Bodhi Linux review

Bodhi Linux is a very interesting Linux distro. It is generally based on Ubuntu but unlike the other Ubuntu-based distros which usually try to give users a newbie-friendly and work-out-of-the-box experience, Bodhi is very minimalistic. By default, Bodhi comes with very few necessity applications pre-installed so users will have to choose the other applications to install. Beside the simplicity, another special thing about Bodhi is Enlightenment - the desktop environment. I myself have been using Linux for serveral years but I never tried Englightment before ( as I just recently heard about it) so 2 days ago, I decided to try Bodhi Linux on my Sony laptop. This article is my review about Bodhi Linux after 2 days of playing and testing it.

Download and Installation

The ISO image of Bodhi Linux is just a little bigger than 400 MB ( the version Im using here is the newest one, 1.14), very light comparing to most other linux distros. Another good point is that the torrenting download option is available. And as in common with most Linux distro, you can burn the ISO image to make a live CD or use Unetbootin to create a bootable USB to test and install Bodhi Linux. When you first boot up with Bodhi, you will be presented with a number of Enlightenment desktop profiles to choose from, namely Bare, Composisting and Desktop. After choosing the desktop profile, you will need to choose a theme for Enlightenment, currently, there are 5 themes to choose. After you chose the desktop profile and the theme, you will log in the desktop of Bodhi to test it, just like the image below.

Bodhi Linux review

To install Bodhi into your hard drive, just click on the install button on the bottom panel and you can start installing Bodhi. Similar to other Ubuntu-based distro, Bodhi uses the Ubiquity installer which is very easy, clear and self-explained. If you have installed Ubuntu or Linux Mint before, you wont find any trouble when installing Bodhi.

Enlightenment

This is the first time I've used Enlightenment so it's both confusing and intriguing to me. The first thing I can say is that it is very light and fast, as the hardware requirements are only 300mhz i386 Processor and 128megs of RAM, which can be a worthy rival for Openbox. In the desktop profile, there is a panel at the bottom of the screen which is call the "shelf". Shelf behaves somewhat similarly to Docky or AWN. By default, on the left corner of the shelf you can see the menu button then the launcher of some applications, on the right is the date indicator, volume icon, workspace indicator then the network manager applet. You can easily configure the shelf by right clicking on it and you will be presented with some options, i.e to choose the position and size of the gadgets, to add or remove gadgets, to adjust the position and theme of the shelf and to create a new shelf or delete the current one.

Bodhi Linux review

Enlightenment can be a little confusing for new users. When you hit alt+f4 it will change the workspace instead of closing the application. And similarly, you can move around the 4 workspaces by hitting Alf+f (1,2,3,5). Another thing to notice is that, when you double click on the menu bar, the application window will collapse into a horizontal bar and when you double click again on the bar, the application window will return to the former size. So if you find a linux desktop that looks like the screenshot below, you can tell this is Englightment.

Bodhi Linux review

In Englightment, when you left click wherever on the desktop screen, the Enlightenment menu will appear, which is somehow similar to in Openbox ( in Openbox, to get the menu, you will do the right click instead). This feature can be annoying at times for new users, especially when you are dragging the application windows around and the mouse suddenly slips out. Here is how the menu looks like:

Bodhi Linux review

To change the theme of Enlightenment, you just need to open the menu, then go to Settings > themes and choose the one you like as in the image below.

Bodhi Linux review
 
To get more themes, you just need to click on the "Online" button and it will open Midori and lead you to the art gallery of Bodhi Linux, and you can choose the Enlightenment option in the theme category to install more Enlightenment themes. Here is the screenshot of the theme gallery you will see on Midori, just click on the one you like and install it as you install a theme for the Chrome browser.

Bodhi Linux theme

 After that, just open the menu, go to Settings -> themes to change the theme. Here are some screenshots of the englightment themes I just installed on my box:




To know more about Enlightenment, I recommend you to read the wiki documents about Enlightenment on the official site of Bodhi Linux

Applications

As I have said, the philosophy of Bodhi Linux is that it respects User Choice and a Minimal Environment in which to make those choices. That's why Bodhi Linux comes with very few pre-installed applications and the Enlightenment Desktop to keep system resources to a minimum. And these preinstalled applications are Leafpad - the text editor, LXterminal- the terminal client, PCmanfm - the file manager and some other system applications, namely NetworkManager, LXDM, Software sources, Synaptic and the screenshot capture. LXterminal and Leafpad are very nice applications, PCmanfm can be a little confusing for new users. Midori is a very light, simple web-browser that has all the basic features you will need for a browser. The only drawback in Bodhi Linux is that the laptop function keys dont work out of the box so it will require a little tinkering if you use Bodhi on a laptop.

Installing applications in Bodhi Linux is very simple. You can either use the software center of Bodhi by opening the menu, then pick Bodhi Linux, then Add Software and the Appcenter page of Bodhi Linux will be open on Midori. Then you just need to click on the application you need and click on the install button to install it into your system. Another way to install packages in Bodhi is to use the old "sudo apt-get install app-name" that you are already fimilar with in Ubuntu or Linux Mint.


Conclusion

After 2 days of using Bodhi, I can say that I really like it. Bodhi Linux has many great values to offer to the users. First of all, because Bodhi Linux is very light weight, you can use it on any old computer. Secondly, Bodhi comes with very few applications pre-installed so it will appeal the users who dislike a bloated system. And last but not least, Enlightenment is a very interesting and highly configurable desktop environment that will give a lot of fun to those who love tinkering around with new stuffs.
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