Enlightenment (X window manager)

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An Enlightenment desktop, with desktop pager, configuration window and xterm
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Enlightenment 16.7.1 with "winter" enlightenment and gtk2 themes. Gimp and XMMS are running, as well as Elicit and Engage -- the Mac OS X-like toolbar. These two apps are built on the EFL. Desktop background is courtesy of Gentoo-artwork project.
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A highly customized Enlightenment desktop running on Slackware Linux.
Enlightenment DR17, two Eterms, and XMMS.
Enlightenment DR17, two Eterms, and XMMS.

In the field of computing, Enlightenment, also known simply as E, is an open source window manager for the X Window System which can be used alone or in conjunction with a desktop environment such as GNOME or KDE. It has a rich feature set, including extensive support for themes and good performance. Enlightenment is often deployed on low-end systems with resource constraints instead of a full desktop environment. It used to be the default window manager for GNOME.

Enlightenment, of course, is not exclusively for older systems. Many users prefer E even on high-end machines with lots of memory because of its many unique features.

Since 2005, the latest stable release of the software has been version The next major version, called DR17, is currently in development and is designed to be a full-fledged desktop shell based on the new Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL). DR17 is a complete rewrite from DR16, targeted toward a range of platforms from embedded systems to workstations.


Features of version 0.16

Some of its distinguishing features include:

  • Its virtual desktop concept - Enlightenment allows you to have a grid of workspaces called virtual desktops. Switching between them is achieved by hurling the mouse cursor to the edge of the screen, at which the desktop appears to slide across to reveal the next. The maximum grid size is currently 8 by 8, and you can have 32 of them (each with a different background), making 2048 total possible desktop spaces! (Users can enable a map of the desktops, in case they get lost, which is called the pager).
  • The desktop dragbar - this allows a desktop to be 'slid back' to reveal the desktop 'underneath'. The E team use the analogy of sheets of paper, stacked on top of each other, where you can slide off a piece partially to reveal what's beneath.
  • Window grouping - the ability to put windows into groups so that they can all be moved, resized, closed etc together.
  • Iconification - reducing windows to an icon, stored in 'iconboxes' that can be placed about the screen.
  • Ability to change window borders (or remove borders and title bars completely).
  • Users can create keybindings for actions such as maximizing windows, launching programs, moving between desktops and moving the mouse cursor - hence making it possible to use Enlightenment solely with a keyboard. e16keyedit is a graphical program for simplifying keybinding creation.

One of the aims of the window manager is to be as configurable as possible, and to this end, it includes easy-to-use customization dialogs for focus settings, window movement, resizing, grouping and placement settings, audio, multiple desktop, desktop background, pager, tooltip and autoraise settings. It also includes a special effects dialog, including a desktop 'ripple' effect.

Current features of version 0.17

DR17 is development code right now, but certain core features are in place:

  • Themeable, with both a menu-based and command line theme-changing interface.
  • Virtual desktop grid feature.
  • Modular design - can load external modules from a separate 'e_modules' package. Current modules include a desktop pager, a Mac OS X-style 'iBar' dock, a window drop-shadow module, desktop sticky notes, a clock (analog or digital) and a battery level monitor.
  • Animated desktop backgrounds, menu items, iBar items and desktop widgets are all possible.
  • Window shading, iconification, maximising and sticky settings.
  • Customizable key bindings available.
  • Support for internationalization.

Principal Developers

See also

External links

Template:Sisterprojectde:Enlightenment fr:Enlightenment (logiciel)


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