Bodhi Linux: the power of simplicity


Back to the home page


General

1. Bodhi Linux is a genuine lightweight. This extra light Linux is built on the excellent "Ubuntu engine" (currently 18.04 LTS, which means the current Bodhi will be supported until May 2023). Its own addition is the featherweight Moksha desktop environment on top of that "Ubuntu engine".

Bodhi is very suitable for older and weaker computers: it's "mean and lean". So I've collected some tips and tricks with which you can tweak your Bodhi, to make it even better!

Click on the blue button to get your free copy of Bodhi Linux 5.1 Standard Release (64-bit):
Note: you have to burn the .iso file on a DVD in a special way (written for Linux Mint, but the procedure is the same).

Bodhi doesn't contain the latest code but it's definitely the best, because Bodhi is built on an LTS version of Ubuntu.

When your hardware is up to it, I strongly advise to choose Bodhi, and not some other lightweight Linux distribution: the Ubuntu engine is excellent, and you have the full wealth of the Ubuntu repositories at your disposal.

For good measure: the amount of eye candy in Bodhi is noticeably less than in Linux Mint Xfce. Furthermore, Linux Mint Xfce offers more features out of the box and is more user-friendly. So if  you're a beginner with Linux and your computer can handle Linux Mint Xfce, I advise to choose that instead.

Bodhi is ideal for old machines, not for all machines.

Contents of this page:

Appearance

2. The desktop environment is simple and traditional. Although it's not always logically structured, you'll rather quickly be able to find your way in it.

See this screenshot of the desktop of Bodhi Linux 5.1 (click on the image to enlarge it):

By default Bodhi is extremely lean, so some of its default applications are insufficient. But it's very easy to install much better applications.

Note: naturally you can install as many extra applications as you like. But don't overdo it, because it's of course a pity to defeat the purpose of this distribution: to be lean and lightweight....

This is especially important for the supporting files that some applications need. When you install a particular application in Bodhi, it might pull half the Gnome or KDE desktop environment with it, as supporting files. Your lightweight Bodhi will then become a lot heavier, and noticeably less responsive.

So always check beforehand, which payload an extra application brings with it. And consider whether this payload is worth it....

System requirements

3. The system requirements for Bodhi Linux Standard Release are the following:

Reasonable performance (my own measure):
RAM: 1 GB
Video card: 64 MB
Hard disk space: 20 GB

Select one of the four smartly targeted Bodhi Linux editions

4. Bodhi comes in four smartly targeted editions, so that it caters to almost every computer in existence.

I. First of all there's the Standard Release. When in any doubt, select that. You can get the Standard Release here.

II. Secondly, there's the Hardware Enablement (HWE) Release, which targets very new hardware. If you have a new computer, you can get the HWE Release here.

III. Thirdly, there's the Legacy Release. It's 32-bit and has a special non-PAE kernel that makes it suitable even for ancient computers. You can get the Legacy Release here.

IV. Fourthly, there's the "fat" AppPack Release, which is packed with a large collection of software. If you want to have a lot of software out of the box, and "mean and lean" isn't your priority, then the AppPack Release is what you want. You can get the AppPack Release here.

How to install Bodhi Linux on the hard disk

5. It's very easy to install Bodhi on your hard disk:

a. First boot your computer from the CD, DVD or USB memory stick that you've put Bodhi on.

b. Then: Menu button - Applications - Preferences

c. Click on Install Bodhi Linux and a wizard will launch. Follow the simple steps. When in doubt, go along with the preselected defaults, with one important exception: tick the box in the first dialogue window, saying:
Install third-party software for graphics and Wi-Fi hardware, Flash, MP3 and other media

10 THINGS TO DO AFTER INSTALLATION

6. When you've installed a brand new Bodhi Linux, what's best for you to do first of all?

I've created a list that'll give you a polished, nearly maintenance-free operating system that you'll be able to enjoy for years to come! Plus it's also a crash course in the use of Bodhi.

Note: you'll find only relatively safe tips and tweaks here, because I think that the stability and reliability of your operating system should never be endangered. This website is serious about Bodhi, so my approach is conservative.

