Ooooooommmmmmm … namaste, my brothers and my lovely sisters. Today I wanna show you a Linux distro that is based on Debian and… WHOA! How can I be so relaxed with such a geeky system as Debian? How dare I telling my housewifely sisters they will find peace of mind in a system that brought even Mr. Linus Torvalds to the brink of madness. He couldn’t install it on his computer! Uh oh. 😮
Still, we’re not talking about vanilla Debian here, but the most userfriendly fork Sparky Linux. Maybe you remember how I loved the other Debian forks Point Linux and Linux Mint Debian Edition. Well, let’s forget about those clunkers, Sparky is much easier and friendlier and will give you eternal usage without any stress or problems or stress caused by problems.
After I downloaded the ISO file with my favourite, the easy peasy MATE desktop, from Sourceforge and made a USB stick (if you’re not sure how to do that you may burn it on a DVD), the rest was but a walk in the park. Just make sure your hardware is safe to delete, so make a backup of all your important files before installing Linux! Ok, now just plug the USB stick in or boot from DVD drive and, typical for Linux, you’ll end up in a temporary system, from which you can test some stuff or start the installer.
YAY!, we notice the nice Sparky devs made use of Manjaro’s Calamares installer, which is the best and most logical and easyestest way to install any Linux on any hardware. Just answer some questions (who are you, what’s your name and number, have you ever been member of the communist party?) and tell the installer what keyboard layout and what timezone you like. And then the rest goes automatically …
After a couple of minutes you should get a message that the system is ready for being abused by you. Just take the DVD out of the drive or rip the USB thingie out of the plug and restart the compi … and you’re in. But wait, before you can start your awesomeness, there are some stuffz to be done:
But no fear. As geeky as this may look, all you gotta do is click OK with your mouse. And from then on just be patient. I gave you the link to the Testing repository of Sparky, not the Stable one. But Linux as such, and Debian in particular is literally indestructible, so you’re 120% safe on Sparky Testing. You just get updates and upgrades a bit more often than in the Stable version. No fear, you’re still lightyears behind the ArchLinux crash test dummies like Orca and similar crackerdoodles.
Immediately after the upgrade this box popped up on my screen. I’ll tell you why in just a bit …
So, that’s it. Sparky ain’t a nanny system, after these initial upgrades you’re free to roam and won’t be bothered ever again. The updates in Debian are far and between, so you won’t be stressed with maintenance.
How you can personalize your system’s desktop environment in MATE I showed you already a couple times, no? How the desktop looks fresh outta the box we can see in above screenshots. Let’s dive a bit deeper into our brandnew operation system … which is much more than just an empty dashboard like Windows.
So, after a couple of minutes playtime my screen looks like so …
I haven’t done any real work in Sparky yet, but I can assure you everything will be super. This is a fork off Debian, one of the oldest distros in Linux, a distro for which the credo Rock Solid Stable was invented. It’s just made very easy by the special Sparky treatment.
CONCLUSION: This is, in my subjective view, a real n00bie distro. So easy to install and operate, and so secure you won’t believe. Even the Firewall only needs to be switched on, for additional security. Swish-swoosh, done! Nothing geeky or confusing. You’ll find the most important softwares are already pre-installed and can be used right away. You will find additional softwares in the Sparky repo, from where they are easily and quickly installed.
Don’t be taken back by Orca’s super boring screenshots. She is a super boring girl and thinks Operating Systems should be super boring as well. And while Sparky’s appearance is indeed a bit dull fresh out of the box, there is nothing holding you back from modding your version into the most groovy funkmachine in the history of ever!
I love Sparky Linux and would use it directly as my personal system if I werent married to Manjaro already. Sparky is also reasonably fast and spunky, and comes in 32-bit versions as well, which makes it the perfect candidate for older hardware.
As with LMDE the other day, I shall keep Sparky installed on Gaga for a while, so I can help you guys quickly should you run into any problems.
Get your personal Sparkmeister from here:
EDIT: The esteemed Jack M. Germain reviewed SparkyLinux for Linux Insider and found it to be “a great … distro”. Of course a geek like Jack tried out the more geeky Game Over Edition with the Advanced Installer and came to the conclusion that “SparkyLinux is not exactly a beginner-friendly distro, but Linux newcomers will find a much lower learning curve than many other Linux distros require.”
I have to disagree with him in that regard: If you fail to install and operate SparkyLinux after a very very short getting-used-to phase, how in the hell did you ever learn to use a complex usability trainwreck such as Windows?