Enlightenment 0.16

30 Sep

Enlightenment Window Manager

Well, Enlightenment 0.17 is the latest version, and 0.16 is the most loved version yet. Of what? A window manager for Linux desktops. If you are a new Linux user, you probably don’t know about desktop environments or window managers other than KDE and GNOME. While these projects have been around for some time, they are less scalable and are feature packed than old ones and light ones like TWM, FVWM2, WindowMaker (which I will cover in a future post) and also the new and popular lightweight desktop environment, XFCE.

A screenshot of E-0.16. Pager on the left-bottom, and iconbox on the right-bottom.

Note transparency on the terminal program E-term.

Each mouse button is assigned a menu when clicked on desktop.

While all these other window managers are more about functionality than style, Enlightnment (simply and affectionately called E ) is in a different league. And it is not my favourite window manager, but it is what I would like my favourite window manager (WindowMaker) to look like. Simply put, E exudes class. It is the Mercedes Benz – no, make that the Bugatti, of window managers in Linux. It has some great graphical eye candy in all its themes, especially Ganymede, which will make other window managers look positively sedentary. Enlightenment was developed from code used on FVWM2. This window manager was highly customizable, and these characteristics continued into E. There are plenty of image maps and all are put to good use on the title bars and the decorations and window borders. Transparency used in locations which you would not have imagined. There is a set of applets called Enlightenment Epplets, or simply Epplets, which run on your desktop, everything from music players and sound mixers and desktop lock and screensaver controllers, a command line, a drive mounter, CPU and memory and network traffic shown as “flames” of different intensities, all right there, on the desktop. These applets, called Enlightenment Epplets, are themed by each theme which comes with E, and so everything on that graphical real estate in front of your eyes is a visual treat.

The menus don’t come on a task bar. There is no concept of one. All menus are accessible on a click on the desktop. And there are multiple desktops, virtual desktops and pagers. You can customize wallpapers for them, you can scroll down to the desktop above or below. Move your mouse to the edge of the screen and voila, you have moved to the next desktop. Navigating in a multi tasking environment could not be easier.

Then there are the task management facilities – there is an iconbox, which catches any window you may be minimizing, and stores it as a small image icon of the same. The kind of feature which Windows and some of these other Linux based window managers would have to kill to have. The titlebars and endlessly customizable. There are also the special effects – FX Ripples and FX Waves which create ripples and waves on your desktop. The menus are customizable, and there is the popular E-conf tool, which is also known as the Enlightenment Configurator – E-Conf, for short.
Enlightenment has been subject to criticism – for being a resource hog especially on lower end machines. It has crashes with some themes, but things can be set right by editing E’s configuration files in a text editor and restarting the window manager. Which is another superb feature – you can simply restart Enlightnment from a menu command and not affect the other processes you have open. This is really useful if you want to install a new theme or test a theme you have created.

E-themes are highly customizable!

Note E-epplets on left cluster and right, also a special menubar on the extreme right! There’s plenty to play around with in Linux, and Enlightenment window manager is a good place to start. It is a clean desktop environment and is really very slick in terms of visual quality and the “gnarly” factor. If you want functionality with style, albeit without the heavy customizations and conventional styles of the other window managers like KDE and GNOME, try Enlightenment. It won’t let you down. ๐Ÿ™‚


Posted by on September 30, 2006 in Reviews


27 responses to “Enlightenment 0.16

  1. Phoenix

    October 1, 2006 at 10:55 am

    Superb stuff. Very interesting! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Especially the multi-desktop feature sounds cool. ๐Ÿ™‚ Whoa!

    Wonder why most people still don’t explore Linux..

  2. philramble

    October 1, 2006 at 11:36 am

    Phoenix, you should really try linux out sometime. I think you will love it. These days you can escape the command line interface although you can pick some commands up over time… and window managers like E are a good excuse to try linux too! Not to mention all the free software, which is also of high quality!

