2011-03-28

Review: Bodhi Linux 1.0.0

Main Screen + Main Right-Click Menu
This is not the first time that I'm looking at Bodhi Linux, which is why this review will be a little bit shorter than that last one. That said, I felt like it was time for a review with the release of the stable version 1.0.0.
For those of you who have never heard of this distribution, Bodhi Linux is an Ubuntu derivative that is known for using Enlightenment E17 as its WM. It's meant to be lightweight, somewhat minimalistic applications-wise, pretty, and highly configurable and modular.
Follow the jump to see what, if anything, has changed since the beta release. I tested this on a live USB made with UnetBootin. I did not test the installation because, well, an Ubuntu derivative is an Ubuntu derivative.


After the boot menu came possibly the neatest Plymouth boot splash I have ever seen. Is it a spinner? Nope. Is it dots filling up? Nope. Is it the Bodhi Linux title text or logo filling in? Nope, dot AVI. It's an animation of leaves flying off of a bodhi tree. Isn't that cool? I almost wished it could go on for longer, because shortly thereafter, I was taken to the screen where I could select the desktop theme and layout. I selected "Ecomorph" with the new wallpaper, because I also wanted to check out how the promised Compiz desktop effects would work out. Then, I was taken to the desktop.

The "Ecomorph" layout has clock and calendar widgets sort of off-center in the desktop. It's a little weird, but they both look really nice, and both can be clicked to reveal more information. At the bottom is a panel with a menu, virtual desktop switcher, pinned icons to launch the Midori web browser or the Bodhi Linux installer, a task manager, and a system tray.
There are a couple odd things about this. First, right-clicking on any of the panel items yields menus that allow for configuration to the microscopic level. The problem is that some of those menu entries aren't exactly helpfully named. For example, what is "Gadget iBox"? I have no idea, and clicking it didn't really help in that regard.
The second is that the task manager seems to only manage tasks that have been minimized. To switch among all open windows, I had to either use ALT+TAB (not newbie-friendly) or open the menu and go through a few submenus to find the open windows (cumbersome and not newbie-friendly).

Midori
In terms of applications, Leafpad is the new addition. Midori has replaced Mozilla Firefox, while PCManFM has replaced Nautilus Elementary. All these choices make sense; I would like to see a basic image viewer too, but then again, Midori can be used for that purpose.
No proprietary codecs seem to be installed, and again, Synaptic Package Manager was no use. Thankfully, the Bodhi Software page came to the rescue, and now it seems a lot nicer and more fleshed-out. I was able to install the Shutter screenshot tool (and interestingly enough, the lighter CLI Scrot program wasn't available at all), proprietary codecs, and the WXCam webcam tool. Proprietary codecs worked fine afterwards. Also, WXCam is a lighter-weight alternative to Cheese Webcam Booth, though the latter is also available.

Bodhi Software Page
There are a couple other issues that I had with Bodhi, but these were both quite minor. The first is that it is nearly impossible to tell if a window is active or not; I certainly can't tell from either the window decoration or from its contents.
The second is that the window decorations themselves, along with the icons, seem a bit garish and feel like a step or two back from the beta, which used the elegant Faenza icons and a window decoration reminiscent of the Orta Metacity theme. This window decoration looks like one of the weirder ones included in KDE 3, and the icons look like a bad combination of Oxygen navigation buttons and black-colored Crystal SVG icons (from KDE 3). What's up with that?
Finally, I was promised that Compiz would work out-of-the-box, but although I have an Intel GMA 4500 that was otherwise properly recognized, desktop effects didn't work at all. Darn it!

PCManFM + Leafpad
Well, that basically ended my time with Bodhi Linux. I had a few aesthetic and organizational issues, but these were definitely outweighed by the better-thought-out and more mature software collection (both installed and available). Overall, it's a solid stable first release. Hats off to Jeff Hoogland and the Bodhi Linux team!

6 comments:

  1. Looks like you are not big fan of Bodhi. Same as me. ;)

    http://linuxblog.darkduck.com/2011/04/4-lessons-which-bodhi-linux-taught-me.html

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  2. @DarkDuck: I had read your review before, and I enjoyed reading it, but where did you get the idea that I'm not a fan of Bodhi Linux? :) Thanks for the comment!

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  3. @PV
    I got that idea because your post is not much positive...
    As well as mine. But mine is even less positive. 8-)

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  4. @DarkDuck: Well, if it helps, I wasn't intending this to be a negative review, and I was generally trying to praise it... Anyway, thanks for the comment!

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  5. @PV
    We should praise every developer which creates something new and useful.
    But this should be useful. If it is not, there should be some controversy in review. To keep them pushed for next step.
    I think we all do good. I actually think I went little bit too far in my review. Your is more balanced. As usual.

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  6. @DarkDuck: I think it's plenty useful in that it revives Enlightenment E17 on the Ubuntu base. If you say that's not useful, then you could equally argue that there shouldn't be multiple DEs/WMs, period; clearly, that's not the case, and one of the hallmarks of free software is choice and diversity, and that is presented quite clearly here. Plus, the Bodhi Linux website has some pretty clearly-stated goals, and I think the distribution meets those goals; that's why I'm not going to trash Arch for not being usable out-of-the-box when that's clearly not its purpose. And you flatter me too much :). Thanks for the comment!

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