How to use SparkyBonsai

Login:

root with password: toor

puppy with password: puppy

Sparky Bonsai is an ideal portable solution for “sparkers” (sparkylinux users) and Debian users. Some useful sparky tools as APTus are not included in order to keep the filesystem lightweight. You can install anytime APTus or any other sparky tool, but it’s recommended not to do this. You can always install sparky packets straight from Synaptic or apt. As mentioned before, some sparky tools such as the kernel related ones, are not useful in Sparky Bonsai. There’s no sense also to install a heavyweight desktop environment from sparky repos. If you wish to do so, consider of installing a full version of Sparkylinux on a hard disk or even on a removable media.

Sparky Bonsai will auto-mount all available disk partitions on boot, will use the first swap formatted as swap and mount the rest under /mnt. Find the first partition of the first disk as /mnt/sda1, the first partition of the second disk as /mnt/sdb1, the first optical disk as /mnt/sr0 etc.

After a successful boot, logins automatically as user «puppy» using slim login manager and loads the desktop. So, if you prefer to login manually or auto-login another user, you have to manual edit the file /etc/slim.conf and change the lines "default_user  puppy" and  "auto_login  no" as below:

sudo nano /etc/slim.conf
or
xsudo mousepad /etc/slim.conf

Case 1 - To change auto-login username:
find the line containing:
default_user        puppy

and change «puppy» to the existing user you wish to auto-login.
Save the file and reboot.

Case 2 - Manual login:
Change the default username as described, if you wish,
find the line containing:
#auto_login          no

and change it to:
auto_login          no
Save the file and reboot.

Note: There’s also a useful Porteus “cheatcode” login=username for auto-login. Unfortunately, it won’t work with Sparky Bonsai or other Debian-based distros using Porteus-boot.

Puppy user is pre-configure to use sudo, open folders or edit files as root from PCmanFM, running synaptic and gparted without asking for password or running as root X-applications with «spsu» (sparky-su) and xsudo as replacements of the discontinued gksudo, for easy desktop use.

The main aim of Sparky Bonsai is the aufs support, where the filesystem contains compressed (squashfs files), non-compressed (changes directory), even encrypted (if you choose so) parts working together. There are available for download some compressed, squashfs files and you can always create your own files after installing the packets you choose. Into /live directory there are the linux kernel (vmlinuz1) files for porteus-boot (initrd1.xz) or live-boot-3x (initrd.img) modes, buster 64 signature (buster-x86_64.sgn), the base filesystem (01-filesystem.squashfs) and the porteus structure directories. Find more about it at Porteus website: http://www.porteus.org/tutorials/26-general-info-tutorials/ Those directories, so-called “magic” folders, and contained files will be ignored with the boot code “nomagic”.

The /live/changes directory contains all new uncompressed files, installed packets, configuration flat files etc stored by the system during the session. It contains even deletion data it you choose to remove files from the base filesystem. The use of /live/changes directory requires linux file system (ext2/3/4, xfs etc) formatted disk. Instead of /live/changes directory you can use a “frugal file”, a read/writeable image file created by the system on demand. It will ask you at the end of your session if you want to save your changes or ignore them. This file can be encrypted, only visible by the user who created it. Thiw .dat file can be stored in non-linux (fat32/ntfs) formatted disks.

In order to mount your changes on next boot, you have to edit the boot parameter “changes=”. For example, the boot parameter “changes=/live” will load/save the filesystem part located at /live/changes directory. A parameter “changes=/somefolder” will load/save the /somefolder/changes files etc. The boot parameter “changes=/live/changes.dat” will load/save the contents in the frugal file “/live/changes.dat”.

Compressed filesystem modules with the extension “squashfs” will load alphabetically on startup. So, if you wish to load a squashfs module containing kernel modules, firmware etc and you want it loaded before the basic filesystem, you can rename it to something like “00-firmware.squashfs” which is alphabetically before “01-filesystem.squashfs”. Other modules containing apps running at the top of the basic system, can be named to something like “02-firefox.squashfs”, “03-firefox-addons.squashfs” etc.

Installing software packages its as easy as on Sparkylinux, Debian, Ubuntu etc. Just locate them in Synaptic package manager and install them normally. After a successful installation, you can save all your changes in a squashfs module via a DebianDog script in menu, under the “Module Tools” category, named “Create module from changes”, using the “mksquashfs” command. Choose the media (i.e. sda1), the temporary work-directory name (i.e. “works”) and the module name (i.e. “02-firefox.squashfs”). After copying all files in work directory, will ask for the compression method. Before choose your option, you can check the files in the /work directory, in the partition you choose before, edit them or change config files. After that click on your choice of compression (xz is recommended) and the script will proceed to squashfs creation. Now you can copy the new created file in the proper “magic folder” or in the root of /live directory to auto-load on next boot, or keep it in /live/optional directory to load it on demand. Note that after the “create module” procedure all your changes are stored in the squashfs module, so you can remove the contents of your /live/changes directory or .dat file, to prevent double-loading.

Note that JWM menu doesn’t auto-update after installations, so if you are expecting a menu icon from an installed application, you have to restart WM manually from the option under the Shutdown category of menu. You can manually load a squashfs module anytime using the “SFS-Load GUI” under the “Modules Tools” category or right-click on a squashfs module in PCmanFM and choose “Activate module”. In case you’re expecting an icon in the menu, you have to manually restart WM as mentioned. Right-click on an activated squashfs module and choose “Deactivate module” to deactivate it and restart WM to hide the icon (if exists).

If you wish to execute any custom commands on startup, put them in /home/puppy/.startup file. They will be executed on desktop startup, after loading all squashfs modules.

A suggested practice is to load in RAM the basic filesystem (using the boot code “copy2ram”) in porteus-boot mode, with a number of applications in squashfs modules into the /live/optional directory to activate/deactivate on demand and a /live/changes directory (using the boot code “changes=/live”) or .dat file (using the boot code “changes=/live/changes.dat”) to keep your configurations and documents.

Hope to enjoy this floral pup as we did. If you do, consider sending a donation to our favor Debian distribution, Sparkylinux. https://sparkylinux.org/donate/