Mint Enlightenment

A couple of weeks back I was talking with my Dad about what to do with his nearly-antiquated laptop (meaning from 2002.) Having had recent experience with lightweight linux distros and window managers, I decided to shop around a bit and see what else was out there. As many of you know, I’m a big fan of Linux Mint, but I’m willing to look around. For sheer speed, I’m a fan of Fluxbox, especially since I can get so much help around here.. For end-user applications, I’d been impressed with LXDE’s potential, but underwhelmed from a configuration and management side.

What I was really looking for was an Ubuntu-based distro that had a good LXDE implementation, just for comparison purposes. It helps to see the experts in action, you know? Along the way, I discovered MoonOS, which DistroWatch reports as using both LXDE and Enlightenment. As it turns out, the developers are currently focusing on the Enlightenment side, and the LXDE implementation is not currently available. Nevertheless, I gave it a try.

Wow. Take a look at the sample screenshot from Distrowatch:
MoonOS desktop

More importantly, it was fast. It wasn’t up to Fluxbox’s level of performance, but it was enough to make me seriously rethink whether I wanted to stick with LXDE. I’m not going to go into a full-bore review of MoonOS here. Suffice to say, that little foray gave me some incentive to revisit my window management strategy. I broke out one of the old laptops and proceeded to install Linux Mint Fluxbox Community Edition. With that as my starting point, it was time to install Enlightenment.

Installation Issues

The current “live” release of Enlightenment is Enlightenment DR16 (or E16), which, frankly, isn’t all that. Enlightenment DR17 is still considered pre-release, but is also a vast improvement over DR16. However, since it’s pre-release, it’s not in the normal repositories. For awhile I was worried I’d have to compile from source or some such. There are several Ubuntu repositories out there, but they are buggy and many of the sites most referred-to are wrong or don’t exist. For my first time through, I ended up downloading with SVN and compiling from source using a script. Then I discovered another very recent (and somehow undocumented) means of installing DR17 with very, very little fuss.

I’m not going to steal the original author’s thunder here, as the instructions are straight-forward, but the gist of it is that you simply have to update your list of APT repositories, then use apt-get to download and install E17. And guess what, it works fine! Once you’ve installed E17, all you have to do is logout and log back in, switching your session from startmintfluxbox to enlightenment. Right at the beginning I was prompted for a series of setup questions (language, layout, any apps I wanted available right from the get-go, that sort of thing.) The hardest question involved populating the “applications” menu. I strongly recommend going with the default selection, otherwise you end up with some verrry strange choices (I really don’t want a list of screen saver options populating my applications menu.)

I have to say, the default theme is a pretty ugly grey. My initial reaction (on the laptop) was, “I went through all that for THIS?” Luckily, I quickly found e17-stuff.org, which has several user-created themes, fonts and other similar items. And suddenly… the appearance of progress! Fine, I’m superficial. Sue me.

Next page: Configuration and Management

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8 thoughts on “Mint Enlightenment

  1. Now that 10.xx ubuntu is out, and Mint is at 9, it would be nice to find instructions on how to add a different than Gnome desktop to Mint 64bit.
    I use Mint64bit only because I can run 2 programs in Virtualbox, and virtualbox seems to run faster than on the 32bit Mint ubuntu (other stuff runs the same speed).
    And the 64bit platforms aren’t what you see the community editions come out under.

  2. I just got through trying a few distros that use e17.
    My test machine is a Netbook – if it works on this, it’ll run on my old desktop well and on my laptop well too. My netbook is a Celeron 800MHz, only has 512MB of RAM, an 8GB SSD (Asus eeePC 900SD).
    And I must say, I have NEVER, I mean NEVER, seen an OS so SLOW and SLUGGISH! and I have tried just about every distro in the right hand column on the front page of Distrowatch in recent months. Maybe this thing flies with lots of ram or something… but it’s not what I witnessed. It’s a hog, it’s a dog. ANYONE can fill a screen with pizazz using bloatcode, which is what e17 is. It may have a great well thought out front end and human interface in terms of configuration options (it’s not hard to do better what the others do wrong – just don’t copy them), but on the back end, whatever they developed it with, it’s slow as molasses in January on a minimalistic machine.
    I would like to see some quality programming… that isn’t all about pizazz, but also about compact fast code… we haven’t been seeing any of that for a while now.

