Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bodhi ARMHF Alpha for Nexus 7

Earlier this month we collected enough donations that I was able to pick up a Nexus 7 to do some development work on for Bodhi. Today I would like to share our first public images for the Nexus 7. They install, they boot up, and they are semi functional. By that I mean the touchscreen and wireless work OOTB and the interface runs smoothly on the device. I haven't had time to try and make audio work fully yet - but I have gotten some noise to come out of the speakers.

With the help of my lovely fiance I filmed the following short demo video of Bodhi running on the device:

Anywho - installing Bodhi on the Nexus 7 follows the same process as installing Ubuntu on the device. I don't have an automated installer finished just yet so you will need to install the Bodhi images using a manual install process. This can be done using the following steps:

Step 0 - Getting the Tools

Installing Bodhi on the Nexus 7 can be done from any Linux distribution so long as you have the proper android tools installed (if you are using Bodhi on your desktop the Android tools can be found in our repositories). Namely you need the fastboot command.

Step 1 - Unlocking your Nexus 7

The bootloader on the Nexus 7 needs to be unlocked to accept other operating systems. Start with your device off, then while holding the volume down button power the device on - you will soon see the bootloader screen. Attach the Nexus 7 to your computer with a micro USB cable and run the command:

sudo fastboot oem unlock

After you run this command your Nexus 7 will ask you to confirm you want to unlock the bootloader - do so. Then run:

sudo fastboot reboot-bootloader

to finish the unlocking process.

Step 2 - Get the Bodhi Files

You need to download and then extract both the tarballs found here.

Step 3 - Writing the data to the Nexus 7

Open a terminal to the directory where you extracted both the files you downloaded above. Then run the following commands in order:

sudo fastboot erase boot
sudo fastboot erase userdata
sudo fastboot flash boot boot.img
sudo fastboot flash userdata rootfs.img
sudo fastboot reboot

After you run the last command your Nexus 7 will reboot and automagically extract and install the Bodhi file system on your device (this will take a few minutes). When it is finished it will boot right into the Bodhi desktop for you.

User Information

Default username:

Default password:

The default user has sudo rights.

Getting Support

Please, please, please do not make a comment on this post asking for support with an issue you encounter with installing/running Bodhi on your Nexus 7! Comments asking for support will be removed from this post. Instead please open a support request thread in the Nexus 7 section of our user forums. It is much easier to manage/search/solve issues in a message board format than a comments section.

Other Notes

I do consider this an alpha quality release. As noted above the sound still doesn't work by default and I am sure there are some other minor niggles that need to be worked out.

~Jeff Hoogland

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bodhi ARMHF Alpha for Samsung Chromebook

As I mentioned in a post last weekend, I've got my hands on the new Samsung Chromebook. The hardware in this device is simply awesome (full formal review forthcoming), but ChromeOS left me wanting a real operating system with non-cloud applications. Thankfully I've been working on Bodhi's ARM branch for awhile now and it proved fairly simple to get at least a base system up and rolling on the Chromebook (largely due to the fact that ChromeOS is Linux based).

Now, unfortunately the current install process for getting an alternative operating system to boot on the Chromebook isn't as easy as our Genesi images - but if you follow the instructions I provide below to the letter you should have Bodhi booting on your Chromebook in no time!

Please note following these steps WILL permanently delete all local data and configurations of your ChromeOS! It essentially restores the system to factory defaults.

Step 1 - Boot in Recovery Mode

Make sure your chromebook is off. Then hold the escape and refresh keys (where f3 should be) and power on the device. This should get you to a recovery screen - press ctrl+d followed by enter. The system should now reboot into recovery mode.

Step 2 - Get to a TTY with Internet

Once the system reboots in recovery mode it will take a few moments to get everything configured (this requires no user input, just waiting - so grab a snack). Once the system starts up select a wireless access point to connect to, but do not log into a Google account. Now that we have an internet connection you need to drop to a TTY. To do this press ctrl+alt+-> (The "->" key is where f2 would be on a standard keyboard).

For the username type chronos and then press enter - no password is needed.

Step 3 - Download and run Bodhi installer

From the tty run:
wget http://goo.gl/HFG6a

Followed by:
sudo bash HFG6a

Both of the above commands are case sensitive so make sure you type them correctly! After running the second command you will be provided with some information about your Chromebook - press enter to continue.

Step 4 - Choose how much space you are giving Bodhi

The installer will prompt you for how much space you want to give to Bodhi. Enter an integer amount for how many gigs you would like to give Bodhi. On the 16gig smartbook the most I would recommend giving to Bodhi is 9gigs (with the max being 10).  For reference the base Bodhi install occupies around 1.6gigs. Once you select an amount of space to give Bodhi the drive will be re-partitioned automagically and then your system will restart. When it starts back up again you will need to walk through the ChromeOS setup process once more - again get as far as the Google login screen but do not log in.

Step 5 - Getting the Bodhi Filesystem

Get to a TTY again by following the instructions outlined in step 2 once more. Then run the same two commands provided in step 3. This time the Bodhi installer will see your drive has already been partitioned and it will begin downloading the Bodhi Chromebook image which it will then install. Note that this will take awhile depending on your internet connection speed as a 300MB tarball needs to be downloaded and extracted. After it finishes installing your system will reboot and you will be greeted by the Enlightenment desktop!

