First Experience with Enlightenment

I checked out Elive Website, a live Linux distro (based on Morphix) using Enlightenment as the window manager. I’m a KDE user, and I don’t see myself switching to anything else at this point I do like to try new things. KDE is not just the window manager – it is a whole application suite. But I digress…

Anyways, I the cd is very nice. It comes with both Enlightenment 17 and 16 and asks you which one you want to load at startup. I picked 17 because I wanted to see the shiny, spiffy version.

First impression after booting – wow, nice! Animated desktop image is definitely cute. I also like how the pager lights up when you switch the screens. Unfortunately to fully experience this windowing manager you need to have a 3 button mouse. I booted it on a laptop so I only had 2 buttons on the touchpad. In addition, by default Enlightenment registers a tap as a left click. Left click on the desktop opens an application menu. This is mighty annoying when you try to move the cursor from one side of the screen to another with a tiny touchpad.

I think Enlightenment uses CTRL click, SHIFT click and ALT click for all 3 mouse buttons. Each unlocks different menu and/or functionality. In the short time I was playing with it never got the hang of this. I actually had a hard time finding anything. I’m used to KDE having configuration stuff in easy to find places (like System and Utilities menus). I could not find a mouse config feature to disable that annoying tap-is-click feature. In the end I gave up and left it alone.

Another mouse oddity is the desktop switching feature. If you scroll off the screen, enlightenment will automatically switch you to the next desktop and wrap around the cursor. It’s kinda like the asteroids game – you go off on the right side, and your cursor comes out from the left edge of the screen on the next desktop. It’s definitely a cool feature. Part of me would like to have that in KDE. but in everyday use it might be really annoying – accidentally switching desktops every 5 minutes might suck.

The file manager called Evidence is horrible. If you hover over a file or folder it dims the whole window and displays properties. I found it annoying as hell – especially when you are looking for something. What happened to the good old non-intrusive tooltip?

I don’t think Enlightenment is for me. I’ll stick with KDE. But the version 17 definitely has some really cool eye candy, non-features that I kinda liked. The LiveCD is worth checking out for the novelty factor. I don’t think it could ever be as useful as Knoppix or Slax. But if you want to check out Enlightenment without installing it, EliveCD is the way to go.

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