Last year I wrote a post on EasyOS and developer Barry Kauler: EasyOS – ‘An experimental Linux distribution’ but Jack M. Germain did a much better job, of course, and especially on Barry Kauler in – EasyOS Teaches an Old Dog New Tricks:

EasyOS is a blend of the best ideas from Puppy Linux and the now discontinued Quirky Linux. I have used several of the popular Puppy Linux variants over the years. I adopted Quirky Linux a few years ago as my go-to Linux distro on a USB stick, for use on other people’s computers while in the field.

Software developer Barry Kauler developed all three. He retired from leading the Puppy Linux project in 2013. He shut down his Quirky Linux project at the end of last year. He created EasyOS in January 2017 and continues to develop it.

Yep, hard to beat Puppy Linux ‘n “variants” as a “go-to Linux distro on a USB stick.” Puppy Linux never asked me for a password, and it would/will go into the heart of a Windows OS or any Linux OS ‘n do things *NO* other OS can do…hard to explain all the stuff Puppy has ‘fetched’, destroyed-on-command, found, fixed, etc. for me over the years. Things other OSes give error/can’t do Dat! messages on, Puppy just does what you wanted done before error/can’t do Dat! messages showed up; however, Ubuntu LTS now has my ‘Portability & Rescue’ Top Spot tho BionicPup stays close for its rare abilities (just mentioned).

EasyOS 2.3

I don’t agree with Mr. Kauler on stuff like “ISO file format should also be considered as deprecated” and/or “Optical media should be considered as deprecated” but what we agree on or not don’t matter in this post – he was and is a great developer! Here are some snippets from the EasyOS readme file:

EasyOS is available as an “.img” file, to be written to a USB-stick or SD-card, which is then “booted up” on the PC. EasyOS is no longer available as an “.iso” file for optical media.

Optical media should be considered as deprecated. It is very slow to boot, is read-only and has very low storage capacity. The ISO file format should also be considered as deprecated. Although an ISO file can be written to a USB-stick and booted, this is not an installation, it has most of the limitations of booting from optical media.

On the other hand, an “.img” file written to a USB-drive or SD-card is a ready-to-use installation. It boots fast, and can be run indefinitely from the USB-drive, no need to do anything to the internal hard drive.

Linux … you just never know, and then new Fragmentation fragmented ‘items’ show up ‘n remind you that Fragmentation in Linux never ends. Just when you thought you knew all the ‘File Formats’ for Linux, you get something like this: easy-2.3-amd64.img.gz and no option for the ISO file format instead … i.e. last time I tested EasyOS they offered the ISO version also.

Also, remember that this is noLive’ USB you are creating, i.e. Barry said it’s a “ready-to-use installation” on USB. Mr. Barry Kauler was the first to create a Linux OS that could be used on a CD and it could save settings, changes, data, etc. – as far as I know, he was the first. No one could do that back then (2003-4???)…just Puppy Linux could save the session & all changes to a CD.

OK … no ISO file format for EasyOS 2.3, so how do you create a “ready-to-use” USB installation with an img.gz ‘tHiNgIe’?! Here are more snippets:

There are various free tools for writing the “.img” file to a USB-stick. For Windows, there is USB-Image-Tool. For Linux, there is EasyDD, or you can do it from a terminal using “dd”.

Note, there is a multi-platform tool named Etcher, that you may use with Windows and MacOS, however Barry no longer recommends it with Linux.

OK…no Etcher (which I rarely use anyway – seems more suited towards the macOS, IMHO). I don’t like messing with the “dd” stuff, so checked out the “USB-Image-Tool” mentioned. Finally found a graphical version I could download without doing the ‘Command Prompt’ stuff – USB Image Tool 1.8.0.0.

I found it to be a difficult tool to use, and spent hours last night trying to do a test install using the old EasyOS .img.gz file I had … it was from around August of last year, and I may have messed it up back then, or possibly in the earlier tests last night. Anyway, by the time I found ‘How to write EasyOS to a flash drive’ info, the img.gz file had become 14.9GB’s in size?!?! Have no clue how it went from roughly 500MB in size to 14.9GB in size, other than it probably happened either during the tests last night or possibly in some attempts last August. Here is a pic of what I was facing before finding the ‘How to write EasyOS to a flash drive’ site:

Nothing on that USB Image Tool mentions anything about creating a bootable USB, so I made many guessing type of tests in an attempt to figure out how to use it. If you decide to try EasyOS 2.3, and use the USB Image Tool then make sure you have the ‘How to write EasyOS to a flash drive’ link handy. Here are two key points to making the “ready-to-use installation” to a USB easier:

The “Restore” button (highlighted in first red rectangle) and how to find that img.gztHiNgIe’ (highlighted in second red rectangle) are the keys! It went quick after that and was ready to test! Follow all the steps closely on that info page, and I even used their “Safely eject drives” suggestion at the end.

WOW!!! Barry’s onto something with this “ready-to-use installation” method … other than the initial bootup, where it asks what keyboard you want, and if you want a password (just hit enter for no password), and then a “one-time snapshot” is created to start the rollback to a previous option (not sure, but I think it creates new snapshots at startup after that so you can rollback to one if you have problems in the future???). At bootup, one of the options is if you want to Rollback to a previously working session. Sessions and setting changes and etc. apparently get saved automatically in EasyOS 2.3, so there is no need to create persistence or a “save” session file location or any of that stuff – it’s just “ready-to-use” each time you boot it.

Getting use to a new OS requires some time, but EasyOS was fairly easy to move around in from the start. Hardware recognition was excellent! This was the second version of EasyOS that I have tried, and I believe it is much better…it may move BionicPup down a notch in future testing, but too soon to tell right now (tho no password requirement is great!).

EasyPup 2.3

EasyPup 2.3 was offered on an ISO file so I got it also. Their page says it’s a “classical Puppy” & I thought it would become my choice over EasyOS 2.3, but not so! After “ready-to-use” EasyOS, I found “classical Puppy” EasyPup to be ‘boring’ – e.g. to save sessions ‘n settings, the old “save” option was offered, where you needed to create a partition (persistence type??) before shutting down…if you wanted. Once created, Puppy always saves changes after that, but not nearly as interesting as EasyOS doing it automatically. Also, EasyPup didn’t seem as easy to move around in – tho the DE seems to be basically the same.

Enough on EasyPup – go with the EasyOS 2.3 Distro choice instead. It won’t move Ubuntu LTS down, but it may move BionicPup down (which isn’t easy to do!!!).

6/04/20 Update: EasyOS 2.3 has been moved to the #9 spot in Karmi’s Top 10 Linux Distros – congrats ‘n job well done!