User Information

Default username:

Default password:

The default user has sudo rights.

Getting back to ChromeOS

If you need to get back into ChromeOS after installing Bodhi on your Chromebook - don't worry it is still there. In a terminal client on Bodhi run:

sudo cgpt add -i 6 -P 0 -S 1 /dev/mmcblk0

Once you are done with ChromeOS you can run the following in the ChromeOS TTY to get back to Bodhi:

sudo cgpt add -i 6 -P 5 -S 1 /dev/mmcblk0

Getting Support

Please, please, please do not make a comment on this post asking for support with an issue you encounter with installing/running Bodhi on your Chromebook! Comments asking for support will be removed from this post. Instead please open a support request thread in the ARM section of our user forums. It is much easier to manage/search/solve issues in a message board format than a comments section.

Other Notes

In the current image the track pad is kinda fickle (tap to click doesn't work) and OpenGL support is currently non-functional. Other than that the image is very functional - I have been using it for my day to day activities for the last week now and I have been very pleased with the results. With that being said - please note I consider this an alpha quality release and as such Bodhi's ARMHF testing repos are enabled by default in the current Chromebook image.

One other thing to note is that the top row of keys acts as "function" keys (f1-f10) in Bodhi as though it was a normal keyboard. I personally use the volume up/down/mute keys often on my systems though - as such I have bound the alt key to act as a "function" key normally would on a laptop. Meaning alt+volume key will perform it's indicated action. Also - to make any noise come out of the speakers see this.

Closing Remarks

I would like to extend my thanks the author of this post who created a script for getting Ubuntu setup on the Chromebook. My own Bodhi install script is based directly on his.

~Jeff Hoogland

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bodhi Linux ARMHF RootFS

If you've been following my blog (or my updates on Google+) then odds are you know I currently have my hands on two ARM devices (plus a third in the mail) I am working on creating Bodhi Linux images for. With this in mind I've decided I am going to start maintaining a generic ARMHF root file system to make creating Bodhi Linux images for new ARM devices easier for myself and others.

You will always be able to find the latest copy of this file system on Bodhi source forge page here. The default user name is armhf and the default password is bodhilinux. The default user has sudo access by default.

Essentially on any device we have a functioning Linux kernel for - it should simply be as easy as extracting that file system to a bootable location. Copying over /lib/firmware and /lib/modules and then telling your ARM system to boot from this new file system.

As an aside - this is the first blog post I am writing from the Samsung ARM Chromebook with the Bodhi desktop! Hopefully have install instructions for this device online soon.

~Jeff Hoogland

Friday, December 7, 2012

HOWTO: Start an SSH Session from ChromeOS

My lovely fiance knows how much I love my toys and opted to get me one of the new ARM based Chrome books as an early Christmas present. I'd been talking a lot about the device because the hardware on it is fairly fantastic for the 250$ price tag it comes with. At any rate - I'll be writing up a full formal review of the device at a later date (once I have had a chance to use it more). I also plan to create Bodhi ARM images for the device once time permits.

Until I have time to get Bodhi running on the device though I am stuck with ChromeOS - which while interesting leaves some to be desired. At the very least I need my operating system to have a web browser and a ssh connection - the former ChromeOS provides very obviously (the whole OS is one giant web browser). Getting an SSH connection from the device was not as straight forward however. I started by searching for a terminal emulator on the Chrome Web Store. As you can see - there are a few options there, but none of them would successfully open a ssh connection to my build servers from my Chrome Book.

A little bit off searching on the Linux answer machine yielded me a proper solution from the comment section of a posting. To get a SSH connection on ChromeOS you do not need to add any software! Pressing the key combination:


Will open a browser based terminal emulator called "crosh" in a new tab of your browser on ChromeOS. Now my build servers are accessed from a non-default ssh port. On any Debian based operating system I would use the following to connect:

ssh -p username@myserveraddy.com

The ssh client on ChromeOS doesn't seem to like the -p argument for a port number though. I found two ways to connect to a ssh server using a different port number. The first is simply:

ssh username@myserveraddy.com

The second is a whole lot less intuitive. In order you type:

host myserveraddy.com
user username

Have fun sshing from ChromeOS!
~Jeff Hoogland

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bodhi Linux Nexus 7 Drive

So I was on the Kernel Panic Ogg cast last night (the episode should be for download later this weekend). While we where discussing a number of things related to Bodhi our ARM port and tablet interface came up. ARM hardware is a very different beast from your normal x86/64bit devices. Meaning even if you have functional kernel drivers for a given device - you still often need a seperate file system images for each device you wish to be easily installable on.

Currently we provide easy to install ARM images for the RaspBerry Pi and the Genesi Smartbook - the latter of which I am actually writing this post from. By the end of this month I hope to be able to add the MK802 I've written a bit about to our support devices as well.

The point of this post however is to see how much interest there is in us creating a Bodhi image for the new Nexus 7 tablet. I've had a couple of users express interest about it on our forums and there was positive buzz about it on the Ogg cast last night.

