SparkyLinux is a Debian based distribution that comes in two flavours. They offer a ‘Stable’ version which is based on Debian’s Stable branch and is intended for all users. The ‘Stable’ version features ISOs with different desktop environments such as LXQt, XFCE and Openbox. They also offer a ‘Semi-Rolling’ version which is based on Debian’s testing branch and features more up to date packages. The ‘Semi-Rolling’ version comes with the same desktop environments as their ‘Stable version’ plus MATE and the newly added KDE.
SparkyLinux have just released an update to their ‘Semi-Rolling’ version. Sparky 2021.03 features updated packages, Linux kernel 5.10 and more. I took some time to download their KDE version which had an ISO size of around 1.8GB. To read more about the changes of this release click here. Installing it on to my desktop computer was nice and simple thanks to the Calamares installer. You get the option to configure how you’re going to use swap and I set it up to swap with hibernate. After going through the rest of the steps installation was don in a matter of minutes on my machine.
Upon first boot a window will pop up asking if you would like to update and install language packages. Once that’s all done you’ll be left with a close to stock implementation of KDE 5.20.5. Going through the applications I can see it has pretty much everything a new user will need to get them off their feet. Some of the applications installed out of the box are;
As well as having Synaptic installed to manage packages Sparky includes their own application store called the ‘APTus AppCenter’. Here you can browse through categories and search for specific applications. Once you’ve found what you’re looking for and clicked install it will pop open a terminal window and run the commands to install the necessary packages. This was pretty smooth and straight forward but for more control over your package installations I’d suggest leaning more on Synaptic.
I did notice some screen tearing on my AMD based machine out of the box and had to fix that with an xorg conf file adding the “TearFree” option. After doing this my machine was tear free. Other than that I didn’t really experience any other issues while using SparkyLinux. The distribution was quick and easy to use and only consumed a little over 600MB of RAM on a fresh boot. Performance wise everything was as snappy as I would expect from my current hardware. I installed Steam and briefly played an online game of CSGO and everything worked as intended without any noticeable performance issues on my machine.
SparkyLinux doesn’t include Snap or Flatpak support out of the box. However I did test out installing Flatpak and GIMP from the Flathub repository and everything went smoothly. If you would like to install Flatpak on SparkyLinux you can follow the instructions here.
All in all I was very impressed with my time on the ‘Semi-Rolling’ version of SparkyLinux. I appreciate the idea of a Debian based distro with a pseudo rolling release model. I like that their implementation of KDE didn’t veer to far away from the stock experience as it allows me to set the desktop how I like it.
What do you think of SparkyLinux’s ‘Semi-Rolling’ ? Let me know in the comments below!