How to Run Enlightenment (E17) On Ubuntu Karmic

Every once in a while we here at MakeTechEasier like to take a look at where things stand with the notoriously still-in-development Enlightenment window manager. I say “notorious” because version 0.17 (hereafter called E17) has been in development almost 10 years, long enough to invite a fair share of Duke Nukem Forever analogies. While some have got tired of waiting and just think of E17 as vaporware, the fact is that it has been making progress the entire time. Slow progress, sure, but progress nonetheless. These days E17, while not complete, is still a very slick and powerful desktop with some beautiful graphics and effects. Today we’ll cover how to install E17 onto a standard Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) system.

Getting E17

In the terminal, open the /etc/apt/sources.list file with the following command:

Add the following repo to the end of the file.

Save and close the file. Type the following commands to install E17:

That will do the base install with all needed dependencies. There’s a little bit more you might like to add though, like various modules to enhance the E17 user experience. I’d recommend emodule-bling, emodule-net, and emodule-cpu. If you want to go all out and install ALL the optional modules, try installing emodules-all.

Running

Now that it’s installed, it’s time to give E17 a test run. You can choose it by logging out of your current Gnome session and choosing Enlightenment from the Sessions dropdown box at the bottom of the GDM Login screen. Karmic’s GDM seems a bit strange about exactly when it shows that dropdown box. For me, it seems to work once I’ve selected my username but before entering password.

One of the more unusual things about the current E17 package is that it comes with a first-time setup wizard. It’s just a few options to make sure the desktop is set up correctly on the first run.

e17karmic-setupscreen

Once you’re done with the wizard you should have your basic desktop up and running.

Customizing

Here’s where the real fun begins. For starters, let’s go over the way E17 handles things like the “dock” and items within it. What many UIs would call the dock or panel, Enlightenment calls shelves. A shelf is a container for other objects like launchers, menus, and applets.

To change the contents of the current shelf, right click on some empty space. In the context menu you’ll see shelf 1. Choose Shelf Settings and you’ll have placement options. As a long-time WindowMaker user, I moved my shelf to occupy the right-most edge of the screen. Choose Advanced for more placement options, or choose Set Contents to begin adding/removing/rearranging the items in that shelf.

Even if you installed emodules-all in the earlier step, you may not see much in the Set Contents screen. That’s because we haven’t made those modules active yet. To start and stop any E17 modules, left-click the desktop to bring up the main menu and choose Settings > Modules. From there you can load whichever modules you like. Depending on what the particular module is supposed to do, it may have an immediate effect, or it may just give another option when you go to add items to your shelves. I recommend using extra modules sparingly, as some of them are not entirely stable.

e17karmic-modules

You can get to the main Settings tool by left-clicking the desktop to bring up the menu, where you’ll find Settings > Settings Panel. This panel gives a wide variety of config options, so take your time and browse through.

e17karmic-settings

You can also add various E17 gadgets directly on to the desktop. Left click to pull the menu back up, go back to Settings, and choose Gadgets. You’ll see various gadgets that can be embedded into the desktop.

e17karmic-gadgets

Once you know how to work with the Settings Panel, gadgets, and modules, you should be well on your way to building your perfect E17 desktop.

Joshua Price

Josh Price is a senior MakeTechEasier writer and owner of Rain Dog Software

18 comments

  1. I’m using an Elive development version on my media center pc. The result is great, Enlightenment is rock solid and Elive is a great job. Even on low spec. hardware it runs smooth, giv it a try, you’ll avoid all the hassle in fiddling with enlightenment settings (at list the basic job is already done)

    1. Elive is a very slick E17 distro, I’ve used it a few times myself and one of the links at the top is to Damien’s Elive article.

      A lot has changed in the year+ since it was written so it seemed like a good time to check out where things stand with E17 right now.

  2. yep, your article was very appreciated. I was just trying to give an alternatve to the occasional reader.
    thks M.T.E. I love this site

  3. Elive is a great window manager. There’s a problem with the pulse audio server, though (karmic koala). There’s no sound actually…do you know how to fix it?

    @+

    1. With my sound problems in Karmic (using Gnome) I was able to work around it by going into the sound preferences and moving my sound card to a higher priority than Pulse Audio. So far I’m not a fan of Pulse either.

    2. Hello,
      Had some problems also (no sound or low sound output) with default settings of pulse audio. After lots of tweaking of config files finnaly this worked for me :

      Go to “synaptics” packet manager
      Search and remove all packets named “pulse audio”

      Search and install all packets named “alsa”

      “alsa” means “advandced linux sound architecture” it was the standart for years and is very stable.

      AlejoKG

  4. If you need to run graphical applications as root, use “gksudo”, as it will set up the environment more appropriately. Never just use “sudo”.
    See http://psychocats.net/ubuntu/graphicalsudo to understand why.

    1. I tested this installation on a freshly installed Karmic system, as well as two Karmics that had a few months of use in them. All went without a hitch.

      Since this software is always in constant development, perhaps there’s a broken package in the repository. If that’s the case it’ll likely be fixed within a few days.

  5. In general, this procedure works perfect on the Karmic-based Mint 8 Fluxbox CE, only DON'T do the emodules-all install (which will install exalt and exalt daemon, among many other modules) or you'll end up without networkmanager and networkmanager-gnome :( not much problem to reinstall them, but still a pain in the a$$; this aside, this article was great help, thanks a lot!

  6. I got everything installed without any problems, but, as a noob, I have no idea what this means when you say: “Now that it’s installed, it’s time to give E17 a test run. You can choose it by logging out of your current Gnome session and choosing Enlightenment from the Sessions dropdown box at the bottom of the GDM Login screen. Karmic’s GDM seems a bit strange about exactly when it shows that dropdown box. For me, it seems to work once I’ve selected my username but before entering password.”
    What is a “Sessions dropdown”, a GDM login screen? If I reboot, I don't get this choice.
    Thank you in advance for any clarity you can give me on how to run Enlightenment.
    Tom Markham
    tommark8@gmail.com

  7. holaaaaa, tengo un problema grave con e17 ¡no reconoce mi señal wif!… esta montado sobre ubunto 10.04 en la cual wicd no tiene ningun problema, pero al estar en e17 solamente puedo navergar conectado a ethernet.. que hago?

  8. E17 can handle both windows manager and desktop environment on the same time on your pc. It brings out the best features out of your PC as compared to the commonly used KDE and GNOME.FORE MORE DETAILS CHECK THIS LINK http://ubuntumanual.org/posts/273/e17-enlighten-your-desktop.

  9. The following packages have unmet dependencies:
    e17 : Depends: libecore-con-svn-05 (>= 0.9.9.063) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: libecore-evas-svn-05 (>= 0.9.9.063) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: libecore-file-svn-05 (>= 0.9.9.063) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: libecore-imf-svn-05 (>= 0.9.9.063) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: libecore-input-svn-05 (>= 0.9.9.063) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: libecore-ipc-svn-05 (>= 0.9.9.063) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: libecore-job-svn-05 (>= 0.9.9.063) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: libecore-svn-05 (>= 0.9.9.063) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: libecore-txt-svn-05 (>= 0.9.9.063) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: libecore-x-svn-05 (>= 0.9.9.063) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: libedbus-svn-05 (>= 0.5.0.063) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: libedje-svn-05 (>= 0.9.92.063) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: libefreet-svn-05 (>= 0.5.0.063) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: libeina-svn-05 (>= 0.9.9.063) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: libevas-svn-05 (>= 0.9.9.063) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: libevas-svn-05-engine-software-x11
    E: Broken packages

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