The main thing holding us back is a lack of developer hardware - I don't own a Nexus 7. We only need a single unit to get our work done, so if you are a Nexus 7 owner that has an interest in running Bodhi on your device and you can spare 5$ (or even 10$) please consider sending it our way via the button below so we can purchase a Nexus 7 to work with.

Edit/Update: In just 5 short days we've managed to collect enough to pick up a development unit! Hopefully we can have some Bodhi images live by the end of the month. If you are still looking to help support us - servers do take money to maintain. You can do so by donating directly to the Bodhi project.

Thanks to everyone who helped out.
~Jeff Hoogland

Thursday, November 29, 2012

MK802 Media PC Review

I recently made a post comparing the specs of the A10 based MK802 to the RaspBerry Pi. For those who are unaware the MK802 is a low cost, Android based media PC you can pick up on Amazon for less than 40 USD. A little over a month ago I replaced my desktop sized media computer with an MK802 - today I would like to share with you my thoughts on the device.

The Hardware:

The MK802 is a little bit larger than a flash drive and the package includes a power adapter, HDMI mini to HDMI cable, a user manual and a few USB cables:

Now, the MK802 has only a single USB port, which means unless you have a keyboard/mouse combination you are going to want to be sure to pick up a USB hub to go with this device so you can attach multiple peripherals to it.

I have read reviews that said this little device is prone to over heating - I do not believe such reviews. I've left my MK802 powered on for over a week straight and playing hours of video in a single sitting without issues. It is a little trooper.

The Software:
The default operating system that comes with the MK802 is a fairly stock version of Android 4.0. So much in fact that it is very clearly designed for a tablet computer - not a media center PC. Still, the GUI functions well enough with a USB keyboard/mouse and with a few minor tweaks it is near perfect.

The first thing I did on the device was disable the on-screen keyboard. It seemed terribly silly to have a giant keyboard take up half my TV screen every time I clicked into a text box. This issue is quickly solved by installing and configuring the Null Keyboard application from the Play Store.

Speaking of the Play Store, I've installed several applications from there and most of them have worked fine - however not all of them. For example Google's Chrome for Android does not support the device.

One nice thing about the device is that the version of Android on it is rooted by default and the device knows what to do with an APK file when you click on it in the file manager.

In terms of speed the MK802 isn't going to win and records. The 1.5ghz single core processor runs most applications fast enough, but there is a noticeable speed reduction when using multiple applications on the device simultaneously. If you are interested in the full specs of the device I would direct you to my post here.

Wrapping Up:
Over all I've been very happy with my purchase of the MK802. It has aptly replaced my media PC at a low cost, while using much less power. I would highly recommend this device to anyone looking for a cost effective media PC device.

As an aside I haven't been successful in booting an alternative operating system on the device - but I'm not giving up yet. Bodhi Linux will be booting on this thing before the end of the user.

~Jeff Hoogland

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

HOWTO: Check Hard Drive Health with Linux

I've been experiencing full system lockups on my netbook off and on for the last few weeks now. Up until recently though they had been few and far between so I'd just been ignoring the issue. A few days ago however they got bad enough to the point where I had to restart my system three times in the same hour.

Needless to say shortly after that I started running system checks. A quick boot into memtest showed that my RAM was A-OK (which is good considering one stick of RAM is stuck to the netbook's mother board). The next piece of hardware I checked was my netbook's SSD. Almost all modern hard drives have "SMART" controls today to allow you to check their current health status.

I booted my netbook from a Bodhi live USB drive and did a quick:

sudo apt-get install gsmartcontrol

GSmartControl is a GUI front end for smartmontools - a library that lets you interface with your drive's SMART controls and run various health checks on the drive. The interface is fairly straight forward and right clicking on one of the displayed drives gives you the ability to begin checking it.

There are options for a short test (which takes a minute or two) or a longer test (which can take up to several hours on larger drives to complete - depends on the size of your drive).

After my netbook finished the longer test I was greeted with some bad news - my SSD was failing in one area and getting close to failing in others:

At any rate GSmartControl is a fantastic tool for checking the health of your drive that is fairly easy to use. Hopefully the results of your drive check will be better than my own!

~Jeff Hoogland

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Two Years of Bodhi, Three Years of Blogging

This year has flown by. My entire life - both on the internet and off the internet has been moving at a rapid pace and I have enjoyed almost every moment of it. I've been so focused on my last semester of graduate work that I completely forgot to make two posts I've been making every year.

The first is that Bodhi is two years old now! It was on November 16th, 2010 that I first announced the project I had started with a couple of friends. The project advanced rapidly and the team that we gathered was very pleased with where we were after just twelve months. Take a moment to look at the data graph in that previous link - in a nine month time span our highest throughput on the package server was under 1.5TB worth of data. We have made leaps and bounds since that point - in fact earlier this year we moved the main Bodhi package server from a VPS to a dedicated server because we had been consistently serving up over 5TB of packages each month. Beyond that our ISO image has been seeing over 25,000 downloads a month, over twice the number we saw in our first year.

The best part about all of this? Even with our increased overhead costs we have managed to stay 100% funded by user donations - meaning our main website and forums have been able to stay ad free (which I prefer). If you enjoy the Bodhi project I would ask that you please help support us by becoming a member, ordering some goodies or making a one time donation.

