Announcement and release notes for Puppy Linux 4.3

NOTICE: Puppy 4.3.1 is a bugfix release of 4.3

The previous release was version 4.2.1 (also known as 4.21 or 421) coordinated by "WhoDo". I (Barry Kauler) am back coordinating this release, 4.3.

Oh man, where to start?! This release is a massive upgrade, right from its very roots to topmost branches. The place to read about what has happened is my blog, http://puppylinux.com/blog, and I have scanned back through it, picking out highlights for inclusion in this announcement. There is no particular order below, just inserted as I found some point of interest...

Redesigned from the roots

After I released Puppy 4.1.2, I "kind of" retired and WhoDo (Warren) took over coordinating 4.2.0 and 4.2.1. WhoDo did a superb job, but he then decided he had enough, so I have stepped back in to coordinate 4.3. There are various reasons why I have taken on this role again, one of them that I have developed a whole new system for building puppies, that I name Woof. This replaces the Unleashed build system. I also designed a new package management system, called the Puppy Package Manager, or just PPM, needed to cope with Woof's ability to build a Puppy from the packages from any distro (Debian, Ubuntu, Arch, Slackware, T2, etc.).

Yes, the Woof build system can build a Puppy from the binary packages from any distro, but in the case of Puppy 4.3 Woof has been used to build "Puppy from Puppy". That is, this is a continuation of the Puppy 4.x series, using the PET packages. To get your mind around this, I highly recommend that you read my introductory web pages on Woof and PPM:

Woof introduction: http://puppylinux.com/woof/index.html
PPM introduction: http://puppylinux.com/woof/ppm.htm
Blog/forum references: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Highlights of 4.3