  3. Tismar

    October 1, 2006 at 2:02 pm

    interesting post..i have been playing with the idea of trying out linux..keeping my windows active on a different partition.

    although, since it wud be time consuming process to learn everything, install and use, switch might not happen anytime soon.

    if u ever decide to write up something like
    “important Dos’ and Donts, tips and recos for switching to linux” people like me could use it.

    This post was helpful nonetheless.

  4. philramble

    October 1, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    Hey Tismar,

    Its a very good idea to have a dual boot system. In fact, I have Ubuntu linux on dual boot on my laptop. Since it came with Windows and since many of my friends’ file formats are Windows based and since so many mainstream programs run on Windows, it made sense to keep the OS.

    Ubuntu is extremely easy to install. Its a very well compiled and user friendly linux distribution and the learning curve is shortened from a couple of months for a new user for other linux disributions to a few days. You will find yourself very much at home with Gnome and KDE desktops since they adopt many functionalities which are there in Windows while keeping some innovative improvements which linux has brought to the desktop.

    I will surely put up a post on migrating the desktop from windows to linux, for the average user. I shall include dual boot also. Perhaps this will exclude the gamer and the windows power user/programmer, but it will definitely include most of us who use a computer for internet, office applications, keeping data, multimedia, etc.

  5. Tismar

    October 1, 2006 at 10:10 pm

    well thanks phil..
    yes I indeed needed some pointers on which version of linux i shud try as there are so many of them.
    now since u talk abt it, ubuntu it is..!
    I will also do some research from my side and try to learn what I need to.

  6. sk

    October 2, 2006 at 1:44 am

    “Wonder why most people still donโ€™t explore Linux..”

    I’ll switch to Linux if someone will configure all my hardware for me. I’m serious! Of course, I’d rather buy a Mac instead and I think I’ll do that soon.

    Anyway, do you want me to write an article on why most people still don’t explore Linux? Actually, no. Anything I say on this topic will invite flak (at least from one person) and I really am in no mood to argue right now!!

    What the heck, here’s a summary of what I would have said:
    1. Linux will gain in popularity in India. There are more tech savvy people and Microsoft’s fights against piracy will lead several people to abandon Windows (pirated versions) and switch to Linux. Microsoft doesn’t lose anything in terms of money, but it will lose its install base.
    2. In Europe too, the way the EU is going after Microsoft, it may help Linux a lot.
    3. In the US, it’s OS X vs. Linux rather than Windows vs. Linux right now and OS X is winning.
    4. Vista has received a lot of positive reviews and several of the negative ones are related to minor bugs and hardware/ software compatibility but this has seen a vast improvement over the last couple of months. If Vista does turn out to be more stable and secure than XP, it’ll be more difficult to get people to switch.

    There, I thrown my pitches at you. Now, tismarji, swing away!!

  7. Tismar

    October 2, 2006 at 2:13 am


    “..Anything I say on this topic will invite flak (at least from one person) ..”
    wonder who that person is… that u? shame on u.

    as far me..I am least knowledgable on this issue. Only OS I have ever used is windows (not even mac) and I think windows has everything which a good OS should have.

    I have no idea how linux works. My itch to switch or try is just because of some reviews I have read including phil’s and I tend to try every piece of software which I hear abt if it sounds appealing enough.

    Regarding linux, As I have commented on ruhi’s blog, I think linux can never overthrow windows even in India for millions of reasons. Points made by sk would play, but I dont see MS loosing its install base..

    Regarding vista, I can bet on anything that its going to be a success. I mean if a company who owns 96% of market share, releases a upgraded product, what are the odds that it wont work. I mean, in spite of its minor bugs, or memory hogging issues, if thats what MS wants thats what people would use it . honestly people who would switch to linux from windows, would always be negligible. Some would still use windows on double boot as phil said.

    but thats the overall picture I see. Now personally for me, since I have heard so much abt linux, i wud surely like to give it a shot. That does not make me a linux fan.., or ms antagonist..just some one who wants to try something different.

