Short Bytes: The much-awaited wattOS R10 has arrived in all its glory. This power efficient GNU/Linux distribution is based on the latest Ubuntu 16.04.1 long term release. The current release only provides LXDE desktop environment and Microwatt edition will be released later. The wattOS R10 release also brings broader support for older hardware.
The latest release is built on the latest Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS for stability and long term support. At the moment, the Microwatt Edition is not up to par and it’ll be announced later. wattOS forum cites reasons like “too dodgy installer” for the delay. Right now, the LXDE 32-bit and 64-bit versions are available for use.
As you’ll move ahead with the installation process, you’ll see options to start the default live environment, boot in failsafe mode, run a memory test, or boot another existing operating system. Here’s how it looked on my virtual machine:
Remastered from the core of Ubuntu Linux build, this free operating system focuses on keeping its footprint small and delivering a clean desktop environment. The current wattOS R10 release is based on i3 window manager that fitted perfectly with my familiar LXDE desktop environment.
All the options can be accessed from a single taskbar. By default, it hosts the menu, and icons for LXTerminal, PCManFM file manager, Firefox web browser, opened applications, etc.
Core wattOS R10 apps and their versions for LXDE
wattOS R10 ships with Linux kernel 4.4.0-36, Firefox 48.0, PCManFM 1.2.4, Filezilla 126.96.36.199, Transmission 2.84, Evince 3.10.3, and Gufw 16.04.1. This release replaces R9’s Audacious music player with Lollypop 0.9.112, a modern GTK+3 music player written in Python.
Apart from the music section, replacements have been made in graphics/picture editing department with the addition of gThumb 3.4.3, which does a decent job. I found it hard to digest but the applications for CD burning and native video playing have been removed.
A big change comes in the form of wider support for various hardware and wireless devices. This has made it easier to run wattOS R10 on a variety of legacy systems. This release also includes tools for better power management and performance optimization on the laptop.
Should I try wattOS? Is it useful for me?
As said earlier, wattOS R10 is a fast and lightweight operating system. It works perfectly fine with old computers that have memory and power limitations. So, if there’s an old PC rotting in your basement, wattOS could become its new best friend. It can perform all the basic functions like internet surfing, word processing, email, playing music, etc. However, expecting wattOS to play 4K videos or using it for heavy video editing will be unfair.
The current release, wattOS R10 LXDE, needs about 192-256MB RAM for installation. After the installation completes, it needs 128MB RAM to run. However, I’ll recommend you to use at least 256MB RAM for a satisfactory performance.
Note: In my tests, I found the web browser a little bit slow to launch at first. After installation of the operating system, it was normal. I looked for the issue on the official wattOS forum and found something similar listed over there. So, don’t worry about that.
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