These highlights are in no particular order, nor are they a complete list of what has happened since Puppy 4.2.1. There is just too much. Lots of guys have helped, and I haven't acknowledged everyone. But I have provided lots of links.
  • Latest kernel. I have built 4.3 with the kernel, configured for SMP (multiprocessor) systems (but also works fine on uniprocessor systems) This kernel supports the ext4 filesystem and is patched for Aufs2. Thanks to tempestuous for help with upgrading the firmware. 1
  • Internet by dialup. Unlike many other distros, Puppy has not forgotten those who access the Internet by analog modem dialup. The kernel has drivers for many modems, including Agere, ESS, Lucent, Conexant, Smartlink, Pctel and Intel chipsets. Rerwin has done an incredible job here, and in most cases we have automatic detection and configuration. Rerwin has also done a lot of work on dialup via 3G devices. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • Pstreamvid. This is a great GUI for playing streaming video, that is, Internet TV. Created by trio. 1 2 3
  • CPU Scaling Ondemand. A convenient little app created by trio, for those who find their CPU runs too hot. 1 2
  • JWM Theme Maker. A convenient little app created by trio, to create a theme for the JWM window manager. 1 2
  • Psync. Created by tasmod, synchronises the clock to an Internet time server. 1 2
  • Mscw. Kirk created this interesting little GUI to change sound cards. 1 2
  • pCD. Zigbert has created many applications for Puppy. Many of them, including Pburn, Pfind and Pbackup, are upgraded. pCD is a new little app for playing audio CDs. 1 2
  • QUISP. Puppy has not yet settled on any particular database development system. QUISP was in Puppy 2.x series, and I have decided to bring it back. The attraction is that it is extremely small yet very powerful. QUISP is a CGI web-browser frontend that can be used for providing anything in a web page, including but not limited to support for the SHSQL backend. I have put a tutorial into 4.3, plus the 'devx' file has the full documentation and further tutorials. Basically, QUISP is back for us to play with and evaluate, to be considered as a possible permanent resident. 1 2 3 4
  • SQLiteManager. This is a frontend for SQLite and is an addon for SeaMonkey (but does run as a standalone application). Like QUISP, I have put it in for evaluation. Note that there is also SQLiteDBMS which is not included but is available as a PET package. 1
  • Hiawatha. This web server is being used in Puppy to serve CUPS, PPLOG and QUISP pages. Hiawatha is very small and extremely secure. 1 2 3
  • Linux-dvb-apps. I have put this package in by request from the guys who are into DVB. It provides needed infrastructure. 1
  • Screenshot utility. Puppy has a screenshot utility based on mtPaint, but with a very basic GUI. Trio has overhauled the GUI, added more features and made it look nice. 1 2
  • Pmirrorget, Pwsget. Forum member Gposil has created these great little GUI apps. Pmirrorget is for downloading a complete website, Pwsget adds username/password to our frontend for wget (originally created by Lobster). 1 2
  • Aqualung. This is a very nice audio file and CD player. We do of course have other applications that play audio files and CDs, including pCD, Gxine and mhWaveEdit, plus commandline utilities, so there is a plethora of choice here! 1 2 3
  • Crop background for widescreen. I have modified the code that places a background image on the desktop such that it will crop an image to prevent it being distorted on a widescreen monitor. 1 2
  • NicoEdit. This is a great little text editor written by Nicolas in Genie. This uses Gtksourceview for syntax highlighting and also has highlighting for Vala and Genie code. I have also retained the Geany text editor from before, although NicoEdit is one tenth of the size -- please test NicoEdit, report back -- I will probably promote NicoEdit to replace Geany in the next release of Puppy! 1 2 3 4
  • Pictureviewer, EmbeddedBookmarks, PuppyBrowser. These are fantastic applications written by MU in Genie. PuppyBrowser is a complete web browser based on the 'gtkmozembed' library in SeaMonkey. Puppy uses PuppyBrowser as the local HTML help-page viewer, and for viewing CUPS, PPLOG and QUISP pages. 1 2 3 4 5
  • Viewnior. We have a new default image viewer. Viewnior is simple, small and also supports slideshows.
  • Gtkhash. A nice little GUI for generating hashes. Forum member ttuuxxx has packaged it up very nicely for Puppy, with Rox integration. 1
  • Ext4 support. Puppy 4.3 built with the kernel has full support for ext4. I have upgraded GParted, e2fsprogs, disktype, GRUB and guess_fstype. The latter is a utility created by Jesse, one of our hardware interfacing experts. 1
  • Xdelta GUI. I have written a drag-and-drop frontend for the Xdelta utility. This is a file difference manager, and is great for those on dialup when it comes time to upgrade to a new version of Puppy -- just download a small "difference file". 1 2
  • Ayttm. This is our choice of multi-protocol chat client, because it is small yet capable. One of the main developers, Siddhesh, is very active and responsive to our requests. 1 2
  • Gtkdialog text markup editor. In Puppy Linux we make heavy use of Gtkdialog for GUIs written in Bash/Ash scripts. Gtkdialog is easy to use and fairly powerful. One problem though is limited documentation. If you have the 'devx' file loaded, you will find code examples at  /usr/share/doc/gtkdialog3, which are invaluable. However, Gtkdialog has capabilities that are not documented or hardly so. Vovchik has provided this aid. 1 2
  • Bcrypt GUI. Forum member coolpup developed a GUI tool to encrypt files, using the 'bcrypt' commandline utility. Coolpup has also developed another with heavier encryption named Pcrypt. 1
  • JWM window manager. For a long time Puppy has used JWM, except long long ago when we used Fvwm. The developer Joe stopped work on the project, and two of our guys, HairyWill and Patriot, fixed some bugs. Joe came back and incorporated these fixes into the official source plus added some extra improvements. 1 2 3
  • ms-sys. I have put this in, but not using it for anything yet. Steve_s was discussing ms-sys awhile back on the forum, and it looks like it could be useful when installing Puppy. 1 2
  • BootFlash. This is a GUI application I have written for installing Puppy to Flash drives. It is an alternative to the Puppy Universal Installer and is an attempt to offer all the different means of installing to flash in the one tool. 1 2
  • Poweroff after mouse inactivity. Thanks to forum member steel_i who thought of this. I have used the getcurpos utility to detect mouse position. 1 2 3
  • FullerScreen. This application is described as a "slide presenter", but it is really a nice tool for creating presentions (like Powerpoint). It does need basic HTML editing capability though. FullerScreen is an addon for SeaMonkey, but runs standalone. 1
  • Addons for SeaMonkey. I have already mentioned SQLIteManager and FullerScreen above. In addition 4.3 has Zombiekeys and Adblock. Note that if you open the Help page in Puppy there is a HOWTO that explains how to use zombiekeys. 1 2 3
  • SFS Converter. The kernel has Squashfs 4.0, which is not compatible with older SFS files. Puppy will detect incompatible SFS files, and now offers a converter, created by forum member trio. 1 2
  • Pcur. I wrote a mouse cursor selector GUI. Especially useful if your eyesight is not so good and you want a bigger mouse pointer. 1
  • Network Wizard. Dougal has continually refined our Network Wizard, and there is a very long forum thread detailing its development. 1
  • And so much more... lots of improvements in the underlying scripts, bugfixes, application upgrades, massive help from the guys with testing -- I won't even attempt to list names.


