Friday, 31 October 2008


I am back with Enlightenment. Though I have philosophical orientations, this is not philosophical (i.e. not in a direct way; you may find indirect hints and undertones though).

Let me start with installing Enlightenment desktop shell in openSUSE. Installing details on other platforms are available at their website. I used YaST to simplify the process (at least thats what I thought in the beginning). I began by adding Dmitry Serpokryl's repositories. You can find specific repositories for your version of openSUSE here. He also offers openSUSE live CD with Enlightenment desktop shell here.

As most YaST users might expect, installation should have been a simple 2 step process:
1. check the required packages; and
2. accept the changes and solve any dependency problems.

It was pretty much the same. I shall describe how I got over the dependency problems on my system (openSUSE 10.3 x86_64) and hope it helps you as well. I suggest you add Dmitry's metapackage repository along with his other Enlightenment repositories. He also provides a one click install option but it didn't work for me. So I decided to try to install individual packages myself and see if it works.

I found install details on the Enlightenment site for Ubuntu which suggested the following sequence of installation of packages:
1. Eina
2. Eet
3. Evas
4. Ecore
5. Efreet
6. Embryo
7. Edje
8. E_DBus
However, when I searched for Eina I did not find it. Here I decided to be bold and trust YaST. I skipped Eina and installed the rest. I am happy it worked for me and I have Enlightenement now. you can actually go for installation from source as well. I was just trying YaST. Let's see the initial looks of Enlightenment.
This is the default Bling theme. When you start the Enlightenment desktop shell the first thing that you notice different is the behaviour of mouse clicks. I shall not describe that as I want it to be an interesting experience of yours as it was for me.

Below you can see windows of different shapes placed as per my use and ease. Enlightenment remembers the size of windows. You can suit your needs with various sizes: the goal being productivity.I have read many criticisms about Enlightenment being all about eye candy. However, I think the concept of desktop shell introduced by Enlightenment can be used to provide ease of use. Another interesting feature was the drag bar. At the beginning its purpose might appear to be just eye candy or fancy desktop item. However, I have found out that it can a great tool in simplifying usage and boosting productivity. If you know any use of dragging windows from one desktop to another, then this drag bar will be of much help to you.

After getting the initial feel of Enlightenment desktop shell, I switched to the famous 23Oz theme. Its cool. Have a look.Below is a shelf with the drag bar. You can add more shelves and widgets to suit your needs.I shall speak about two other interesting featuresof Enlightenment aimed at improved productivity. One is moving to a neighbouring desktop when the mouse pointer tries to cross the edge of the screen. The other is the desktop menu behaviour. In KDE, GNOME and other traditional window managers, when there isn't ample space for a submenu on the right, the submenu opens up to the left. However, in Enlightenment the menu shifts left to make space for the submenu. You can see that below.To conclude let me tell about the concept of desktop shel. DR17 is not just an application framework like KDE or GNOME. It integrates GUI elements to manage both files and windows. I suggest you go for first-hand experience by trying Enlightenment.

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