I liked from the beginning the idea behind Bodhi Linux and so I followed the progress of this young version of Linux and take advantage of version 1.0 (congratulations to Jeff and the entire team) to make a review.
For the uninitiated Bodhi Linux is a recent project that taking as a base Ubuntu 10.04 “reconstructs” the Enlightenment desktop, it use the login system manager of LXDE (and also as the terminal) and offers its own package system (.bod); The system being based on Ubuntu is still compatible with .deb and dpkg and aptitude can be used without problems.
Some informations from the official site:
Bodhi comes from the Buddhist term for “enlightenment”. It is also a type of sacred tree, thus the leaf used in our logo.
Bodhi mainly is about two things:
The Enlightenment Desktop
Enlightenment is not just a window manager for Linux/X11 and others, but also a whole suite of libraries to help you create beautiful user interfaces with much less work than doing it the old fashioned way and fighting with traditional toolkits, not to mention a traditional window manager. It is fast in addition to elegant. Enlightenment is currently under heavy development. To ensure that our users always have the latest Enlightenment desktop we push out Enlightenment updates to the Bodhi repository at least once a week. We believe Enlightenment is the best desktop Linux has to offer because of it’s elegance, modularity and high level of customization.
Unlike some other distributions that try to make all the decisions for you, Bodhi thinks the end user is smart enough to make their own decisions. We let you choose your default theme and system layout as well as applications for completing your computing tasks. The only applications you will find pre-installed on your Bodhi system are Midori, LXTerminal, PCManFM, Leafpad and Synaptic. Beyond this you can easily find and install an application for any task you may have in mind via Bodhi Software Center. We do not see the need to clutter your system with extra applications that you may never use.
Why are we making Bodhi when there are hundreds of existing Linux distros? Is it redundant? Bodhi sets itself apart from other Linux distros due to it’s use of the Enlightenment desktop. Examining all the Linux distros, you will find fewer than a dozen that use Enlightenment.
Why use Bodhi over other “light weight” distros such as LXDE or XFCE? Enlightenment– It is superbly designed, gorgeous and extremely fast on a wide variety of hardware. Screen shots do not do it justice.
I would say this is enough to get an idea of Bodhi, let’s see how it behaves on our computer.
Bodhi it’s a live CD, so when you startup from his CD you’ll get a complete working environment.
This is a good moment to test the Enlightenment Desktop and see if you like it, i found it really polish and quick, also on a virtual machine, personally on my 3 computers i use Gnome, XFCE and Fluxbox, so i’m not scared in testing different solutions and i must say that at first glance i really liked this Desktop.
During the login you will be asked to choose which profile using with this account, you can choose between: Desktop, Laptop, Netbook, Bare or fancy, depending on the profile you choose you will have different applications on the screen, after choosing your profile you will be asked which theme to use, by clicking on the various names you will see a preview, choose what you like and then you’ll be on your Desktop that you can test directly from the live.
To install just click on “install bodhi” on the bottom of the screen, and an installation wizard very similar to one of Ubuntu will start, you will be asked the usual questions: time zone, keyboard and an account and after that the installation will start.
Once installed, you’ll be able to login and the first time you’ll be asked Profile and Theme like in the Live, once logged in you’ll have at your disposal a very frugal environment in comparison to an Ubuntu or a Fedora these are the software at your disposal from the start, with just 1.1 GB used:
Kernel: 2.6.35-28-generic #49-Ubuntu
There is also all the software needed to have a running network (with network-manager) and a working bash envinronment with all more common utility programs.
But no emails, no games, no instant messenger or multimedia programs … nice !
Install more software
Bodhi give you several options to add software to your installation:
1) From this page select the package you want to add and either download it (FTP down while i wrote, but should be up after 30 of March) or install it via Mozilla directly from your browser (expect a browser that recognize the apt:/url action).
Really interesting are also the meta packages or software bundles, collection of software (the most used applications in several fields) ready to be downloaded as a single file .bod file, and to install all of them you just have to execute it from the terminal.
2) Use the traditional tools of distribution that use .deb packages, so apt-get or aptitude to install available in the software repository used by Bodhi (Ubuntu LTS + Bodhi).
Having installed on a virtual machine it did not make much sense to test performance, so i’m taking as good numbers posted on TechRepublic
Bodhi Linux has the advantage of being lightweight.
It boots fast and it performs faster than most Linux distributions (maybe not the likes of DSL or Puppy Linux.) This statement even holds true with the compositor running. How fast? A simple, real-world test had me opening up The GIMP on two different (but equally equipped) machines. Machine A was my Bodhi Linux machine and Machine B was a standard Ubuntu 10.10 machine. Here are the average start times for The GIMP:
Machine A: 4.7 seconds
Machine B: 11.1 seconds
Those results pretty much speak for themselves. The GIMP is often one of the slower tools to start on Linux and Bodhi cut the start time by over 50%. Impressive.
I really like Bodhi, it has the stability and number of packages of an Ubuntu LTS, but your installation start clean and with the minimal software, you are the owner of your desktop and you can choose exactly which software put, one of the reasons i use Gentoo on my main Laptop.
As advertised on bodhi site Enlightenment it’s really nice looking and light,a perfect lightweight environment. Highly recommended if you know exactly what you need and do not want useless software in your installation.
Not recommended if you are new to Linux and/or you expect that at the end of the installation there is everything (and more) that you can need, in this case I recommend Ubuntu and Mint.