  8. sk

    October 2, 2006 at 2:39 am

    Yes, it was Ruhi!!! How did you guess?

    “As I have commented on ruhiโ€™s blog, I think linux can never overthrow windows even in India for millions of reasons.”
    No, it may not. But it’s better for gray market dealers to sell a computer preinstalled with Ubuntu Linux than with a pirated version of Windows. Of course, it won’t sell as much initially, but it may catch on eventually and OEMs such as HP may offer such a choice to consumers in India. I don’t know much about the computer market in India but from seeing some of the WP blogs, it looks like several people are using Linux. By the way, does anyone know if the XP Starter Edition has done well or has it been a non-starter (pun intended)!

    “My itch to switch…”
    Nice rhyme!

  9. sk

    October 2, 2006 at 2:48 am

    Frankly, I think Linux will gain more widespread acceptance if computer hardware etc. is preconfigured (that’s the hardest part according to me). Microsoft, because of its influence will not permit the OEMs to do this and so, the next best thing is to target the gray market. It may or may not work, but it’s worth a try. Start with a 50% mix of pirated Windows OS and Ubuntu Linux. What say?

  10. ruhi

    October 2, 2006 at 6:45 am

    “Yes, it was Ruhi!!! How did you guess?”

    “wonder who that person isโ€ฆ that u? shame on u.”

    NO ITS NOT MEE!!!! hehee..

    Well, I think I need to point out that even though Linux is free, the costs associated with minor problems are NOT FREE. IBM, Red Hat etc. charge the customers some fee for solving these problems. Besides, these companies also have a shortage of people who are well trained in this area.

    The microsoft fan showed me some snapshots of far, so great ๐Ÿ™‚ I cant wait to see it live in action ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜›

  11. Tismar

    October 2, 2006 at 7:00 am

    “ hardware etc. is preconfigured (thatโ€™s the hardest part according to me). ..”

    according to me too.

    “..Microsoft, because of its influence will not permit the OEMs to do this and so..”
    My point exactly. At least as far as marketing OS is concerned, MS knows what they are doing..and they are good at it. and thats why I still think linux has long way to go to beat MS.

    also with growing laptop users and branded computers in India, I feel ‘gray market dealers’ might not survive too long either and even if they do, they wont be strong enough to matter..(my guess from what I see my friends and family are buying in India!)

    “..Well, I think I need to point out that even though Linux is free, the costs associated with minor problems are NOT FREE. IBM, Red Hat etc. charge the customers some fee for solving these problems..”

    Thats a good dont get flaky next time sk says something.

    “..The microsoft fan showed me some snapshots of far, so great I cant wait to see it live in action..”
    I can but I know eventually it would be on my computer.

  12. philramble

    October 2, 2006 at 12:28 pm

    Some common misconceptions:

    1. Linux does not offer good hardware support

    This is not entirely a misconception, since it is true that many people out there are not able to see their hardware configured easily. Heck, even I had issues, after being in on linux for five years now. But, keep in mind that there are many distributions, which offer great hardware support, especially the distros which cost money, like Linspire. Ubuntu is a superb distribution in this sense, since much of the hardware on my brand new Lenovo 3000 laptop got detected without issue. The only things which need work now are the web cam and the fingerprint security system, which are absent on most user machines.

    Note that for linux, all the drivers are written by the software developers who make linux, and the Windows drivers come from the manufacturers. This scene is changing, as many more developers are recognizing that Linux is a good platform for a desktop, and are therefore providing drivers.

