order, nor are they a complete list of what has happened since Puppy 4.2.1. There is just too much. Lots of guys have helped, and I haven't acknowledged everyone. But I have provided lots of links.

* Latest kernel. I have built 4.3 with the 2.6.30.5 kernel, configured for SMP (multiprocessor) systems (but also works fine on uniprocessor systems) This kernel supports the ext4 filesystem and is patched for Aufs2. Thanks to tempestuous for help with upgrading the firmware. 1
* Internet by dialup. Unlike many other distros, Puppy has not forgotten those who access the Internet by analog modem dialup. The kernel has drivers for many modems, including Agere, ESS, Lucent, Conexant, Smartlink, Pctel and Intel chipsets. Rerwin has done an incredible job here, and in most cases we have automatic detection and configuration. Rerwin has also done a lot of work on dialup via 3G devices. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
* Pstreamvid. This is a great GUI for playing streaming video, that is, Internet TV. Created by trio. 1 2 3
* CPU Scaling Ondemand. A convenient little app created by trio, for those who find their CPU runs too hot. 1 2
* JWM Theme Maker. A convenient little app created by trio, to create a theme for the JWM window manager. 1 2
* Psync. Created by tasmod, synchronises the clock to an Internet time server. 1 2
* Mscw. Kirk created this interesting little GUI to change sound cards. 1 2
* pCD. Zigbert has created many applications for Puppy. Many of them, including Pburn, Pfind and Pbackup, are upgraded. pCD is a new little app for playing audio CDs. 1 2
* QUISP. Puppy has not yet settled on any particular database development system. QUISP was in Puppy 2.x series, and I have decided to bring it back. The attraction is that it is extremely small yet very powerful. QUISP is a CGI web-browser frontend that can be used for providing anything in a web page, including but not limited to support for the SHSQL backend. I have put a tutorial into 4.3, plus the 'devx' file has the full documentation and further tutorials. Basically, QUISP is back for us to play with and evaluate, to be considered as a possible permanent resident. 1 2 3 4
* SQLiteManager. This is a frontend for SQLite and is an addon for SeaMonkey (but does run as a standalone application). Like QUISP, I have put it in for evaluation. Note that there is also SQLiteDBMS which is not included but is available as a PET package. 1
* Hiawatha. This web server is being used in Puppy to serve CUPS, PPLOG and QUISP pages. Hiawatha is very small and extremely secure. 1 2 3
* Linux-dvb-apps. I have put this package in by request from the guys who are into DVB. It provides needed infrastructure. 1
* Screenshot utility. Puppy has a screenshot utility based on mtPaint, but with a very basic GUI. Trio has overhauled the GUI, added more features and made it look nice. 1 2
* Pmirrorget, Pwsget. Forum member Gposil has created these great little GUI apps. Pmirrorget is for downloading a complete website, Pwsget adds username/password to our frontend for wget (originally created by Lobster). 1 2
* Aqualung. This is a very nice audio file and CD player. We do of course have other applications that play audio files and CDs, including pCD, Gxine and mhWaveEdit, plus commandline utilities, so there is a plethora of choice here! 1 2 3
* Crop background for widescreen. I have modified the code that places a background image on the desktop such that it will crop an image to prevent it being distorted on a widescreen monitor. 1 2
* NicoEdit. This is a great little text editor written by Nicolas in Genie. This uses Gtksourceview for syntax highlighting and also has highlighting for Vala and Genie code. I have also retained the Geany text editor from before, although NicoEdit is one tenth of the size -- please test NicoEdit, report back -- I will probably promote NicoEdit to replace Geany in the next release of Puppy! 1 2 3 4
* Pictureviewer, EmbeddedBookmarks, PuppyBrowser. These are fantastic applications written by MU in Genie. PuppyBrowser is a complete web browser based on the 'gtkmozembed' library in SeaMonkey. Puppy uses PuppyBrowser as the local HTML help-page viewer, and for viewing CUPS, PPLOG and QUISP pages. 1 2 3 4 5
* Viewnior. We have a new default image viewer. Viewnior is simple, small and also supports slideshows.
* Gtkhash. A nice little GUI for generating hashes. Forum member ttuuxxx has packaged it up very nicely for Puppy, with Rox integration. 1
* Ext4 support. Puppy 4.3 built with the 2.6.30.5 kernel has full support for ext4. I have upgraded GParted, e2fsprogs, disktype, GRUB and guess_fstype. The latter is a utility created by Jesse, one of our hardware interfacing experts. 1
* Xdelta GUI. I have written a drag-and-drop frontend for the Xdelta utility. This is a file difference manager, and is great for those on dialup when it comes time to upgrade to a new version of Puppy -- just download a small "difference file". 1 2
* Ayttm. This is our choice of multi-protocol chat client, because it is small yet capable. One of the main developers, Siddhesh, is very active and responsive to our requests. 1 2
* Gtkdialog text markup editor. In Puppy Linux we make heavy use of Gtkdialog for GUIs written in Bash/Ash scripts. Gtkdialog is easy to use and fairly powerful. One problem though is limited documentation. If you have the 'devx' file loaded, you will find code examples at /usr/share/doc/gtkdialog3, which are invaluable. However, Gtkdialog has capabilities that are not documented or hardly so. Vovchik has provided this aid. 1 2
* Bcrypt GUI. Forum member coolpup developed a GUI tool to encrypt files, using the 'bcrypt' commandline utility. Coolpup has also developed another with heavier encryption named Pcrypt. 1
* JWM window manager. For a long time Puppy has used JWM, except long long ago when we used Fvwm. The developer Joe stopped work on the project, and two of our guys, HairyWill and Patriot, fixed some bugs. Joe came back and incorporated these fixes into the official source plus added some extra improvements. 1 2 3
* ms-sys. I have put this in, but not using it for anything yet. Steve_s was discussing ms-sys awhile back on the forum, and it looks like it could be useful when installing Puppy. 1 2
* BootFlash. This is a GUI application I have written for installing Puppy to Flash drives. It is an alternative to the Puppy Universal Installer and is an attempt to offer all the different means of installing to flash in the one tool. 1 2
* Poweroff after mouse inactivity. Thanks to forum member steel_i who thought of this. I have used the getcurpos utility to detect mouse position. 1 2 3
* FullerScreen. This application is described as a "slide presenter", but it is really a nice tool for creating presentions (like Powerpoint). It does need basic HTML editing capability though. FullerScreen is an addon for SeaMonkey, but runs standalone. 1
* Addons for SeaMonkey. I have already mentioned SQLIteManager and FullerScreen above. In addition 4.3 has Zombiekeys and Adblock. Note that if you open the Help page in Puppy there is a HOWTO that explains how to use zombiekeys. 1 2 3
* SFS Converter. The 2.6.30.5 kernel has Squashfs 4.0, which is not compatible with older SFS files. Puppy will detect incompatible SFS files, and now offers a converter, created by forum member trio. 1 2
* Pcur. I wrote a mouse cursor selector GUI. Especially useful if your eyesight is not so good and you want a bigger mouse pointer. 1
* Network Wizard. Dougal has continually refined our Network Wizard, and there is a very long forum thread detailing its development. 1
* And so much more... lots of improvements in the underlying scripts, bugfixes, application upgrades, massive help from the guys with testing -- I won't even attempt to list names.

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