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SparkyLinux 4 "Tyche" LXDE
Developer SparkyLinux team[1]
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Source model Open source
Initial release 5 May 2012 (2012-05-05)
Latest release (Rolling release) / Installation DVD SparkyLinux 4.1 "Tyche"[2]
Available in multilingual
Update method APT (front-ends available)
Package manager dpkg (front-ends available)
Platforms IA-32, x86-64
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux)
Userland GNU
Default user interface Enlightenment, JWM, Openbox, KDE, LXDE, LXQt, MATE and Xfce
License Mainly GPL and other free software licenses, minor additions of proprietary
Official website .orgsparkylinux

SparkyLinux is a desktop-oriented operating system based on the "testing" branch of Debian. The project offers ready to use operating system with a set of various customized lightweight desktops to choose.


  • History 1
  • Features 2
    • Live media 2.1
    • Installer 2.2
    • Updates 2.3
    • Sparky Tools 2.4
    • Multilingual 2.5
    • Packages 2.6
  • Releases 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The project was born on October, 2011 as an Ubuntu remix with Enlightenment as the default desktop having the name ue17r (Ubuntu Enlightenment17 Remix). After a few months of testing, the base system has been changed to Debian and it was renamed to SparkyLinux.


SparkyLinux is based on "testing" branch of Debian and uses 'rolling-release-cycle'. It includes a collection of tools and scripts to help users with easy administration of the system.

The default desktop environment is LXDE but users can download and install other Sparky versions with desktops such as Budgie (under development), Enlightenment, JWM, Openbox, KDE, LXQt, MATE or Xfce. There is a CLI (text based) edition for advanced users as well.

SparkyLinux offers a special gaming edition "GameOver" targeted to gamers. It features a large set of free and open source games and some needed tools.

An another special edition of SparkyLinux Rescue provides a live system and a large number of applications for recovering broken operating systems.

Sparky editions of: KDE, LXDE, LXQt, MATE, Xfce and GameOver are offered with a set of applications for daily use, large set of additional Wifi drivers and multimedia codecs and plug-ins.

Other Sparky editions such as: Enlightenment, JWM, OpenBox and CLI features minimal set of applications and tools for easy customization and are codecs free.

As Sparky iso image features a few proprietary packages, the 'Sparky APTus' provides a small tool called 'Non-Free Remover' which can easy uninstall all 'contrib' and 'non-free' packages from the system.

Live media

Each release comes as a Live DVD or Live CD (CLI edition only), booting to a graphical desktop without installation from an optical disk or Flash USB disk. Live system is available in English language only, and other locales can be set during installation process.

The 32 bit iso images of SparkyLinux feature Non-PAE Linux kernel for older computers as default.


SparkyLinux features two different system installers.

1. Live Installer (default) - a fork of LMDE installer can be started directly from live mode, without rebooting. It supports the live system installation on 32 bit and 64 bit machines with BIOS or UEFI motherboard.

2. SpakyLinux (Old) Installer - an older installer used in the past (SparkyLinux 3.3 and older) which is based on Yad (a fork of Zenity). The old installer is based on and forked from Remastersys installer (discontinued project). It supports installation on 32 and 64bit machines with BIOS only and it's the default installer of Sparky CLI edition.

Both installers can install the system to hard disks and USB flash drive as well.


As SparkyLinux uses rolling-release model, it once installed doesn't need to be reinstalled via new Live iso images. SparkyLinux uses Debian testing and its own packages repositories as default. Updates can by made using APT or it's gui's such as Synaptic, 'System Upgrade' tool (Sparky APTus Upgrade) or 'SparkyAPTus'.

Sparky Tools

Sparky offers own tools for different tasks, such as:

  • Custom ISO Builder - is a tool which can rebuild an existing ISO image and customize it (Live systems based on Debian)
  • Deb Package Builder - this tool can be used to build simple deb packages
  • Desura On-Line Installer
  • LightScribe On-Line Installer
  • Skype On-Line Installer
  • Sparky APTus - set of tools to help users keep the system up to date and clean, install and remove packages. It is a lightweight gui frontend for APT and DPKG tools
  • Sparky APTus Extra - it installs many, 'popular' applications via just 'one click'
  • Sparky APTus Gamer - it installs many game emulators and other applications for gaming
  • Sparky APTus Upgrade - the script lets you keep your system up-to-date
  • Sparky Backup Apps - it lets you make a copy of personal settings of some applications and recover them after from a backup
  • Sparky Backup Sys - it lets you make a copy of an installation of SparkyLinux and make a new hybrid iso image
  • Sparky Center - SparkyLinux system control center for LXDE
  • Sparky Chrooter - a tool which lets you automatically chroot (change root file system) into broken Linux distribution
  • Sparky Codecs - can install all available multimedia codecs and plugins via 'one click'
  • Sparky Compton - this tool lets you launch or stop Compton Composite Manager and edit its configuration file
  • Sparky Conky - it lets you launch or stop Conky and edit its configuration file
  • Sparky Eraser - is a tool which can permanently erase files and directories. It is a simply GUI front-end for SHRED and WIPE tools
  • Sparky Live USB Creator - this tool will make a bootable Live Linux USB disk. It is a GUI frontend for 'dd' command
  • Sparky Office - can easy install your favorite office suite
  • Sparky Screenshot - it lets you make a screenshot of your desktop. It is a gui frontend for scrot
  • Sparky Users - it lets you manage users, groups and passwords of the system
  • Sparky Xdf - it shows status of the disk usage. It's a GUI front-end for 'df' command
  • VMware Player On-Line Installer


The live system's default language is English but the Live Installer supports installation with many other localisations (i18n to be chosen.


SparkyLinux images come with a selection of programs such as:

  • Network: Iceweasel (Firefox), Icedove (Thunderbird), gFTP, Pidgin, Liferea, Transmission;
  • Multimedia: MPlayer, Xfburn, VLC, Exaile, SMPlayer YouTube Browser;
  • Office: LibreOffice, Evince/Atril (MATE Edition), Leafpad, Nano;
  • Graphics: GIMP, Simple Scan, GPicView;
  • Games: GNOME-games, Steam (in repository), Desura Installer (in repository);
  • Others: Wine, PlayOnLinux, GParted, Midnight Commander.

The complete package list is published together with an iso image as 'iso-image-name-version-desktop-package-list.txt' file.


SparkyLinux is released 3-4 times per year to provide the latest versions of all applications.

Colour Meaning
Red Release no longer supported
Green Release still supported
Blue Future release
Release Name Date Release notes
1.0 Venus 2012-05-05 SparkyLinux 1 Final
2.0 Eris 2012-10-12 SparkyLinux 2.0 Eris
3.0 Annagerman 2013-07-27 SparkyLinux 3.0
4.0 Tyche 2015-06-26 SparkyLinux 4.0
4.1 Tyche 2015-10-02 SparkyLinux 4.1

See also


  1. ^ "SparkyLinux Team". 
  2. ^ "Release Notes: SparkyLinux 4.1". 

External links

  • Official website
  • An Everyday Linux User Review Of SparkyLinux Gameover Edition, Everyday Linux User, October 2014
  • SparkyLinux 3.5, DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 581, 20 October 2014
  • SparkyLinux 3.5 (E18) Review – Lightweight, Comes with Lots of Apps, But a Bit Buggy, Hectic Geek, 11 October 2014
  • Reach Unlimited, Review Sept. 30, 2014
  • SparkyLinux GameOver Is a Winning Work-Play Combo, LinuxInsider, 20 August 2014
  • SparkyLinux 3.4 GameOver -- a Linux distro for gamers, BetaNews, 8 July 2014
  • SparkyLinux 3.2 Xfce Review, The Navy Christian, February 2014
  • SparkyLinux 3.1 LXDE - Archaic and modern, Dedoimedo, 30 December 2013
  • Everyday Linux User review of SparkyLinux 3.1 Razor-Qt Edition, Everyday Linux User, 26 November 2013
  • SparkyLinux 3.6,, October 2013
  • SparkyLinux 2.1: Debian Testing en cinco minutos, La Sombra Del Helicoptero, 15 April 2013
  • Mit Desura und Steam vorinstalliert: SparkyLinux 2.1 “GameOver”, BITblokes, 28 March 2013
  • First look at SparkyLinux 2.1 "Ultra" edition, DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 495, 18 February 2013
  • Sparkylinux 2.1 “Ultra” Review: Lightweight, fast and elegant Openbox distro for low spec computers!, mylinuxexplore, 4 February 2013
  • SparkyLinux à tester sans installer,, 1 February 2013
  • Linux für Zocker: SparkyLinux 2.0.1 – Mit Desura- und Steam-Client, BITblokes, 20 December 2012
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