I've been using Linux distributions since the days when you had to download a binary kernel, then download and compile the source code for all of the utilities, programs, commands, and support modules over a 300 baud modem. Things have come a long way since then, and there are a great many pre-built distributions to choose from, and with today's Internet speeds they can be downloaded and installed in a matter of minutes. Bodhi Linux is one of them, and here I've laid out the reasons it has become my first choice for an every-day driver installation.
My goal was to find a distribution that could be used to breathe new life into older hardware. It needed to be small, fast, and lightweight. One of the goals of the Bodhi project team is to provide a functioning base system without any bloat. By default, you get a text editor, a terminal emulator, a web browser, and a few other basic tools, all optimized for performance. The desktop installed for Bodhi is Moksha, written with the same minimalist mindset. It is very simple and plain-jane by default, but can be configured with different themes and as many widgets and gadgets as you want.
The second thing I was looking for in a Linux distro is extensibility. I wanted to be able to add office software, developer tools, video streaming clients - anything one would want a desktop or laptop computer to do. Bodhi maintains a repository of software developed and optimized specifically to run on Bodhi, but the OS itself is built on an Ubuntu kernel, and anything that runs on Ubuntu will run on Bodhi. In fact, the Ubuntu package manager will install and run fine on Bodhi, opening Bodhi up to literally thousands of software packages.
Perhaps the thing I use Bodhi for most these days is Kodi, the video-streaming platform. I used the Ubuntu installation instructions, which worked flawlessly. The performance on my old Toshiba Satellite laptop is impressive. To put that into context, the laptop originally shipped with Windows Vista. Running Bodhi and Kodi, it gives me a fully functional media server using all open-source (ie; "free") software.
What others say: I've reloaded a few old laptops for friends with Bodhi. These were Windows-95 era dinosaurs. According to the owners, their laptops function better and faster now than they did when they were new. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to make aging hardware perform like new, and new hardware perform better than just about any Windows installation.
For some other takes on Linux as a daily driver, please see these excellent submissions from other contributors: