The DistRogue

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Review: Enlightenment Window Manager R17 (Beta)

I think I can name the most underrated window manager in existence: Enlightenment. I learned this after trying out a distro that showcases said window manager, eLive. Based on Debian, eLive 0.5.3, the unstable version, uses the unstable version of Enlightenment, the R17 series. Man, I'm impressed.
The download was 639 megabytes, meaning that I could burn the image onto a CD-RW (it was under 650MB). This also proved that my laptop could, in fact, burn CDs (w00t!), and a boot proved that they weren't corrupt after all. Major w00tness. After asking me some questions (scren res, driver, etc), eLive booted into a GUI login, and one of the coolest window managers I've ever seen.
At the bottom of the screen was a panel that looked suspiciously like Mac OS X's panel (not that there's anything with that). A closer look at the right-click menu revealed even more OS X-stolen icons. But they all looked cool to start with, so no problem. eLive came with a surprising selection of apps, including FireFox, IceDove (aka GNU/Thunderbird), Blender, the Gimp, and MPlayer, among other miscellaneous goodies. It also recognized my sound card (which isn't always a given) and mounted my Ubuntu partition, so I could play some of my MP3s.
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Enlightenment also had some more subtle touches, such as animated wallpaper and panel icons. Unfortunately, despite all this cool stuff, I had one major problem with Enlightenment: Active and inactive windows look exactly the same. Plus, eLive didn't notice my wireless card. Offsetting these, however, is the fact that Enlightenment is a fast, lightweight desktop, and everything ran crazily fast.
All in all, eLive is worth a try, at least. It can't be installed, but Enlightenment can. Try out R17 for yourself and be amazed. Gamers, you owe yourselves.
Friendliness: 3.5/5- Ehh... Friendly, but not Mandriva-friendly.
Performance: 4.5/5- Enlightenment is FAST! Let's just put it that way.
Features: 4.5/5- eLive has a lot of useful goodies.
Packaging: 3.5/5- eLive is based on Debian, and although it doesn;t have Synaptic, it has apt-get. And it works.
Overall: 4/5- eLive is worth a try. Just don't become too attached to it once you find out that you can't install it.
Fedora Core 6 IS next. 'Kay?


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