Bodhi Linux - July 20, 2019

tl;dr (1) hi everyone!; (2) Bodhi – average distro at best IMO. 3/5 rating.

Hello everyone. Last night was my first time joining the live chat on Youtube, though I had heard the last week’s audio as a podcast. I found BDLL through DasGeek’s channel and web site. Very enjoyable.

I decided to accept the challenge of installing Bodhi 5.0 (the AppPack release) in a Virtualbox. I had installed Bodhi 4.5 in a VM a while back, and thought it was okay but not something I’d install as a daily distro and not one I’d suggest to someone new to Linux.

Here are my initial experience notes:
(1) The install went okay. However the installer is hidden in a menu and you have to look for it. If I was new to Linux, I would have probably given up even though it didn’t take long to find it. The Quick Help page that comes up is probably not going to be read by most people just trying to install Bodhi, so the installer should have a shortcut on the desktop or be in the quick launcher on the panel, in my opinion.

(2) Updates. I did an initial update through Bodhi’s “eepdater” app, and it all went okay until the end of the install when it was processing final triggers. My update hung up on “processing triggers for menu”. A quick search revealed that this is a common problem and is just some bugginess in the Bodhi “eepdater” app. A terminal upgrade went as smoothly as one would expect on an Ubuntu-based system.

(3) I read the DistroWatch review for Bodhi 5.0 (suggested by a post on Bodhi’s web site), and found I had one anamoly in common with the reviewer: in a terminal when running the first instance, the first letter of any input is capitalized. I was able to duplicate this, and, while it was annoying, it only did it on the first instance of terminal input as far as I can tell at this point.

Conclusion: I didn’t have any real problems exactly, but I would not choose Bodhi as a candidate for regular use if I was interested in an Ubuntu-based distro. I will stick with my beautiful and solid Arcolinux Plasma. Oh yeah . . . by the way, I use an Arch-based distro.

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Same for me. If you want people to install your distro don’t hide the installer. Just sayin.

Excellent choice. Good to know you have great taste. :grin:

Welcome and thanks for the review!

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I am guessing your going to need more than 8GB

Exactly, I had the same experience only I did give up and did a reboot into usb stick to install

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The week of July 13, 2019 sees the distro challenge Bodhi.

Bodhi is based on Ubuntu, uses the synaptic gui package manager, and apt for the command line. Then desktop environment is Enlightenment that provides a different philosophy in presentation, but so much that the user will be totally lost. Menus are labeled with common words, and apps and applications can be found by quickly by going through the menus and sub menus. Searching for names by clicking the start button and typing results bringing up the “about” menu, rather annoying.

Install wasn’t too bad - I went with the apppackage iso, so the common packages were present at the install, instead of the three that are offered in the minimal install. The usual information was collected, and I was happy that I didn’t have to go into fdisk to set the boot flag on the /boot filesystem. However, I did check the box to install the updates, which it didn’t. After rebooting, I dropped to the command line and used apt iupdate and apt upgrade to get the 700+ update installed. Also, I was prompted to update or skip a couple of times (the prompt was cool in that it allows you to install, skip, se the difference between old and new, or go to the shell). This isn’t so bad, but more manual than I’d like on an initial update. There were some times that I had to configure keyboard, region, and some other stuff, which should have been picked up the configuration from the install. I was able to install snapd and get discord installed without issue. Installing Lazarus was equally a non-event.

I have to get to work, but I will continue after further testing.



That checkbox is only for downloading updates not installing them. Mine seemed to only download some of them so not sure about the point of it.

The reconfig of keyboard etc during updates was a little weird but I have not been on *buntu for a few years so I have no clue if you actually get that question normally.

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I downloaded and installed Bodhi immediately after BDLL (yes, at 3am UK time) and had it up and running OK by 5am. Their “Shelf”, “IBar” and “Widget” thing had me a little confused and annoyed at first but I stuck with it and finally had my “Shelf” set up so I could work with it, (it ended up very like my standard Xfce Panel layout).

