Emtec vs Lexar USB2 Flash sticks

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Yesterday I purchased a set of three Emtec 16GB USB2 Flash sticks from BigW, here in Australia, for AU$20, just under AU$7 each:

I installed the latest version of Quirky Linux to one of the sticks, and booted up on my desktop PC (i5 CPU, 16GB RAM, in other words a reasonably snappy performer).
Right off, I observed that Quirky was incredibly slow. Unbelievably slow, absolutely awful.

These days, I tend to buy USB3 sticks, as they run fast even when plugged into a USB2 socket. However, there are some shonky USB3 sticks at the bargain-basement level. But leave that one for now.

A little while ago, I bought a Lexar 8GB USB2 stick from BigW, for AU$9.50. Though, I notice the Australian distributor for Lexar is now only importing from 16GB and up.

So, I decided to do some quantitative comparison, just a simple write test. Here is how:

# sync

# echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches
# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dummyfile bs=1M count=1024 conv=fdatasync oflag=direct
1024+0 records in
1024+0 records out
1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB, 1.0 GiB) copied, 654.566 s, 1.6 MB/s

# sync

# echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches
# dd if=/dev/zero of=/mnt/sde2/dummyfile bs=1M count=1024 conv=fdatasync oflag=direct
1024+0 records in
1024+0 records out
1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB, 1.0 GiB) copied, 203.636 s, 5.3 MB/s

Horrifying, yes indeed! 1.6MB/s versus 5.3MB/s
I will use those Emtec sticks for archival purposes, as I keep old releases of Quirky and other distros. For actual usage, no!

Testing 8.2.2 flash stick

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Development has been very intense since the release of Quirky Xerus64 8.2. There has been so much help on the Puppy forum!

Lots of bugs have been found, some improvements, and even new packages. So many changes, that the next release will be 8.3, not just a "bug fix" release.

I have a request for testers. I have built an image for a 8GB or greater USB Flash stick, now at version 8.2.2, take this as being a beta for 8.3.

There is a need to confirm that this image file works. Back in the early days of UEFI-firmware "BIOS" -- though, I use the word "BIOS" to refer to pre-UEFI PCs, for simpleicity, and just call the new type "UEFI". Anyway, the early days -- I read that UEFI does not boot on flash sticks with MBR, rather than GPT, because some early UEFI firmware was buggy, did not follow the UEFI Standard.

However, I think that might be OK now, so with great relief have built the 8.2.2 image with MBR rather than GPT. It still should bootup on PCs with UEFI, and "legacy boot " NOT turned on.
I tested on two UEFI PCs, but would like more confirmation.

Also, if write to a bigger stick than 8GB, say 16GB, there is a checkbox in QuickSetup to grow the partition to fill the drive -- I would like confirmation that this works.

Here is the download link:

New network icons

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Puppy forum member rerwin posted a patch for some network icons that are in woof-CE but not in woofQ (and hence not in Quirky):

I have put those icons in to woofQ, in /usr/share/pixmaps/puppy.

Partition resize fixed

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At first bootup from a USB stick, full installation, the QuickSetup window has a checkbox asking if want to resize the partition to fill the drive. This is for the situation where the nominal "8GB" image was written to a bigger drive.

Or rather, it is supposed to ask. In 8.2, the checkbox is missing. Which, it turns out, is a good thing, as resizing is broken.

It came about from a 12th-hour fix that I did before releasing 8.2. Fixed one thing, broke another.

Now have the checkbox appearing, testing with a 16GB stick. Also fixed the scripts in the "easyinit" ramdisk, so resizing now works.

Looking back over development since 8.2 was released, only 8 days ago, it has been very intense, so the next release should be much more than a "bug fix" release. Reckon will make it 8.3, with an RC before that.

XkbConfigManager fixes, plus more

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Some quick notes about latest fixes.

The Advanced Xorg Keyboard Manager is broken. Non-US selections were staying stuck on US layout.
I think it is now fixed. It used to be that keyboard layout rules were in /etc/X11/kbd, with /usr/share/X11/kbd a symlink to there. However, a change occurred in recent builds of Quirky, with /etc/X11/kbd an empty folder, with the rules only in /usr/share//X11/kbd -- this breaks XkbConfigManager.
Now fixed.

Various other fixes:
Removed F12 key binding in JWM.
Improved messages when creating a boot-CD.

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