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.
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.