AsteroidOS First Impressions: Linux all the things

So, Linux is my favorite operating system to use on my computer, and I kind of use it on my phone with Android (even though its not really the same as the Linux most people know and love.) And once actual Linux on phones matures, I'll probably use that too. That would only leave one piece of tech I use that doesn't run Linux: my smartwatch. Or at least, that was the case until eariler today when I installed AsteroidOS on my Ticwatch E.

For those who aren't familiar with AsteroidOS, it's an open-source operating system for smartwatches based on an embeded Linux distro built with OpenEmbedded. It runs on a number of WearOS watches, and can easily be flashed with the instructions found on it's website.

After flashing it to my watch, AsteroidOS greeted me with a simple and quick tutorial showing me the ropes. The homescreen is a watch face that allows you to swipe left, right, up or down. Swiping from the left will show you your notifications, swiping from the right shows you your agenda, swiping from the top shows you some quick settings, and swiping from the bottom shows a horizontally scrolling list of your apps. You can't install third party apps, but it ofers the basics, like music, calendar, timer, alarm, etc. You can also go into the settings to change things like the background image, and the watch face, which also allows for an always on display. The user interface is pretty slick, and runs smoothly (at least on my watch.)

Unfortunately, there are some downsides, although they pretain particularly to the Ticwatch S and E. For example, it can only boot to AsteroidOS temporarily, so it will go back to Wear OS when you reboot. To boot to AsteroidOS, you need to connect it to your computer, use ADB to reboot to the bootloader, and use Fastboot to actually boot the OS. Bluetooth also doesn't work, so you can't see notifications, control music, or view the weather. While these are Ticwatch specific problems, they might exist on others as well. And there might be some other problems depending on what watch you flash it on. Each device on the installation page has a star rating showing how well things work, and indicators to show what works and what doesn't, so I'd reccomend looking at thsoe to see how well things will work.

So far, I'm really liking AsteroidOS. I'm starting to feel like I can eventually get to a place where I can use Linux on all of my devices. Is is necessary? No. Is it kinda cool. Definitely! Yes, its a little buggy on my watch, but it still does the basics well (depending on what device you flash it on.) If you are looking for a good open-source OS for your wrist, I would definitely give AsteroidOS a try.

This is post 23 of #100DaysToOffload.

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