Review of Precise Puppy: Puppy Linux With Ubuntu Favor

Puppy Linux is one of the best known lightweight Linux distro around. All you need is a USB drive and you will be able to run Puppy Linux on any computer without problem. Its recent release is built on top of Ubuntu Precise binary, which give it a solid base to start with. So how does the marriage of Ubuntu and Puppy Linux works out? Let’s check it out.

You can download Precise Puppy from its website. There is also a Slacko Puppy (based on Slackware binary) that you can download if you are a fan of Slackware. The Precise Puppy iso file is about 179MB. Depending on your Internet connection, it can take quite a while to download. Once downloaded, you can burn the iso file to a CD, or use a USB installer to create a live USB drive.

The good thing about Puppy Linux is that it can run and perform well on a live session. This means that you can boot up with the live CD, or USB and use it when you need it. There is no installation required. You could just bring along the USB drive, plug it into your friend’s laptop and boot it up. When you are done with your work, simply shut it down, and it won’t leave any trace of your data in the internal hard drive.

Alternatively, if you do want to install it in a storage drive, you can do so too. Precise Puppy comes with an installer that you can use to install to just about anything, including internal hard drive, USB drive, and Zip/LS120 diskette.

precise-puppy-universal-installer

While the installation process is not as intuitive as Ubuntu, it is not difficult either. It can be completed with a few clicks and only takes a few minutes.

precise-puppy-install-to-internal-hard-drive

Precise Puppy is using jwm as the desktop manager, and it looks and performs just like Gnome. In short, you won’t be lost in the navigation. One thing though, it doesn’t win prize for its theme and interface, and that is very acceptable for a lightweight distro. It is meant to run fast, not run pretty.

precise-puppy-desktop

When it comes to applications, Precise Puppy manages to pack a rather complete suite of apps. You can browse your files, browse the web, send emails, create and edit document, IM chat, edit images, watch video, download torrents and more. There are even games that you can play.

precise-puppy-applications

Some of the default applications include:

  • Rox-Filer file manager
  • Abiword
  • Gnumeric
  • Seamonkey (email client and browser)
  • Ayttm Chat client
  • Geany text editor (it can be for coding as well)
  • Leafpad text editor
  • MPlayer
  • Inkscape lite
  • and more…

Puppy Package Manager

If the default applications are not to your liking, you can install additional applications from the Puppy Package Manager. The Puppy Package Manager is using the repository from Ubuntu Precise. This gives you access to a wide range of applications that you can install. While the package manager is not as elegant as the Ubuntu Software Center, it is well organized into different sections and you can easily switch the repo from one source to another.

precise-puppy-package-manager

The good thing about the Package Manager is that it offers the “Trim the Fat” option after you have installed an application. Selecting this option will remove the unnecessary modules (such as language files) are removed without affecting the usability of the application. This prevents your system from getting bloated, or running out of space.

precise-puppy-trim-the-fat

Personally, I won’t want to use Precise Puppy as my default OS as I have specific needs on my laptop that Puppy Linux can’t do (like running virtual machine). However, it could find a place on my 4 years old netbook or even my 4GB USB drive. Precise Puppy is best used as a portable OS that you bring around in your USB drive. Either on your friend’s laptop, or in an Internet cafe, you can easily plug in your USB drive and boot into a fast, lightweight distro that can do almost everything you need.

Even though I won’t use it as my default OS, I have to admit that Precise Puppy is a very usable lightweight Linux distro. All you need is a USB drive and you will be able to bring a full OS along in your pocket. Try it out and let us know if this is for you.

17 comments

  1. Nice review but one thing that I want to point out is Precise Puppy ( or almost any Pup for that matter ) can run virtual machine — aka “Virtualbox”. Just fire up PPM and install from there. Or even better, just install Quickpet for Precise Pup and iinstall from there too.

  2. I also want to add that I’m using Precise Puppy 5.6.1 as my full time os. I have a Dell pc that is 12 years old and can’t afford to buy a new one yet. Puppy Linux has brought new live and prolonged its usefullness. Thank you Barry K. !!!

  3. Puppy linux packs quite a punch for its size ; but ,if you want puppy with the full mony try Legacy OS4 Mini
    Thanks ,Barry.

    • Legacy OS4 Mini is amazing, on pretty much any computer. Can’t believe it’s not more popular; it was on Distrowatch for only a short time, and it’s hardly mentioned anymore. It’s not exactly ancient, based on Puppy 4.3. I was gushing over it on this site: http://tinyurl.com/lkuoa47

      Love the ICEWm, I wish more distros would use it

  4. Another great Puppy that packs a punch is pesamu’s Upup. It’s based on Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtale and uses the raring repo’s. Chock full of applications and great looking desktop – If you have a beefy system I highly suggest checking this pup out !

  5. too complicated by far…the ubuntu repos are confusing …which to use…whats installed…whats missing…. updating is so laborious…and setting up Wifi a real pain….
    it doesn recogonise ralink drivers one minute …then the next minute it does..
    over complicated ltypical linux created by a nerd for nerds to tinker about…
    no wonder people stay with Microsoft products

    • True.

      Most people don’t want to solve problems for their OS. They want their OS to solve problems for them. Their PC is a tool. Not a DIY project.

      When a person buys a car, he expects it to be in proper tune so he can drive it away, as is.

      He shouldn’t have to adjust the timing and gap the plugs before he can drive it off the lot.

      • @mike @Bevin Chu – Everything has it’s place, true.

        I’m a pragmatist, and that’s why I still have a lot of issues with Ubuntu. They are a bit too idealistic, and therefore leave a person with a somewhat ‘raw’ system. Same with Fedora, etc.

        Puppy and the derivatives are amazing. Simple, non-gimmicky, blazing fast. End users thought of, details handled. What Windows should be, and what they probably wanted to be at one time.

        And no, I’m not a hater. I use Windows too.

  6. My first PC is about 15 years old. I was going to throw it in the trash. My schoolmate gave me a live disc with Puppy Precise 5.6.1 to try out. I’m amazed at the outcome. My old H.P. Pavilion is now up and running as fast as when it was new. Puppy was very easy to setup.

    I too didn’t like the look of the wallpapers provided with Puppy. I went on-line and downloaded Nathan Wallpaper Grabber pet package it worked on the first try. I’ve also downloaded Libre Office .

    Thank you Puppy

  7. This is a very nice OS in a very humble way and it does anything. It is great.
    I have it always around here although I do a lot with the ‘big distributions’.
    My wife uses it on her 10 year old laptop.

  8. I’ve just installed 5.7.1, only to discover that it cannot be updated, which makes for not a very useful system.

    The repositories update, but there is no apparent way of updating/upgrading the installed packages.

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