SparkyLinux is a desktop-based Linux distribution based on Debian and provides almost all major desktop flavors. It is unique distribution in the sense that it provides both Debian Stable and Debian Testing editions with the latest desktop packages. SparkyLinux also provides a collection of curated applications with some special editions as well. For example, if you are a Game lover then the SparkyLinux GameOver edition is there. For system admins, there is a Rescue Edition as well to fix broken systems. All these special editions come with pre-loaded games, utilities with some proprietary packages as well.
That said, the first release of 2021, SparkyLinux brings some new changes. Let’s take a look.
SparkyLinux 2021.03 Edition – What’s New
Base and Kernel
This release is based on Debian 11 (Bullseye) which is in the testing phase as of writing this post. Debian 11 packages hard freeze is expected by March 2021 end. Linux Kernel 5.10 series are available with the stable version of SparkyLinux. If you want the latest Linux Kernel 5.11 you can get them via adding the Sparky Unstable repos. You can find the unstable repo details here.
For the first time, Sparky Linux introduces the KDE Plasma edition. However, it features the KDE Plasma 5.20.5, not the latest KDE Plasma 5.21 which is released a while back. In the next SparkyLinux release, you should be getting the latest Plasma.
SparkyLinux 2021.03 edition features Xfce 4.16 edition which brings a huge set of features such as new icons, fractional scaling, and more. Check out the Xfce 4.16 overview here.
This edition also features the super lightweight LXQt 0.16 which is the latest version of this desktop. For LXQt some specific changes are included.
In addition to that, MATE 1.24.1 is also included in this release.
The default application stack is also updated to their respective versions. Here’s a quick rundown of the app versions that are included in this release.
- Firefox 86.0Thunderbird 78.8.0L
- ibreOffice 126.96.36.199
- VLC 3.0.12
- Exaile 4.1.0
- Calamares 3.2.37 + kpmcore 20.12.3
The media player Clementine is replacing Exaile, Kopete replaces Pidgin, and webcam utility Cheese is replaced by Webcamoid.
Installation and Upgrades
If you are running SparkyLinux already, a simple command from the terminal kicks off the upgrade process. So, make sure you take a backup of your data and run the following command to initiate the upgrade process.
sudo apt update
sudo apt full-upgrade
For a fresh installation, respective desktop environment .iso images are in the following path, which you can download. Post download, you can write it on USB or try it on a virtual machine.