I’ve been using GNU/Linux as my primary operating system for quite sometime now.
Actually, this June will be my six year anniversary of switching to GNU/Linux. Wow! Time sure does fly. It seems like it was only yesterday that I was burning and installing Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake. Since that beginning, I’ve burned hundreds of CDs and DVDs with GNU/Linux distributions on them. I’ve tested most of the main line distros like Debian, Fedora Core, Mandriva, OpenSuSE, Slackware, Arch , Ubuntu, Mepis, Mint, etc. over the years.
Like most, I’ve found my favorites… Slackware, Arch, Debian (Sid), Zenwalk, Vector, Salix, CentOS, Foresight, Ark, etc. These distributions can almost always be found on some partitions on one of my systems at any given time. There are a few that have really impressed me. I’m always impressed with GNU/Linux, but to tell you the truth, it’s been a while since I was just absolutely taken aback by the presentation and quality of any distribution. I think Arch was the last distribution to really knock my socks off.
I think this is because, basically, all GNU/Linux distributions are pretty similar under the hood. It’s just how the eye candy wrappers are manipulated that make them somewhat different. Gnome in OpenSuSE can look a lot like Gnome in Debian, for example. KDE 4 is still buggy and bloated, regardless of what distro you’re running it in. Just kidding, KDE fans. Every once in a while, though, the entire presentation; website, support, documentation, visual appearance of the installer, ease-of-installation, and 1st boot up impressions conspire to overwhelm one’s reactions… pleasantly, I mean.
This is the case today for me. I have heard a lot about Bodhi Linux, of course. Jeff Hoogland, the lead dev for Bodhi, is a member at Scot’s Newsletter Forums where I’m an Admin. I read Jeff’s blog regularly. I’ve watched from the very beginning when he first started putting Bodhi together. So, yeah… Bodhi Linux wasn’t some unknown for me. My pal Paul “ChipDoc” Campbell was a contributor to the Bodhi Linux documentation project. Oddly enough, I had never (till today) tried Bodhi Linux.
Recently, I received a little Dell Latitude D610 laptop from my niece. The unit is in near new condition, but it’s limited hardware-wise. I had been looking for the perfect lightweight distribution for it. First I tried my old favorite Vector Linux. That was pretty nice, but even VL was pushing the limits of this little guy’s Pentium M processor and 768Meg of RAM. Next I tried Zorin OS. Zorin was pretty cool. It calls itself a “transitional Linux” due to the fact that it’s geared for folks coming from MS Windows. Zorin worked well, but I still wasn’t satisfied.
Today, I visited the excellent Bodhi Linux website. I snooped around. I read the documentation. I looked at the beautiful screenies. I downloaded the tiny (450Meg) Live/Install .iso file. I burned it to a CD. I inserted that CD into my little laptop here on my desk and an amazing thing happened. The grizzled old GNU/Linux, Slackware-loving, veteran GNU/parted-using nocturnal geek, who is rarely impressed with anything these days, was IMPRESSED from minute one with Bodhi Linux.
Everything about Bodhi Linux just seemed… well, right to me. From the installer’s simple step by step walk-through to the general informational blurbs that came up on the screen during the installation process; it was all pleasant and Zen-like. I don’t know if Jeff was intentionally aiming for this mellow and tranquil feeling, but one assumes he was with a name like Bodhi, right? You hit your mark, buddy.
After the relatively quick install, the fun really begins. You get to actually start using Bodhi Linux. I like to start any distro with the customization stage. I go through the desktop first, changing the panels and icons and whatnot to my usual setup. I then go a bit deeper into the operating system and modify app behaviors, start-up behaviors, themes, window behaviors, and so on. On a distro that I’m not familiar with, like Bodhi, it may take me a couple hours to get it how I want it.
My simple little Bodhi Linux:
If you haven’t tried Bodhi Linux yet, what are you waiting for? You don’t need an old obsolete laptop to run it. It’ll run on your bleeding edge system just as well; better, actually. Bodhi is only minimal at the initial install. Thanks to their unique AppCenter, you can stuff your Bodhi full of yummy apps and goodies. If they don’t have it in the AppCenter, you’ll probably find it in Synaptic (using Ubuntu‘s repos). If you still can’t find your fav app, ask for it on the forums. Someone will make it happen for you.
Jeff, my hat’s off to you and all the contributors to the Bodhi Linux project. You folks have done an amazing job with this distribution. I can pretty much guarantee you that I’ll be looking for a spare partition or two on my main or shop system to install Bodhi Linux. I am impressed. Don’t get me wrong, though. You’ll still be hearing me bitch once I find the aggravating things in there. I know they’re there. They always are. I’ll try to stay calm and tranquil about it. Ahhhhmmmm… Ahhhhmmmm… HA!