I have always been interested in lighter weight desktops, and having a laptop I also am interested in saving power and maximizing battery life. WattOS promises both of these by offering a Lxde desktop. It’s also based off of Ubuntu 11.04, so it is up to date and has a great amount of packages.
I do all of my testing in Virtualbox for lack of a spare machine to install to. I dedicated one gigabyte of RAM to Virtualbox for testing out WattOS. Booting from the iso image took two minutes and two seconds, which isn’t too long of a time, but I have certainly seen better. Still, it was soon up and running with the lxde desktop. The desktop has a nice silver colored panel and a wallpaper with some sort of insect clinging to a blade of grass. The icon theme is the ever popular Faenza, and the Openbox theme is the default for Lxde, which goes by the name of Onyx. The GTK theme is Clearlooks, which is simple but looks nice with pretty much any setup. The desktop is fast, and did not slow down noticeably even when I ran nearly every pre-included program, something that can’t be said about many distributions.
Installing WattOS took 12 minutes and 58 seconds, which is quick enough that all but the most impatient users will be able to wait for it’s completion, but still slow enough that I recommend grabbing a book or something to pass the time, instead of staring at the progress bar like I did. Rebooting from the installed system took one minute and ten seconds, which is fairly slow but not slow enough that I’m going to complain. After all, it does boot. The system, once installed, takes up 2.3 gigabytes of hard disk space. The included applications are as follows:
Sound & Video:
In my opinion that is a fairly well rounded variety of applications, particularly for a lightweight distribution. If anything else is needed, it can almost certainly be found in Ubuntu’s extensive repositories.
All in all I really liked WattOS R4. It was fast, looked good and was fairly full featured. I really have no way of proving whether or not it uses any less power than any other lightweight system, but it probably uses significantly less power than say, a KDE distro. I would recommend WattOS as a good alternative for Lubuntu, if anyone is looking for one, or just as a good Lxde system in general. If you would like to find out more, WattOS’s website is at http://www.planetwatt.com/.