I have my own scripts for updating, adding my standard applications and doing a backup of my user that I copied on and they all worked fine (why wouldn’t they as it Debian/Ubuntu based).

By 11am Sunday when I finally decided my brain needed to crash and get some sleep I’d tried all my usual (simple, nothing complicated) Linux uses and didn’t even have to think about how the Enlightenment desktop was anything other than another (albeit pretty) face on an Ubuntu base. I’m not sure what it’s unique selling point is, unless it’s Enlightenment, but that’s OK, it doesn’t need to justify it’s existence to me.

I could live with it (and I’m still going back and using it when I have an hour or two to kill). It won’t be weening me off MX-18, I’d rather use Debian 10 and if I wanted a Ubuntu base I’d probably go Peppermint, but it’s a perfectly usable option if it’s what’s available.

We are so spoiled these days, so many good, usable, easy to install distros.

Edit 1: I should say I was testing it on an HP EliteBook 8470p, i5-3320 laptop with a 1366x768 screen, no nVidia or AMD graphics. It has 8GB RAM with 2 SSDs (I replaced the optical drive with a 2nd SATA drive bay). It was installed on one of the 3 partitions on the 2nd SSD and is a boot option on the grub menu

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Release Notes

Bodhi Wiki

Bodhi Forums

Bodhi Official reddit

Moksha DE


I ran Bodhi Linux as my default distro for close to a year, and really enjoyed my experience. My reason for running Bodhi involved the following reasons:

  1. I wanted a distro that would run well on a crusty old AMD first gen dual core laptop with 2GB of RAM at work, and a slightly less crusty Intel dual core with 4GB of RAM so that I could enjoy the same experience at home and at work. Bodhi from a fresh boot typically used 210megs of RAM leaving plenty for other programs like a web browser.
  2. I wanted a distro where I could do most if not all of my configuration of the desktop through a GUI and automatically update the system menu instead of having to resort to manually updating text files or tools to update the system menu like I needed to do with Bunsenlabs (which I loved but the manual configuration got tedious after a while).
  3. I liked the fact that is is based on Ubuntu LTS 18.04 which often means the directions to do something in Ubuntu usually work without change on Bodhi.
  4. Finally, I like distros that have active, polite, and developer involved communities. Bodhi has a great community through their forum on and their Discord channel. In both places the users are often helpful, and the 3 main developers often chime in too.

Issues mentioned in this thread have been discussed in the community, and are being planned to be addressed in a future refresh of the ISO, please keep in mind the current ISO was released shortly after the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS release.

  1. There has been talk about moving the installer menu item.
  2. eepdater (GUI updating app) has a known issue where it looks like the update hung in the GUI, but actually if you close the GUI and do a “sudo apt upgrade” you will see that everything has been upgraded, the GUI just doesn’t close cleanly.
  3. There is a bug in the live environment wireless networking often doesn’t work, but works fine after the install. The fix is to run the command in a terminal to start the networking notification app, then you can pick and connect to your wireless network.
  4. There has been talk about the naming conventions of the desktop components which is inherited from their forking of Enlightenment E17 to the more standard terms used in the other desktop environments which have developed over time long after Enlightenment began development. The reaction to this discussion has been mixed.

What do I like about Bodhi?

  1. A wonderful and supportive community with 3 developers that work incredible hard for a project that is a labor of love for each of them.
  2. Super lightweight DE with enough GUI tools to make configuration for the newbie easier yet it runs as light as a tiling WM or as light as Openbox.
  3. Being based on Ubuntu you have a stable strong base that allows you to install what you need to get a workstation up and running and then the DE just kind of fades into the background and stays out of your way.

What concerns I have for Bodhi?

