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"I am pleased to announce the immediate release wattOS Release 7.5. wattOS R7.5 is a remastered build of Ubuntu 13.04 and is fully compatible with Ubuntu repositories. There are several new exciting things with release 7.5 as there are now three core flavors for you to try: 32-bit and 64-bit LXDE desktop editions; 32-bit Microwatt - lightweight and running customized pekwm; 32-bit and 64-bit MATE-desktop edition. The philosophy is to be minimal but functional and to let you choose what you want to install but to give you a good basic OS with a foundation to customize how you like. Things like printing, user management, multi-monitor support, power management and software management is all installed and ready to be used."
Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 6
WattOS is a respin of Ubuntu, offering the LXDE or Mate desktops, or pekwm. I looked at both desktops in the 32-bit versions.
The live session loaded without any problems, and installation (using a modified version of Ubuntuís Ubiquity} was successful. Thereís no documentation, but obviously one can user Ubuntuís.
The desktops worked well, although the LXDE menu was badly laid out. The LXDE version came with Chromium, Pinta graphics, Audacious, and VLC, while the Mate one only had Chromium and Audacious. One can obviously get more from the repository, but this seems a very meagre offering. VLC is in the version that fails on some hardware, including mine. Chromium is a silly choice for a distro that claims to be useful for old computers: the only 32-bit CPU with which it can play flash videos is the P4. Pinta uses mono, which will offend some. Installing extra software is handled by Synaptic or the Lubuntu Software Center, both of which worked well.
As with many Debian distros, security and configuration are poorly served. The firewall is switched off and no graphical tool is installed to enable it. You can encrypt /home, though. I installed a tool to manage services, but it seemed less than reliable: it said CUPS was disabled when it wasnít. My usb speakers required me to edit a file in /etc.
The Mate version is competing with Mint, and itís no contest. The LXDE one is better than Lubuntu, but not as good as ZorinOS Light. The forum has only 874 users, and there are rather too many unanswered questions. Thereís nothing seriously wrong with WattOS, but I canít think of a reason to recommend it in preference to the competition. Of course, if you love pekwm, that would be a different matter!