On a non-Bodhi related note, I've been publishing articles here on Thoughts on Technology for not one, not two, but three years now! I plan to continue publishing articles for many more years to come.

~Jeff Hoogland

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Raspberry Pi vs MK802

There has been a ton on news in the open source world revolving around the Raspberry Pi. It was one of the first low cost, ARM computers to be targeted at the hobbyist and educational markets. I've owned a Raspberry Pi for many months now and while it does an alright job at playing media files and acting as a small server - for most computing tasks it simply didn't have enough resources available to be useful.

My dedicated x86 media PC I'd been using for some time died a few months back and I had been searching for a low cost replacement for the system - I finally found it in the ARM powered MK802 device.

I've been using the MK802 almost daily for close to a month now and it shocks me that this awesome device hasn't gotten more press in the FOSS world. I plan to write a formal review of the device in the next week, but for now I would like to simply do a comparison between the MK802 and the latest RPI Model B device:

Raspberry Model B
1 gig
512 meg
Internal Storage
4 gig
USB Ports
Video Out
Audio Out
HDMI, 3.5m
Micro SD
8.8 x 3.5 x 1.2 cm
8.560 cm × 5.4 cm
Cost+Shipping to US

In addition to having superior specs at a lower price point than the RPI Model B, the MK802 also included an HDMI mini to HDMI cord, power adapter, and the device is in a case by default instead of just being a raw board. Needless to say I am impressed with the little device. For those interested in picking up an MK802 I got mine from Amazon here.

~Jeff Hoogland

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Linux FUD in College Education

My fiance started a new class this week - an MIS (Management Information Systems) class. While we were having dinner tonight she brought up the fact there are some - lets say - colorful definitions of Linux in her wonderful "Experiencing MIS" text book.

Under a section titled "What Does a Manager Need to Know About Software?" there are a number of things presented to the reader as "facts" that I just have to disagree with. It starts with a nice table describing that describes typical users for Windows, OSX, Unix and Linux desktop users. What is the description of a typical Linux user you ask?

"rare - used where budget is very limited"

That is right - the only reason to use Linux on the desktop is when you are strapped for cash. I guess Google never got that memo. The extra kick in the pants? Apparently the only commonly used application Linux has is:

"Open Office (Microsoft Office look-alike)"

Never mind that Open Office contains a sane menu interface instead of "ribbons".

In case the avid reader is curious about who created Linux - that information is here as well. Linux is developed by the "open-source community" which is described as:

"a loosely coupled group of programmers who mostly volunteer their time"

I guess they never got the memo that nearly 75% of kernel work is done by paid developers.

This is what is holding Linux back on the desktop folks. Not a lack of hardware support. Not a lack of user friendliness. Just good old fashion Linux FUD. The best thing you can do to fight things like this is to speak up and let the people spreading the FUD know it is not OK to spread misinformation. Although I must say it really irks me seeing information like this appearing in a higher education setting.

What is this wonderful text book you ask? As mentioned above it is titled "Experiencing MIS", written by a man named "David Kroenke", and published by none other than Pearson Education.

~Jeff Hoogland

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Giving Android a Chance...

It has been about six weeks since I have posted anything - and even longer than that since I posted non-Bodhi related content. I'm currently working through my final semester of graduate school and what little time I have extra has been going towards working on Bodhi things of the late.

Today however, I am bothered enough by something to share my feelings about it. If you have been by my blog here before then you might know that I am not a fan of Google's Android operating system. In fact in the past I have written why I feel it is removed from other Linux operating systems. As of the Linux 3.3 series kernel though a pile of the Android changes where merged back into the main line kernel.

Because of this re-merging and the fact that it had been sometime since I last tried Android in any form I felt I should give it another chance. I know a good amount of people that tout it's virtues and would not use anything else on their mobile devices. The recent death of the computer I'd been using as a media PC for the last three years sent me searching for a new toy. The combination of my wanting to try a recent Android release and the need to replace my media PC lead me to pick up a MK802 Android PC.

I got my little device in the mail today. I ripped open the box, plugged in all the cables and soon had Android booting on my TV! I have three needs from a media PC:
  1. Light Web Browsing
  2. Pandora Internet Radio
  3. Play Media from my External Hard Drive
The MK802 did the first two with ease - the web browser loaded right up and I was soon viewing the Bodhi forums without issues. To take care of my second need, I popped open the Google Play store and installed the Pandora application. 

The issues started when I attempted to play some media files from my external hard drive. I plugged in my drive to the USB port and popped open the file manager - I poked around in all the options but the drive was nowhere to be found. Then I noticed a notification in the lower right corner of the screen, it read:

Damaged USB Storage - You may have to reformat it.

I'd never seen this message on a system powered by a Linux kernel before. I'd seen it a couple of times when friends had tried using my external on their Windows or OSX PCs. My drive is formatted to EXT4 you see. Apparently this file system isn't support on my Android device. That is right, this "Linux" PC doesn't support my Linux file system.

The solution to this issue? I've been told I need to compile a custom kernel module to add ext4 support. If I am going to spend that much effort getting Android to work I would rather devote that effort towards getting Debian to boot on the MK802 instead. So much for Android being easy.