    2. Vista is getting good reviews and will make it difficult to switch to linux.

    This is true for those customers who have the cash to make a migration. Vista costs money in terms of hardware also, and DirectX 10 as well as Microsoft Office 2007 will have not much in common with DX9 and MSOffice XP/2003 on Win XP, which is a six year old OS. I doubt people who are happy with what XP is doing, will see a need to switch unless there are some revolutionary benefits. And I dont see those with Vista. FYI, the window managers in Linux offered the same eye candy and the same visual concepts, et al, some 5 years before Vista was announced. Look at Enlightenment, Windowmaker or Gnome. All these are free software, downloadable for free, as is the operating system they run on.

    3. Linux requires a great deal of command line interaction.

    This is not entirely true. Logging into my linux system these days is as simple as:

    a. Turn the machine on
    b. Choose a log in name and enter password
    c. Choose desktop environment (Gnome, KDE, etc)
    d. Go!

    No command line involvements here. The previous areas where command line involvement was required has also been done away with. Installing programs (which are free) from the software repositories online is very simple too. Open your software package manager, select the packages you want to install, and the software downloads them from the net and installs them. In addition, linux can access your windows drive and use many windows file formats. This includes NTFS partitions whcih are more secure.

    Linux sure has a long way to go to beat MS, and that’s because of a combination of hardware support, familiarity and plain herd mentality on the part of the windows users (which I acknowledge as being normal).

    Linux has maybe 45 viruses written for it right now. Windows users may not be able to count the number of viruses in the virus definitions which are part of their anti virus software. The very construction of Linux is such that it allows for very few viruses to be effective, and most virus hackers simply don’t take the trouble to create a virus for linux these days. They get what they want, when they make windows viruses.

    Linux is a great alternative to software piracy, as someone else has mentioned. I find that Ubuntu offers some high quality software and good hardware integration and is capable of doing nearly everything which Windows and its applications can do for the average user. I picked up Ubuntu OS on one DVD, for the price of a computer magazine! Get the drift? ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. philramble

    October 2, 2006 at 12:35 pm

    I see MacOS being mentioned. At the outset, there are fewer service centers for the hardware which macs come with and fewer people still know how to use MacOS and fix things on it. Linux is gaining popularity because of the fact that it is free, while MacOS is not. Both are built over Unix, and hence are basically stable and capable OSes. However, I have to side with Linux, since I am in favour of using and developing free software. Switching to Mac from Windows is like giving up a popular steel chain around one’s neck (which everyone else has) to a fancy golden chain (which very few have). The chain still exists! Linux offers more functionality than Windows and MacOS and there are even emulators inside linux which can emulate Windows and MacOS for programs which use these OSes. So you can run WinXP and MacOS inside a window, in Linux.Best of all, Linux is free and can benefit those of us who cannot invest hundreds of dollars to buy one operating system, and invest more money for all the applications on it.

  14. sk

    October 2, 2006 at 12:50 pm

    “I picked up Ubuntu OS on one DVD, for the price of a computer magazine! Get the drift?”

    Yes. I got Windows free with my computer! And the dvd with drivers too!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Phoenix

    October 2, 2006 at 1:01 pm

    OMG.. I am sure you paid for it along with the computer sk! And will you get Vista free too? :->

  16. sk

    October 2, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    Ummm, yes, but unless you build your own computer, it doesn’t matter. You will get Windows free and you’ll have to pay the price of a computer magazine for Ubuntu!! And, yes, I will get Vista free. Microsoft has a deal with my University. Hope that answers your questions. Have a good day!

  17. philramble

    October 2, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    The average joe who wants to pick up an OS for his computer and is low on cash would anyday find Ubuntu more profitable. Surely, not everyone can afford computers which ship with a default OS. IBM had for some time been shipping their computers with linux and freedos, but not with windows. You will notice that the price of the OS doesnt come free but that the costs are covered. But a Freedos machine and you will cut costs significantly. Take MS Office out and put in OpenOffice and you save more cash and get additional PDF authoring capability. While Windows is free, its upgrades are not free. While one may have to dish out whatever the price of Vista is despite having bought Windows XP (as is the case with me if I have to get Vista), I just have to copy a friend’s DVD of a new version of Ubuntu or some other distro. It will upgrade my OS and keep all my files, and I don’t pay a paisa, and it is perfectly legal under that license. I doubt if MS Windows can beat that. You get a ton of free software with linux which you can write PDFs with and make presentations with and spare a lot of download time which I would otherwise have to spend, with all of MS’s updates and all those virus definition updates. It is for these reasons that I seem to like Linux.