I try to mention it whenever some risk is unavoidable, so that you can always make a balanced decision.

Do the following things, in this order:

Apply all available updates

6.1. Before you do anything else: check for available updates and install them all:

Menu button - Applications - System Tools - Terminology
(or launch Terminology by means of the key combination Ctrl - Alt - Insert)

Copy/paste the following command line into the terminal:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Press Enter. Type your password when prompted; your password will remain entirely invisible, not even dots will show when you type it, that's normal.

Install all updates. If you're being prompted to answer a question, don't pay any attention to it and simply press Enter. The preselected default answers are invariably the ones you want (barring the rare exceptions, which needn't concern you right now). The defaults should be reasonable and sensible for almost everybody, and they are.

Note: when you install updates: what follows is often confusing (the process may seem to stall, especially when large amounts of updates are involved), which regularly causes misunderstandings.

The feedback is minimal, but when you're sure that all updates have finished, reboot your computer (not always necessary, but in this case: do it just to make sure).

Install essential applications and other software

6.2. In order to complete Bodhi, you'll definitely want to install some extra applications and other software.

Notably a full-fledged web browser (Firefox), because Bodhi's default web browser Epiphany (Gnome Web) has its limitations. And also a lightweight word processor (AbiWord), a lightweight spreadsheet application (Gnumeric), media player VLC and GDebi package installer.

You can do that as follows:

Menu button - Applications - System Tools - Terminology
(or launch Terminology by means of the key combination Ctrl - Alt - Insert)

Copy/paste the following command line into the terminal (it's one long line):

sudo apt-get install firefox abiword gnumeric gdebi vlc

Press Enter. Type your password when prompted; your password will remain entirely invisible, not even dots will show when you type it, that's normal.

Optimize AbiWord

6.2.1. Now optimize AbiWord, by changing the default document format to a more universally compatible one (item 4).

Turn on the firewall

6.3. It's advisable to turn on the firewall (it's disabled by default). Like this:

a. Menu button - Applications - System Tools - Terminology
(or launch Terminology by means of the key combination Ctrl - Alt - Insert)

Copy/paste this command into the terminal:

sudo ufw enable

Press Enter. Type your password when prompted; this will remain entirely invisible, not even dots will show when you type it, that's normal. Press Enter again.

b. Now check the firewall status. Copy/paste into the terminal:

sudo ufw status verbose

Press Enter.

c. Disable its spammy logging:

sudo ufw logging off

Press Enter.

Install full multimedia support

6.4. Completing multimedia support in Bodhi is easy:

a. Establish internet connection.

b. Now you're going to install "Ubuntu restricted extras". This contains a lot of various software, among which Microsoft fonts and mp3 playback support. Also it contains supporting files for mediaplayers. Proceed as follows:

Menu button - Applications - System Tools - Terminology
(or launch Terminology by means of the key combination Ctrl - Alt - Insert)

Copy and paste this blue command line into the terminal:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

Press Enter. When asked, type your password and press Enter again. Your password will remain entirely invisible, not even dots will show when you type it, that's normal.

Now you might be presented with a dialog in the terminal from Microsoft (sigh...), requiring you to accept the license agreement for the Microsoft fonts.

If that happens, activate the OK button with the Tab key (which makes it turn red), press Enter and use the Tab key again to activate the Yes button in the next dialog. Press Enter again.


When the installation is finished, you can close the terminal window.

Optimize Firefox

6.5. With a couple of changes in the settings, you can improve the performance of Firefox in Bodhi. These tweaks will make this fine web browser leaner and cleaner.

Make your Bodhi even faster

6.6. You can probably speed up your Bodhi noticeably, by applying these safe speed tweaks (written for Ubuntu, but mostly useful for Bodhi as well).

Note: replace gedit admin:// in the how-to's, by esudo leafpad
For example: esudo leafpad /etc/sysctl.conf

Install a cool graphical updater

6.7. It's possible to supplement the very basic terminal update tool of Bodhi, by a more advanced graphical toolset. Made by a former developer of the Linux Mint update tool, so of high quality and reliable.

