Printers

Getting Bodhi Linux up to speed

Jack Wallen has a new favorite Linux distribution. But that distribution can use some help getting up to speed after installation. Here, Jack shows you what to add for more features in Bodhi Linux.

Most of the time I am writing articles on getting users up to speed with specific tools, distributions, or desktops. This time, I am going to help you set up one of my new pet distributions so that you'll spend less time figuring things out, and more time enjoying Bodhi Linux.

You should already know that Bodhi Linux is proud to be one of the few distributions that is a minimal, yet very functional, desktop Linux. What that means is you are going to have to actually install some software. That task is always the first thing I do upon completion of installation. Naturally everyone has their own list of favorite software they install, my list looks something like this:

  • The Gimp
  • LibreOffice
  • Audacity
  • Banshee
  • Gnucash
  • Lucky Backup
  • Speedcrunch
  • Fotowall
  • Calibre
  • Chromium Browser
  • Dropbox

That's the basic list of applications that I generally install. That does not include everything necessary to really get Bodhi Linux up to speed. In order to do that, a few underlying systems and tools must be installed. I'll be honest here, I'm not quite sure why some of these are left out ... but they are. Anyway -- here's the gist.

Printing

Figure A

You will notice, as you make your way around the main menu, there is no way to configure a printer. Those familiar with Linux and printing will probably know to open their browser and point it to http://localhost:631 where you can configure a printer via the CUPS web-based tool. Those less familiar will need an app for that. Well, just open up Synaptic, do a search for "printer" (no quotes) and install system-config-printer-common and system-config-printer-gtk. Once this is complete you can now navigate through Settings | All | System | Printing and use a fairly familiar printer administration tool (see above). From this point it should be simple to add a new printer onto your system.

This particular piece of software is one of those that should be included in the basic installation. Hopefully this software, or another piece that serves the same purpose, will be included in future releases.

Multi-media

This is one of those issues that someone just simply needs to resolve. How many of you install Linux and then go to play an MP3 or a video file only to find out the software won't play the file? Because Bodhi is based on Ubuntu, getting MP3 (and other unsupported formats) to play is as simple as running a single command:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

The above command should enable Bodhi to play both MP3 files as well as video files. If that doesn't complete the process, make sure gstreamer and ffmpeg are both installed.

Screensaver

Although this isn't nearly a crucial application, it can save you a bit of energy. By default Bodhi does not include the xscreensaver package. Without this you will find your display not hibernating. This is especially important with laptops as you will also not have any power management control. To resolve this issue, install the xscreensaver package (along with any special screensaver packages you might want). Once that is done you can then go to Settings | All | Preferences | Screensaver and set up both your screensaver and (from the Advanced tab) your power management.

In the end

This isn't a completely exhaustive how-to, but that's a challenge simply because everyone's needs are different. But this will get your Bodhi install up to speed on my everyday challenges. I will continue this topic in upcoming articles (like setting up Samba on Bodhi and much more).

From your point of view, what can Bodhi Linux do to make this task easier from the initial installation? Help the developers out and share with your fellow TechRepublic members.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

14 comments
george
george

I have been a dogged user of Ubuntu for a very long time. 11.04 was quite frankly, near perfect. 11.10/Gnome3/Unity rolls in and as far as usability is concerned, we have gone back to the dark ages. Everything we have argued for in terms of usabiity has gone out the door. Have installed E17 on 11.10. Would love to move to Bohdi. But 32 bit is history and so is 10.10. kernel 3.0 is not there yet.Stretching the rubber band both ways? Don't get me wrong. Tracking BodhiLinux very closely. As soon as it jumps up to 64bit and keeps up with the current distros, I'm there! Ubuntu? Will always love it but we need to get back to basics. USABILITY FOR THE MASSES!

petrus.1928
petrus.1928

I agree with tdrane's sentiments. I'm not a power user, just need to do some basic internet stuff - emails, research, downloading, etc. Plus basic word processing, spreadsheets, basic photo editing, etc. Apart from freecell, I have no use for games - I've much better & more important things to do with my life. I'm quite happy with Bodhi, Mint, & Puppy (MacPup) which I use for may daily affairs, including researching Windows problems (which at 83 I sort out for less enlightened users - excuse the pun). My Linux distros are just as easy (if not easier) to use as Windows, and certainly much more secure. Returning to Bodhi, it would be good if the developers added a few more basics as o0utlined in the main article. But then, where would they stop? It'd be too easy to justify "we really need this package or that' so let's add it". But it's so easy now to add one's own programs to the basic mix, so why bother? After all, each one of us knows exactly what programs we need, so it's not necessary to wade through a long list. Just enter the name into synaptic & `go get 'im boy'. If a p-articular program isn't yet in the repository, then it's a simple matter to download a .deb file and install it. That's what I've done for a couple of programs that I wanted to try. Also, it's not exactly rocket science to add a source into one's repository list. P'raps not so easy for a newbie, but then there's plenty of help available.

realvarezm
realvarezm

try to do a research before pick a linux distro, like Jack Wallen expose, some Linux distros are very technical and that will end up being discourage for new user. So if you reader, have or want a new user for the linux world, choose wisely what this person needs he or her limitations as for technical knowledge and most of all, encourage this new user to gain knowledge in the linux world and lead him/her to the freedom this beatiful software gives. Cheers!

