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 Forum index » Taking the Puppy out for a walk » Suggestions
Stability & Reliability: Issues & Ideas
Moderators: Flash, Ian, JohnMurga
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johnywhy

Joined: 20 Aug 2011
Posts: 353

PostPosted: Tue 07 Feb 2012, 03:13    Post_subject:  Stability & Reliability: Issues & Ideas
Sub_title: Brainstorming causes of and solutions to instability and unreliability.
 

Hi

I'm a non-dev user and humonstrous fan of Puppy Linux. I think Barry Kauler has achieved something marvelous and very cool with Puppy.

However, I think there's one overarching obstacle to Puppy's perfection: instability and unreliability.

Maybe it's just me, but in my experience, Puppy always seems to go south after awhile. Stuff starts breaking down. My Lucid just lost internet-- getting a weird error message when I try to connect to anything. This Racy still connects fine. All pdf readers have text-copy issues or freezes or both. In my last install, whenever i opened SeaMonkey browser, i would get seamonkey mail instead. On all my Puppy installs, all versions, eventually I have to trash the install and start fresh. They all worked great at first.

Obviously, in each instance, i must have changed something. But I don't recall installing anything before stuff starting breaking, not in all cases. I just think, in a mature OS, apps should not break each other or the OS.

I'm a programmer, but not a Puppy dev, not an OS dev. But as a user, I don't have to be a dev at all to experience operating system dissonance.

So I ask, what are the causes of and solutions to Puppy's instability and unreliability problems?

In case any Puppy dev's drop by, or just any kind of programmers out there, go ahead, throw in your 2 cents. I'm sure others have much more knowledgeable insights than me.


---------
My 2 cents:

-Because of the way the personal settings file works, I think it might be very easy to write an automatic TimeMachine/System Restore for Puppy. Anytime you make a significant change, it takes a snapshot. Maybe I'll try.

-Wine should be better sandboxed.

-All apps should be better sandboxed. Maybe sandboxing should be a deep, system-wide thing.

-Would be helpful to have a "Repair Puppy" utility, which would enable you to keep your settings (except the broken ones).
---------


cheers!
johny
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Sylvander

Joined: 15 Dec 2008
Posts: 3518
Location: West Lothian, Scotland, UK

PostPosted: Tue 07 Feb 2012, 07:45    Post_subject:  

The way I see things:

1. It's a general law of nature...
That whenever change takes place...
i.e. As time moves forward...
CHAOS INCREASES.

2. In regard to computers...
That means both hardware and software tend to degenerate with time/change.

3. In order to reverse or counteract this natural trend, it is necessary to do WORK [i.e expend ENERGY].

4.
(a) The method I used in Windows, to try to maintain good order of the contents of the Windows partition..
Was to periodically make an IMAGE BACKUP when all was working well.
And...
(b) If I detected any deterioration...
I restored the most recently made image.
This took Windows back to the time when all was well.
i.e. Reversed the introduction of CHAOS.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5. In Puppy Linux I do the same kind of thing.
e.g.
(a) Periodically use PupsaveHotBackup to backup the pupsave file when all's well.

(b) If/when I detect a [software?] problem, I restore the most recent backup of the pupsave file.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

6. BACKGROUND INFO:
(a) I edit the isolinux.cfg file on the Puppy ISO file to include "pmedia=ataflash", so that the pupsave on an internal HDD is treated as though it's a pupsave on a Flash Drive.
The method is detailed here.
This works fine on Lupu-528.004, and other Puppies, but not all.
Then...
(b) I use this method to prevent any auto-saves during the session.
I do them manually at a moment of my choosing, if at all.
Then...
(c) Here's one method that can be used so as to be offered at shut-down, the option "to save or not to save".
Lupu-528.004 has a method built in by rerwin, that makes it easy to enable his method for offering a similar choice at shut-down.
Then...
(d) I use this method to prevent the spurious warning that the previous shut-down was improper.
[Not needed with rerwin's method]

7. I mention 6(a),(b),(c),(d) above because...
With these in place, it is possible to...
(a) Do a sort of HotRestore of a chosen [previously made] PupsaveHotBackup.

Here's how I did it:
(b) Delete the pupsave file that's in use [or move to an external storage device, then power-off or remove it].
You can do this from within the running Puppy that has loaded it into RAM...provided there is no [manual or auto] attempt to save to it after the delete, either during the session or at shut-down/reboot.

