Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bodhi Linux Road Map

It's been about a month since our Bodhi Linux 1.0.0 (stable) release and I would like to say thank you to everyone that has helped make it a success! We have climbed to rank #50 on distrowatch and have seen about 16,000 downloads in this last month. If there was ever any doubt that we are filling a needed spot in the Linux world, then I am fairly certain it is gone now.

I'd just like to take a moment today to share our plans for the future with everyone.

Bodhi 1.1.0
The first point release for Bodhi is set for the end of May. The main purpose of this release will be to update Bodhi to the latest mainline Linux kernel and update all system packages to their latest version. Other plans include the reworking of the tablet/netbook profile to play a bit nicer with small screens. Finally, we will be fixing a small bug due to a missing package that was brought to our attention.

Long Term - Ubuntu Base
We plan to release point release for Bodhi every 3-4 months to keep the kernel and software versions current. Beyond this, we plan to release a new version based on each new Ubuntu LTS. This means Bodhi 2.0.0 will be release sometime during the summer of 2012 based on Ubuntu 12.04.

Long Term - Something More
When we first released Bodhi I talked about finding people to head up Enlightenment distros based on all the major Linux distros - Fedora, Arch, and etc. We had one developer come on board to start working on an Arch based CD, however after some discussion we have come to the conclusion instead of splintering off into many areas we are going to focus on two.

The first is our Ubuntu base, this is the Bodhi you already see out in the wild. We plan to develop and support this base for the foreseeable future. I just have this odd feeling that Ubuntu is making some design choices that may lead into unfavorable places in the future - but that is a rant for another day.

The second, is that our team has begun working on a fully custom distro base and package manager. This is a fairly long term project, but our current goal is to have a public alpha of the package manager and 32/64bit discs for testers to play with by November of this year. The goal of the package manager will to be to provide seamless, rolling release updates to our users. The current plan is for it to be written in C using SQLite for a data base. Features we plan to include when all is said and done:
  • Installing multiple versions of the same packages
  • Rollback of package versions
  • Download of packages from multiple servers
  • Optional peer to peer download support for packages
  • Full control/interface with webrowser
  • "Sandbox" application installation for non-super users
We are open to ideas on features for what we are currently calling the "attainment" package manager. We believe we need a package manager that is created in this century, we can learn from the successes and failures of the current package managers to create something that is truly great.

~Jeff Hoogland


  1. Until kernel 2.6.38 gets it's power consumption issues resolved, it seems like sticking with 2.6.35 is the way to go

  2. I think a lot of "child" distros have the same potential concern about Ubuntu. One of these (CrunchBang)jumped ship to Debian and another (Mint) seems to be hedging bets by putting out Ubuntu and Debian versions. I would recommend keeping Debian in mind for "Plan B" should Ubuntu no longer look desirable as a base. Since so many things work the same way in Ubuntu and Debian, this would allow a relatively easy migration.

    Having said this, it isn't clear to me why design decisions made for Ubuntu should have a large impact on Bodhi since those decisions affect mainly gnome and Bodhi doesn't use gnome. Am I missing something here?

  3. Well, migrating to Debian, especially because Debian developers explore rolling too, or other distro developers too, could be a good thing. Developing entirely you own is just a waste of time. Pardus has done it extremely right and no one care despite receiving excellent reviews year after year. How is it possible to use a distro without software??? You want to buy a Humble bundle... Debian... You want to test a last project (eg rstudio)... .deb (or .rpm), but nothing else.

  4. After using debian for a bit, I kind of am starting to agree that debian would be a better base than ubuntu. Its rougher around the edges in its own form but Ubuntu has insane dependancies.

  5. @Viale I've read the good things about Pardus, but does their package manager do anything different that .deb/.rpm doesn't offer? If you look at our starting list of ideas, we already have a few good ones others have yet to implement.

    @Scott About 90 percent of Ubuntu's "insane deps" come down directly from Debian.

  6. don't bother creating another distro with YET ANOTHER package manager. really. please. just don't bother. if you really think a new independent distro is needed, at least do yourself a favour and use (for instance) pacman (package manager from Arch) which is designed for rolling releases and user-contributed package builds (the AUR system). Either that or apt/dpkg, with which for me it is easy to roll back packages (especially with synaptic), and to have p2p package sharing (debtorrent). the features you want are already around, mostly.

  7. You may want to look at Nix package manager for most of your needs. Conary does some of what you need, but does not have installing mutiple versions or non-super user installs.

  8. Think about adopting a non-standard Filesystem layout in the independent distro. I believe That It was gobolinux (Fact Check?) that found a way to get a Mac style hierarchy but maintain Linux comparability through symlinks.

    I think it would be a good way to get more discussion around redesigning the FS hierarchy but having yet another move away from the traditional
    Model. Also, if you will make an independent distro use pacman. And rebase Bodhi to Debian Testing. Ubuntu's a powder keg with the way it's going.