tdrane
tdrane

... and am happy with it. I dont crunch it. I dont 'test' it to see where it fails. I go online and read articles. I store and look at photos, sometimes will even get rid of the dreaded red-eye. I listen to music, and watch movies. I've even printed a couple of maps, and some recipes. So far, I havent found a problem with it. Sure, I installed some programs to do it all. Pretty easy for me to figure out. Changing the look of it is easy, and looks good. And the best part, is donating a few bucks to a developer, not several hundred for a lot of things I dont need. In closing, I say that simple is great for us simple people. For the gamers and high-processing folks, whatever works for you is pretty great too. P.S.- I have Bodhi on a Vaio laptop, and Unbuntu on an original-to-factory-first-out-G5 Power Mac.... and it runs fine too. And that's just great with me.

gradkiss
gradkiss

Hi there Jack Wallen...things are always a bit out of proportion due to sales or something you usually clear up...especially for the users of Sugar software down south in Venezuela. They watch and read the same posts and articles any English speaking human does. I do too so I will add...I tried and install Bodhi on my Toshiba Satellite recently...I mean by that that I used a cheap 17 inch laptop with Windows completely erased and without their responsibility to update or anything. I do my own maintenance and even run my own root-kit software, etc to say safe...like I do not want to be seen as an STD. I liked Bodhi mainly because I liked the way it looked...artistically...and it was not that much different than trying out Elive. I even added some stuff so0me people would not even try to install...just to see if it would work. I used the terminal some and if I had a problem it was my fault. Overall...I would recommend Bodhi to my own Daughter there in Tennessee that knows too much about how to use script...and I keep teller her she's own her own if she does something wrong...guess that's because I am not a billionaire, but I still love her like a father. She turned in her Mac Laptop too and ran Jolicloud like most young people should and learned the clouds are out there to shade some while some hide under them to stay in business.Basically we all believe in freedom and I would have smiled if she chose Windows.Really! Have a good day.

cjc5447
cjc5447

LOL, Jack seems to change his favorite Linux distribution about as often as his socks. Every Linux distro I 've ever tried has problems, most often fit and finish, the GUI always feels rough around the edges, and not consistent across apps. Ubuntu was the best, until they dumped Gnome 2 in favor of Unity, which really feels like a "beta" product. Gnome 3 is plain awful. If Microsoft came up with something like that they would be pilloried. Install mp3 and dvd codecs, flash player, update a zillion packages (you have no idea what they do, but there's an update posted, so.. might as well install it) pray to the gods, and you might get it to work.. until it doesn't. At which point you have no idea why it failed. I'm not against Linux, I have Ubuntu 11.04 on my laptop, most of the time it works OK. But they need to settle on one desktop GUI and work on fit and finish issues, instead of having holy wars about Gnome, KDE, Enlightment, etc. The end user just wants to get a job done, not get into a minefield of computer technical minutia.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

That is surprising. I would expect any distro to come with all of the open source codecs. I suppose they all have their strong points and minimalist is this one (Bodhi). Perhaps they need a "Standard Media package" option in the installation. I like quick choices, like "Minimum Install: Just what is needed to boot", "Media Package: All the codecs and players", "Creator package: Content Editors", "Games package: Something like Steam?" I doubt I am alone when I say that I dislike going through the whole package manager looking at what I should install. The list has gotten huge! I want to know what is new, relevant, top-rated? Most downloaded? Sure, you can search or go by catagory but it could still take hours to go through all your options unless you always install the same thing and never look at the alternatives.

emgub
emgub

But they need to settle on one desktop GUI and work on fit and finish issues, instead of having holy wars about Gnome, KDE, Enlightment, etc. The end user just wants to get a job done, not get into a minefield of computer technical minutia" It's not the developers of a Distro that get into such 'holy wars" over a DE, it IS the end user that does: die hard fanboys of one UI vs the other that spark flame wars on forums and any other outlet they can post it on. Don't like a certain DE? Fine, don't use it, but at the same time dno't imply that it is a piece of crap just because -you- don't like it. "To Each Their Own" Learn it. Live it. Get the F**k over it.

itadmin
itadmin

If you're talking looks, absolutely. But if you're talking function, it's Windows that falls short. My wife is an English teacher, strong on spelling and grammar, but technologically challenged - really, really challenged. I've built her a new machine and installed Windows 7 and Debian, both 64 bit, on it. Windows 7 is pretty, but there were problems. If you don't get the drivers exactly right, it hangs. Here's a how-to on installing Debian with all the codecs, etc.: http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=61221 Now Debian is stable and reliable, doesn't crash and doesn't hang. She's doing all her work on that. KDE4 came out wanting. Now they've got it right. The same will happen with Gnome 3. As far as Linux is concerned, Debian is the right mix for ease of use and rock solid stability. I've used many distros. Gentoo was stable, as well, but updates were too time consuming. Most users want stability and reliability, right? One person said Mepis (Debian with KDE and all the codes and some non open source applications) was the most boring OS because it never crashed, hung or gave problems. That sounds good to me.

rpollard
rpollard

Been using Ubuntu for years but still maintain it is not ready for the masses. I think they're trying to improve the user interface with Unity but I'm not sure as I am still stuck on 10.04. Waiting to have enough time to completely wipe my system and start over with 11.10. They have a long way to go to be acceptable for the average Joe. Everytime I have a kernel update I have manually re-install the NVIDIA drivers because of some stupid user liscense issue. Like I said, they have a long way to go...

RipVan
RipVan

...but you can insert "Microsoft" in your post instead of Linux and you will still be right on track. I don't know why people have such problems with it. It is the "AOL" of computers and people STILL don't seem to be able to figure anything out.

JeffHoogland91
JeffHoogland91

Then I guess you should really like Bodhi then. We don't force kernel updates down upon the user for exactly this reason. But then if you actually tried the software before complaining odds are you would have much less to complain about.

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