Turbo-charged machines with wattOS

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Viktor Gmyria, 123RF.com

Viktor Gmyria, 123RF.com

What OS but wattOS?

The latest offering from PlanetWatt, this lightweight distribution is specifically geared towards energy efficiency, giving older machines a new lease on life.

PlanetWatt unveiled wattOS R10 in September 2016, which is based on Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS for long-term support and stability [1]. Since a tentative beta was released in July 2013 [2], releases have been on roughly an annual basis.

Despite the emphasis on energy-efficiency, this isn't apparent from the boot menu or the rather leafy desktop, which is at once very easy on the eye, but contains minimal clutter. By default only three apps are displayed. Besides the habitual trash can, the default desktop contains shortcuts to the Firefox v48.0 web browser and the Lollypop v0.9.112 music player (Figure 1).

WattOS' spartan LXDE desktop environment is coupled with the lightweight i3 window manager. PlanetWatt, the project developers' website, claims that any system that has a processor released in the last 10 years is compatible with the operating system (OS). WattOS requires 192-256MB of RAM for installation, but the website claims that less than 128MB are required once the install is complete. When testing in VirtualBox, I found that 256MB of RAM and 35MB of video memory was more than enough to keep wattOS ticking over nicely.


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