Trench’s further adventures in Linux: SalentOS and wattOS

salentoslogo

I have two new Linux recommendations for you this week.

The first one is SalentOS, a distro from Italy based on the long-term support (LTS) releases of Ubuntu. The one I tested was based on Lubuntu 12.04 although 14.04 is coming out in just a few days. I tried the version that comes with the Razor-qt desktop. I think this is a great distro for older or under-powered computers. I’m using it right now on my Asus EEEBox 1007 which is 32 bit, Intel Atom processor, 1 GB of RAM and a crappy GPU. SalentOS is the fastest distro I have ever used on this computer. My only complaints aren’t with SalentOS itself but with Razor-qt. Not really a complaint as much as I couldn’t figure out how to get icons on the desktop without the Icon View plugin. I found that didn’t work like a normal desktop. Again that may just may be my ignorance. My benchmarks for distros are YouTube and Google+ because between the Flash of YouTube and the Ajax of Google+ they can choke a crappy GPU. You Tube was a little choppy but watchable Google+ while still slow was usable. SalentOS get’s a definite thumbs up from me.

wattos

The second distro I want to talk about is wattOS. But before we get to that I have to update you on The Asus 4G Surf Linux Challenge. (Insert fanfare here). The last Surf Champion, PCLinuxOS, had to be removed because it had no sound. I’m sure I could have tracked down 7-year-old forum threads to see how to fix this but as I get older I get less patient with that crap. Then I did an alternate install of Lubuntu 14.04. This was good because as of 14.04 you can install without the PAE kernel. Lubuntu was nice but it always leaves me underwhelmed even for an EEEpc. Then wattOS announced that they had released version 8, or Release 8 (R8) as they call it. I’ve used wattOS on the EEEpc many times before until I started having the PAE kernel issues. However with R8 they were no longer based on Ubuntu but on Ubuntu’s grand-daddy, Debian. Installation was smooth as silk as long as you keep the swap partition small. Had over 1GB of hard drive space left over after installation. The only problem I had was that Update Manager and GDebi didn’t recognize my root password. You can get around this by opening those apps in the terminal. While wattOS is the current Surf Champion I would not recommend it for beginners, while I’m no Linux expert I could see new users having an issue.

UPDATE 5/18/2014: As Biff from wattOS mentioned in the comments you can correct the root password problem by entering the command ‘gksu-properties’ in a terminal and changing the top menu entry from ‘su’ to ‘sudo’.

Thanks again Biff.

  • biff

    Hi there I am the wattOS dev…the password issue you mention is solved by entering the command ‘gksu-properties’ in a terminal and changing the top menu entry from ‘su’ to ‘sudo’. Its a known bug in the installer that is stickied in the forums (eg. its set correctly in the liveCD but reverts to su on install), but you are correct…it has been problematic for some…thanks for testing. We are also getting ready to roll out new forums for folks to more easily post questions, etc. enjoy! – biff

    • http://trenchreynolds.me/ Trench Reynolds

      Thanks for the response Biff. I’ll try that out and post my results.

    • http://trenchreynolds.me/ Trench Reynolds

      Thank you Biff. That worked perfectly.

      • LimboMan

        I’m trying the gksu-properties command in a terminal on microWatt8 and I can’t change the root password still! Help?

        • Frustrated

          Maybe you could actually share how you got it working… step by step

          • Frustrated

            You’d think after decades of rolling out these distros someone would finally get it right… seems a great install runs slow on older computers and distros designed for slow, old computers have crappy installs and all kinds of issues… man! This is why Microsoft is still KING!!!

          • Frustrated

            Ubuntu worked GREAT! on my old laptop until the time came to upgrade to 14.04, then it turned my old laptop into a slate… slower than the second coming… Porteus isn’t much better… I guess anything designed to be a “live” version just shouldn’t be installed at all….

          • LimboMan

            I share your frustrations. I’m still very happy with my hardware even though they may be dated by today’s standards. I’m left with having to use older versions of the various distros. As for me and my experience above, it just worked after another attempt. Can’t say I did anything special to get it working though.

          • Frustrated

            Thanks for the reply… I hate to come off so terrible, but a weekend of trying to find a distro to work that meets all my criteria gives me a huge headache… My laptop works fine on Win95, but it is no longer supported… which got me thinking that I could go back to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (How long is long term support?) and forget upgrading… it wasn’t really fast, but at least it was tolerable… seems every upgrade on any device these days is designed to slow it down so you have to buy a new one… anyway, no more rants… have a good day… and kudos to all the developers, even if they have a long way to go to perfection…

          • http://trenchreynolds.me/ Trench Reynolds

            Can your laptop boot from USB or CD?

          • Frustrated

            It’s old enough that it doesn’t support booting from USB, only CD/DVD… eMachines M5310… No problem, loaded up Linux-Lite 2.2… not as glossy as some of the other distros, but runs not ‘too’ bad and has the software that I use…

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