  1. Their greatest need is for developers, but it is not an easy road to become a capable developers from what I have learned from the main developer (code writer). It involves getting to know some C and Python and especially the Enlightenment libraries where most of the bugs get introduced. Moksha is a fork of E17, but in Bodhi they often pull in Enlightenment programs that run on the libraries of the current Enlightenment DE which is on E22 I believe at the moment. So at times they have parts of the DE or some of the included Enlightenment programs get buggy because of updates in the Enlightenment libraries. Skilled coders who know some C and understand those Enlightenment libraries are needed to fix those bugs when they come up.
  2. I’m unsure what happens to Moksha once we move to Wayland only in Ubuntu LTS, but who knows when that will happen, I’m sure Xorg will be with us for a while longer in the Ubuntu LTS world.
  3. I’m concerned that the amount of work is perhaps too much for the 3 main developers, especially when 2 of the three have gotten busier with other life issues and changes. Although I would like to help, in order to refresh the ISO they were really looking for people who can do Debian packaging or can code in C and know the Enlightenment libs to squash some bugs before they put out a refreshed ISO.

Bodhi is awesome, but if you are already loving KDE or Gnome or XFCE or you are a tiling WM ninja and have a computer with 4GB or more of RAM you will probably struggle to see a reason to run Bodhi as your daily driver.


Excellent info @mowest. This is exactly what I was hoping to see take place here. Great background info and I agree about the light footprint and stable base

This is great news. Any chance the developers would be available this coming Saturday? I’m sure @BigDaddyLinux would love to have them on.


Same here. Yes, I’m installing it on bare metal on an extra laptop. :slight_smile:

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Okay, so I installed Bodhi on bare metal: Thinkpad w550s. Although it took 3 tries to get it to work (details later), I’m using right now. It’s completely different than Ubuntu Mate, but that’s okay. I’m beginning to like it and plan to play with it more. In fact, I’m using it now.

I do have one question, though… Is it possible to move the close, minimize & max buttons from the right to the left? I have looked all over within the theme settings, and have not been able to find it. Am I missing something, or can it just not be done?

TIA. Barbara.

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Hi @piperbarb,
Your one question happens to be a very difficult one. Enlightenment themes which is what Moksha the desktop uses being a fork of E17 are not as easy to change as in the GTK or QT world. Enlightenment themes are compiled files which designate window decorations, size, and colors. They are not easy to work with. In order to move the minimize, maximize, and close button, you would have to find a theme that you kind of like, de-compile the theme file, change the part of the script that sets the placement of the buttons so they are on the left, recompile the file and then choose that theme file.

You might try searching for “moksha or bodhi themes” in apt because I believe the developers have included a few themes in their special repo that they have tested and seem to work with current GTK and QT applications to see if one of those themes moves the buttons over to the left. I have never looked for that particular feature of a theme. Some of the themes you find I believe are a bit hideous because they probably haven’t been touched since the early 2000’s because Enlightenment as a DE is old.

I think this needs to be kept in mind when looking at Bodhi. They are working on a fork of some very old code with some minor changes to fit their personal goals for their passion project. Expecting Bodhi to have the features of a modern GTK 3 based DE or modern QT DE is not realistic. Just as many of us wouldn’t want to use a desktop based off of GTK 1 or QT 1 or 2 these would be similar to the generation of development that is being used in Bodhi. What I marvel at is how many features the Moksha desktop has when you consider the age of its code base. I also marvel at how the Bodhi developers have taken such an old code base and created a stable, attractive, and modern DE that offers enough GUI for newbies, but is light enough to run on really old and aging hardware.

Some might criticize their use of Midori as their default browser, but that too fits their purpose. Firefox and Chrome would bring some of the systems that Bodhi runs on to a glacier freezing halt. Also they have set up Midori as their software store kind of along the lines of the Ubuntu Mate Software Boutique using a apt / web address technology. Once again this fit with their developer skill set and resources that they had available.

After having spent some time in conversation with the developers and being part of their community, I’m amazed what the Bodhi developers have done to bring an Enlightenment based desktop experience to a wider audience. I’ve used OpenSuse Tumbleweed’s Enlightenment desktop offering which is basically maintained on OpenSuse by one guy, and it suffers from some stability issues, probably more the newer Enlightenment base than OpenSuse Tumbleweed. But other than Elive can we think of other distros that present the Enlightenment DE with the level of polish that the Bodhi developers have achieved?

