We review the fresh SparkyLinux 7 “Orion Belt”, bringing the latest and greatest Debian 12 packages.
SparkyLinux, the renowned Debian-based desktop Linux distribution, is back with its latest release, SparkyLinux 7 “Orion Belt.” This major release is coming up after almost two years of development since SparkyLinux 6.0. This eagerly awaited version combines the strengths of Debian 12’s stability with SparkyLinux’s cutting-edge features, promising an exceptional user experience.
Let’s delve into the details of this major release and find out its performance and other distro aspects.
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SparkyLinux 7 “Orion Belt”
SparkyLinux stands out for its diverse range of desktop flavours, ensuring an ideal fit for every user. Whether you prefer the visually stunning KDE Plasma, the lightweight LXQt, the classic MATE, the customizable Xfce, or the minimalist Openbox, SparkyLinux 7 offers an impressive selection to suit various preferences and requirements.
At the heart of SparkyLinux 7 lies Debian 12 “Bookworm,” providing a solid foundation of stability and reliability. Debian 12 was released a few days ago as a significant milestone of the project, and it is one of the best Debian releases in history. That said, in SparkyLinux 7, users can expect all packages to be updated from Debian “Bookworm” and Sparky “Orion Belt” repositories, ensuring the latest software versions are readily available.
This release is powered by Linux kernel 6.1 LTS as default. However, if you prefer the bleeding edge mainline Kernel, then you can get version 6.3 & 5.15 LTS in sparky unstable repos.
Enhanced Applications and Software
The built-in application stack is updated, including essential applications. You can take advantage of stable Firefox 102.12 ESR, Thunderbird 102.12, VLC 3.0 and LibreOffice 7.4 as the key apps. If you prefer the most recent Firefox, you can take advantage of Firefox 114, which is available in a separate Sparky repo.
The Sparky APTus AppCenter, an integral tool for managing software installation and updates, has been updated to version 20230530, enhancing user convenience. In a significant change, systemd-timesyncd replaces ntp for streamlined time synchronization.
SparkyLinux’s flagship offering, Xfce desktop, features version 4.18, the latest updated version of this lightweight desktop. In addition, you can find additional flavours such as KDE Plasma 5.27, LXQt 1.2 and MATE 1.26.
The team also has invested considerable effort to improve amd64 ISO images, enabling them to boot on machines with UEFI motherboards and Secure Boot enabled, expanding compatibility for modern systems.
So, that’s about the updates of this version. Let’s find out the performance.
Installation and Performance
I did a test drive for this review with SparkyLinux Xfce edition. The installation with the Calamares 3.2.61 is smooth, and no errors whatsoever. In case you are installing, you should note the live media password is “live”, which is needed to launch the installer.
All the update scripts, including the Welcome app, ran fine after installation. The welcome app gives you quick access to all the system information and desktop functions.
I ran this version thru a heavy load with Firefox (4+ tabs with YouTube running), file manager, drawing application, terminal, VLC, Synaptic package manager and AppCenter. The resource usage is a little higher.
The memory consumption is around 2 GB with this workload, and CPU usage is about 2% on average. SparkyLinux 7 (Xfce) takes up 5.2 GB of disk space for a default installation.
So, overall I believe it works fairly well, but the memory consumption seems a little higher considering the Xfce desktop.
SparkyLinux 7 “Orion Belt” brings the best of Debian, offering users a balanced mix of stability and versatility. With its extensive range of desktop flavours, curated applications, and specialized editions, SparkyLinux caters to a broad spectrum of user needs.
This version will continue for almost two years of maintenance with security updates. Hence you can confidently adopt this as your daily driver.
You can download SparkyLinux from the official website.