~Jeff Hoogland

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bodhi Linux 2.1.0 Released

I'm happy to release to everyone our first scheduled update release of Bodhi Linux's 2.x.y branch - version 2.1.0. For those that want to get straight to the disc images you can find them in 32bit flavor here and 64bit here. There are a number of wonderful changes/improvements to this disc over our 2.0.1 disc released a couple of months ago. I'm going to outline the more important of the changes in this post, but you can always find our full change log here.

Before I dive into the changes - I'd like to just remind all existing Bodhi users that since this is simply an update release, you can easily update existing 2.x.y installs to these changes via the package manager.

Profiles and Themes:
The first thing you will notice are four fresh themes along with the elegant E17 Black and White theme appearing on this version of Bodhi's LiveCD:

We have a fresh build of Enlightenment and Terminology pre-installed on the disc. Beyond that our repositories contain the latest LibreOffice 3.6.1, Firefox 15 and Chromium 21 among a number of other current applications. The default kernel for this release is based on Linux 3.5

Two major software changes I'd like to highlight. First is that this build is now utilizing a much more recent version of the LXDM display manager. This updated version compiled from LXDM's GIT sources fixes a long standing issue with passwords that contain spaces and also adds support for user lists at the login screen:

This version of LXDM also comes with a very nice configuration tool:

Second, the PCManFM file manager has been dropped in favor of the Enlightenment native EFM:

This file manager lacks some advanced features (such as connecting to network shares), but it does support some nice features such as image and video previews. Those users still wanting PCManFM will be able to easily install it via the package manager.

Finally, if you have any issues with this live CD or Bodhi in general please open a support request on our user forums. The comment section of this post is not the best place to trouble shoot things.

~Jeff Hoogland

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bodhi's ARM Branch Moves to ARMHF

After doing some research and testing for the last week I have arrived at the conclusion that Bodhi's ARM branch will best serve our users by moving our core from Debian Wheezy ARMEL to utilize Debian Wheezy ARMHF. I'm not going to get into the technical difference between the two platforms here - just know that in general ARMHF is faster.

With this change however, there are some slight changes to our ARM repo details. If you have Debian Wheezy ARMHF installed on a device and wish to add the Bodhi repo to your sources the line you want to add is:

deb http://packages.bodhilinux.com/bodhi/ debian stable

Then you just install our bodhi-desktop package as before.

With regards to our officially supported ARM devices, you can find download links to our brand new ARMHF images for the RaspBerry Pi and Genesi Smartbook on our ARM downloads page. Our RaspBerry Pi build is built directly on top of Raspbian and incorporates all of their changes and improvements.

~Jeff Hoogland

Monday, August 6, 2012

That Good Old Linux FUD

Who doesn't love a good Monday morning rant?

I caught this article on the news feed of my favorite Linux news site this morning and I must say it upsets me a lot. The too long/didn't read version of this guy's article is that Android is "usable" for most users, while he finds desktop Linux lacking in the usability department. He cites a number of reasons why the distribution he selected (Fedora) isn't "usable" compared to Android. Honestly all of them are your normal anti-desktop Linux FUD and I am tired of it.

Oh man - all your hardware doesn't work with the distribution you are using, but your Android device works great? Let me guess - you bought a device with Android preinstalled. Your "Linux computer" on the other hand you installed yourself. You also didn't research the hardware. You just expected Linux to work with every piece of hardware that exists. I'm not sure who told you Linux worked with 100% of hardware, but guess what? They lied. Linux works with a great deal of hardware, but not all of it. If you bought your own copy of Windows or OSX and tried to install it on non-supported hardware you better believe their parent companies would tell you to get supported hardware. Why are you treating Linux differently?

Next he goes onto to complain about the difficulties you have to go through when setting up a Linux PC.

Oh man - you downloaded an operating system that has free software principles and you expected it to utilize closed source tools by default? This surprises you? In under an hour on distrowatch you can easily find a distribution that comes with such tools by default. Instead this guy choose the wrong tool for the job he wanted to do and then opted to complain when it didn't work properly.

Next he moves on to complaining about bugs in the operating system.

Oh man - the giant piece of complex software (that you got for free mind you) isn't perfect? Not only that, but instead of having to pay of updates like some operating systems these bugs can often be resolved automatically via the package manager after reporting them? Windows and OSX aren't bug free either. Why are you expecting Linux to be?

Finally he complains about the release cycle of the distribution he is using.

Oh man - you selected a distribution with a six month release cycle, but you don't like updating/reinstalling every six months? I am simply going to make a distrowatch reference again here. There are easily dozens of active projects that this won't happen with. Sadly, you can only lead a horse to water, you can't make it drink.

In closing today I would like to share one last thought of my own regarding desktop Linux. We have not yet gotten to a software world where everyone is ready to install and configure their own operating system. Expecting this to be true is a folly. I would be willing to bet that almost every user that has issues installing Linux (on Linux friendly hardware) would also have issues installing Windows or OSX.

Installing an operating system requires a user to make at least some technical decisions - it is the nature of the beast. Expecting desktop Linux to transcend this is just foolish.

