If you've been reading me long enough you know I am a fan of Enlightenment. I've always loved the melding of a clean desktop and all of the eye candy you could want. But recently I came across something quite special. The developers of Elive have pushed the boundaries of the desktop beyond anything I have seen before and created a special version of Compiz called Ecomorph. This union of desktops, currently dubbed Elive Compiz, offers the best of both worlds: The desktop elements of Enlightenment with the eye-popping eye candy of Compiz.
There are many reasons why you should give this distribution a try. One of the reasons is that even when using the Live CD you can get the full benefit of what this distribution is all about. Even using a three year old machine I didn't feel like I was using a Live CD. It's that well put together.
How Did They Do It?
It's been known for a while that Compiz and Enlightenment wouldn't work together. The developers have been asked over and over to roll Compiz support into Enlightenment. It wasn't until Elive developer Thanatermesis put in the necessary time to develop a special version of Ecomorph which consists of a special version of Compiz and a special version of E17 that are able to work together. As of now the developers claim this is nothing more than a "hack" and in pre-alpha stages. What I have seen, however, is pretty stable. That doesn't mean you should be putting this version of Elive on your production machines. This version should be going on a machine that can be wiped clean whenever you choose. But you should definitely put it on something...it's that cool.
What It Contains
Upon first glance of this distribution you would think you using E17 with maybe a few extra applets on the desktop. That is not the case. The minute you hit Ctrl-Alt with a left mouse click you will see that famous 3D cube brought to the desktop care of Compiz. A little more digging and you will find some rather interesting (and very alpha released) video applications as well as some spiffy configuration tools.
There was one effect with this desktop that really caught me by surprise. When you close a window the window folds into a paper airplane and flys away. Useful? Not really. Impressive? Very.
Obviously this is one of the first questions you will have to ask. On the site they highly recommend an NVidia card. I ran the LiveCD on an NVidia 6800 GT and it was smooth as silk.
Have a Look
There is a great video on Youtube that shows off the Elive Compize release. Take a look here. In this video you will notice Elive Compiz running on an Eee PC. You can use the fantastic UNetBootin tool to install Elive Compiz onto a USB drive and get it working on an Eee PC.
If you are looking for a Debian-based distribution that takes the PC desktop to heights you have never experienced, Elive Compize is the Live CD for you. Just remember, while this is in such early stages, to not run this on a production machine.
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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.