Farewell, Bonny Bodhi?

Well autumn is nigh upon us here in the Northern reaches of the Linux blogosphere, and any day now the a/c will downshift to “medium” over at the Broken Windows Lounge.

Oktoberfest ales are selling like hotcakes, the scent of pumpkin spice lattes fills the air, and more than a few bloggers are rejoicing at the end of the Dog Days at last.

The world might feel once again like a happy and wondrous place, in fact — Systemd, Schmystemd! — but for the recent arrival of a sad bit of news.

‘A Labor of Love’

“Due to a variety of reasons I would like to announce today that I will no longer be actively developing Bodhi Linux,” wrote developer Jeff Hoogland in a blog post that came as a shock to many.

“Bodhi has been a labor of love for me that was started nearly four years ago,” Hoogland went on. “In that time all of the other original team members fell away…. I no longer have the bandwidth to actively develop Bodhi.”

The news soon was picked up by ace reporter Larry Cafiero over at FOSS Force. It then generated wave after wave of shock and dismay on LXer, Google+ and beyond.

‘Good While It Lasted’

“I wish Jeff all the best, but I’m sorry to see him go,” lamented Linux Rants blogger Mike Stone.

“I hope to hear soon that Bodhi has been picked up by a new person, whoever that person may be,” he said.

“I always loved that it used E instead of one of the more common DEs,” Stone added. “It really made Bodhi stand out from the crowd. Hopefully this is a passing of the torch instead of boarding up the windows.”

Similarly, “I’m very sorry this nice and young distro has faced this problem,” agreed Google+ blogger Gonzalo Velasco C.

“Eventually, all ‘one-man’ or ‘few-men’ distros will face extinction, unless they are carried on by some community,” he went on. “I have seen this with SolusOS and Fuduntu. Bodhi was good while it lasted.”

‘Support Things You Value’

Indeed, “the story this year in open source has been projects that had too few people and too few resources and got into trouble because of it,” Google+ blogger Kevin O’Brien told Linux Girl. “OpenSSL was such a case, and now Bodhi.”

There can be cases where a single maintainer can keep a distro going, “but only if the community is willing to come up with the money to support the project,” he said. “Obviously Jeff is married, has a young child and needs to make a living.

“I wish him all the best,” O’Brien said, “but the larger message is that you need to support things you value, or they eventually go away. In other words Free as in Freedom — not Free as in Beer.”

‘No Guarantees’

The Bodhi site has very good documentation, blogger Robert Pogson pointed out. “That’s something every distro should emulate,” he said.

Those bereft by its loss “can move on to Debian GNU/Linux or other good distros,” Pogson said.

“I’m sure the whole project was worthwhile, but some things just aren’t meant to be or wither because there are many other choices,” he observed.

“It’s all good,” Pogson added. “Life and death come with no guarantees, but they can be great adventures.”

‘The Same Old Taco Bell’

The Linux community should “stop trying to reinvent the wheel and instead have everybody focus on only one or two versions,” SoylentNews blogger hairyfeet suggested.

Then, “Linux would have more polish than Windows or OSX by a mile,” he said. “Instead, we get the same old Taco Bell, same ingredients in a VERY slightly different combo.”

If nothing else, Bodhi’s example holds several lessons for managing open source projects, began Chris Travers, a blogger who works on the LedgerSMB project.

‘It Is Important to Recruit’

“The big one is that if you are starting a project, it is extremely important to recruit and work with other maintainers,” Travers said. “I have been fortunate in that regard, having learned from mistakes of the past and also forking LedgerSMB from a single-maintainer accounting and ERP program which has seen slowing development in recent years — SQL-Ledger.”

Open source software “involves people donating time and effort into building the software — either their own, or by paying others,” he added. “As such, organizing and growing a project is more complex than organizing and growing a business.”

In any case, “it sounds like the distro has significant support, and hopefully the community will come together to pick it up,” Travers said.

‘Awesomeness Can’t Die’

As if on cue, “No, Bodhi is not dying,” Google+ blogger Alessandro Ebersol asserted.

“Bodhi’s userbase is working to not let Bodhi Linux die,” he said. “I know there’s a gentleman who already stepped in to keep the Bodhi project alive, well and kicking.

“I’m a personal fan of Enlightenment,” he added. “Bodhi is very well done and awesome. Awesomeness can’t die.”

Update: Late on Friday, Hoogland himself penned a post reassuring all those concerned about Bodhi’s fate. In a nutshell, “Bodhi Linux is NOT Dead – It is just Changing Hands.”

Katherine Noyes is always on duty in her role as Linux Girl, whose cape she has worn since 2007. A mild-mannered journalist by day, she spends her evenings haunting the seedy bars and watering holes of the Linux blogosphere in search of the latest gossip. You can also find her on Twitter and Google+.

1 Comment

  • Come watch as the Amazing Hairyfeet predicts what Bodhi Linux was without having to actually use it! /Puts on turban, holds envelope to head/

    "Lets see…What is a distro based on (insert RH,Debian,Ubuntu,Slackware) with a (insert KDE,Gnome,LXDE,E17) desktop environment with such "features" as (insert LO, Chromium,Firefox,Gimp) and just enough changes to make it incompatible with most distros?…/opens envelope/ a dead duck!"

    This is why Linux desktops are like Taco bell, instead of doing something actually new and innovative everyone just wastes what little resources and energy non corporate Linux has by reinventing the wheel and changing just enough to break compatibility with each other…/slow golf clap/…this must be why Linux has dropped so low in the numbers its only beating "other" which is widely reported to be Win9X and Win2K, by 0.01%!

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