Finally - no matter how good a given piece of software is you can never account for all the carbon based issues that are bound to occur. You know what they say - every time you make something idiot proof they go and make a better idiot!

~Jeff Hoogland

Friday, August 3, 2012

HOWTO: Launch OMXPlayer via a GUI

I'm going to be on an ARM kick for the next two weeks before my fall classes start up. In addition to porting Bodhi to the Pi one of my goals is also to replace my media PC with a Pi. Even though the processor in the Pi is fairly weak, it can decode HD video using it's GPU chip if you use the proper media player. This means that your old favorites like VLC and mPlayer will not work, so we must turn to a tool designed just for the Pi: OMXPlayer.

Now because OMXPlayer is still very new, it is still very basic. So basic in fact it's key bindings (for play/pause/stop/quit) only function if the program is launched via the CLI. Knowing my Fiance and friends who often use the media PC would give me no end of grief if they had to open a terminal to play movies - I set about finding a solution. Today I'd like to share that fairly simple solution with you!

To allow users to simply "double click" on a media file via the file manager and have it open in OMXPlayer you need to create a .desktop file for OMXPlayer. Open a terminal on your pi and run:

sudo nano /usr/share/applications/omxplayer.desktop

For it's contents paste:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=omxplayer -o hdmi %f

Save and close the file (ctrl+x in nano) and you should be good to go! When you double click on a media file in your file browser simply select Open With: OMXPlayer! Please note some users have reported this doesn't work with LXDE - I cannot confirm this though as I only use E17 and it works fine there :)

~Jeff Hoogland

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

HOWTO: Clone all Programs Installed via Apt

Today I would like to share a nifty trick for cloning your application selections installed via the apt-get package manager. It is as simple as running two commands. First on the system you wish to clone, open a terminal and run this command (which is on pastebin due to blogger formatting issues).

Next, simply copy the package-list to the system you wish to setup a copy on. Finally open a terminal and run:

xargs apt-get install -y < package-list

In the same directory you copied the package-list file too. Please note that this trick only works when your two systems in question have exactly the same sources/operating system version.

~Jeff Hoogland

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bodhi Linux RaspBerry Pi Beta

Edit/Update: You can find the latest release here -> http://www.bodhilinux.com/downloads_mobile.php

A little over six weeks ago I posted a very early image of Bodhi for the RaspBerry Pi. Today I am happy to let everyone know that I have published what I consider to be a "beta" quality image:

The download comes in the form of a compressed .IMG file, which can be extracted and then written to an SD card (2GB minimum). The first thing worth noting in this release is that the default username/password are different:

Username: pi
Password: bodhilinux

As for changes, this release is now utilizing Terminology as it's default terminal emulator and PCManFM file browser has been replaced with the native EFM (Enlightenment File Manager). The issues our first image had with networking and flash drives should also be resolved with this release. Also worth noting is that the AppCenter is now configured to work by default in the Midori web browser - but the synaptic interface runs fairly slow on the Pi hardware.

Finally - if you have any issues with this image please open a support request in the RaspBerry Pi section of our user forums. That is a much better place to trouble shoot than the comments section on this post.

~Jeff Hoogland

HOWTO: Create and use .IMG files from the CLI

Now that Bodhi's second stable release for the desktop is settling down, I am going to be putting a bit of focus on our ARM releases for the next couple of weeks. ARM images typically are provided in the form of .IMG files. Using a downloaded .IMG file is fairly simple. You can write it to a drive of your choice with a single command:

sudo dd if=myfile.img of=/path/to/drive

One thing worth noting though is that /path/to/drive should not include any partition number. An example path would be something like:


Note that writing large images can take a good deal of time depending on the speed of your drive and that this command will not give you any feedback until it finishes.

Now, perhaps you are like myself and have some interest in creating/distributing .IMG files of your own. Creating image files is also fairly easily and uses the same dd command. An example of how to create an image file is:

sudo dd if=/path/to/drive of=image.img

Note that this command copies the entire contents of the drive - meaning if your drive is large your .IMG file will be equally large! Now, what do you do if you only want to copy part of your drive? Simply add one argument to the above command of course! For example to only copy the first two gigs of data on a drive to a .IMG file use:

sudo dd if=/path/to/drive of=image.img bs=1M count=2048

I am by no means an expert at using dd, but if you run into any issues feel free to drop a comment below and I'll do my best to help you out.

~Jeff Hoogland

Monday, July 30, 2012

Bodhi Linux 2.0.1 - Bug Fix Release

Some of you might be slightly confused by this posting since our 2.0.0 release was published just five days ago. No piece of software is perfect and our 2.0.0 release is no exception to this. Since we released last Thursday our 2.0.0 discs have received over 15,000 downloads - a number the Bodhi team and I are extremely happy with. With this large influx of users we have received a piles of user feedback and bug reports - some of which need to be dealt with right away (not two months from now when our next scheduled update release is set to come out).

