Rasterman, the lead developer of the Enlightenment project, speaks about the future of Enlightenment, including the project’s focus on the embedded world (Rasterman works at OpenMoko now), the relationship with commercial vendors, reorganized leadership, and even some hints at an upcoming release. “The primary thing of importance is getting E17 out the door. It’s actually looking petty good. Only 2 really big TODO items left. I’m doing a theme revamp. The Default theme has very much aged. The gold bling isn’t incredibly popular. I’m working on something I think people will love – and it still shows off E. It will replace the current default – and will also knock off some of the comment the default theme so its better documented for people to build new themes from and learn Edje.”
Rasterman Speaks Out About Enlightenment
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2007-11-06 2:12 pmdrkwolf
it’s already stable, i’m using the cvs version as my main WM for more that 1 yeah.
2007-11-06 6:46 pmTaterSalad
for more that 1 yeah.
You must be from New England.
Indeed it is fantstic, although not that functional yet (still get some crashes with it). But E17 might be just what I need as I’m somewhat bored with classical DE and really not impressed (even annoyed) by beryl/metisse/compiz/etc.
In just 10 years from now we’ll see the final version of e17 ) SCNR
2007-11-06 1:49 pmmaaxx
Hopefully it will be a lot sooner.
Apple people would love this
Edited 2007-11-06 13:49
2007-11-06 6:57 pmtupp
Apple people would love this
Are you kidding? Unless they can figure out a way to say that Steve Jobs invented E17’s advanced and superior features, the Mac fanboys will hate it and try to dismiss it.
I read this from my inbox (i subscribe to all the e lists) and he says there are only two todo things left in E17. thats a good thing, he also said that he’s been really really tied up paying the rent. understandable.
but he goes on to say that now basicly he will be full time OSS dev, which will mean much more E time.
now, this is a good thing. I have been reading the Lib docs of e17, the EFL holy crap did these guys but lots of thought in “E”.
Edited 2007-11-06 13:56
In related news, 3D Realms announces that Duke Nukem Forever is due “just around the corner”.
Couldn’t resist… DR17 has become such fodder for jokes and legend, I wonder whether it will really even be relevant once the developers are satisfied that it’s reasonably stable for mass consumption (if they even ever commit to such a claim). I used DR16 as part of my primary desktop for years, but once it slipped into obsolescence and DR17 was remained an unusable work in progress with a nebulous development schedule I had to move on to greener pastures.
2007-11-06 2:48 pmDigitalAxis
Considering E17 was used by Yellow Dog Linux for their PS3 port, and is now being used by Google… yeah, other people who should know consider it stable for mass consumption, if not Rasterman himself.
2007-11-06 3:26 pmNex6
2007-11-06 3:31 pmyanik
google has nothing to do with gOS, if it’s what you’re talking about.
2007-11-06 7:36 pmLumbergh
If you RTFA, then you’ll know that Rasterman has said he’s going to be concentrating on the mobile market.
I believe this is where E17 could shine.
From the posting
1. Identify people who WANT to be leaders and shape the direction of E – and
are willing to spent the effort. Some of you do it as a hobby and love just
that, some do it for a job, others are in half-way houses.
2. Lets have actual weekly or monthly developer meetings – literally all-in live
discussions – maybe IRC? Have actual agendas in meetings. Minutes.
3. Have regular community meetings where people can tell us what they like and
don’t – give feedback or whatever.
4. Try an organise some annual get-together. An “E meet” (I think I’ll just
call it “The Rave” for now – it fits with the whole E thing). So Literally find
a place on the planet we all can/want to go to – go there.
I think Enlightenment deserves all of that and more. Since the announcement of the gOS, Enlightenment’s site is probably getting quite a few more hits, and there’s definitely the interest there. It would be great to actually see this window manager step out of beta and become a full release.
E17 is looking good, but I don’t see it going anywhere on the desktop. Two competing DEs and toolkits (Qt/KDE and GTK+/GNOME) is tricky enough. Adding a third one into the mix would be rather confusing and very likely rejected by the *nix community. I do see an opportunity for e17 in the embedded space, where a smaller, newer toolkit might have more “traction” and isn’t competing against as much entrenched design practice/dogma…
2007-11-06 4:38 pmNex6
Enlightenment has been arround for awhile. and E17, is very good. as ubuntu shows. when something is good the Community will flock to it. and the base EFL framework is very good. and well designed. Enlightenment is less a window manager and more of a desktop shell.
2007-11-06 6:14 pmmadcrow
I’m not saying that it isn’t good. It is. And I’m not saying that’s it’s not well-designed (it’s VERY well designed). What I was saying is that the Linux desktop market simply isn’t big enough to support a third major environment (I don’t count XFCE as a major environment as it’s GTK base and a few other factors mean it’s essentially GNOME Lite) Just look at poor GNUstep. Despite it’s advantages, it has a negligible userbase. If E17 wants to avoid this, it will focus on the “semi-embedded” sector (aka things like PDAs which are more or less general-purpose computers, but just really small) where the market is in more of a stater of flux than in the “full size” market.
