E17 - FOSDEM 07
I’m really glad the NoSQL room was all packed on afternoon – otherwise I’d have missed an amazing talk by people behind Enlightenment – a window manager that is older than Gnome, nearly older than KDE and has been my favourite choice for years and years (simply because they have sensible default configuration options: focus follows mouse, virtual desktops that allow for desktop switching when moving the mouse close to the screen edges, menu opening when clicking anywhere on the desktop background, options for remembering window placement and configuration on re-boot etc).
Finally in December last year they actually did realease E17 after more than a decade of work. They now feature a tiling module, split desktops per screen, launchers, taskbars, systrays (*brrr*), screenshotting and multiple sharing options, custom layout modules for desktop and mobile.
There’s a full fledged file manager that is also used as file selector. There is a compositor with wayland client support, that works decently even on old or slow hardware (think raspberry pi).
Their main goal is not to build a window manager that even your grandma can use. Rather they focus on stuff for the geeks that just works, is efficient, has lots of eye candy and when run on a nexus7 instead of unity saves 200MB of RAM.
Their main goal is to be a base for touch and mobile development. The number of desktops is shrinking giving way to more and more mobile devices. Fortunately the project is now sponsored (as in paid developers) by Samsung as part of their Tizen efforts. E17 does work as part of Tizen for years now, the only part missing is a product running the software available for purchase.
The goals for E18 (to be released end of 2013 – hear, hear) include going beyond the desktop, to polish things up, provide more default profiles for diverse devices, optimise battery and memory consumption, run without swap space, avoid going to memory instead of the cache to avoid draining the battery of mobile devices. There will be image and font sharing across processes, faster software rendering, async rendering with more threads. There’s even thoughts to deal with different finger size issues on touch devices.
On using the composite manager as default: It made the code and optimisation a whole lot easier, though there are still issues with multiple screens that all switch compositing off in case of full screen games that cannot run with it turned on.
There will be work to integrate better with wayland, support for physics and sounds in themes, more compositing signals, improved gadget infrastructures, easier content sharing options – and all the cool stuff users can think of.