We are huge fans of Jeff Hoogland’s work as a Software Developer and his efforts with Bodhi Linux. So we invited Jeff for a quick chat with Unixmen Australia. We were privileged when Jeff accepted our invitation. Here is what he had to say.
How did you get involved with the Bodhi Linux project?
Jeff: The Bodhi Linux project was originally started by myself, Ken LaBuda and Jason Peel in November of 2010. Just over three years later, we have had dozens of different people contribute to the project in various ways. Packagers, code monkeys, translators, documentation writers – people contribute to Bodhi in many different ways – anyone can help.
There are many Linux Distributions based on Ubuntu. What can you offer your users that’s different from other Ubuntu derivatives?
Jeff: I originally started the Bodhi project because I saw a need for a distribution that delivers a polished, ready to consume Enlightenment desktop. The fact that we are still thriving today tells me that there is in fact a need for this. Enlightenment is what we do best, if you are looking for an Enlightenment distro, then look no further.
Secondary to our focus on the Enlightenment desktop, is our minimalistic desktop approach. We strike a wonderful balance between a command-line install, where you get almost nothing by default. And a normal Ubuntu release, where you get many applications that most people consider clutter. We believe the user is smart enough to make their own application decisions.
Why was Enlightenment (E17) chosen as the window manager of choice for Bodhi Linux?
Jeff: Enlightenment is what we are all about! The desktop is fast, flexible, customizable and beautiful. It doesn’t get the attention it deserves from other distro developers and we do our best to do it justice at Bodhi.
Other Linux distributions offer different versions with different Desktop Environments. Bodhi Linux only releases its version based oon E17. Are there any plans to release future versions with a different DE/WM as the default?
Jeff: Enlightenment is what we are all about. Focusing on this one desktop allows us to best utilize our resources to provide the best documentation and most polished releases that we can. I feel like too many other projects focus on quantity over quality. We know what we are all about and we stick to it.
Can you give us an idea of the future direction of Bodhi Linux?
Jeff: We plan to simply keep doing what we are doing. That means a new major release every two years based around the latest Ubuntu LTS and update releases a couple of times per-year to keep our install media up-to-date.
Our semi-rolling release model has proved effective. Our core software stays stable as a rock while end-users see consistent updates to things they care about such as web browsers and office suites.
Are you aware of any changes that are planned for E17 development that could affect development of Bodhi Linux?
Jeff: E17 itself is considered a finished product at this point. In fact, at the end of 2013 the E Team released DR18 of the Enlightenment desktop. Sadly, while this update saw a number of improvements, it also had a number of regressions that make it something we do not want to ship by default to our users. We will continue shipping the E17 desktop as our default until the next iteration of Enlightenment releases that we believe is ready for mass consumption.
That being said, if you want to try E18 on Bodhi Linux today – of course you can! We maintain the latest E18 packages in our testing branch and provide instructions for testing them out here.
From the outside, we get the impression the development team at Bodhi remains very small. If this is correct, how is it that you are able to push out such quality releases?
Jeff: We are a tight-knit effort and while there are many who contribute small parts to our project, there is no doubt that I am the driving force behind the development of Bodhi Linux. I think the main reason our releases are generally high quality is our “its ready when it is ready” motto. That means while we often publish target release dates for certain updates, we will always delay this release dates as opposed to shipping out an unstable/poor product. When you combine this with our LTS base and my general “don’t fix things that aren’t broken” attitude you end up with the wonderful releases that are Bodhi Linux.