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Enlightenment’s E17: Ready for prime time?

After more than a decade of slow, but steady coding, Enlightenment version 0.17 or E17, was released late last year. Enlightenment is a window manager-cum-desktop environment for Linux and other UNIX-like operating systems.

It is one of those projects that caught my attention years ago, but which I decided, after playing with it for sometime, that it was not yet ready for prime time. I’ve been quietly tracking its development since.

The last time I took it for a spin was early last year. I was not too impressed then, and dropped it. But now that the “stable” version has been released, I decided to give it another try. I did that using an installation of the latest edition of Bodhi Linux, a desktop distribution based on Ubuntu.

Most of the features are great and I think it is ready for your desktop. But there are still some very rough edges. The basic thing you need to know about E17 is that it is resource-friendly, and will run on very old computers. But if it will run on old computers, imagine how it will fare on that “supercomputer” sitting on your desktop or on your lap. Also E17’s window-compositing is hardware-independent. You can read the previous article published about E17 heer.

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What about those “very rough edges” referred to earlier? There’s not a whole lot, but here are the ones I noticed in the few weeks I’ve been testing Bodhi Linux, and which I think you should know about before you take any E17 desktop for a spin.

1. Where’s the rest of the menu?: This does not need any explanation. Just look at the next two screen shots.
Enlightenment Window Error

But it is also not a big deal. When you want to access the menu from the desktop, just avoid clicking too close to the right edge of the desktop.
Enlightenment Window Error

2. The File Manager: You’ll want to take note of this one. Every desktop environment needs a good file manager. Right now, E17 does not have a good, native one. That’s the bad news. But it’s not that bad, because there are alternatives in the repository of the distribution you are using. For example, in Bodhi Linux, there is Dolphin, KDE’s file manager, Nautilus, Athena, etc. I hope the developers put more effort addressing this one.
Enlightenment File Manager Error

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3. Tooltips: One thing that was immediately obvious as I played with an installation of Bodhi Linux, is inconsistency in the behavior of tooltips. Take the screen shot below, for example. With the mouse over an icon on the panel, you can see that the tooltip is atop the icon, rather than outside of it.
Enlightenment Tooltip Error

But when a cursor is on a window’s icon on the taskbar, there is no tooltip. Perhaps the appearance of tooltips is configurable. If it is, I’m yet to find out how to configure it.
Enlightenment Tooltip Error

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