Trench’s further adventures in Linux: wattOS returns for the Asus 4G challenge


I haven’t done a lot of Linux posts lately because I’m pretty set in my Linux ways now. I run Voyager on my laptop and I’ve given up on the EEE Box because it has a GPU that I think they got from a black and white television. Kids, ask your grandparents what a black and white TV is.

So that leaves the almost indestructible Asus EEE pc 701 4G Surf. If you’re not familiar with this brand of computer it was the first netbook. It’s so sturdy it feels like it was manufactured in a Soviet era factory. The problem is that it only has a 4GB hard drive so for the past few years I’ve been having more and more difficulty finding an operating system that will actually fit on it and function properly.

The champion of the challenge was wattOS with its Release 8 or R8 as they call it. We have a new champion although the new boss is the same as the old boss with wattOS’ R9 release. In R8 wattOS was based on Debiam but with R9 they have returned to using Ubuntu at its core. Yes, I know Ubuntu is based on Debian. Save it for someone who sudo cares. THe problem with it being based on Ubuntu is that when you first try to boot into wattOS you’ll get the PAE kernel error message but there is a way around it.

After you download the ISO file install it to a USB stick using Unetbootin. At the start up screen his the esc key and select the USB drive. When the splash screen comes on hit the tab button and a string of text will come up. Follow step 4 here except for the part where you press F6 because we’ve used tab instead. While installing wattOS keep the swap space on the hard drive as small as possible. I believe I only gave it like 256MB for swap. Once it’s installed you should have at least 1GB of storage space left.

As good as wattOS is it’s not a miracle worker. These days due to the limitations of the once mighty Surf it can only be used for the most basic of browsing. If you use GMail you’ll have to use the basic HTML version and forget about YouTube altogether. Streaming music might be ok because I was able to use Google Music with not much difficulty.

So while the useful days of the EEE pc 701 may be coming to an end someday soon wattOS makes it serviceable as an emergency use computer.

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