Saturday, February 5, 2011

Playing with Enlightenment DR17

I am always up looking for new things, different things and compelling things. Well, that's a lot of things, but the thing I'm going to be playing with is the Enlightenment DR17. 
You can Wikipedia for some info on what is Enlightenment Desktop here
Enlightenment DR17
As the wikipedia page states it's a Window Manager not a complete desktop. While their website states it's not just a window manager but also a collection of libraries. Which I'll take to mean is that we have libraries for making swanky apps (especially) for Enlightenment but we're not planning on making it a tightly coupled DE. 

Note: A DE (Desktop Environment) is usually a Window Manager plus a bunch of utilities like A File Manager, Notepad, Terminal Emulator etc. 

Anyway I didn't try to get a Complete Distribution based on E17(as Enlightenment DR17 is also called), but rather I just installed from Ubuntu Repositories on my Ubuntu 10.10. My machine has Gnome and KDE from before. And I used synaptic to install Enlightenment. Logged off from the KDE session I was in and Logged in to Enlightenment. 
On first run I was presented a number of options about Dock, panel, icons to show on desktop etc. 
After going through them and finishing the Wizard I was presented the desktop. 

This is the thing running a few apps from my Gnome and KDE. 

The first thing that caught my eye was the RAM utilization. Even with a number of processes running in background the RAM Utilization was only 170MB at the start. 
I went through the settings for the dock and desktop and I must say that the number of options are staggering. 
SO are the effects! The shadow, softening effects and the responsibility of the desktop simply blows the mind. 
I didn't get any uncomfortable with the left click menu since I've used it a number of years ago on a Slackware Live CD. And boy, is the Menu responsive! Things zig around as you move around. The cursor moves to windows with [alt]+[tab]. And the theme looks superb! 
Sure there are people who'll prefer other colors or softer shades but they should find their favorite themes on the net. 
Sure it's not the Gnome or the KDE but they're not E17 either. I would love to have this on my home PC which is used only for watching Movies and doing some light Word/ PowerPoint Stuff and even Ubuntu is overkill for that. 

I can't say the ride wasn't bumpy though which is expected since E17 is in heavy development and is not relatively bug free. Usually it handles most of the Apps fine but one in a thousand might go wonky. 
I noticed a small problem with an Application where in XORG suddenly ate up ~1GB of RAM. Quit it and it's back to ~20MB. Start it again - Zoom to ~1GB. The app used older Qt binaries statically linked which is an unusual case. But such things may crop up once in a while. 

I didn't notice any problems with usual apps etc. Chromium started in under one sec. IDE's like Netbeans and Qt Creator loaded much quickly than they do on my Gnome/KDE. 
The overall experience was snappy. 

I'll give E17 7/10. It's terrific and it's magical but there are some potholes that need to be filled. And if you go for a Distribution which is specifically made for E17 you might even not notice them. So my one hour was well spent on E17. 

More screenshots here!

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