A new version of the popular Ubuntu-based distribution, WattOS has been released. It’s an interesting project that I try out each time a new release pops up. The lightweight WattOS R3 release has several improvements and quite a few applications changes.
First of all, a few Youtube videos and reviews about WattOS R3 have already surfaced. Sneekylinux, a long time Linux reviewer, has given his take of WattOS on his Youtube channel, found here.
WattOS R3 is based on the Ubuntu core and more specifically Ubuntu 10.10. It includes the LXDE desktop environment and many lightweight applications.
I tested WattOS R3 in virtualbox and on my test machine, a Dell PowerEdge 400SC desktop. The installation process of WattOS is what you’d expect from Ubuntu and most Ubuntu derivatives. Clean, quick and smooth, the installation was a pleasant experience , as I expected it to be.
The live CD auto login feature has been implemented. In WattOS R2 users had to type in a generic password. In WattOS R3 you’ll see a nice boot menu, then be taken directly to the desktop where you can install WattOS. A nice fix/feature here.
Foobnix is a minimalist music management application that is new on the scene but has already received some great reviews because it has features like online music search, 3500+ radio stations, Last.fm support, and more. It also has a very unique interface.
Fotoxx is a lightweight photo editing application that I found to be handy for quick image changes, which most of mine are. It’s nice not having to pull up a slow loading graphic editing application when I just need to resize an image, for example. I love GIMP but would use this over GIMP for small tasks like resizing and cropping, which I do a lot.
PCManFM, the WattOS R3 file manager, has picked up some significant improvements including network share browsing support and trash and application areas in the left pane.
KeepPassX is a password manager that was added to WattOS R3. Users can use KeepPassX to manage everything from user names and passwords to urls, attachments and comments in one database.
Osmo is a personal management application included in the R3 release that worked well as a daily manager for me. Osmo includes calendar, tasks manager and address book modules and I found the interface to be very easy to use. I might actually consider throwing this into my daily mix.
Red Notebook is a note taking application that users might enjoy more than something like Tomboy Notes. The interface was clean and seemed to almost match the Osmo look and feel which I like a lot.
WattOS is headed in the right direction. While using WattOS R3 I found it to be fast, efficient and beginner friendly in every way. I like most of the application changes in this release but I am still wondering why Firefox is included and not Midori or Chrome? I also must mention the websitem, PlanetWatt.com, has a nice interface for finding other WattOs users, making friends, sharing comments, etc. This is another feature that will help beginners stick with it. Overall, this is a distribution that works well for beginners and users trying to install on older hardware.