Sparky Linux: a Critique

I must start with a disclaimer: I don’t use any Debian-based Linux distro. Never did, and probably never will. Still I always had a soft spot in my heart for Sparky Linux and LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition). Why not Debian itself? Coz it’s not made for humans. Anyways, of the two acceptable forks (for me) I always prefered Sparky over LMDE for various insignificant reasons.

So when I just read on DistroWatch that the Sparky team had released a new version I thought, yeah, lekker, yummy, let’s check it out. Giving Sparky and LMDE a quick test ride every time they come out with a new version – which isn’t very often – is kinda guilty pleasure of mine. And with the new lappy it would surely be a pure joyride.

Alas, no, it wasn’t.

First impression after installation: Welcome box and updates are already available. All good and fine. Boring and to the point.
Update goes quickly.
Little bit of customization …
Good: Sparky comes already with one useless panel removed and with a good one-tier menu.
Bad: The Black MATE theme I chose, renders the font in white and almost unreadable for the human eye. :/
The wurst: I dunno if it’s only on my laptop keyboard but Sparky either renders the letter ‘o’ as a ‘6’ or leaves it out completely when not capitalized. Same happens with some other letters, too, I don’t know if only on laptop kb and/or specifically when switched to German kb.
I’m sure there is a remedy for that problem available … somewhere. But why go thru all the stress and hassle, eh? So I stop my test right here and now!

Ok, now that Sparky’s all freshened up, I hope LMDE will follow suit soonish. As y’all know since years I’m saying that if you go with Mint, use at least their Debian edition. Coz if that rendering shit in Sparky stays as it is now, LMDE will be my new recommendation for Debian users.

Hey guys, any of you know a way to get the missing ‘O’ back? And what are your thoughts about Debian and its forks anyway?


  1. That is what you get for using a terminal-centric distro (keyboard based OS that is not meant for “normal users”). 😉 However, this time it might actually be the keyboard causing “o” or “O” or “6” or etc. problem/s. My super small keyboard, Perixx, has an O/6 key that requires me to use Fn + F11 to lock or unlock numbers. Not sure if yours is the same tho. I recently experimented wid keyboards ‘n had all kinds of problems. My main keyboard is a Tenkeyless Velocifire TKL02WS wireless mechanical, which I love – i.e. no special keys needed!

    Liked by 2 people

    • @ Karmi: This was on Sparky,not on my keyboard-centric EOS, on which I’ve never experienced any problems.

      @ Karmi, Neil: No, numlock was turned off. The laptop keyboard doesn’t feature a numberpad anyway. I’ve put EOS back on and the problem is gone.

      @ Neil: I’ll never understand why, ffs, Clem still clings onto Ubuntu as base for his distro. Just watched this video by The Linux Cast on YT and those guys, too, think Clem should not have forked off of Ubuntu but directly off Debian.

      @ Antin: What i meant was that Debian is made for absolute geeks who are able to find the download links on Deb’s website. While Sparky and LMDE are super duper userfriendly and their websites easy to navigate.


        • Yikes! As if I’d look that exactly at my stuff. Why is it there if I have all the numbers in a dedicated row just above that?


          • Yeah, the same as the Perixx keyboard I use on one of the test computers. Special keys give me problems when testing, e.g. Boot Menu key on some new keyboards I have sometimes needs a special key (or whatever they call it?!?)…also the BIOS key. I never remember what keyboard needs what special key!? 😉

            Liked by 1 person

              • The BIOS key does depend on the keyboard. Take a look at the Velocifire TKL71WS 71-Key Tenkeyless Compact Size…another keyboard I tested and am now stuck wid on my InWin test computer. My favorite keyboard, the true Tenkeyless Velocifire TKL02WS, has 87 keys…no problems unless you want a number pad. The 71 key keyboard has a top row of multi-function keys wid 3 choices on most, e.g. there is a 1/!/F1 key ‘n a 8/*/F8. BIOS for the InWin computer is F2 .. that key has 2/@/F2 choices, and won’t boot into BIOS if it had previously been on the 2 choice. I went wid these different keyboards because I needed them to be small that the full sized keyboards.

                Liked by 1 person

                • That keyboard in your photo is not just a TKL but even smaller. Here, this is a real TKL KB:

                  No difference to normal sized KB’s. Everything exactly where the BIOS/mobo makers say it is.


                  • But this ain’t even my problem, this is:

                    My Clevo lappy KB. Haven’t found any key combo to switch on/off the numlock. And, as I said, it’s only the Sparky installer acting weird.


    • I can’t believe it. Why did they activate the numpad extra specially for installation? Once I was done with that the ‘o’ worked normally.


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