Ubuntu has many different derivative distros and now there’s a new one called Bodhi Linux. Bodhi derives from the Buddhist term for enlightenment and, not surprisingly, it uses the Enlightenment desktop environment. The leaf logo used throughout this distribution takes meaning from its name since the word “bodhi” also denotes a sacred tree in Buddhism.
I know that some folks will roll their eyes and probably think “do we need yet another freaking Ubuntu derivative?” Well yes, I think we do. There’s always room for another good distro and Bodhi Linux is definitely a good distro.
Bodhi Linux is the exact opposite of Ultimate Edition. UE throws in everything including the kitchen sink while Bodhi Linux goes in the opposite direction. Bodhi installs a minimal number of applications and lets the user make his or her choices as to which apps they want installed on their system.
While this won’t appeal to some people, it works very well for what it is as you’ll see in this review.
What’s New In This Release
Since this is a 1.0 release, there’s no “what’s new” to include. However, here are a few more details about what Bodhi Linux is based on and what it includes.
Based on Ubuntu 10.04
Since some folks reading this review may not be familiar with Enlightenment, here are a few details about it from the Enlightenment site:
Enlightenment is the flagship and original name bearer for this project. Once it was just a humble window manager for X11 that wanted to do things differently. To do them better, but it has expanded. This can be confusing so when we refer to Enlightenment, we may mean the project as a whole or just the window manager proper. The libraries behind Enlightenment are referred to as EFL collectively, each with a specific name and purpose.
The window manager is a lean, fast, modular and very extensible window manager for X11 and Linux. It is classed as a “desktop shell” providing the things you need to operate your desktop (or laptop), but is not a whole application suite. This covered launching applications, managing their windows and doing other system tasks like suspending, reboots, managing files etc.
Enlightenment libraries already power millions of systems, from mobile phones to set top boxes, desktops, laptops, game systems and more. It is only now being recognized for its forward-thinking approaches, as products and designers want to do more than the boring functional user experiences of the past. This is where EFL excels.
Hardware Requirements & Installation
Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:
300mhz i386 Processor
128megs of RAM
1.5g HD space
Bodhi Linux is a live distro so you don’t need to install it to check it out. You can just pop the DVD into your system and boot off of it to try Bodhi Linux.
If you do decide to install it, you will find it’s quite easy since Bodhi uses the Ubuntu installer. You can watch a slideshow during the install as well. The screenshots below walk you through the install, from beginning to end.
Booting & Login
Here’s what the booting and login menus look like:
When you first boot into Bodhi you’ll need to choose the profile for the kind of environment you want. I opted for the “desktop” option but there are others including a compiz enabled environment, a bare bones (geared toward advanced users) as well as a few other options.
After you pick the desktop, you can choose the theme, wallpaper and a selection of applications. Note that the applications are utilities and that sort of thing, not desktop applications. You’ll need to get those separately (see the software section).
One of the things I always notice when booting into a desktop is how attractive it looks. Many distributions can be rather…er…ugly looking when it comes to desktop wallpaper and the overall look and feel. That’s not the case with Bodhi; it’s a fine looking desktop environment. The colors are bright and uplifting, unlike some of the dreary and depressing themes I’ve seen over the years in certain distributions.
Many of the things you need to use your Bodhi system are included on the desktop panel. If you need to access other things just click the desktop and a menu will popup, or simply click the Bodhi button on the panel to access additional items that way instead.
The Enlightenment desktop is a joy to use; it’s fast and quite beautiful to look at. It’s definitely one of Bodhi’s big selling points and will be appreciated by anybody that wants a fast desktop environment that also looks good. If you aren’t already a fan of Enlightenment, you probably will be after using Bodhi Linux.
Themes & Wallpaper
If you want additional themes and wallpaper, you can download them from the Bodhi Linux art page. There’s quite a lot to choose from so I think most people will be happy with the selection of goodies for their Bodhi Linux system.
Remember that Bodhi is a very minimalistic distribution that lets you pick the applications you want to run rather than picking them for you. So after booting into Bodhi you will find that there is very little desktop software available.
Here’s what you’ll find installed by default:
Midori Web Browser