Enlightenment 17 (Window manager+) for Ubuntu (8.04 LTS)

You can get enlightenment 16 via the synaptic package manager – since its the latest stable version. It’s actually quite a bit old, I had a play round with it and didn’t like it that much. You want e17.

People have made debian packages for e17, however most of the links are broken, and all the ones I personally tried failed to install. I suggest going for a SVN version.

Caveat: E17 is the milestone at which the development community is striving for. The SVN repositories are tagged with versions that begin 0.16.999.x and will be eventually become 0.17 on stable release – which is really confusing since e17 is a complete rewrite of e16!

You can try and install an SVN version via synaptic package manager by following the steps in this comprehensive forum: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=916690. However that failed for me.

Step 1: Get easy-e17.sh

First get the famous bash script called easy-e17.sh from here. This is sooo helpful. It painlessly automates the installation and update process for you.

Step 2: Install dependencies

You must install some development tools like automake and svn. When you run bash script, it will tell you if your missing any tools before it tries anything (errr, so if it does, install them! – e.g. run “sudo apt-get install svn to install SVN).

This forum mentioned to install CVS as well, because of some old package that is still using CVS. I don’t think that’s necessary, but what the hey, install it anyway (run “sudo apt-get install cvs).

Step 3: Preparation for installing e17 login manager

Before you go willy-nilly and run the script, your gonna want to do some configuration first. The easy_e17 script doesn’t install everything, and if your a bit of a perfectionist like me, you might want to include e17’s graphical login manager in the installation. By default Ubuntu uses GNOME’s login manager called GDM. We will switch them later (if you choose).

You can run “bash easy_e17.sh --help“. This will show you all the options you can use with this magnificent script. Note you can run this anywhere so keep it in a logical place – you might want to use it later for updates etc. You can also specify where you want your source to live. Personally I chuck it all in a /usr/lib/easy_E17 directory.

If /etc/easy_e17.conf does not exist, create it:

sudo touch /etc/easy_e17.conf

Then set the contents to become:


This is the standard config with “entrance” and “esmart” removed in the –skip list. “Entrance” is E17’s login manager, and it depends on “esmart.”

Note: easy_e17 lets you define your own path to a config file, however I would stay away from that because it will fist look for the /etc/easy_e17.conf, then one in ~/easy_e17.conf, then one in the current directory… the changes of your config to be used is small and can cause you some headaches.

Step 4: Download and Install

Run the script:

sudo bash easy_e17.sh -i

It will download the source and compile it and install it! Yay!

The first time I ran this it actually failed because I missed some steps above. If it does fail, try and install it via the debian-svn package in this forum. If that fails, then try installing it via the easy_e17 script again and it should work. It worked for me. I think the debian package installed some hidden dependancies the easy_17 script wasn’t picking up.

Step 5: switching from GNOME to E17

In order to access e17 session, you need to create a file that describes it. Create the file:

sudo touch /usr/share/xsessions/Enlightenment-0.17.desktop

Then set its contents to contain:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Enlightenment 0.17

Now its time to try it. Logout (e.g. CTRL+ALT+BACKSPACE), then in “Options” or “Sessions” (depending on what GDM your using) select Enlightenment 17 for the next session. Then login..

Step 6: Switching to the Entrance login manager

This was a mission. Ok first create the following symbolic link:

sudo ln -s /opt/e17/etc/init.d/entrance /etc/init.d/entrance

Now we need to switch from GDM to Entrance by editing the run level configurations. I suggest using BUM. First install bum if you don’t have it:

apt-get install bum

Then invoke bum (Now that’s a weird sentence):

sudo bum

Once its loaded scroll down to the “entrance” item and check it. Also, uncheck GDM, otherwise it will try and attach itself to the XDM after entrance has done so and funny things will happen! click the apply button at the top of the window in bum and exit. It might logout after closing bum, if not, logout to check out entrance 😛

Note: Disabling GDM from the bootloader loading it up will save resources, it avoids running two window managers simultaneously.

Step 7: Complete the package: An enlightenment USpash

To make your setup complete and consistent, you might want to install an e17 splash screen when loading the Ubuntu OS (aka bootscreen). Ubuntu uses usplash for displaying its splash screen.

I found one for e17 here, which is for specifically for Elbuntu (e17 with Ubuntu 7). Personally I didn’t like this one, also the screen resolution support is bad (on my setup I get a large black area around the splash). I tried looking for others but they weren’t the flavor I was looking for. So I created my own. Here’s a screenshot:

E17 Clean usplash theme

To get this theme download it here (it’s GPL licensed – I based it on the Xubuntu source). Extract it, then move the binary “usplash-theme-e17clean.so” into /usr/lib/usplash/:

sudo mv usplash-theme-e17clean.so /usr/lib/usplash/.