  3. Just some general observations for E. E16 follows traditional linux Window Manager /Window Desktop divisions, whereas Enlightenment DR 17 is a desktop shell (all WM/WD in one , undivisible). In either case they are separate from the underlaying linux. To reach the goal of light ,fast setup the linux selection needs to be severe. Linux Mint, PC/os ,Elive,and others of the types ( lightweight ) are all good choices.The best is to do a no gui installation to avoid a gui with the attendant dependency load. both gnome and kde are bad for this ( I like running in console mode , and the speed difference is noticeable ) .So ANY (mostly ) gnome/kde application will pull a lot of code to support THAT app, and that app only ( let us not talk about a “default” install ) .
    So to avoid a hog/dog situation look at application alternatives ( lots) ,reduce the number of services that you are running to a minimum (e.g. do you *really* need 40 minimized apps on the systray and /or apps running but doing nothing but taking up desktop real estate and eating memory ? ) .Oh Yeah , no one says that you HAVE to use the glitz and pizazz, it works in “plain jane ” fashion as well.

    my appolgy to joe for the diatibe.

    • Thanks for the comment. Apologies for it not appearing right away; I had a bit of a trolling problem the other day, so I have comment moderation turned on. :)

  4. I really like the site and appreciate the information. I’m writing to you now off a PcLinuxOs live Cd with enlightenment 17 and I’m blown away so far. I’ve been checking out different distros as my Kubuntu just seems bloated. Under Kubuntu I’ve tried several multimedia players and they bog down and the music gets spotty when multitasking (as well as poor sound quality even after installing separate EQ programs). As I said, I am writing to you now off of a live cd, and my music sounds great without interruptions (XMMS), I have firefox going with 4 tabs, terminal sessions, a graphic editor and text editor and system monitor all performing flawlessly. Again, this is off of a live CD! I’m not sure what Timmi’s performance issues are, but I’m definitely not seeing them. Not only am I falling in love with Enlightenment, I’m starting to get giddy feelings for this PcLinuxOs (still not sure if it’s love or lust!)
    I have a few ideas for future articles I hope you consider:
    1) I’d like to see your thoughts on the differences between and reasons for the different family members of these distro families from a new to a mid level users standpoint. i.e. Debian /Ubuntu /Mint /MintDe /Moon and RedHat/Mandriva/ PcLinuxOs. I was trying a Linux Mint Live Cd and liked it and was considering installing it until I read and article from one of the top Mint coders saying Debian is making some serious changes, Ubuntu is making some non-related serious changes (not just Unity but much more technical changes) so many of Mint’s scheduled improvements are going to have to be postponed until they see how the Debian / Ubuntu changes pan out. So why not go straight to Debian? As I understand it Debian packages will work on Ubuntu, but Ubuntu has many that won’t work on Debian. Is this the same for Mint and Ubuntu? Does Mint have their own packages that Ubuntu can’t use? What seems to be the biggest differences between all the derivatives? On distrowatch, many give the exact same descriptions, “We like ABC distro but wanted to make a more user friendly, lightweight but fully functional version”. I just think it would be helpful for newbies to have the LinuxCritic’s 2 cents on the subject.
    2) I’m looking to make a distro change. Live Cd’s are great for a first date but I think you still need to install to truly decide if a distro is marriage material. Since you seem to constantly try new OSes, (I’m assuming while leaving your favorite flavor intact) how do you set up your pc to make it easier to try new distros? Have you learned any tricks with disk partitioning, Grub, scripts, or copying files from old installations that would help along the install/customization process?

    Again, great site, looking forward to future articles!

    • Thanks, I appreciate your feedback. I’m really not entirely sure how the whole Mint/Ubuntu/Debian thing will pan out, but based on the “quiet” Debian-based activity going on over with the Mint folks, I have to think it’s only a matter of time until they move completely over to Debian.

      Personally, I use regular old Mint for my day-to-day stuff. It’s been awhile since I’ve done any serious distro testing (maybe I should look at Mint LXDE!), but my general MO there is to use VirtualBox for that.

  5. Distro that does it all for you, … debian based … BodhiLinux.
    Do yourselves a favor install it. I have easiest way to get Enlightenment.

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