Friday, June 10, 2011

Enlightenment, DR17 and EFLs

If you have been by my blog here before then odds are you know I am a large fan of the Enlightenment desktop. If you have have never used Enlightenment before it is:

"not just a window manager for Linux/X11 and others, but also a whole suite of libraries to help you create beautiful user interfaces with much less work than doing it the old fashioned way and fighting with traditional toolkits, not to mention a traditional window manager."

Terminology is something that is important to get correct when working with technology. When reading about the Enlightenment desktop I've found that many people often confuse the difference between Enlightenment, DR17 and EFLs. So - what is the difference between the three?

Enlightenment - This is the original name of the project. Today when it is referenced it should refer to the project as a whole - not just one particular part.

DR17 - Also often called E17. This refers to the next major revision of the Enlightenment desktop/window manager. It is under heavy development (and has been for some time). The current stable revision of the desktop is DR16.

EFLs - Stands for "Enlightenment Foundation Libraries". These are the core of the Enlightenment desktop, but not the desktop itself. In simplest terms the EFLs are to the Enlightenment desktop as GTK is to Gnome and QT is to KDE.

Hopefully I have shed some light onto some Enlightening terminology for everyone :)

~Jeff Hoogland


  1. Now I'm confused. Is Enlightenment (the project as a whole) a desktop like GNOME or Xfce? Or is it a stand-alone window manager like Openbox?

  2. "and has been for some time"

    An understatement of mammoth proportions ;)

    Development of E17 began in the last millenium and continues 11 years later without any indication of when it will be ready.

    The danger is that by the time it is ready, it could be past its sell by date.

  3. The joke, is try finding a modern distro where there are d16 packages or it is even possible to compile all of DR16 and the major epplets.

    I would say everyone else gave up on D16 at least 5 or 6 years ago.

    DR16 is current but in use by no-one. DR17 is a decade in the making, very cool, but not ready yet.

  4. For those commenting that DR17 isn't ready yet - You should really try a modern distro using current DR17 builds. Bodhi and PCLinuxOS both do a fairly good job with it.

  5. "The joke, is try finding a modern distro where there are d16 packages or it is even possible to compile all of DR16 and the major epplets."

    As Jeff pointed out, PCLinuxOS also offers the e17 desktop. The packages are periodically updated and available by using the package manager.

  6. Debian has a fast and functional DR16 desktop that I've been using for the better part of a decade. Compositing and randr work well and E16's pagers are still first rate. Scaling across multiple desktops is also first rate. KDE 4 dropped the kicker but gnome panel and cairo dock work. Performance is still stellar.

  7. Dear Jeff Hoogland, I translated your article into Korean and posted it on my blog.

    How can I send trackback or pingback to your post?

  8. It'll be good to mention that e16 and e17 are separate project. e17 didn't use any bit of e16's code.

  9. Lets not get fooled by brand names or version numbers and related dates / development time. After E16, logic is to expect next version to be E17.

    Now, did it arrive 11 years later? and what?

    Go see backwards. Maybe 99% of work done regarding E17, happened since less than 2 years ago.

    Now, this its not to be expected to happen, its just an example. After 2 years in use, I replace ABC by DEF. DEF is an unannounced project lying in a shelf for 11 years.

    What will people do? Hip the latest and greatest or do first review and evaluate, and then, comment based on conclusions?