Turbo-charged machines with wattOS

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The wattOS developers' website, PlanetWatt, seems to echo the bare-bones feel of both wattOS and Microwatt. In the first instance, entering http://www.planetwatt.com into your browser will result in an admonition to go to the "new" website, which appends /new to the original URL.

PlanetWatt does contain links to a Wiki for both wattOS R10 and Microwatt R10, but at the time of writing, these were just landing pages. Fortunately the website has very active forums including threads dedicated to announcing the release of R10 for each OS [5], as well as a Rocket.Chat chat room with a dedicated channel for the latest version [6].

The website claims that confused users can message wattOS' main developer Biff Baxter. Whether or not this is his real name or if he is paying homage to Jeff Daniels' character in the 1987 comedy Radio Days , Biff plays an active role in both the forum and chat rooms and responds promptly to questions about usage and release dates of new versions of wattOS and Microwatt.

Watt a Mess

Users who try to test drive wattOS in VirtualBox may find that they see mysterious colors on screen and their device fails to load at all. You may be able to fix this by increasing the available video memory to the virtual machine. Failing this, go to Settings > System and check the box marked Enable EFI (Special OSs only) . These settings will only apply to the wattOS virtual machine, so do not worry about this interfering with the operation of others.

Similarly Microwatt can experience kernel panic in a virtual machine if started with too little video memory. I found that allocating at least 24MB video memory in the Display tab and enabling 3D acceleration allowed Microwatt to load normally.

Although wattOS can technically install software capable of playing high-definition videos or processing large amounts of data, it will still be constrained by the hardware specs of your system, so do not expect to turn a 10-year-old PC into a high-end gaming server simply because it has an efficient OS installed.

Users in need of technical support can head to the PlanetWatt forums. According to the official thread announcing the release of R10, current known issues include the installer crashing when choosing to download third-party codecs to play media, as well as both encrypting the system and home folder. In the meantime, the forum admins suggest choosing only one type of encryption and downloading the necessary third-party codecs post-install.

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