Wow a long answer to Barb’s simple question. Obviously not all of this post was directed at your specific question, Barb, but thanks for getting my mind working :wink:


I am also impressed by this. I have tried E17 in the past many, many years ago and even then it was outdated. The fact that they have made it work this well is amazing.

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I installed Bodhi Linux on bare metal and the install went fine. Update went fine. Rebooted and no matter what I do and how I do it - it will not run on three screens. The graphics glitch all over the place.

Limit it to one screen (in this case my 35" wide screen) and it ran fine. Would I use it as a daily driver - No. Not any more. It is a niche Distro for people who like Enlightenment Desktop. Fill yer boots, it is just not for me.


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Hi @piperbarb,
Your one question happens to be a very difficult one. Enlightenment themes which is what Moksha the desktop uses being a fork of E17 are not as easy to change as in the GTK or QT world. Enlightenment themes are compiled files which designate window decorations, size, and colors. They are not easy to work with. In order to move the minimize, maximize, and close button, you would have to find a theme that you kind of like, de-compile the theme file, change the part of the script that sets the placement of the buttons so they are on the left, recompile the file and then choose that theme file…

Mowest, thanks for the answer. That explains a lot. It really helped me to understand how Bodhi is set up. I have installed it on my Thinkpad T440s and it’s working perfectly.

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After spending some time in Bodhi Linux, playing around, taking the tour, dinking with the many wonders that make up Bodhi, this is my review:

I know that my good buddy @mowest is a huge fan as he is the first guy that told me about it.

Overall, I found it to be a satisfying experience, Bodhi is well put together and suited very nicely for older or less capable hardware.

Side note, this is the first reivew that I have included a little bit of video into to help illustrate some points. I am trying to step up my game a bit.


This week’s challenge was one I really had fun with. Unlike many of the distros we have had in the BDLL Challenge, I don’t spend as much time with different distros as I did with Bodhi. As Nate, above, said, Mowest has provided some excellent information and insights that I won’t repeat here. You just have to scroll up to find his post.


When booting up the live USB, no network icon pops up. It does not see the WiFi card. This happened with both the Thinkpad T420 and W550s, and later the Thimkpad T440s. Somehow, it’s not seeing the wifi card and not loading the driver at startup. I did read that this is a known bug (see mowest’s post above), so I was not too concerned. I tried installing Bodhi on the W550s because the T420 has seen better days (keyboard is wonky, network card not working properly, periodic MB errors at boot up). In the end, I installed it on my Thinkpad T440s.

I like how Bodhi looks and the way things are set up. It has a nice, minimalist look. Since it is Ubuntu-based, then all the software I normally use should work without issue. I did replace Midori with Firefox.

I have one nit about the live USB. The installation link is not on the main screen, which is something many other distros have. It is buried in the menu as an option. I didn’t figure that out until after I had rebooted and installed Bodhi and them read a post from another BDLL user.


  • 1st attempt: “Installation Failed” dialogue box displayed stating “the installer encountered an unrecoverable error.”

  • 2nd attempt: no problem. Installation took about 6 min. Not bad at all. I decided to try dual boot. It didn’t work as I wanted, so I am going to blitz the system drive & reinstall as a single OS.

  • 3rd attempt: Installed OS on 256 GB sdb, including bootloader. SDA is /home as it was when the laptop ran Ubuntu Mate.
    After setting up partitions, installation took ~ 5 min, which included formatting SDB. This is about the same amount of time that UM takes to install.

    Bodhi is not able to keep 1920x1080 settings on a laptop that has a 3K screen. No matter what I did, it would not keep settings. From what I had been reading, NVidia may be part of the problem. The W550s has both an integrated Intel GPU and NVidia GPU. With that probably being the case, I decided that the W550S will revert back to Ubuntu Mate 19.04.

    For some reason, Bodhi intrigues me, so I kept on with getting it to work nicely on a laptop. I ended up it on a Thinkpad T440s, i5, w/ 12GB RAM and 2 SSDs.

