Whilst Bodhi Linux remains one of my favorite Linux distributions available, I am going to admit that I have not used it since version 1.4.0. I think it’s only fair that if I continue to tout it as one of the best distributions, then I should be familiar with recent iterations.
This resulted in me testing out the latest 2.4.0 release. As you’ll read below, not much has changed in my opinion of this awesome distribution and I’ll still be recommending it, as before.
There’s something special and very unique about Bodhi Linux which makes it stand-out from the rest of the crowd. Its the inclusion and use of Enlightenment (E17) window-manager, which makes all the difference.
E17 is completely different to that of other window-managers. I like to think of it as a graphical-environment that sits half way between being a full-featured desktop-environment and a minimalistic window-manager. For example, most of the system navigation and menus are all driven by E17. Yet, when you click on the Network Connections entry in the E17 menu, you’re presented with the GNOME based Network Manager, which handles the network connections.
E17 is still as gorgeous as ever to look at. Everywhere you look, it’s stunning. It’s matched by no other desktop-environment available on Linux. And if one was to attempt to replicate and come anywhere near achieving the same aesthetic results, it would not only require a lot of hard work but also take a toll on system resources and graphics hardware. With E17, it’s all achieved so simple. Probably because it has been designed and built from the ground up and is all internally composed and managed, rather than require the use of third-party compositors to render desktop effects.
Bodhi Linux is developed on top of a Ubuntu core. This gives it the advantage of being able to use the Ubuntu repositories in addition to the Bodhi Linux repositories.
I tested Bodhi Linux on our usual office system of 4 effective CPU cores and Intel graphics adapter. We experienced no issues with any of the hardware attached to Bodhi Linux.
We did experience some boot issues off the Live USB, resulting in continuous failed boots and a blank screen. This forced us to perform a hard-reset of the system to get it running again. Definitely not pretty and not something you want to do too often unnecessarily.
After some research, we were able to work around it via two different methods. We successfully booted the system by adding the following text to the boot parameter:
We also successfully booted by opting to run the Live media out of RAM instead of off the USB media itself.
Minor boot issues aside, once the system was booted to the E17 desktop, everything run fine from there forward.
The combination of Bodhi Linux and Enlightenment is an absolute delight to use. We opted to use the E17 desktop in compositing mode, which resulted in a beautiful and very usable system.
One of the best features of E17 is the ability to configure the system exactly the way you like it and want it. If you boot in to the wrong configuration for any reason, it can all be changed on-the-fly once you’re logged into E17.
Users can choose to run in modes which cover Compositing, Minimalistic etc. Depending on which mode you select, E17 will setup the window-manager with different arrangements of desktop panels, taskbars, icons etc. All modes are different. Don’t be afraid to try a few different ones as it might take a little bit of playing around to get things just as you like.
Finally, you can also change the theme for E17. The problem is they’re all so darn attractive, it makes it hard to select one.
I have no idea why it has taken me so long to re-visit Bodhi Linux. Perhaps it’s because earlier versions tested were so good already, things couldn’t possibly be any better. We’re pleased to say, the latest version 2.4.0 is not only as good as previous iterations, but better! There’s more of the same thing, yet it’s all updated, maintained and development of E17 has progressed just that little bit more.
Earlier versions in the 1.x series of releases of Bodhi Linux contained versions of Enlightenment which were still under heavy development. Yet, it was stable enough to be used for everyday desktop use. The 2.x series of releases feels just that little bit more mature and development of Enlightenment feels like it has crossed over the line just enough to be classified as ‘stable’. We recommended Bodhi Linux prior to this review. And we’re still recommending it after this review. Not many Linux distributions have left this kind of impression on us. It succeeds at not only providing a rock-solid and stable Linux based operating system, but a killer Enlightenment system at that.