Try Bodhi Linux for beauty and customizability

Featuring the elegant Enlightenment window manager, this free Ubuntu-based distribution lets users have it their own way.

Scarcely a day goes by without an update being released for one Linux distribution or another, but today saw the launch of one I think is worth some attention.

It's Bodhi Linux, specifically--a young Ubuntu derivative that features the elegant and lightweight Enlightenment window manager along with a wide assortment of attractive themes and a high degree of customizability. Though the project hasn't even been around for a year yet, Bodhi already ranks at No. 22 on DistroWatch's page hit list--not far from Windows-like Zorin OS, which I covered a while back.

Version 1.2.0 was the Bodhi release launched on Thursday. While not a truly major update to the stable version 1.0.0 released earlier this year, the new version reveals an increasingly mature and fully up-to-date operating system that offers a nice alternative to Ubuntu and its controversial Unity desktop.

The free and open source operating system is now available for download via high-speed torrent or on Sourceforge. Here's a sneak preview of what you'll find.

1. Linux 3.0

The Linux kernel has been updated in this release, as one might expect, and along with it comes a raft of new hardware support. By default, Bodhi also ships a workaround to help combat some of the power issues recent kernels have had, lead developer Jeff Hoogland told me this morning.

2. Extreme Beauty

I mentioned the Enlightenment window manager not long ago when I looked at some of the lesser-known desktop environments that provide an alternative to Unity and GNOME 3. Sometimes known also as E, Enlightenment has been updated in this Bodhi release to a version freshly built this week.

One of the things that's distinctive about Enlightenment is its wide array of extremely beautiful themes. Seven new default ones were added in Bodhi 1.2.0, in fact, along with a fresh new wallpaper. A gallery on the Bodhi site offers a nice taste of what Enlightenment is all about.

3. The Midori Browser

To keep it lightweight, only a limited set of packages are included in Bodhi Linux. In Bodhi Linux 1.2.0, one of those is version 0.4.0 of Midori, a popular lightweight Web browser. Also included by default are the LXTerminal terminal emulator, the PCManFM file manager, the Leafpad text editor and the Synaptic package manager.

4. A Rich Software Repository

Bodhi Linux may come with a limited set of packages by default, but you can customize your operating system with pretty much anything else you might want via the Bodhi Software Center. Now included among the updated packages currently available there, for instance, are Firefox 6, Chromium 13, Opera 11.51 and the nVidia 280.13 driver.

5. New 'Tiling' Capabilities

All of Bodhi's default profiles have been tweaked in this new release to improve the user experience. Newly added to the tablet profile, for example, is a sleek, touch-friendly method of switching among applications. Bodhi 1.2.0 also adds a new default profile called "Tiling" that's designed to make organizing the windows on your desktop faster. "It helps keep the operating system out of your way as it handles the automatic resizing of windows as they are opened," Hoogland told me.

Documentation for Bodhi also continues to improve, and a Quick Start guide is now available in 11 languages.

If you're looking for an operating system that can be tailored to suit your needs and is a pleasure to behold, I'd recommend you take Bodhi for a free test drive.

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Katherine Noyes

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