Next remove your current usplash theme:

sudo rm /usr/lib/usplash/usplash-artwork.so

Then link in the e17 clean theme:

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/usplash/usplash-theme-e17clean.so /usr/lib/usplash/usplash-artwork.so

Then to properly apply the changes:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure linux-image-`uname -r`

Step 8: Icing on the cake: change your GTK theme

At this point, any application using GTK will look really crude. You may want to change the GTK theme to suit your selected e17 theme. For example if you use the “black and white” e17 you may want to try this theme. If you are using applications that are based on qt, it goes without saying that you probably will want to update your Qt theme to.

Usually you would use gnomes’ “gnome-appearance-properties” application to switch the GTK theme, this is not available within e17 (if you’ve disabled GDM from running simultaneously to e17’s window manager – see step 6). To switch the GTK theme you are going to need to install the gtk-theme-switch package (if you don’t already have it):

sudo apt-get install gtk-theme-switch

This will install two programs: “gtk-theme-switch” and “gtk-theme-switch2,” where the latter is used for switching GTK2 themes (what you want).

When you download a GTK theme it will usually be in a compressed tarbell form. Uncompress them to you “~/.themes” directory. Make sure that the top-level folder of the extracted theme contains a “index.theme” file. Then invoke:

gtk-theme-switch2 ~/.theme/TOP-DIR-OF-YOUR-THEME

You should see the changes apply straight away!

Note: If you decide on a dark theme, like the current default black and white theme, not all GTK applications will look nice. For example Firefox uses Mozillas XUL engine for rendering not just the various HTML forms, but also all its chrome. XUL always renders black for its text in the buttons etc.. which you will need to manually configure yourself.

You may also want to change your icon theme to go with your GTK/E17 Themes too.

Step 9: Extras

Ok I promise I’ll stop. But there are more quirks you may want to know:

File manager
E17’s integrated file manager is still in development. It’s buggy and I personally find it very annoying to use. You can use nautilus, Ubuntu’s file manager used with GNOME. I personally recommend getting Thunar, it seems faster and has the same feel as nautilus anyway. Here are the commands:

sudo apt-get install thunar
sudo apt-get install thunar-volman
sudo apt-get install thunar-archive-plugin

Note: You may be able to find a later stable release than ubuntu’s apt sources.

Now in the main enlightenment menu, goto Settings->Modules. Then unload the filemanager (Notice in its about info it says that it’s under construction!). You will lose file-management on your desktop… a small price to pay i say. It will also remove the “files” menu in the main enlightenment menu.

If you choose to disable E17’s file manager and want to have shortcuts to common places like “home” and “documents,” then you will have to manually create them. There is a “places” module that I believe provides shortcuts to directories on the menu which can be easily configured to use thunar, but mine was bugging out. E17 does not let you create custom menus (errr, without have to delve into their code!). You can edit the applications menu and also the favorite-applications menu.

You could use the favorite-applications menu. To do so, first you need to create applications for your shortcuts, yes, this is a hacky approach (please let me know if you find a better way). Go into the main menu: settings->settings-panel. Go into the apps view. For each directory you are wanting to add, follow these steps:

  1. Click New Application
  2. Name: … e.g. “Home”
  3. Executable: thunar “PATH-TO-DIR”
  4. If your pedantic like me, add a icon that fits

Then in that same settings window, goto the Menus view, then click on the Favorites Menu. Then add your “applications” hahaha.

A note on GNOME
By default Ubuntu will have lots of GNOME based apps installed. Some things are a little slow at starting up since they have to pull in some GNOME desktop libraries in order to launch. (which is usually loaded, but if you disabled GDM to save resources/use Entrance then the libraries wont be). You may want to switch to using alternative apps, for example using xzgv for viewing images rather than “eye of gnome.” Or if your feeling real adventurous you can keep on configuring your Linux scripts to preload GNOME and GTK2 libraries etc… But if your going to do that you should just use a dist like OpenGEU which does all the hard work for you!

And your done! Enjoy your e17 experience!

KERN_DEBUG message level is not for debugging


If you are totally lost on why you aren’t getting debug messsages when you expect them in linux kernel space … or if you are relying on them for state information … DONT USE KERN_DEBUG. Grrr I have been slaving all day trying all these little test programs/modules for a project I’m working on. I finally clicked that the /var/log/* files are buffered to quite a lot of messages (well at least the /var/log/debug file). I think its mainly if you are printing multiple messages of the same content.