THEN...
(c) Copy a PupsaveHotBackup pupsave backup copy [remove the added extension to the name so that it reads something like lupusave.3fs], in place of the deleted pupsave, then...
Reboot the Puppy.
Remember, there MUST be NO ATTEMPT TO SAVE, either during the session or at shut-down/reboot.
As the Puppy boots it will seek, find, and use the new pupsave->[actually a restored backup of a previous pupsave].
You can once again save as normal once into the new session [the new pupsave is in use].
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Lobster
Official Crustacean


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 15117
Location: Paradox Realm

PostPosted: Tue 07 Feb 2012, 10:36    Post_subject:  

Puppy used to be simpler
and hence more reliable.
I seem to remember a time before wifi (in ye olde days of ye modem) when we did not have Perl language support. Barry is attempting to bypass Perl . . .
Adding C++ was done reluctantly.
Kernels and Browsers became more complex/unstable.

There was a time when the browser never crashed. Not ever. That was stable.
Command line OS (Operating Systems) are also inherently more reliable. Wanna go back?. Not me. No thank you . . .

So how to make more reliable?
Part of my policy is to keep OS and data separate
OS (run from DVD - config and some temp storage on HD)
Data (on HD)

Be prepared to start and configure from scratch
I do this every 2-6 weeks - but then I run alpha and beta builds and mess about with the OS quite a lot. I like to be on the Puppy wild frontiers with our latest sledge, running with our fastest, strongest, smartest dogs . . . Nooby shouting "mush, mush" in the background Cool

My config process takes about 15 minutes

2 years ago it was like this:
http://youtu.be/DY3kmSX9rdM

Now since Lucid and Slacko we tend to go straight to screen, autoconnect, autosound
and I would add bookmarks (from HD) and passwords from lastpass.com

Another thing is I know my OS very well. I know what works. Geany works, gFTP works, LibreOffice works etc. I get great support. I will even program if I have to Shocked

Puppy has educated me to expect more from the most unreliable component of the Operating system experience . . .
That would be me Embarassed

Puppy
Insanely Great Linux

_________________
Puppy WIKI
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Moose On The Loose


Joined: 24 Feb 2011
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Tue 07 Feb 2012, 11:55    Post_subject:  

Sylvander wrote:
The way I see things:
Here's how I did it:
(b) Delete the pupsave file that's in use [or move to an external storage device, then power-off or remove it].
You can do this from within the running Puppy that has loaded it into RAM...provided there is no [manual or auto] attempt to save to it after the delete, either during the session or at shut-down/reboot.


Another useful thing is to do a boot with
Code:

puppy pfix=ram


This won't use any save file. Now you can make a backup of your save file with everything working.

If you mung the system, you can copy the saved version over the one you usually use to back up to that date.

If you are using the hard drive, you can do things like make your my-documents directory a symbolic link to a directory on the hard drive if you want to have your documents be external to the save file.

Also remember that you can open a save file a snoop inside it just by clicking on it. This can be good when trying to figure out just what went wrong.
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Sylvander

Joined: 15 Dec 2008
Posts: 3518
Location: West Lothian, Scotland, UK

PostPosted: Tue 07 Feb 2012, 13:13    Post_subject:  

1.
Lobster wrote:
Puppy used to be simpler

(a) It isn't nearly so complicated as my post makes it appear.
[It always looks more complicated when written, than it is to do]
But...
(b) I'd love to see included as standard in each Puppy...
The ability to choose if/when to manually save, both during the session and at shut-down.
Or else...
(c) To be able to easily make all the necessary changes to the basic Puppy [e.g. Change the ISO, or choose a different ISO].
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stu90


Joined: 25 Feb 2010
Posts: 1401
Location: England. Dell Inspiron 1501. Dpup

PostPosted: Tue 07 Feb 2012, 13:25    Post_subject:  

I like to set up then back up - that way i always have a working clean pupsave and another for everyday / testing / trashing.

Personal settings / scripts and configs i make into .pets - so when i install a new pup setting it up to how i like it generally only takes a couple of minutes.

Favorite applications can be merged into an .sfs to sandbox them - there are various apps dotted around the forum to do this and i believe Jemimah is working on a similar implementation in Saluki pup also.
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