This advanced toolset will give you much more control over your updates. It'll also give you useful extra control over your Linux kernels. It's present in Bodhi's Main software repository, so you can install it like this:

a. Menu button - Applications - System Tools - Terminology
(or launch Terminology by means of the key combination Ctrl - Alt - Insert)

b. Now copy and paste this blue command line into the terminal, in order to install the graphical update toolset (without unnecessary "recommended" frills, because your Bodhi should of course stay "mean and lean"):

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends mintupdate

Press Enter.

c. Now you have to add the new Update Manager to the Startup Applications, like this:

Menu button - Settings - Settings Panel - tab Apps - Startup Applications

Tab System: click on Update Manager - click on Add - Click on OK

Note: when you launch your new Update Manager, you might be offered a kernel update. Kernel updates aren't recommended in Bodhi Standard Release, so simply right-click that kernel update and blacklist it (select "Ignore all updates for this package").

HWE Release: consider to lock the kernel version

6.8. By default, Bodhi Standard Release, AppPack Release and Legacy Release have a locked kernel, which means: no potentially disruptive kernel updates. So far, so good. But that's not the case for Bodhi HWE Release.

You can also lock Bodhi HWE Release to a certain kernel version. That may be useful, e.g. when you've manually installed a driver which would become unusable in a newer kernel.

It can also be useful to prevent "disk pollution" because of older kernels, because in the course of time, you get a lot of kernel updates....

The risk of such a locking of the kernel is usually limited, especially for desktop users (servers are another matter). Because although kernel updates may contain security fixes, those are usually not very important for desktop users.

If you want to lock the kernel, this is how to do it (item 7).

Keep your Bodhi Linux secure

6.9. In this article you can read how to keep your Bodhi Linux secure (written for Linux Mint and Ubuntu, but also applicable for Bodhi Linux).

Avoid 10 fatal mistakes!

6.10. There are 10 mistakes that you definitely want to avoid, for the sake of the health of your system.

Optional: install Libre Office

7. By applying the steps outlined above, you've installed a fine little word processor called Abiword and the also small spreadsheet application Gnumeric. But if these lightweight applications aren't enough for you, you might also install the rather more heavyweight office suite Libre Office (or LibreOffice, as the horrible official spelling is).

For installing Libre Office with its most commonly used applications, proceed as follows:

a. Menu button - Applications - System Tools - Terminology
(or launch Terminology by means of the key combination Ctrl - Alt - Insert)

b. Copy and paste this blue command line into the terminal (it's one long line):

sudo apt-get install libreoffice-writer libreoffice-calc libreoffice-impress libreoffice-gtk

Press Enter. When asked, type your password and press Enter again. Your password will remain entirely invisible, not even dots will show when you type it, that's normal.

c. Afterwards, tweak your Libre Office for optimal performance like this.

How to launch your file manager or text editor with root permissions

8. Do you need to launch your file manager PCmanFM or your text editor Leafpad with root permissions? Then do it without messing up the permissions in your home folder, like this:

I. File Manager PCmanFM:

a. Menu button - Applications - System Tools - Terminology
(or launch Terminology by means of the key combination Ctrl - Alt - Insert)

b. Copy and paste this blue command line into the terminal:

esudo pcmanfm

Press Enter.

II. Text Editor Leafpad:

a. Menu button - Applications - System Tools - Terminology
(or launch Terminology by means of the key combination Ctrl - Alt - Insert)

b. Copy and paste this blue command line into the terminal:

esudo leafpad

Press Enter.

Want more tips?

9. Do you want more tips and tweaks for Bodhi? There's a lot more of them on this website! Like these:

Four popular myths and 11 tips about wireless security (for wifi)

How to clean Ubuntu and Bodhi safely

How to create a strong yet easy password (the answer might surprise you!)

Find help on the Bodhi forum

10. The Bodhi forum is available for your help requests concerning Bodhi.


To the content of this website applies a Creative Commons license.

Back to the home page

Disclaimer