Some great Linux Enlightenment distros for your consideration… and a last word about bacon
Today I’d like to talk about some nice Linux-based operating systems that use the Enlightenment desktop environment. But first, I have to share an interesting bit of synchronicity I stumbled upon just now. A couple of days ago I mentioned several ways I am coping with winter depression and I happened to mention bacon. So I opened my web browser just now to NPR news and there was This Story staring me in the face. Never underestimate the strangeness of the Universe, or the power of Bacon!
But getting back to Linux, one of the best and maybe worst things about Gnu/Linux-based operating systems (distros) is the insane amount of choice that one has about the GUI (Graphical User Interface) and which desktop environment/window manager you can use to interact with your system. There are hundreds of Linux distros available that cost nothing to download and use to run your computer with. And there are many choices of GUI managers you can use. The most popular distros come with GNOME, KDE, XFCE, Openbox, LXDE, and Fluxbox. The last four here mentioned are becoming more popular because they are more light-weight (use less system resources, less RAM, so they work great on older computers/netbooks than GNOME or KDE). But there’s also another one that’s been around for a while called Enlightenment. For the past few years it seems like there hasn’t been much development going on with the Enlightenment Project, but recently I’ve seen a few new distros and some well-established ones that use the Enlightenment desktop. The version now in use, E-17, is pretty neat because it is very light on system resources, yet has a beautiful look (eye-candy) and is quick and responsive on a variety of hardware.
Before continuing, I need to mention that if you’re a Windows or Mac user who has little or no experience using Linux, I probably would not recommend jumping straight away into a distro that’s based on E-17. A year and a half ago the first Enlightenment Linux OS I used was MoonOS. I installed it on our older laptop and used it for many months. It was great, but Enlightenment is a little more complex to learn how to configure than GNOME or KDE. It took a few hours of mucking around to discover how incredibly customizable Enlightenment is. It was fun, but maybe a little confusing for a Linux newbie. For anyone just trying out Linux, I would highly recommend Linux Mint or Pinguy OS for total out-of-the-box ease of use.
But back to Enlightenment; there are two distros I’d like to mention today. I haven’t installed either of them on any of our computers yet, but from trying them out from the Live CDs I’ve been really impressed. They both run very well just from booting from CD. And those two are PCLinuxOS-E-17 and a new kid on the block, Bodhi Linux.
PCLinuxOS has a large international user base, is very pleasurable to use and comes in many different flavors: GNOME, KDE, XFCE, LXDE, Openbox and a really sweet Enlightenment version. There are many different ways to set up E-17, and the basic configuration of PCLinuxOS E-17 is beautiful, from the cool sunrise boot screen to the nice assortment of pre-installed applications. I’ve seriously considered installing it, but then in the last couple of months another Enlightenment contender has burst onto the scene: Bodhi Linux.
Bodhi was created by Jeff Hoogland, a guy who has a blog called Thoughts on Technology that I like and who first introduced me to Pinguy OS. He started making his own Enlightenment distro based on Ubuntu just a few months ago, and though it’s still in beta it’s pretty nice. Bodhi is meant to be a minimalist distro with just a few basic apps (like Firefox) pre-installed, so the user can start with the sleek E-17 base and add what you want. A neat thing about Bodhi is it already has its own software page where you can easily install applications and utilities, or you can use ‘apt-get ‘in the Terminal or Synaptic Package Manager as in regular Ubuntu. And Bodhi also has its own repositories. Several new people have recently joined the project, and development is moving along briskly. The first Release Candidate of Bodhi Linux (1.5) will be out on January 30th. There is also a handy link on the website with tutorials on configuring Enlightenment, which is a great idea for those unfamiliar with E-17. Bodhi just gets better and better.
Here are some more links. Check out Enlightenment!
Update March 17, 2012: I’ve decided to create a new blog here on WordPress strictly dealing with Linux and Open Source Software for the average desktop computer user. Please check it out at: TheFearlessPenguin. Thanks!