With this in mind I would like to cut straight to the point and give you the disc downloads for 2.0.1 (as always torrent is fastest):

What was so pressing you ask that demanded we release bug fix ISO images now instead of waiting for our normal scheduled release? Well a few things:
  • Added a variety of firmware to the default install to greatly increase wireless support
  • Added support for booting the ISO image via grub2
  • Added some missing ACPI scripts so suspending works
  • Removed a few misc mentions of 10.04/1.4.0 left behind in documentation
Users that have already installed our 2.0.0 release (or alphas) and are keeping up to date with their software updates via the package manager will already be at our 2.0.1 release:

No need to reinstall for minor/bug fix releases - but I would encourage you to grab this latest ISO image for use with your live media.

~Jeff Hoogland

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bodhi Linux 2.0.0 Released

Well boys and girls the wait is finally over. After two months in the making 2.0.0 is officially our stable release. This build features the stable Linux 3.2 kernel, PCManFM file manager, the latest version of the Midori browser:

and finally the brand spanking new Terminology terminal emulator:

Bodhi 2.0.0 is our first stable release to be offered in both 32 and 64bit flavors. Please note the torrent download is much faster than the direct download:

The Bodhi team and I would like to extend our thanks to everyone who made this release possible. Most notably the E17 team and our community of testers!

If you encounter an issue with this release I would please implore you to first check your download md5sum. If your download is fine I would then ask that you request help on our user forums - not in the comments section of this blog post.

Finally - if you enjoy using Bodhi and think this release works well I would encourage you to please send a message to your favorite Linux/Technology writers letting them know there is some new Bodhi goodness to be had! Also - if you have some spare bandwidth I would encourage you to seed our torrents for awhile.

~Jeff Hoogland

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bodhi Linux 2.0.0 Release Candidate

A little over six weeks ago I posted about the first Bodhi Linux 2.0.0 public image. We have had three other builds release since then and today I would like to announce the availability of build 5 for download. I am stamping this build as our "release candidate" meaning that is is a stable working environment and something extremely close to this release will become our "stable"/final 2.0.0 release by the end of this month.

What is missing from this release still? Of note our AppCenter is still in the process of being transitioned over to work fully with this new release. Meaning a few of the packages there might not be found yet in the 2.0.0 repositories. If you do find an application there that doesn't install properly I encourage you to let us know on our user forums. Also worth noting is that none of the current .BOD files obtained via the "Download" buttons are functional with 2.0.0 and they should not under any circumstance be installed on a 2.0.0 system. There will be an announcement posted here when they are ready.

Finally - you can find the 32/64bit disc images for download via source forge here.

~Jeff Hoogland

Sunday, July 8, 2012

HOWTO: Make your QT Applications Blend In

Since Bodhi Linux includes GTK applications by default, you will find they have a fairly neutral tone that blends fairly well with the rest of the system. Beyond this Enlightenment has a built in tool for changing the look of GTK applications.

What is a person to do though when they install VLC or some other QT application for the first time and it looks like this:

First off - don't panic! It is a fairly simple/quick fix to get your QT applications to blend in with the rest of your desktop. You first simply need to install the QT theme manager - on Debian based systems such as Bodhi this can be done from the command line via:

sudo apt-get install qt4-qtconfig

Once this package is installed a new option should appear in your menu under "Preferences" labeled "Qt 4 Settings". Launching this will present you with a window the looks something like this:

Only your "GUI Style" will be something other "GTK+" by default. To change this simply select "GTK+" from the drop down menu and then close the settings manager.

You should now be all set with nicer looking QT applications:

~Jeff Hoogland

Friday, July 6, 2012

E17 heading towards a Stable Release - No Really!

I've been pushing the Enlightenment desktop for some time now and for as long as I've been promoting it I've also been warning folks that it is under heavy development. Well folks - Duke Nuke'em Forever might have beat them to a release, but E team is prepping for a major (stable!) release themselves.

The E release manager has setup a wordpress you can find here to follow more specific details about the upcoming release. What can you do to help out with getting E17 on the road to release as a end user? Why filing bug reports of course! One thing worth noting is that if you are filing bug reports you should be keeping as close the latest SVN version as possible.

Finally - if it has been awhile since you've tried the Enlightenment desktop now is the perfect time! If you aren't inclined to be compiling software from source Bodhi Linux provides one of the best default implementations of E17 around. Arch Linux and Gentoo also provide fairly current builds of E17 in their community supported repositories.

2012 - the year of an E17 Release!

~Jeff Hoogland

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Some Bodhi Linux Video Goodness

I'd like to take a moment to share a few wonderful videos one of the Bodhi team members has taken the time to put together. This first is a short sound byte/advertisement for our upcoming 2.0.0 release:

These next two show case the winners of our Desktop of the Week contest:

2nd Quarter Winners 2012

1st Quarter Winners 2012

~Jeff Hoogland

Is Blizzard banning Linux Users?

While some companies like Valve are working on porting their software to run natively on Linux, it appears some other large companies are going to the extreme to prevent users from running their software on free operating systems.

The company I am talking about? None other than Blizzard Games. Late last month users started reporting on the Wine APPDB page for Diablo 3 that their user accounts where getting banned simply for running their games using Wine! So this is me providing a fair warning to everyone else out there running Diablo 3 via Wine - don't. Unless of course you feel like having wasted 60$ spent to buy the game.

To quote some of the frustrated Linux gamers:

"Well I've had Diablo running on my FreeBSD machine now for a couple of weeks and have a level 53 Wizard.