  18. Phoenix

    October 2, 2006 at 1:17 pm

    @ Philramble

    There is an ad hominem remark in your comment. I request you to remove it.

  19. sk

    October 2, 2006 at 1:24 pm


    One thing. At least in the US, it’s much cheaper to buy a computer from an OEM like Dell (which comes preinstalled with Windows) than from other sources. And updates etc. are automatic. Moreover, most of the free software available for Linux is available for Windows. I’m not saying Linux is a bad OS, just don’t spread FUD about Windows.

  20. philramble

    October 2, 2006 at 1:34 pm

    Removed the questionable remark. Didn’t intend for that sentence to be seen that way! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I like Windows for what it offers the gamer… since I am a gamer myself. (I am covering some games for windows on this blog soon), but for the other more common applications, including the internet, I personally find Linux better. I suppose OSes are also becoming a personal choice, since different OSes are for different people, or rather, for people with different requirements.

  21. Phoenix

    October 2, 2006 at 2:03 pm

    @ Philramble

    I am sorry. I did not see the comment by SK prior to the one you had written. Now things are falling in place. That comment did not show up at that time.

  22. Tismar

    October 2, 2006 at 4:44 pm

    “.. You get a ton of free software with linux which you can write PDFs with and make presentations with..”

    LaTeX…!! available for both windows and linux..go for it..

    (yes I am very happy to see this word I just typed)

  23. philramble

    October 2, 2006 at 4:55 pm

    LaTeX is there, surely. Count in … has a direct PDF export (Linux and Windows), and so does Scribus (for Linux only). Since I use MS Office and since OOo is modelled on that, I find OOo useful. Again, there may be someone out there would like LaTeX, but I prefer OOo. All this talk has made me think of putting a few reviews on free alternatives on Windows, and possible migration from proprietary codes to free ones! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. philramble

    October 2, 2006 at 4:56 pm

    Correction: Scribus and OOo are available on both Linux and Windows.

  25. sk

    October 2, 2006 at 9:37 pm

    I’ve actually heard the “Windows for Sims, Mac/ Linux for real work” several times. I agree that OSes are becoming more of a personal choice. I find Windows sufficient for getting my real work done and somehow all the updates don’t come in my way. That said, I’m open to installing Ubuntu on my laptop. I tried once a couple of months back and most of my hardware didn’t get detected. I spent two days figuring out what to do and tried different alternatives before giving up and uninstalling it. My roommate had better luck. He installed it on his IBM T40 and only the video graphics card and the wireless card didn’t get installed. He logged in to Ubuntu a month later and surprisingly the wireless card was working now.

    “Count in โ€ฆ has a direct PDF export (Linux and Windows), and so does Scribus (for Linux only).”

    Office 2007 had this feature. Unfortunately Adobe got it removed because a large portion of their revenue comes from Adobe Acrobat. Anyway, there’s a free pdf maker on SourceForge, which is pretty useful. AbiWord is another Open Source Word alternative.

    True story: The company that I was interning with makes its own E-mail client and has both free and paid versions of it. Some time last year, the IT guys decided to stop using that internally and switched to MS Outlook. They still support their own client and continue to work on it, but internally, only Outlook is used.

  26. Tismar

    October 3, 2006 at 2:31 am

    actually I mentioned latex just for fun
    using latex only to create pdf does not make sense…there are other reasons which are not related to the current discussion..

    “…possible migration from proprietary codes to free ones! ..”

