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Enlightenment .17: Here Comes the Eyecandy

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Scott M. Morris

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Posted: 19 Oct 2005

Applies to:

  • SUSE Linux Professional

The majority of Linux users have one of two major desktop environments installed: either Gnome or KDE. Which one is better? There is no answer to this question. It depends on your needs, preferences, and maybe even your personality. For example, I love tons of eyecandy and nice effects. I like to have a specific mouse cursor, icon theme, window theme, and widget theme. Variations in wallpapers are a must. I like drop-shadows and fading effects. In short, I cater to my ADD. Nice layout, eyecandy, and effects are an absolute must. A while back, I wrote an article on how to do all of this in KDE.

With the ADD in full effect, I went looking for a new desktop environment or window manager. A desktop environment is generally more fully-featured than a window manager. Gnome and KDE both offer many system preferences, integrated filesystem browsers, application menus (such as the K Menu in KDE), and a whole bunch of other utilities, applets, and the like. Window managers are much more minimalistic, and will generally just display the application windows for you. Sometimes, they offer application menus, taskbars, system trays, and multiple desktops. Most of the time, these utilities are separate packages that you have to install in addition to the window manager. Desktop environments are great for new Linux users, whereas window managers can be much more highly customizable. Window managers, are generally lighter on the system resources than desktop environments.

I did find a couple of window managers that caught my attention. Only one of them is in YAST. Unfortunately, at this time, it is in a test phase, and not fully released. However, it's worth a look just to see how incredibly cool it is. It's called Enlightenment .17, or "e17" for short. Let's take a look.

First, let's make sure you have it installed. Open up YAST and search for enlightenment. When it comes up in the right pane, tick the checkboxes that appear. Then, click ACCEPT:

Note: If you search for this package and it does not show up, you may want to enter some additional installation sources into YAST. Specifically, for this window manager, I believe that you will need the Guru installation source. This and a list of additional installation sources is available from, and an article on how to put them into YAST them can be found here. Be advised: These installation sources will not work for Novell Linux Desktop or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

A while later, YAST will then finish installing Enlightenment .17. Now, go ahead and log out of KDE (K Menu -> LOGOUT). At the login screen, enter your username and password. Then, from the SESSION TYPE menu at the bottom, select Enlightenment. When you're ready, go ahead and log in.

After several seconds and some cool animation, you will be taken to the Enlightenment .17 desktop:

In the lower left corner, you see a sunburst-looking icon that has this golden diagonal "e" in it. That is your Start Menu. Click it to open the menu:

Note that you can left-click on a bare part of the Desktop to produce this menu.

The top option here is a submenu that contains your FAVORITE APPLICATIONS. Note that if you right-click on the desktop, you will also produce this FAVORITE APPs menu. If you wish to edit this menu, open your Start Menu and select CONFIGURATION. Then, click on CONFIGURATION PANEL:

The ENLIGHTENMENT CONFIGURATION window will appear. When it does, select MENU EDITOR from the options in this window:

You will see the cool ENTANGLE menu editor appear:

In this editor, you can edit your FAVORITE APPs menu. You may also notice that there is a quick launch bar in the bottom center of your desktop. This is your iBar. Inside of this ENTANGLE menu editor window, you can edit this quick launch bar. You also have another few things to edit, ENGAGE, STARTUP, and SHUTDOWN. OK, that's all cool, but let's move on. Go ahead and close this window.

If you would like to configure your desktop layout and appearance, open up the Start Menu and go into the MODULES submenu. Here, you have access to layout properties of your Start Menu and a whole bunch of other stuff. Go into the Dropshadow submenu, for example. Then, select CONFIGURATION. You will see another menu appear that offers ways to customize the system dropshadows:

Note that in the menu containing the DROPSHADOW submenu, there are several other options like CLOCK, BATTERY, etc:

These options configure the applets that you see running in the lower right corner of your desktop. You can disable them completely, or configure the way they look and behave.

Another way to configure the desktop objects is to enter EDIT MODE. Open the Start Menu, click on GADGETS, and then select EDIT MODE:

Your desktop objects will all go into EDIT MODE:

You can then click and drag on these objects to move them wherever you want on your desktop. You also see that they have little golden bars surrounding them. These bars allow you to resize the applets:

Once you have your layout how you like it, right click on an applet, and select END EDIT MODE:

Your desktop objects then return to normal.

Enlightenment .17 is quite a nice window manager. Althought it is still in a testing phase, it's still worth checking into. When it is finaly released, I'd bet there will be many people trying it out. I was quite impressed with it, and thought I would share. See what you think.

For more information about the Enlightenment window manager, please visit

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