Over the years I have used countless Linux desktops and window managers. But no matter how amazing a desktop (read: Compiz-Fusion) I always seem to wind up going straight back to Enlightenment. Enlightenment is one of those window managers that has a very small footprint yet offers enough eye candy to impress. But the appeal of Enlightenment goes beyond eye candy. Enlightenment is easy to use, flexible, and stable. Another bonus of Enlightenment - you can configure the desktop to have a psuedo-limiting effect on the users. Say, for example, you want to limit your users to certain applications - only have those applications in the menu and leave out any terminal window entry in the menu so they can't configure their user_apps.menu (more on that in a bit.)
But let's not jump ahead of ourselves. Before we get to the actual configuration let's first take a look at Enlightenment (version E16 which is the stable version).
As you can see Enlightenment has a lot of neat tricks up its sleeve. On the above screenshot you can see The Gimp open, a Firefox browser shaded to only show its title bar, the aterm terminal will full transparency running the top application, the iconbox (bottom right) which is where applications are minimized, and the pager (bottom left).
Now let's install E16. It shouldn't be necessary to jump through any hoops. On most modern Linux operating systems you can just open up the Add/Remove Software application (on Ubuntu this is Synaptic, on Fedora 10 running GNOME it is gpk-application) and do a search for "enlightenment". The package manager should pick up all dependencies.
If you'd prefer to use the command line you can run one of these (either as root or using sudo):
If, by chance, your distribution doesn't find "enlightenment", you can try "e16" instead.
That should do it. Now, if you use a graphical login screen you'll want to choose the E16 entry before you log in. This should be under "Sessions". If you use text-based log in you will want to create an .xinitrc file with the following contents:
If that doesn't work us:
Most likely the former will work.
If you do a left mouse click you will see the configuration window.
The one thing you can not configure via the configuration menu is the menu itself. To configure the menu you have to actually edit the file ~/.e16/menus/user_apps.menu. It is very easy to edit this menu. Open this menu up in your favorite text editor and you will see entries that resemble:
"aterm" NULL exec "aterm -tr -fg blue -bg green +sb"
"XTerm" NULL exec "xterm"
"rxvt" NULL exec "rxvt"
"Basket" NULL exec "basket"
"Mozilla" NULL exec "mozilla"
"K3B" NULL exec "k3b"
"Firefox" NULL exec "firefox"
"Flock" NULL exec "/home/jlwallen/flock/flock-browser"
"Thunderbird" NULL exec "thunderbird"
"gnucash" NULL exec "gnucash"
"Amarok" NULL exec "amarok"
"Banshee" NULL exec "banshee"
"The GIMP" NULL exec "gimp"
A menu entry is set up like so:
Comment Icon exec "command"
The comment is the text that appears in the menu. Icon is the actual path to an icon image to use (NULL means none), The exec command is necessary to tell the system that what follows is an executable command. The command section is the actual command.
Once you edit that file, save it, and the changes are made in real time.
And that's pretty much it to configuring Enlightenment E16. If you have a Linux box you should certainly give Enlightenment a try. It might wind up being your "go-to" desktop.
UPDATE: Here's a new screenshot, full size, for your enjoyment.Advertisement
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.