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"SparkyLinux 3.1 'Annagerman' E17, MATE and Razor-qt editions are out. The new ISO images of SparkyLinux provide a few changes and system improvements, similar to last week's release of SparkyLinux 3.1 LXDE, Ultra and CLI: Linux kernel 3.10.11; all packages have been updated from Debian's testing repositories as of 2013-10-05; Sparky Backup System - one more bug fixed, updated up to 0.1.5; Enlightenment 17 desktop is available as a separated ISO image now and it has been updated to version 0.17.3 from Debian's unstable repository; added Teamviewer client, Sparky APTus, Minitube, Gnote, Osmo, Radiotray and Xfburn.
Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 6
Debian with no added user-friendliness
Sparky Linux is basically a respin, using the Debian Testing repository. It offers installation disks for LXDE, JWM, Enlightenment, Mate, Razor-Qt, and the CLI. I tried the 32-bit LXDE and Mate versions.
Plenty of software was provided, including Icedove, Iceweasel, Pidgin, LibreOffice, Gimp, Audacity, Avidemux, DeVeDe, Exaile, Gnome-mplayer, VLC, Wine, the flash plugin, and media codecs. What I tested worked, although a few left warnings when run from CLI. Both desktops worked correctly.
The problems mostly arose from Debian’s ‘housekeeping tools’, or lack of them. Running an update broke apt-get, which took ages to repair. My usb speakers could only be enabled by blacklisting the kernel module for the motherboard sound chip. The configuration editor for Mate was broken; most things can be configured with the specific tools provided (e.g. keyboard shortcuts) but for anything special I had to edit and re-compile the schemas in /usr/share/glib. The input configuration tool (not installed) was also broken. At least I got a tool to switch the firewall on: but why was it off?
Mate is better from Mint: for the ordinary user, Debian needs taming. So, the only good point about Sparky is its Polish-language forum.