Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Could This Be The Age Of Enlightenment?

Posted by Gary Newell  |  at  21:56 1 comment



One of the things we all love about Linux (sorry I mean GNU/Linux) is the amount of choice that is available to us.

When it comes to choosing a desktop environment there is an abundance of choice and each one has its own unique way of providing a user experience which the developers hope will make us happy enough to use it over one of the other products on the market.

The way to dominate any market place relies on a few key factors which can determine whether a product is successful or not. For instance being first to market can give you a head start on the competition. If there is already something on the market then you have the choice to be better or be cheaper.

When it comes to Linux, cheaper usually isn't possible, as most software is free to use anyway (although it is a good idea to donate to the developers of the products you use most). If you can't beat the competition on price then you either have to be the best or you have to provide a unique selling point or target a niche.

Over the years I have used and enjoyed many of the most popular desktop environments including UNITY, GNOME, KDE, Cinnamon, MATE, XFCE and LXDE. Each of them have nice features and it is hard to choose one over another.

Earlier on this year I debated the merits of Unity vs GNOME. They tend to occupy the same space in terms of the types of users that would use them. They both provide modern interfaces with ease of use, desktop integration and speed of navigation the key to success. At the moment I am swaying more to the GNOME side than Unity but that decision can change based on my current mood. To be honest I am happy using either of them.

Cinnamon is for those people who like a more traditional user interface with menus, panels and icons. If you are the type of user who likes to customise the desktop to make it the way you want it then it has a number of features to allow you to do so. (Click here for a guide to customising Cinnamon). 

KDE is somewhere between traditional and modern. If you don't mess around with the activities views then you can happily live in a world with traditional menus and icons but the activities views enable you to create different themes for different tasks such as multimedia and search.

MATE, XFCE and LXDE all cover very similar ground. They are all lightweight and they are all heavily customisable. Personally I think that XFCE is the ultimate desktop when it comes to customising your experience. (Click here for a guide to customising XFCE, and LXDE).

A while ago now I had Bodhi Linux 2 installed on a netbook and the desktop environment used by Bodhi is, or has been Enlightenment or E17 as it was known then. I really liked Bodhi on my netbook. It was easy to use and the performance was great but Enlightenment takes a bit of getting used to.

If you have been reading my work over at linux.about.com then you might have read my recent review of Bodhi Linux 3.0. In general the review is positive and to be honest if I wrote the review again today it would be even more positive because I have been using it on my main laptop every day and I am really enjoying the experience.

I decided to write a guide showing how to customise Enlightenment expecting it to be a 3 or 4 page post but I have now written three articles and I have barely scratched the surface. The truth is that the Enlightenment desktop has an incredible amount of customisable features, modules, gadgets and tweaks that you can adjust, install and use to make your desktop work the way you want it to.

There are some bugs and it isn't 100% perfect and I think there are areas where it can be improved such as the documentation, support and basic overall clarity of the use of certain features.

Bodhi Linux have an announcement on their blog stating that they are forking the Enlightenment desktop because there were so many bugs in E18 that it was unusable and E19 whilst a little bit better did not perform as well as E17 had done so for many years. The new desktop environment will be called Moksha and will be based initially on E17.

So just as I was beginning to love Enlightenment this comes as a huge blow because no other distribution has worked so hard to make Enlightenment shine the way Bodhi Linux has. Yes, other distributions have an Enlightenment version available but they haven't embraced it in the same way. 

Could this be the age of Enlightenment? It is difficult to see how it can be but yet in a way it could be but under the name Moksha.

Have you used Bodhi Linux or another distribution with the Enlightenment desktop? What do you think of it? 

If you are thinking of trying a different Linux distribution then consider giving Bodhi Linux a go and spend some time getting used to it. 

Feel free to read my guides on installing and customising Bodhi and E19. We are only 3 parts in to what could be a mammoth series:
Thankyou for reading

About the Author

Gary Newell started the Everyday Linux User blog in 2010 and has written reviews on dozens of different Linux based operating systems. He has also written a number of tutorials.

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1 comment:

  1. You should try the debian testing based SparkyLinux. I tried bodhi and sparky and stuck with sparky since e17

    ReplyDelete

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