Please go to the main download page for download links:

The 4.x series was originally built from T2 packages and they host all source packages. Extra source packages are hosted by me at http://puppylinux.com/sources/.

Upgrading from an earlier puppy. If you have a "pup_save" file and you want to upgrade it, it has to be renamed. Say that you are booting from live-CD and you have 'pup_save-john.2fs' on the hard drive (or whatever) -- make a copy of it (to be on the safe side!) named 'pupsave.2fs', then boot or reboot Puppy 4.3. That's it, pup 4.3 only recognises save files of name 'pupsave*.2fs' (where '*' means wildcard).

Puppy 4.3 built with older kernel. The official 4.3 has the latest kernel,, however some old PCs work better with older kernels (though fortunately the large majority are happy with the latest kernel!). If you go to the official download site or mirrors, there is a 'special-puppies' folder with (as used in Puppy 4.1x and 4.2x) and builds.

Puppy 4.3 and SCSI drives. There is a special build of 4.3 that not only recognises true-SCSI drives but also boots from them. Note, SCSI drives were commonly used in server PCs 10 or more years ago. Again, please look in the 'special-puppies' folder.

Useful links

Various links related to 4.3 that are worth checking out...
  • Enhanced Nvidia, Intel and ATI Xorg video drivers. MU (Mark) has created these. 1 2 3 4
  • Enhanced Intel and VIA video drivers for and kernels. Get recent video hardware working properly with these older kernels. Patriot has created these. 1
  • Compile source packages. Puppy is a cutdown tiny distro but it is super-easy to add everything needed to turn Puppy into a complete C/C++/Vala/Genie compile environment -- download 'devx_430.sfs' to /mnt/home, run the BootManager, then reboot. 1 2
  • Compile kernel modules. If you would like to compile a new or updated kernel module, grab the patched source tarball or SFS file -- the latter enables you to compile a module even running Puppy from live-CD or frugal install. 1 
  • Themes. Thanks to the guys who helped with the default in 4.3 (especially ttuuxxx for the icons and 01micko for tweaking the background). The guys who are into the graphics side of things have been very busy, so if you want something different, there are heaps of themes available -- play and play until you get something you like! I would like to thank Dejan, who has put in the effort to collect GTK, JWM themes, desktop icon-sets and background images into the one place for the convenience of the rest of us. You can also find lots of themes on the forum, created by a very enthusiatic bunch of guys! 1 2
  • SFS files. I have mentioned 'devx_430.sfs' and 'zp430305.sfs' files above. So, what actually are these .sfs files? This is a truly wonderful feature of Puppy. Newcomers, please read this: 1 2
  • Create your own puppies. This is something that is fun! You can build your own custom live-CD. There are two basic methods, either remaster the current live-CD (see 'Remaster Puppy live-CD' in the 'System' menu), or build from scratch using Woof -- the latter requires some Linux commandline expertise and a Linux hard drive partition. 1

Bug reports. If you discover a bug in 4.3, or something doesn't work, please browse around in the forum. There are feedback threads for dialup modems, 3G modems, video, Network Wizard, and so on. If you can't solve your problem, please report to this thread, which is specifically for 4.3 bug reporting. I will be monitoring this thread and hopefully Puppy 4.3.1 will have fixed your bug! 1 UPDATE: 4.3.1 RELEASED

Bug reports, 4.3.1. There is a thread on the forum specifically for bug reports and feedback on Puppy 4.3.1. 1

Extra modules for Forum member 'tempestuous' has kindly been compiling extra drivers for the kernel, especially network and netbook drivers. 1

Grand visions

Writing programs

Puppy has a HOWTO page on programming builtin, so I won't write much here. Open the main Help page and follow the link. Highlighting some points though...

