Day 3: Conferences: The Linux Desktop: Its future

Carsten 'Rasterman' Haitzler and Geoff 'Mandrake' Harrison maintain enlightenment and work at VA Linux Systems to improve the Linux Desktop.
Raster explained that the current desktops for linux today are CDE, and especially KDE. Gnome however is not yet a desktop because it doesn't provide a window manager. Gnome can be paired with a window manager like enlightenment however.

[picture] [picture]
Raster, the enlightenment author is on the left, and Mandrake, the main contributor is on the right

Raster has reworked imlib2 which is up to 50% faster, and he demoed it on the projector while Mandrake was doing the demonstration.

Describing how cool enlightenment is would be take a lot of pages, and since a picture is worth a thousand words, you're welcome to look at some snapshots of their demo (some of the pictures are rather big). You can find those in the middle fo the picture library. As a couple of notes: the E logo you see on the first two pictures was actually a spinning logo and the animation with imlib2 was incredibly smooth.
For current enlightenment 0.15 users, the current 0.16 devel version they demoed had the following noticeable improvements:

After the nice demo came the issue of Enlightenment and Gnome or KDE. Enlightenment 0.16 supports KDE hints, and old Gnome hints, but according to Raster, some of the things that the Gnome developers now require from window managers are not acceptable for E. For instance, E wouldn't be allowed to set background images, while Gnome has no concept of multiple desktops so E will support some of the new hints, but will not prevent the user from doing things because the Gnome new specifications says that the window manager shouldn't.

For those who haven't played with it yet, yes enlightenment can be resource hungry depending on what effects you enable (and how many 1600x1200x32bpp backgrounds you have :-)), but it can be configured to be quite lean if so wished and it is by far the coolest window manager.

Go visit The E website for more info.

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99/08/13 (10:40): Version 1.0
99/08/17 (09:16): Version 1.1. Fixed conferences link, thanks to Michael C. Akers