Get better battery life from your Linux laptop. Jupiter Applet is a small program that helps you save energy by adjusting your CPU, tweaking the Linux kernel and your hardware. You probably won’t notice a performance difference, but your battery will last longer.
There are many ways to increase the life your laptop battery, many of them obvious: turn down the monitor brightness when you’re unplugged and be careful what software you use. Basically, try not to use battery-sucking features when you don’t need them.
Software like Jupiter can also help, however, by cutting back on energy usage when your laptop isn’t plugged in. You usually don’t need 100% of your CPU’s potential. Jupiter realizes this, and is accordingly frugal with your energy. It also gives you a quick way to turn off battery-sucking devices, such as Bluetooth. This can put a lot of time between the present and that terrible future when your battery is completely dead.
The real magic of Jupiter happens in the background. The software can tell whether or not your computer is plugged in, and will cut back on CPU power usage. Don’t worry, though: if you need to get the most out of your CPU–regardless of your particular Linux battery life–you can do that too.
The tray icon, shown above as an Ubuntu applet, lets you manually configure Jupiter’s tweaks whenever you want. So you can set your computer to whatever performance level you prefer:
By default, “Maximum Performance” is used when your computer is plugged in and “Power Saving” is used when it isn’t. You can instead use “Power On Demand” setting, which is a compromise. Whatever you choose, Jupiter will remember your preference–meaning if you select “Power On Demand” while unplugged that setting will be used every time you unplug. Experiment if you wish!
You can also use the applet to quickly turn off power-sucking devices. Bluetooth is a good example of a service you probably don’t need on the go, but which uses up a lot of energy. Turning off the WiFi can also help a lot, if you can live offline for a while.
Finally, this applet also gives you access to your display settings. Quickly change the resolution or turn off an external display, quickly:
You can even change the screen resolution or orientation, if you want. Not sure why that’s there, but it’s convenient.
Installing Jupiter Applet
Ready to set up Jupiter Applet on your Linux laptop or netbook? Find installation instructions on the Jupiter website. There is an RPM for Fuduntu and a PPA for Ubuntu users, provided by Webupd8, a fantastic Linux blog.
You can easily add their PPA, ppa:webupd8team/jupiter, using Y PPA, or by entering the following commands:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:webupd8team/jupiter
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install jupiter
If you use an EEE PC, you’ll also want to install the jupiter-support-eee package:
sudo apt-get install jupiter-support-eee
I’ve been using Jupiter for a week, and it’s probably given me an extra 45 minutes or so out of my battery, nothing to sneeze at for a three year old netbook. How much did Jupiter help you with your Linux battery life? Let us know in the comments below.