Bodhi Linux Is Beautiful & Works On Very Old Computers [Linux]

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linux for old computersTry a lightweight, beautiful Linux distro that works on very old hardware. Bodhi Linux can run on processors with only 300 mhz so imagine how well it will work on your machine. With the Enlightenment desktop environment, Bodhi looks great and runs light. With the Ubuntu repositories, Bodhi has access to a plethora of quality free software. With a little work, it can become your perfect desktop.

You’ll need to install your favorite software of course, and you might want to spend some time tweaking things. In many ways Bodhi reminds me of time spent tweaking early versions of Ubuntu to make everything work just right. We’ve shown you visually pleasing Linux distributions that use Enlightenment, and those are worth checking out. Bodhi Linux is different because it’s up to date, completely free to use and compatible with the Ubuntu repositories.

Choose Your Look

Bodhi, it seems, is committed to choice above all. The distribution boots quickly, and the first thing it presents you with is a decision. With various desktop modes to choose from and a few themes to check out as well, you’ll be wanting to explore a little:

linux for old computers

Pick a profile based on your needs and you’ll quickly see the main desktop for Bodhi. Here’s how it looked based on my decisions:

linux for old slow computer

This familiar (read: Windows-like) layout is unique in the world of Enlightenment-based distros, but don’t worry, you can customize the desktop quite a bit if this isn’t your style.

Use Your Desktop

So how does one use this thing? You’ll be wanting to pull up the menu to launch applications. You can do this by clicking anywhere on the desktop or by clicking the button.

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linux for old slow computer

Yep, it’s a start button. The menu, to begin with, is sparse, but you can explore the distribution by customizing the look and feel. Much of the fun of older Linux distributions was experimenting with the look and feel in order to get everything set up exactly the way you wanted it. Bodhi recaptured this spirit for me; you should explore it yourself.

Installing Software

Like I said earlier: there’s not a lot of software installed by default. That’s intentional, and is related to the previously mentioned commitment to choice. To quote Bodhi’s about page:

At Bodhi Linux, we believe in User Choice, so we don’t give you three pre-installed mail clients to choose from. It does not mean that there is every browser possible at the click of a button. What it does mean is that we have our own repositories and these are accessible via the apt-get command line, GUI package manager or better still our online software store ( see “Add Software” in menu above!). Out of the box we give you the tools to access the resources you need to be able to build your system.

So choice means the freedom to install whatever software you like, and there is quite a bit of freedom there to be sure. A handy website gives you quick access to many familiar programs:

linux for old slow computer

The site makes use of aptURL to provide single-click installs, but offline installation packs are also available if you prefer.

Want more control than a website with download links can give you? Don’t worry, all the standard Ubuntu package management tools are here for you to use. Synaptic, for example:

linux for old computers

You’ll find apt-get works from the command line as well, so there’s another choice for you.


What really impressive about this distribution is how fast it runs. This is Ubuntu stripped down without any sacrifice in terms of look and feel. Here are the minimal hardware specs:

  • 300mhz i386 Processor.
  • 128MB of RAM.
  • 1.5GB HD space

If a computer is still running today it almost certainly meets those criteria, so there’s no harm in giving Bodhi a chance. Download it now.

What do you think of Bodhi? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, along with any Enlightenment tweaks you can offer.

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Comments (41)
  • Pizamoto

    Ultimate Edition “Lite” works very well on my Toshiba Tablet PC…1.53 mHz and 1 GB ram. NO HARD DRIVE, just an 8 GB SD card! Woo-Hoo!

  • Gibi

    nice distro only problem is that it doesn`t run on really old computer like my old  hp zv 5ooo

    • jhpot

      Sometimes there are limits to using aging computers, sadly. Do you have any operating system working on that HP?

  • ericssonfan

    Can’t believe no one mentions XPUD which is the best and prettiest linux I have ever seen. Unbelievably small, but it gives everything that’s really necessary.

  • Tavee2000

    Beautiful OS and plenty of reasons to like, but in the end, (after trying it twice) but finally gave up on it. For me, the Nvidia (jockey) video driver support is not working and that was a final straw.

  • Tim Shannon, ND

    As a long time crunchbanger, I decided to give this a spin for fun. I tried an earlier bodhi and had some hardware issues off the bat – was too impatient to play with it.Then I tried this version of Bodhi (1.2), and I have to say, it is very comparable to crunchbang in system resources used, yet it’s quite a bit flashier. It’s also clear a lot of care has been put into it’s aesthetic – nicely done. A distro that is light on resources and elegant at the same time is NOT so common. It’s also very fast and responsive. I’ve not tried it as a production machine, so I can’t personally attest to it’s reliability/stability, but at first glance, it looks impressive. I think the people working on this distro are doing good things and I commend them. Peace P.S. As to the criticisms about the distro there are TONS of distro’s. You can call them re-spins, or whatever. But if more than a handful of people find them useful – than that is the best that can be expected. Bodhi has a place – because people are using it and enjoying it. The beauty of Linux is it’s versatility. There is no “right” Linux, only a community of creative free spirited people experimenting with computing. Bodhi is very much an expression of creativity and integrity – my 2 cents.

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.