SparkyLinux, a versatile Linux distribution based on Debian’s testing branch, is famous for its lightweight nature, making it an excellent choice for new and old hardware.
The Sparky team recently announced updated ISO images for its desktop-focused semi-rolling variant (not to be confused with the stable Sparky point-release edition). Let’s look at what’s new.
Sparky Linux 2024.02 Highlights
This update introduces various enhancements and fixes, particularly addressing the CLI Installer issue with Btrfs and XFS file systems. It also includes the usual package updates and new features.
Key Updates in the Latest Release
The update brings all packages up to speed with the Debian and Sparky testing repositories as of February 11, 2024. It includes the latest Linux kernel version, 6.6.13, with additional versions available in the Sparky repos, such as 6.7.4, 6.6.16-LTS, 6.1.77-LTS, and 5.15.148-LTS.
Other notable updates include GRUB 2.12 and PipeWire 1.0.3, ensuring users can access the latest system and multimedia management tools.
Enhancements to Sparky CLI Installer
A significant improvement is the modification of the Sparky CLI installer, which now supports XFS and Btrfs file systems once again. This comes after addressing a previous issue where the GRUB bootloader could not be installed on these file systems.
The installer now features an option for a ~500MB “/boot” partition automatically formatted to ext4, facilitating a smooth Sparky operation on these file systems for Sparky 7 & 8 releases.
Additionally, the CLI installer now offers an option to bypass setting a root password, using the user password by default. It ensures required EFI debs are installed from the Debian server when not found on the live ISO, requiring an internet connection during the live session.
Sparkybackup and Other Notable Changes
The Sparky Backup tool has been updated to create EFI-compatible ISOs, addressing the growing presence of EFI machines in the market. It also includes the addition of memtest86+ to the live EFI boot menu, uEFI firmware setup to the live EFI grub menu, and an update to memtest86+ version 7.0 for live bios mode.
Furthermore, the live GRUB main menu proudly displays the Sparky version, enhancing user experience.
Other improvements include a change in the behavior of Sparky Locker, which no longer starts automatically, adjustments to the closing mechanism of the Yad window in various Sparky applications to prevent unintended closures of running Yad-based apps, and a fix for Sparky Tray, enhancing system tool accessibility.
Refer to the release announcement for detailed information.
Download & Upgrade
Because Sparky semi-rolling is a rolling distro, there is no need to reinstall it if you already have it on your computer. Instead, you may easily upgrade via the command line, executing “sudo sparky-upgrade,” which runs Nala on top of APT.
For those opting for a fresh install, Sparky 2024.02 semi-rolling is available in various versions, including LXQt, KDE Plasma, MATE, Xfce, MinimalGUI (Openbox), and MinimalCLI (text mode), available from the project’s download page.