Most of our Puppy developers code in Bash/Ash and use Gtkdialog, Xdialog and xmessage for GUIs. Our 'devx' SFS file provides a complete C/C++ programming enviroment, and some coding is done in C. However, the future, for compiled code at least, is Vala and Genie. I have written a series of web pages that introduce Genie with some tutorials:


Two of our Puppy developers in particular are heavily into Vala and Genie coding, Nicolas and MU (Mark). They have written wonderful applications, remarkable for their simple code and tiny size: NicoEdit, Pictureviewer, PuppyBrowser for example.

Forum/blog information: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Future puppies

The Woof build system enables us to build Puppy from any distro's packages. I have released experimental builds of "Upup", Puppy built from Ubuntu Jaunty packages. What's the point? -- well, you get the tiny size (approx. 100MB live-CD) and wonderful speed of Puppy, a user interface and user experience that is totally Puppy, the full suite of applications and utilities as in any other Puppy, yet built from Ubuntu packages and able to install further packages from the Ubuntu repositories.

Other builds are active. Ttuuxxx and Gposil are working on "Dpup", a Debian-based build [1 2], and Kirk is working on "Tpup", codenamed Fatdog2, a build from packages compiled in T2 [1 2].

All of these are available for testing. Please look on the forum for latest announcements: http://murga-linux.com/puppy/.

4.3 - 4.3.1 bugfixes

Lots of them! Mostly annoying little things. Here are the highlights of things fixed, upgraded and improved. These items are documented in my blog (read the archive for October http://puppylinux.com/blog/?do=archive):

New modem drivers and improved modem detection and dialup, from rerwin.
Fixes for CD Remaster script.
Asunder CD ripper replaces Ripoff (which crashed).
Cdparanoia upgraded to latest (previous crashed).
You2pup, fix for spaces in paths.
Ayttm multi-protocol chat client, upgraded to 0.6.0-9.
DidiWiki personal wiki upgraded to 0.8.
JWM window manager upgraded to revision 457.
NicoEdit, our secondary text editor, upgraded to 2.4.
Pburn upgraded to 3.1.1.
'resolv.conf' circular symlinks maybe fixed?
JWM Configure tool bug fix ('.jwmrc-tray' got corrupted).
'man' and Help page fixed when search on linux.die.net.
Frequency scaling fix for "small" iso (modules were missing).
Shutdown problem when upgrade 'pupsave' (shutdown scripts in wrong place).
Partview, a new tool to view free space in drives.
Sylpheed PET package upgraded to 2.7.1 (previous crashes).
Mouse Wizard fixed (showed USB when a PS/2 was connected).
Lots of bugfixes for the Puppy Package Manager (PPM).
Some corrections in the locale-choosing dialog.
Boot from ext4 and save 'pupsave' to ext4 partition fixed.
The famous "insert key" crash in Mozilla browsers fixed.
Fixed modules loading for kernels prior to 2.6.24.

Some SVG images were not displaying in GTK applications. Fixed.
Typo in You2pup script.
CD/DVD Drive Wizard was broken. Rewritten.
Fix for JWM Config keyboard script.
Grammar checker default in Abiword is now off, as it is so slow.
Fix for overlapping drive icons on desktop at certain screen resolutions.
Partview simplified, faster.
Burniso2cd could sometimes fail to perform the verify-step properly. Fixed.
Pburn bugfixes.
snd-ali5451.ko module added to Smartlink modem driver system.

4.3.1 Service Pack. If you already have Puppy 4.3 installed and for some reason do not want to (or can't) download 4.3.1, the Service Pack is a PET package that will give you most of the above bug fixes. The size is 4.4MB so easy to download. 1

Best regards,
Barry Kauler
October 2009