WattOS Beta 3 is a lightweight Linux Distro geared towards running on less energy and for recycled or low power computers without compromising on features or performance that you’d expect from a full power system.

Their motto “Light, Fast, Now” seeks to provide a low-energy full featured Linux distro.

Beta 3 released this week, which includes a live CD version. Download the ISO file, burn the image to a CD, and reboot your PC to try a live version of WattOS before fully installing.  The Live CD Beta 3 file was 527 MB and downloaded rather quickly.

The default user for the Live CD is “guest” and the password is Blank.

Ubuntu Light With Customizations

WattOS is based on Ubuntu 8.10 with Gnome Desktop.  They claim to have remastered the OS to run quicker than standard Ubuntu and to require less memory.  Therefore, WattOS would be a good candidate for older machines that want the benefits of Ubuntu but without the bulk.

First Impressions

The Live CD boots rather quickly.  The LXDE Desktop  looks quite spartan on WattOS.  True, the download was only 527 MB, but there are some peculiar package choices, and others are missing or replaced with lesser known ones.

When running this distro, you have to keep in mind that it is still in beta.  The look and feel is fine, but there are some rough edges.

desktop

Installed Packages

They’ve clumped together browser tools and email into a Network section which includes Firefox browser and Claws Mail.  Where’s Evolution?  You’ll find Pidgin for instant messaging and Bit Torrent. There’s also a lightweight XSMBrowser.

The graphics menu includes Gimp, the Photoshop like graphics tool.  The audio and video menu includes Movie Player, Brasero, and Exaile.  The office section has Gnumeric spreadsheet and Abiword.  You can add Open Office later if you’d like, but I’ve always found Gnumeric to run faster on older machines.

Missing were some basics such as a Snapshot tool, Okular for PDF, and calculator.

WattOS vs. Xubuntu

If you are looking for a lighter Ubuntu why not try out Canonical’s official distro for lightweight machines, Xubuntu?

WattOS promises to run with lower energy requirements.  There are no tools aparent on the desktop or on the live CD that would validate the wattage output of the machine so that it could be compared with the standard Ubuntu or other Linux distros.

Gallery of Screenshots


Conclusion

The next important tool to be added to WattOS to change it from beta to a production-ready distro is some indication of the power savings one achieves by using this linux version.  I’d like to see some actual energy usage numbers vs. benchmarks on the desktop to determine the added-value of WattOS vs. other already established low usage distros (such as Puppy Linux, Vector Linux, and Xubuntu, to name a few).