posted by Thom Holwerda on Thu 24th Apr 2008 19:25 UTC
IconEnlightenment 0.17, the big, long awaited new release of the Enlightenment project, has been in the making for a long time now - since December 2000, to be precise. E17, as it became known, is a complete rewrite of Enlightenment, complete with a set of base libraries (the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries) turning it into a full-fledged desktop environment, complete with its own set of base libraries for building applications. Last November, main developer Carsten 'Rasterman' Haitzler stated that there were only two big to-do items left blocking the release of E17. We're now a few months ahead, so I contacted Rasterman to see what's what.

One of those two to-do items was a new theme. The theme E17 currently uses has served E17 well, but also looks a bit outdated, and a bit over the top; it was made to show off what E17 could do, and as such, it was full of bling-bling - and, according to Rasterman, it was "not incredibly popular" either. The new theme, currently in the works by Rasterman, aims to be a bit more conservative. There is a screenshot of a new theme on Rasterman's webserver, so I asked him if that was a work-in-progress for the new theme he mentioned.

That's real. I haven't had much time lately to work on it, but it's moving along. Gadgets are done now. I need to get started on widgets and other elements. A theme is no small task. Well, there are 3 items - theme, filemanager and wizard - major items. Lots of minor ones, too.

The new theme indeed appears to be less bling-blingy. It's more subdued, and not as - my apologies - tacky as the gold one. The combination of white and black makes it a lot less intrusive, and other applications will blend in much more easily than with the gold theme. Please note, though, that this is still very much a work in progress, so what you see is subject to change.

Last week, Rasterman announced the release of Eet 1.0.0, one of the relatively minor Foundation Libraries. "Eet is primarily a data encoding, decoding and storage library. It is meant to be very programmer friendly, removing lots of work from loading and saving data held in data structures. It can store multiple chunks of data in a single file and random-access retrieve the data very efficiently, encode and decode image data and any other kind of data. Files are compact and efficient as well as being portable between platforms."

Seeing Eet is one of the first EFLs going 1.0.0, I wondered if this was the first sign of an upcoming final release of E17. When asked, Rasterman replied, chuckling: "No comment. We released version 1.0.0 of Eet because it's solid, stable, and ready for 1.0.0." That's quite the clear answer. He added: "You should know I won't say anything!"

Of course, I had to ask the inevitable question: does Rasterman have any timeframe in mind for the release of the final version of E17? His reply was to be expected - "No comment." Smiley face included. The big blocker right now is a lack of time, Rasterman said.

Do not let the lack of a final release fool you into believing E17 is currently not ready to be used. It has its stability issues every now and then, but overall, it is very much usable - as evidenced by the fact that some Linux distributions (such as Terra Soft's Yellow Dog Linux, and gOS) use E17 (or some of its components). Using E17 takes a bit of getting used to, as it does a lot of things just that little bit differently than most others, but overall, the experience is already there. What needs to be done is - indeed - design a more up-to-date look, and polishing of the rough edges. In addition, I'd personally love to see more "native" applications that use the EFL, most notably an email client.

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