  • 4th attempt: See 1st attempt.
    I rebooted and tried again and everything went perfectly. Also, no problems with display resolution. I spent a lot of time trying to get things customized. As it turned out, I was making it too difficult and also expected that it would work the way most DEs work when one tries to customize them. All I seemed to do is make things worse. I actually broke it. That is something I rarely do.

    For some reason, I still did not give up and decided to give it one last try. Can we call this insanity? Normally, I give a distro 2, maybe 3 tries at most to get installed, up and running.

  • 5th attempt: This one was the charm. This time, I decided to use the “less is more” approach. I had finally figured out the different lexicon that Enlightenment uses. I guess I was enlightened, so to speak. Anyway, once I did that, things went much more smoothly. and error-free.

    After installation, I ran the updates, rebooted, then started installing the programs I normally use. The Bodhi AppCenter runs under Midori and is very easy to use. Keeping with the minimalist philosophy, there are only a few choices in each category. There are definitely less choices in the Bodhi AppCenter than the Ubuntu Mate Software Boutique. The AppCenter is pretty easy to use. When installing software through the AppCenter, the admin password needs to be entered after each application is selected for installtion. It became rather tedious very quickly.

    Almost all the software I needed was installed via Synaptic. Programs that were either not in Synaptic or were too old for my liking, I was able to download from the developer’s Webste and instal iwth gdebi, or add the deveoper’s ppa to the repositories and install it via that route.


  • Thinkpad T440s
  • 12 GB RAM
  • 1 mSATA 256 GB drive (OS, boot loader and applications installed here)
  • 1 SATA 500 GB drive
  • i5-4300U (4 cores) @ 2.9 GHz
  • Intel Haswell Integrated Graphics
  • 1920x1080 resolution


Bodhi Linux is Ubuntu 18.04 LTS using the Enlightenment desktop environment (DE) running on the Moksha windows manager. Once I got it running, I found it to be very stable, fast and not a resource hog. I have been using Bodhi on the T440s since Thursday afternoon, and it is working perfectly. No crashes or major failures.

One feature that I really like and miss in Ubuntu Mate is that a different background can be set for each workspace.

Boot up was very speedy. From GRUB menu to login screen, it took 7 seconds. After entering my password, it took only 8.5 seconds from login screen to ready-to-go desktop. Shutdown is equally as speedy at about 4 seconds from the time the shutdown button is clicked on the screen to when the system turns off.

Some Things Must Be Run As Root

There are three programs that must be run from the command line, as root:

  • Gdebi
  • Gparted
  • Synaptic

This really bothers me. Installing software using either Synaptic or Gdebi required that either application installer be run from the command line. I don’t think it’s an Ubuntu 18.04 problem but more likely an Enlightenment problem. I use Ubuntu Mate 18.04 and I do not have the problem of having to run Synaptic or Gdebi from the command line. They work perfectly fine as GUIs.

Requiring Gparted to be run from the command line, as root, makes sense in terms of protecting the user from accidentally wiping any drives. Again, this is an application that Ubuntu Mate18.04 lets users run by clicking a menu option, as long as one has the root password.

There may be other programs that have that same requirement, but I haven’t run across them yet. Note that these nits are not enough for me to not want to use Bodhi. I don’t install software every day nor do I partition drives frequently.


Overall, I found Bodhi Linux 5.0 worked well once I figured it out. Yes, the configuration is definitely different from what I am used to (Ubuntu Mate). It ran well, and I was able to put all the applications on that I use and they worked flawlessly. I also found that it is very resource light. If you have a system that has 4 or 8 GB, you will be very surprised at how well your applications will run.

The bottom line is that I have put it on the T440s and will keep it on there for now. It’s working like a champ and very stable. Just be aware that with Bodhi, like any distro, YMMV.


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Thought I would share some info for those wanting to generate home folders for Bodhi Linux

At least “Mostly harmless” is a step up from the original review.