Ubuntu on Pilot Light: wattOS Beta 3

Jul 13, 2009

The goal of wattOS is simple and useful: to build a Linux distro that uses little energy.

To achieve the minimal energy goal, developers took Ubuntu 9.04, painted it green and made numerous modifications. They wanted to be sure that wattOS ran on lightweight systems and used minimal energy.

Meanwhile a beta version of the distro has emerged for which developers and helpers are being sought. The Beta3, based on the LXDE environment and OpenBox, improves hardware support, including for wireless devices. The new version replaces wicd with Network Manager, and the software has its own tool to measure energy usage, which the distro installs by default, although the user has to register with the power management group.

Not least of all, a few favorites are included, such as Abiword, which replaces OpenOffice. Firefox and an Adobe Flash plugin are also on board. For IM, there's Pidgin, Exaile plays music and Totem plays videos. Also new in wattOS is a Gwibber client.

Somewhat odd, however, is the Planetwatt Store, where you can buy a "lightweight OS," a Nerd Journal and an energy saving mini-PC. Apparently some plump sponsorships are involved.

The wattOS software is free for download, including a Live CD. Keep in mind that this is a beta version.

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