Meet DebianDog – Puppy sized Debian Linux

Recently I stumbled upon an intriguing Linux project. This project aims to create small live CDs for Debian and Debian-based systems, similar to the Puppy Linux project. Let’s take a look at DebianDog.

What is DebianDog?

As it says on the tin, DebianDog “is a small Debian Live CD shaped to look like Puppy and act like Puppy. Debian structure and Debian behaviour are untouched and Debian documentation is 100% valid for DebianDog. You have access to all Debian repositories using apt-get or synaptic.”

DebianDog Jessie
DebianDog Jessie

For those of you who are not familiar with Puppy Linux, the project is “a collection of multiple Linux distributions, built on the same shared principles”. Those principles are to be fast, small (300 MB or less), and easy to use. There are versions of Puppy Linux built to support Ubuntu, Slackware, and Raspbian packages.

The major difference between DebianDog and Puppy Linux is that Puppy Linux has its own package manager [the Puppy Package Manager]. As stated above, DebianDog using the Debian package manager and packages. Even the DebianDog website tries to make that clear: “It is not Puppy Linux and it has nothing to do with Puppy based on Debian.”

Why should anyone use DebianDog?

The main reason to install DebianDog (or any of its derivatives) would be to restore an older system to operability. Every entry on DebianDog has a 32-bit option. They also have lighter desktop environments/window managers, such as Openbox or the Trinity Desktop environment. Most of those also have an alternative to systemd. They also come with lighter applications installed, such as PCManFM.

What versions of DebianDog are available?

Though DebianDog was the first in the series, the project is called ‘Dog Linux’ and provides various ‘Dog variants’ on popular distributions based on Debian and Ubuntu.

DebianDog Jessie

The first (and original) version of DebianDog is DebianDog Jessie. There are two 32-bit versions of it. One uses Joe’s Window Manager (JWM) as default and the other uses XFCE. Both systemd and sysvinit are available. There is also a 64-bit version. DebianDog Jessie is based on Debian 8.0 (codename Jessie). Support for Debian 8.0 ends on June 30th, 2020, so install with caution.

TrinityDog
TrinityDog

StretchDog

StretchDog is based on Debian 9.0 (codename Stretch). It is available in 32 and 64-bit. Openbox is the default window manager, but we can also switch to JWM. Support for Debian 9.0 ends on June 30th, 2022.

BusterDog

BusterDog is interesting. It is based on Debian 10 (codename Buster). It does not use systemd, instead, it uses elogind just like AntiX. Support for Debian 10.0 ends on June 2024.

MintPup

MintPup is based on Linux Mint 17.1. This LiveCD is 32-bit only. You can also access all of the “Ubuntu/Mint repositories using apt-get or synaptic”. Considering that Mint 17 has reached end of life, this version must be avoided.

XenialDog

There are both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of this spin based on the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. Both versions come with Openbox as default with JWM as an option. Support for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS ends in April of 2021, so install with caution.

TrinityDog

There are two versions of the TrintyDog spin. One is based on Debian 8 and the other is based on Debian 9. Both are 32-bit and both use the Trinity Desktop Environment, thus the name.

BionicDog
BionicDog

BionicDog

As you should be able to guess by the name. BionicDog is based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. The main version of this spin has both 32 and 64-bit with Openbox as the default window manager. There is also a version that uses the Cinnamon desktop and is only 64-bit.

Final Thoughts

I like any Linux project that wants to make older systems usable. However, most of the operating systems available through DebianDog are no longer supported or nearing the end of their life span. This makes it less than useful for the long run.

I wouldn’t really advise to use it on your main computer. Try it in live USB or on a spare system. Also, you can create your own LiveCD spin if you want to take advantage of a newer base system.

Somehow I keep on stumbling across obscure Linux distributions like FatDog64, 4M Linux and Viperr Linux. Even though I may not always recommend them to use, it’s still good to know about the existence of such projects.

What are your thoughts on the DebianDog? What is your favorite Puppy-syle OS? Please let us know in the comments below.

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  • There is a ketchup named “Heinz 57 Varieties”. The name indicates that is made from many parts or origins.
    There is also a mix-breed of dogs commonly called “Heinz” for its bloodlines of 57 varieties.
    I have enjoyed 56 different Linux ‘distros’ and DebianDog should have been named Heinz 57, because it is a dog !!!!!

    • Fun story about the dogs, but the Heinz 57 varieties is a marketng slogan not the name of the ketchup. It is referring to all of Heinz brands, not 57 ingredients or varieties of ketchup. and “It is a dog” or “It runs like a dog” (software, or hardware, typically) = “It is BAD” in English slang. Good luck.

  • The article is catching from the beginning and gives information one should make further research on especially beginners. I love the fact that the writer used Linux Terminologies. Towards the end, I see no reason why is should even try the package on my system. Not bad anyway…

  • The advantage of the “Dogs” (and not mentioned in the article) is that – like Puppy – they are primarily intended to run from a USB flash drive, in RAM (if so desired) for incredibly speedy operation. Coupled with brilliant, simple remastering tools and the ability to customize an installation, save it (even create a fresh .ISO with but a button press or two) and exit a session without saving anything (pick up some malware on the web? Poof! Completely gone when you shut down) – along with inheriting rash of very useful, tiny Puppy apps… it really is a fantastic distro. One of my very favorites, by far.

    You gotta’ wrap your head around it, though, before you can realize it’s true excellence.

    • “You gotta’ wrap your head around it, though, before you can realize it’s true excellence.”
      – So, is the documentation utterly woeful, as usual for such projects, either lacking completely requiring trial-and-error, or hidden over 150 random forum posts by end users, making it flat-out PAINFUL to learn (I’m looking at YOU, OpenWRT, pre-2020 lockdown re-write)?

  • I use “bionicpup32”, and “fatdog64”, and feel they are really good. “Peewee” keeps “bionicpup32”,(along with a few other “pups”, up to date.