2007-11-06 8:33 pmdude
this is one of those arguments that really boggles my mind. Honestly, this is the same argument as “we already have windows and OS X, linux should stick to servers”. I always feel way too preachy when i say this, but open source is about choice. Just because KDE and Gnome are dominant, doesn’t mean they are the right choices for every one. Some people see a lot of value in a low resource desktop that still looks beautiful, even if they use it on a 4 core processor. I really don’t understand people’s need to have a 2 party system all the time, especially in the open source world.
Edited 2007-11-06 20:36
2007-11-06 9:59 pmmadcrow
I’m not saying that they shouldn’t try. I was just saying that they will probably have limited success in the “full-size” desktop area. With that said, if I were designing an X-less GUI Linux, Enlightenment looks like it would be a good place to start. Since PDAs and the like need an X-less GUI, I also predicted that Enlightenment might well be more succsful in the handheld/palmtop/PDA market than in the “bid” system market.
2007-11-06 11:34 pmdude
i think that we have radically different opinions as to the maturity levels of certain linux markets. I’m not saying you are wrong, because i can understand your side of these things, i just disagree. I think that the linux desktop is just as much a starter market as the pda/cellphone/etc. scene. I do agree with you that it is unlikely that E17 will over take the big 2 of linux DE’s, but there is always room for more in the open source world. It seems like you are implying that E17 for desktops is not a good use of developer time, because it is unlikely to compete with KDE/Gnome. People have said this about the linux desktop for years, yet it is slowly starting to make head room. Hell, i don’t even use linux, but i find that statements like “… the Linux desktop market simply isn’t big enough to support a third major environment” are neither true, nor productive.
2007-11-06 8:37 pmdbodner
don’t count XFCE as a major environment as it’s GTK base and a few other factors mean it’s essentially GNOME Lite [/q]
Just because it’s GTK-baed, I don’t think it’s “GNOME Lite” at all. Xfce has evolved into a full featured desktop environment, IMO, and had useful compositing before metacity IIRC. I find it’s look and feel to be different than gnome, a look and feel that i myself prefer.
Since the release of 4.4, I’ve found Xfce’s value to be more than just as a lightweight DE. I found it to be just as well designed and usable as well.
2007-11-07 5:46 amTrenien
The first time I used XFCE was back with version 3.something. At that time I liked it quite a lot, although after a few months I ended up going back to Windowmaker.
I intended to try it out again once it’d made the switch to gtk – I thought it’d be nice overall.
Big mistake (with my expectations). There are differences, but overall, it _has_ shifted toward a Gnomish interface (upper and lower tool bar, anyone?).
It’s not a total loss, though. Thunar is still my main file manager.
2007-11-07 12:28 pmdbodner
but overall, it _has_ shifted toward a Gnomish interface (upper and lower tool bar, anyone?).
I never understood why the default settings a Window Manager/DE would be a reason to turn someone off of it.
2007-11-06 10:33 pmsorpigal
I strongly disagree.
The OSS/Free “market” in many ways does not resemble a normal market. Size in a very real sense does not matter.
You don’t have to focus one niche to be successful. You just have to do whatever it is you do well and you will (probably) become popular. Even when you are not popular you can have a long, rich and healthy life.
E17’s strong theming ability is far ahead of anything I’ve seen elsewhere. This alone makes it a fun environment to work in… eye candy and bling without needing the compiz hack. Throwing some compositing and such on top is nice, but a system built with it by default is better.
I have no trouble believing that E will carve out a place for itself. Perhaps no significant portion of the formal “Desktop Market” can be attained, but that really doesn’t matter. All of the apps will run just fine under E even if they were intended for GNOME or KDE.
Yup, that gold default theme is several degrees of nasty. Not unusable but not exactly easy on the eyes.
2007-11-06 5:12 pmirbis
Agreed. I vote for a new default E17 theme also. The previous golden theme might perhaps have looked cool in a few first screenshots and demos, but after that the golden bling was just quite a bit too much for normal desktop use IMHO.
Hopefully the new default theme will emphasize usability more than special effects just for their own sake… Nothing wrong with good and cool looks, of course, but the default theming should be neutral enough so that it doesn’t turn too many people off. Also special effects should serve some functional purpose from usability point of view – or if that’s not the case, then be something that the user can turn on (and off) if she wants.
I suppose the final stable release of E17 might not be so far in the future now after all? Good luck for the E17 team!
Gnome/GTK+ or KDE/QT do not suit everyone and I’m sure that E17 will find a lots of desktop users too. There will always be room for alternatives in the open source desktop environment / window manager world – and that’s only good.
