Bodhi Linux 0.1.5 has been released, and I wanted to get a look at it. I'm glad they are using BitTorrent to distribute the install disk, even though its 380MB size makes distribution easy on the bandwidth.
Enlightenment is one of the most beautiful of the Linux window managers that is being produced. I've used the E-Live and PCLinuxOS-Enlightenment LiveCD distributions in the past, and found them to be both quick and aesthetically pleasing.
And isn't beauty something that the world needs more of? Well, it certainly doesn't hurt.
Bodhi Linux's advertised hardware requirements of a 300MHz CPU, 128MB of RAM and 1.5GB of hard disk space is certainly frugal by the standards of the day. I wish I still had my ca. 1998 350MHz 128MB laptop to try it out, the last time I used it was with Debian "unstable" in 2009 and it worked fine, but I'd like to have seen it with Enlightenment. Olwm was frugal with resources, true, but as a window manager it was computing like it was 1992 all over again.
Some memories are NOT meant to be relived, although I notice that it's still in the Debian respositories, so somebody is willing to maintain it! And, as a second aside, the Enlightenment window manager libraries are available for many distributions, but they seem to me to be for development, not finished products for end-users.
From the Bodhi web site,
The only applications you will find pre-installed on your Bodhi system are Firefox, LXTerminal, Elementary Nautilus, and Synaptic.Nice. I'm sure they'll come up with a few more defaults as they go along, after all once you're past the 50MB bootable business card and 180MB mini-CD, might as well fill up that CD#1. Maybe just fleshing out a full Nautilus would suffice, no need to skimp so much at that point. This is not Damn Small Linux, after all.
After asking for a default system language, Bodhi does something interesting. It provides a list of different color schemes to be run. Let's see later if these themes can be as easily changed once it's running. As it is, they're all quite attractive, pick one and run with it.
I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again: Flash, splash and panache are all well and good, but a system that just boots up and gets out of the way, so I can go on and get work done, is a pleasure.
...being pretty doesn't hurt, either.
I say incomplete not to be derogatory, but to try to communicate the feeling that there is lots of room to grow here. The different options areas, like "Plugins", allow for a large variety of different places to put things, but it's not at all crowded at this time. This is a Good Thing for a release which is numbered 0.1.5, because it means the developers are already setting their sights on how to allow growth without compromising what they have already built.
So now, let's see it get installed to the HD.
The familiar questions are indulged in, Time Zone, keyboard layout, use entire disk.
Then the "Who are you?" question comes up, with password strength testing, this is the first explicit example of Bodhi's Ubuntu roots. It's a good idea, and I'm glad they have it.
LinuxQuestions.org, a forum I've frequented myself.
Hey, didn't I do this Language screen once already? It seems that the install did not carry over the language selection, let's see if it does the second time I boot from the HD....
The gold on black color scheme is quite nice. Reminds me of the Yamaha FJ-1200 that came one year in a black-gold motif. By Cromm, what a beautiful bike that was, too bad I was never in a position to buy one, so I settled for red-white.
These are very good things to have presented both as default, and being served from local files so the information is available without a network connection. Good thinking, Bodhi.
Those local HTML pages also include a list of links directly to the Bodhi web site. Let's try installing something, just to see if it is as easy as I think it's going to be. Click on "Get Software" and...
Update: I'm told this is now working, I seem to have caught them between software upgrades. I'll leave this in to show how quickly things can improve and progress in Open Source.
$ sudo apt-get update ; sudo apt-get upgrade
...rather than just updating the list.
On the list of unauthenticated packages are vlc, audio and video utilities, and LibreOffice. A respectable suite of applications to get people working.
The great thing about developing a Linux distribution is that the building blocks, the utilities and applications themselves, are already built and being continuously tested and evolved by millions of people all over the world. The work of a distribution is not to "re-invent the wheel" but to put a suite of materials together in a way that is both pleasing and functional.
The Principle of Least Astonishment is an excellent guideline for such projects. As recorded in that ancient and venerable tome, The Tao of Programming:
"A program should follow the Law of Least Astonishment. What is this law? It is simply that the program should always respond to the user in the way that astonishes him least."Bodhi Linux is clearly following that principle, using the tools of Enlightenment and repositories of Ubuntu. This will be a fun, and pleasant, release to watch. Thank you, Bodhi Linux for the opportunity to experience your work.
Bodhi 0.1.6 has been released, and from the changes I see I'd say they are putting polish on this distribution very quickly. I'll wait either a few development releases, or until a full release is done before making another full comment, but don't wait for it yourself. Get 0.1.6 and try it out.