  9. Sorry. Mobile didn't autocorrect.

    "around redesigning the FS layout BY having yet another distro..." *


  10. Innocent BystanderApril 25, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    I have an unrelated question, this is purely technical motivated, from a novice point of view. There is no political/trolling insinuation. I hope you won't mind to answer.

    What is the reason that some distros derive from Ubuntu rather than from Debian directly? Is it technical? (Ubuntu somehow makes better packages?) or is it psychologic? (to ride on the better popularity of Ubuntu).

    Thanks in advance.

  11. @Innocent I know Bodhi's primary reason for using Ubuntu was the graphical installer. It has a much better one than debian.

  12. When do you think there will be a 64bit version of Bodhi. It would be really great to have a 64bit version of Bodhi. I love Bodhi and I think that you guys have a large niche to fill. With KDE and GNOME getting extremely bloated while performing the same functions they did 10yrs ago I think Enlightenment is the best of all worlds. While KDE is extremely configurable I find Enlightenment to be even more configurable and a lot easier too. If Bodhi is released as a 64bit rolling release I think you guys will be the next Ubuntu.
    I know I am asking for too much, but in this day and age trying to re-invent the wheel like building a new package manage could kill Bodhi if the package manager is buggy and doesn't work right. Right at the get go you will lose a lot more users than you will gain. Additionally you guys are already behind the curve of so many distros that are now rolling as well as 64bit. In my opinion releasing a 64bit right after the 32bit would be a great step forward in the right direction.
    Keep up the great work. I will always love enlightenment and you guys are building a great distro on top of it.

    Max Mendoza

  13. @mtnbiker72 - Currently there is a lot of speculation, but no evidence of an actual power problem with 2.6.38. I've been testing and watching it very closely, and with Jupiter I'm seeing under 150 wakeups per second and 6-7 watts across both of my test computers (an Eee PC and a Thinkpad) which is business as usual. If there is an issue (possible, though improbable) I don't see it.

  14. @Max We plan to support a .deb based version of Bodhi until we are certain our new package manager is stable and ready for everyday use.

    That being said, there are not currently any plans to build a 64bit .deb versions of Bodhi.

    Unless someone can point me to a package manager that runs as fast as pacman, has sane a sane CLI interface, and supports all the features I listed - I think work on a custom package manager is indeed needed.

    We need to be moving forward in the world of Linux, not holding onto things that where invented over a decade ago and yes, still work today - but not nearly as well as they could.

  15. Some features you might consider...
    I like their concepts, seems one could narrow some gaps between the core distro packages and the other simplify installation/packaging and removal...

  16. I have been using bodhi linux for two weeks now. I like it a lot: the robustness of ubuntu with the compact enlightenment desktop. It's a great combination.

    I, like many other linux fans, am quite comfortable with synaptic/apt/deb and yum/rpm. It's easy to get access to a wide range of packages because of it's familiarity.

    Making debian the base would be a good move if ubuntu strays too far from it's mainstream roots.

    Arnie Nelson
    Plymouth, MN

  17. I am using ubuntu or its derivatives because everything in ubuntu just works... for example, i need to use nokia pc suite in windows to connect my mobile.. but in ubuntu/ubuntu derivatives i do not have to install any software for this.. it just works.. i was never able to connect to internet using mobile in fedora..

    I am happy that you will keep ubuntu based bodhi as main till the new one will be stable...i am sure that your new package manager will be great as i really like your idea about the .bod installers... they are very useful... i am also interested in a software installer like app images.. i am using them for many of the programs in my linux mint..

    wish you all the best for the future..

  18. You guys are doing a great job so far and I look forward to this upcoming Bodhi orig release :)

    Having that said, Jeff I hope you have Debian (stable/testing/sid) up your mental sleeve as a fallback.

    And btw why skip Natty I wonder?

  19. hey, tried the majority of linux distros,all DE.s , and now i find bodhilinux. Just great. For giving me the chance to choose whatever app i want, for beeing fast,clean,and minimalist. It seems very stable,and cute. I think i,m gonna stick with it.
    I also liked slitaz very much,but after some pppoe problems,i left it 'in za dark' :). Bodhilinux just works. Very good job all devs.
    Forgive my poor english, greetz

  20. New Ubuntu, and Debian have broken wireless access in ACER Aspire-One netbooks.

    Actually Ubuntu 10.10 last packages destroyed its connection. So it is to expect the next Bodhi 1.1 to have that problem too - Just warning.

  21. @Lacerda Bodhi 1.1.0 will be coming down with the 2.6.39 kernel.

  22. Hi Jeff
    Which ever path you take a fix is needed for the ATI graphics issue. Bodhi runs better on my pent mb 4 512 laptop than on my dual core 4gb ati graphics laptop trying to install fglrx bork's X

  23. If you'd like to provide me source code for the ATI driver or even an a computer with a modern ATI graphics card to test on - I'd be more than happy to.

    ATI treats their Linux users poorly though. I will not give them my money ever again.