Edited 2007-11-06 17:23
I’m not much of a fan of Enlightenment for the desktop anymore because it doesn’t integrate with my GTK apps and hasn’t made all the progress of gnome. But, I think its performs great and looks gorgeous even on old hardware. The embeded space is the perfect fit for enlightenment. And now that Rasterman is working at openmoko, my brand new phone just got really lame. Now I’ve got a new reason to be excited about Enlightenment again. Hope I only have to wait half a decade this time before I get to play with it.
As somebody who has followed the E project from 0.13 (and I was involved, though I didn’t really contribute useful code), I must tell I’m very happy because of these news. Now I moved out from E to dwm, terminals and shells, and plan9 tools, simpler things in general, but I always thought that the bloated software label I put in products like KDE and GNOME isn’t so applicable to enlightenment, and that if it was possible to produce “bloated software” in the right way that was what rasterman was doing (lots of optimizations, taking care of memory consumption and code quality).
Though I really think software should be simpler (plan9 again…) I want to see what the enlightenment project can do, and I wish them the best luck.
Anyone who uses e17 as their main desktop, could you tell me the specific things that attracted you to it? I know there are plenty of reasons to object to the way GNOME and KDE are set up, but I’m interested in hearing what specifically e17 has that makes it a superior environment in its own way. For example, to mention my favorite two non-mainstream environments I’d have to go with fluxbox, and windowmaker. They’re quality projects that approach the desktop question from a different angle. But what does enlightenment have to offer the desktop computer user?
I’m glad the EFL are well architected. This should make enlightenment into quite a good mobile platform, but as much as I’d like to get into it, the desktop simply isn’t there for me. Some one please tell me what enlightenment does for them. And if Rasterman is reading this, this is not in any way a slight against your work, but it simply doesn’t do what I want.
Edited 2007-11-06 23:45
2007-11-07 4:47 amcycoj
I’ve been using e17 for about 2 years now. Has been mostly stable although there are the occasional glitches, as it still is under heavy development. To answer your question, there are a couple of things that attracted me to e17.
1. It does look very good but remains fast
2. It is highly configurable.
3. Theming possibilities are huge (I still have to finish my first theme however)
4. Did I mention fast ?!
5. I really like the fact that you do many of the tasks with just a menu that you get from clicking on the desktop. I believe fluxbox et al. have the same thing, however e just looks a whole lot better.
6. That is actually one of my main things I really don’t use a lot of the desktop functionality that kde and gnome offer (hardly ever use a filemanager etc.) So e.g. fluxbox would be sufficient for me, but just does not look good enough. Also e offers some functionality on top of fluxbox that is quite convinient, like gui configuration …
Hope you’ll try it out sometime soon
E17 is also less of a DE and more of a Desktop Shell in my opinion. Desktops like this don’t really replace your DE’s they just replace the non-client UI and perhaps the file manager. You still run your GNOME, KDE, etc. Applications under them using their respective librariesenvironments. Although you can make applications using EFL.
As for the new theme. Way back in the day Enlightenment used to represent the bleeding edge when it comes to theming and special effects, features, etc. Today it’s harder to be innovative in those arenas because every one is doing those things practically. But getting to the point is I don’t think that it should just be about usability it should also look good and have plenty of features. I would like it if E17 used OpenGL compositing and 32-bit borders. Right now it looks like it still has 24-bit borders with 1-bit transparency like it always had.
Although the focus may have shifted these past few years. So the focus now may just be to be fast and portable.
Edited 2007-11-07 08:51
2007-11-07 6:20 pmvtorri
opengl drivers are not stable enough, and compositing is too slow without it (xrender is not correctly supported, even if projects like nouveau try to (and actually do) improve that.
but you can have better than tranparancy with e17. I’ve written the module flame (based on raster’s xflame), that displays flames at the bottom of the screen. It’s completely useless, I agree. I can modify the module so that the flames are displayed in the title bar of each window (which is also completely useless )
you can have animations in each part of the border of any window, you can have an animated background (which takes a lot of cpu, of course), etc…
Once projects like nouveau will be usable, then xrender will be useful and compositing will be possible with a very good speed.
I’ve tried the E-Live CD
and it is impressive. The best feature is one that is not switched on by default – the MacOSX-like animated taskbar. The thing that is most lacking is clear documentation.
I hope the “embedded” and “desktop” versions of E17 will not diverge too much: one of the trends in computing right now is the blurring of the embedded/desktop distinction, with palm-sized computers and even phones becoming more powerful, and machines such as the OLPC and Asus Eee offering desktop-like functionality but with limited CPU and memory. E17 has a small footprint and so is well-positioned for all these platforms.
E17 is fantastic! I’m hoping it will become stable soon. In the past it’s had too many show stoppers for me to use as my primary DE.