Tuesday, January 25

Bodhi Linux is a Lightweight Linux Distribution Based on 'Enlightenment Desktop' and Ubuntu


Bodhi Linux is a light weight and minimalistic distribution in development that is based on Enlightenment 'E 17' Desktop Environment. At its core, Bodhi Linux is based on Ubuntu 10.04.

Bodhi is a Buddhist term and in Sanskrit, it means Enlightenment or getting enlightened. Bodhi Linux takes a user centric approach where it believes that it is upto the user to decide how his desktop should look like, what applications are installed and how it functions. 

The default setup comes with a set of bare minimum application that includes Firefox, LXTerminal, Nautilus Elementary, Synaptic Package Manager etc. More applications can be installed from Synaptic or an Online Software center as needed by the users. Currently, Bodhi Linux is in beta state and a release candidate is scheduled to be out by the end of this month.

Initial Setup

When you boot up the LiveCD, you will be brought to a window where you need to decide upon the profile for your system. A profile defines how your desktop will look like. There are a number of options to choose from that includes a minimalistic setup or full setup with shelves (panel), quick launcher, etc, a light theme or dark theme based desktop layout and so on.


Once you are done with that, you are brought to quick launch setup where you can decide upon application you would like to have on IBar (a dock/quick launcher)

Finish up with that and you are taken to your desktop. As soon as you start playing around, you will feel how fast and responsive it is coupled with nice smooth desktop animations that do not take a toll on your system. These desktop effects come with enlightenment desktop and even low end machines can handle them easily.

Main Features

Load Only Those Modules That You Need: One of the main feature of Bodhi Linux and one I like the most is having Loadable Modules that comes with E17 desktop. You need to activate only those you need. For instance, if you don't use Bluetooth on your system, you can safely disable bluetooth manager. This makes your system all the more minimal.


Settings Panel: System can be configured easily with a simple settings manager.


Gadgets and Shelves: Bodhi Linux comes with it own set of panels called Shelves. These shelves can dock your running applications, provide a menu for browsing through applications and settings etc. You can also add gadgets to shelves as well as on your desktop that include CPU frequency monitor, battery monitor etc.


Software Repositories: Bodhi Linux maintains its own repository that provides regularly updated packages. Other repositories Ubuntu Lucid Partner, GetDeb and Medibuntu are enabled by default.


Desktop effects: Bodhi Linux as it is feels quite intuitive with nice animations but more desktop effects can be enabled by using its own compositing manager- Ecomorph.


If you want to know more about Ecomorph, read the article here

Online Software Centre: Bodhi Linux has its own online software centre for easy one-click installation of applications. One of the unique feature of the software center is that it provides 'all-in-one' offline application installers. You can access online software centre by visiting http://software.bodhilinux.com/


New Features in Upcoming Release

A release candidate (version 0.1.5) is scheduled at the end of this month which will bring two new profiles and a quick start guide among many other fixes.

Quick Start Guide: The default home page for the browser will point to a quick start guide for users to learn more about Bodhi Linux. Users will be able to access the guide even if they are not connected to the Internet as it will be stored locally on the disk.


New Profiles: One of the profiles will have Ecomorph compositing manager enabled by default so that users need not have to do it manually to experience Compiz like desktop effects. 

Another profile will be introduced that is specially tailored for small screen devices like netbooks and tablets with a nice customisable on screen keyboard that feels really snappy. Both these profiles have light as well dark theme variants.





Final Note:

Bodhi Linux is quite lightweight and requires modest system requirements of a 300 Mhz processor, 128 MB RAM and 1.5 GB hard disk space yet it is quite powerful and feature complete. With ever evolving Enlightenment desktop and a dedicated team of developers behind Bodhi Linux, it is surely one distribution you would like to watch for.

Download Bodhi Linux (version 0.1.4)

Many thanks to Jeff for the information and access to a preview build of upcoming version of Bodhi Linux

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