Wary Puppy After many beta test releases, Wary Puppy 5.0 was released on
December 29, 2010, the first official public release. This is the first
of my "Wary5" series of Puppy Linux,
a "fifth generation" Puppy.
There are two main reasons for this project:
1 Old hardware support
It has been argued that the Puppy 4.x series is the high-point of Puppy
development, one reason being that it runs well on a very wide range of
hardware. I wanted to move to a new software base (new libraries,
compiler, kernel, drivers, applications) yet retain that hardware support.
2 Long term support
Just as the 4.x series is still in use, even though I originally
compiled the base packages from source in November 2007, I would like
to position Wary as the next long-term supported Puppy. Unlike most
major distros that tend to be at the bleeding edge, Wary 5.x will stay
as it is for the next 2 - 3 years with only bug fixes, incremental
improvements and application upgrades when needed.
What is "different" about Wary?
I compiled Wary from source in T2, and chose a very odd combination of
old and new packages. The previous Wary (<=0.7) was compiled with
Xorg 7.3+, using X.org package versions about the same as used in
Debian Lenny. However, I found even this was a step too far for some
video hardware. So, I went back to the exact same X.org packages as
used in Puppy 4.x, the original 7.3 versions, with xorg-server 188.8.131.52
(Lenny uses 1.4.2).
So, very old X.org, old Mesa, pixman, etc., yet very recent GTK
(2.20.1) and most other base packages and libraries are recent. The
compiler gcc and C library glibc are fairly recent (4.3.4 and 2.10.1)
but not bleeding-edge.
The latest versions of many applications, such as SeaMonkey, Abiword,
Gnumeric, and I do intend that many applications will be upgraded in
future releases of Wary. Also the very latest media players and drivers
-- video/audio, scanners, printers.
In fact, I one of the goals for Wary is that media playing will be "the best", handling just about every media format.
Minimal daemons, so that Wary runs light on old hardware. Wary does not
have Dbus! Technosaurus is doing some excellent work that can be
applied to some of the daemons in Wary to run lighter, and this will be
one of the on-going areas of Wary development.
But, X.org 7.3 means recent video hardware won't work?
Yes, or rather, perhaps. One area that we can investigate is to upgrade
X.org drivers, find the latest versions that will work with the
xorg-server 184.108.40.206. The latest Intel driver for example (package
xf86-video-intel) does not work with this server.
I do expect that Wary will run fine on PCs a couple of years old, say built in 2008 or earlier.
Wary also retains the Xvesa video driver, which is a fallback that
should work on just about everything, including the most recent
computers. Xvesa is an abandoned project -- the X.org developers
stopped supporting it after X.org 7.3 and then dropped it entirely.
Also, the generic X.org 'vesa' driver should work on very recent hardware.
An interesting point: we have been disappointed that Mplayer
(video/audio media player) displays only black windows when video is
set to 16-bit color depth. We have this problem with some recent
puppies, and it is a show-stopper, yet, surprise surprise, Mplayer runs
fine in Wary at both 16-bit and 24-bit color depths. So yes, some
applications are also happier with the older X.org. Note, Wary is built with the very latest ffmpeg and mplayer.
This is a problem area of course, as sometimes an older kernel works on certain older hardware, and a newer kernel doesn't.
Also, we have some drivers, in particular for analog dialup modems, that we cannot compile with recent kernels.
However, apart from the problem of analog soft-modem drivers, I have
been testing the 220.127.116.11 kernel on a variety of old hardware and it
So, I see no problem with the "main" wary release to be built with a
recent kernel, and a variant of Wary will probably be released with a very recent kernel.
However, Wary 5.0 is built with the 18.104.22.168 kernel as this is the
latest with which I am able to compile my complete collection of analog
modem drivers. This kernel will remain the main recommended kernel for
Wary, if or until we are able to compile the full suite of modem
drivers on a later kernel.
Who will coordinate Wary?
This is my baby and I will continue to coordinate it and bring out new
releases. Basically, I have identified this niche area, support for
older hardware, where I can "keep my hand in" as a Puppy coordinator.
There will of course be leading-edge, some may say "bleeding edge"
puppies based on recent code bases. Our primary leading-edge Puppy is
Lucid 5.1.x, which is based in binary packages from Ubuntu, Lucid Lynx
The leading-edge puppies will not be coordinated by me, I "only"
provide the Woof Puppy-builder. These puppies may have all kinds of
innovations, including what is referred to as "bling".
Note, my intention is to keep Wary fairly spartan, minimal "bling".
Video Upgrade Wizard
Curiously, although Wary targets older hardware, I have created a Video
Upgrade Wizard that can upgrade Wary to run with very new or
specialised video hardware (click 'Setup' button on desktop, or see
Currently, the Wizard offers an upgrade PET package for Intel video,
with the 1.6.0 X.org server. I was able to get the 'intel' X.org driver
running for my Acer netbook (purchased Jan. 2010).
Upgrade PETs are also available for nVidia hardware. I do have an ATI
PET but it is currently not offered by the Wizard as it appears to be
not quite right (and I don't have appropriate video card to test it).
Upgrades for other hardware could be offered in the future. This is
interesting, as it enables Wary to kind of pull itself up to be "not so
wary" and to work with the proper hardware-accelerated X driver on
recent video hardware (and not just 'vesa' or 'Xvesa').
Find out more
To find out about releases and development of Wary, please monitor my blog:
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