Exploring Bodhi Linux 5.0.0

Terminology

One of the biggest special features of Enlightenment and the Moksha desktop is the Terminology terminal emulator [8, 9] (in the menu below Applications | System Tools). At first glance, the terminal appears plain and simple: There is no menubar, scrollbar, or other controls. With a right click, however, a menu opens; you can use the menu to divide the window into several sections (Split V and Split H). The New button opens another tab in the current window. Use the Miniview option to enable a sidebar with a miniature version of the history. In this way, previous output from a command can be retrieved relatively quickly.

Things start to get colorful as soon as Terminology wants something from you – for example, when you add a path using the Tab key. In this case, a terminal bell sounds, together with a red indicator in the lower-right corner of the terminal area. Terminology also colors the corresponding area red for a short while (Figure 3). If you prefer a simple terminal, you can deactivate these functions via Settings.

Figure 3: Bodhi stands out from its competitors when it comes to the terminal: Terminology is colorful: When the terminal bell sounds (for example, when a path is expanded using the tab key), the terminal window lights up in red.

In addition to the visual effects, Terminology also complements your work in the text terminal with useful functions. For example, the system provides a number of additional commands that other command lines do not offer (see table Table 1). These include the tyls command, which displays files with a preview, as an alternative to ls. A mouse click on a file opens the document viewer or a media player integrated in the terminal program (Figure 4).

Table 1

Terminology Commands

Command

Function

tyls

Displays contents of directories with thumbnails

tyalpha

Activates a transparent background

tybg

Adopts an image as the background for the terminal

tycat

Opens images, videos, and music directly in the terminal window

typop

Opens images, videos, and music in your own player

tyq

Adds media to the playlist

tysend

Sends files for storage (useful for SSH connections)

Figure 4: You can divide the Terminology window into several areas. Built-in helper applications show thumbnails of images in the directories or even play video and music files directly in the terminal.

tycat lets you output media content such as pictures, music files, or videos directly in the terminal. typop opens the file you call in the internal media player, where playback can be controlled using buttons. In our lab, however, these extended functions proved to be a little immature. tyls, for example, was not able to create thumbnails for JPG images. And trying to play back MP3 files with tycat led to numerous error messages being output, although – strangely – this did not impair the functionality.

Conclusions

Bodhi Linux gets many things right: In the standard version, the distribution is reduced to the bare essentials and can therefore be easily customized. In the legacy version, the developers offer a system with up-to-date software that still feels fast and modern even on older computers. Finally, with the AppPack output, Bodhi provides a distribution for beginners, allowing them to have a look around and try out a complete working environment before plumbing the depths of package management.

The Moksha desktop provides real wow moments, whether you are using a state-of-art computer or an older treasure. Small weaknesses such as the painstaking approach to changing the system's default language, or the somewhat unstable Terminology commands, do not cloud the picture too much. However, we fail to understand the decision to do without a graphical front end for unpacking archives such as ZIP files even in the AppPack version. A program like File Roller would only slightly increase the ISO file's size, but it would make a common task in everyday life far easier for beginners.

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