I just got notice while trying to log in last night that I was banned, and when I checked my email, I hadn't received anything from Blizzard.

After I opened a support ticket with them, a short while later, this is what I received in email:

Account Action: Account Closure
Offense: Unapproved Third Party Software
A third party program is any file or program that is used in addition to the game to gain an unfair advantage. These programs may increase movement speed or teleport heroes from one place to another beyond what is allowed by game design. It also includes any programs that obtain information from the game that is not normally available to the regular player or that transmit or modify any of the game files.

I don't run any programs as described above.

I kite, I die, and then I repair. But hey it's fun."

And a second:

"I got banned last night as well. Other than running under Wine I can't imagine why. Level 30ish char and not so much as a gaming keyboard.

I also have a ticket open. We will see..."

And a third:

"Ditto. I suddenly got a banned email last night, and I'm more or less in the same position. I think they're getting a bit trigger-happy with this, considering I've been running WoW for years under WINE, too.

Ah well, ticket's up."

Please stop the madness Blizzard. You should try focusing your banning efforts on people actually cheating instead of those simply trying to play your games on their OS of choice. If you are looking for more information on this topic there is a fairly good write up about it here.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bodhi Linux ARM Alpha Release for RaspBerry Pi

Edit/Update: You can find the latest release here -> http://www.bodhilinux.com/downloads_mobile.php

I've been busy with lots of different Bodhi things of the late. The latest of my many projects has been getting the Bodhi desktop functional on the RaspBerry Pi:

This first release while having some rough edges does give you a fully functional Enlightenment desktop on top of a Debian Wheezy ARMEL base. I am providing two different downloads which you can find on our source forge page here. The first is an easy to use .img file that can be written to 4GB or larger SD card.

If you dislike .img files I've also provided tar files that contain the boot partition (which should be written to a vfat partition at the start of an SD card) and the root file system (which should be written to the second partition on a card that is extX).

The default logins for this image are:


The "bodhi" user has sudo rights by default.

If you hit any snags or find bugs with this image please let us know in the RaspBerryPi section of our user forums (not the comment section of this blog!) so we can improve this release.

~Jeff Hoogland

Monday, June 11, 2012

Bodhi Linux ARM Release Candidate for Genesi

Edit/Update: You can find the latest release here -> http://www.bodhilinux.com/downloads_mobile.php

Early this year I posted about our beta release of Bodhi on ARM for the Genesi Smartbook. Today I would like to finally follow up that beta release with something that I consider "release candidate" quality. The hardware is 99% functional with this release including the ability to suspend the system. Other small improvements include functional "plug and play" for flash drives and a mostly functional AppCenter!

There are three different downloads provided that you can find here. It is recommended you use one of the provided .img files (and check the md5sum after such a large download!). For developers interested in seeing the raw file system you can also download it in .tar.xz form.

The default login information for this release image are:


If you run into any issues please let us know in the Genesi section of our forums.

~Jeff Hoogland

A Bodhi Linux 2.0.0 FAQ

I've been getting a good deal of redundant questions regarding Bodhi's upcoming 2.0.0 release. Today I would like to address a few of the more common questions I've been getting.

When is the release date?

No idea. I live strictly by "its ready when its ready" philosophy for the software I work on. Setting strict release dates causes buggy software to be marked as "stable". Our targeted release month is July - but who knows it could be ready before then.

What is the main difference between 2.0.0 and 1.x.y?

The Ubuntu base is the main difference. Our 1.x.y series is based on Ubuntu 10.04, while 2.0.0 is built on top of 12.04

Can I upgrade my Bodhi Linux 1.x.y install to Bodhi 2.0.0?

No. A full reinstall will be required.

Will there be 64bit support?


What are the minimum system requirements?

The minimum system requirements will be about the same as Bodhi 1.x.y. Currently they are looking like:
300mhz processor
128mb RAM
2gig of hard drive space

Will it be faster than Bodhi 1.x.y?

Could be. It will not be slower to say the least.

How big will the disc download be?

Since we do not have a final stable version as of yet I cannot say for sure. Expect it to be under 500mb though.

Can I upgrade from 2.0.0 pre-release to the final 2.0.0 version?


I think that about covers all the common questions I have gotten. If you have another question regarding this release feel free to drop a comment below.

~Jeff Hoogland

Friday, June 8, 2012

Filling out my FAFSA on FOSS

I want to remind every out there of something:

Never doubt that your voice matters.

Over a year ago I wrote a post complaining that you where unable to complete the "free application for federal student aide" from an FOSS operating system without first tricking the government's website into thinking you are running Windows.

It was time for me to renew my application (it is something you update every year in the US) and I had my user agent changer all ready to go, but before I simply admitted defeat again I first tried with my normal browser settings. Lo and behold was I surprised! While I was still warned that I was using an "unsupported" browser - the FAFSA website no longer prevented me from filling out the application from said browser.

This is fantastic to say the least - it is a step in the right direction: towards a open internet where the platform you are accessing it from doesn't matter. I would like to say thanks to everyone out there who read my post last year and took the time to contact the FAFSA folks to let them know how stupid their policy was - because apparently they listened!

~Jeff Hoogland