    That would be interesting to read. In my experience, what u get is what u pay for..

    if u look at wysiwyg editors, WORD is still the best compared to other free options available in the same family..(I am saying that without using any other wysiwyg editors, so correct me if I am wrong)

    similarly, matlab, solidworks, ansys, adobe illustrator, dreamweaver..all of them have free alternatives but they hardly come close to replacing the proprietary ones…

  27. C. Nelson

    October 15, 2006 at 6:28 pm

    Here is probably an interesting problem — it’s a conceptual thing. Installing Linux – there’s two ways, and it depends on whether you have dial-up or broadband. If you have broadband, it’s initally perhaps a 100 or 200 megabyte download (this applies to the *BSD distributions like FreeBSD, OpenBSD, DragonflyBSD as well), which you burn to a CD-R (you actualy don’t need a DVD of Linux if you have broadband), and then that is followed by an approximately 400-500 megabyte download to install all the core stuff and your software (Firefox, Open Office, etc…) If you have dial-up, then you need to get a DVD or CD set, often times you can get your distribution of choice from a local computer shop for $5 or so.

    And here you have the issue. The “dial-up” way, this is what is called a “snapshot”. It is a freeze-frame of the central software repository for that distribution — Ubuntu, Debian, etc…. If you want to install additional software (you should only install the software you need if you don’t want problems) you break out the DVD and install from it.

    The “broadband” way, your not dealing with a “snapshot” of the central software repository, you are dealing with a software repository that is a moving target. This can make installing a new software program difficult, because it requires you to “upgrade” your entire OS and all the applications so they are in “sync” with the central software repository. If you haven’t done this in 6 months, it can take several hours. If there are major upgrades in the subsytem, it can get difficult.

    So there’s two ways — staying in sync with the central software repository which requires broadband, or using a “snapshot” of that same respository at a particular date and time. Obviously, that snapshot may very well be a couple weeks old by the time you get it. Or, you can start with a snapshot, and then “upgrade” or sync up with the actual software repository at a later date.

    This can be difficult. My strategy has been to use two computers which are essentially clones of one another, and switching them every 6 months or so, upgrading one while I use the other on a daily basis. It works great, and it helps you learn what’s going on, and it also can come in handy in case of hardware failure, lightning strike, etc.. I use one computer as a backup, then I switch them, and use the other one as a backup.

    The cool thing about Linux in this sense is that the software is “integrated” with the OS. Nvidia graphics drivers, for instance, when you install them the way your distribution has set up, are typically easier to install than if you download them from Nvidia’s website and do it that way. All your software (Firefox, Open Office, Acrobat Reader, etc…) is “integrated” with the core OS. When you upgrade, you don’t just upgrade your OS — you upgrade EVERYTHING. If something has changed or has been updated on the central repository, your computer syncs up with those updates — not automatically, of course, but my point is that EVERYTHING except your personal files that you download or create get replaced. It’s literally like a cellular organism. I installed Linux 4 years ago, and probably very few of the files that I originally installed are actually left. Even though I installed it originally 4 years ago, my OS (on my backup computer) is approximately 3 days old. Here, though, the problem is that if you don’t have broadband, you can’t really do it this way. With dial-up, you would go down to your local friendly computer store and buy a newer DVD or CD set of the same OS, and upgrade using those media. Same concept, though.

    I would say that Linux is totally wonderful, I have not met anyone who can’t use it (if I set it up and configure it for them). If you are really into learning it though, I would highly recommend having two complete computers set up (two monitors, two keyboards on two seperate desks, etc…). I’ve never used Windows – I started with Linux on a second-hand computer, and stuck with it, and now I hook up some of my family and friends with reliable, easy-to-use computers.

    It’s a different concept — the software (Firefox, Open Office, etc…) is integrated, or conceptualized, as a building block, or cell, no different than the OS or the kernel itself. It’s all one big moving target. I just love the fresh feeling of having an OS that’s 3 days old.


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