I’m not following tech (computer) news that much anymore. Not like I used to. But I’m still a team member of LXer, and I do scan those headlines from time to time. And from time to time, something catches my eye and gets me interested enough to think that I should have a look and/or try something.
Like E17, which is the short form for the Enlightenment desktop. That one was “finished” (read: got a version 1.0 description) around last year’s Christmas, after 12 years of development. Since the newer iterations of both the Gnome and the KDE desktop aren’t much to my liking, this was something I wanted to see.
Lately I also learned that a tool called ‘dispcalGUI’, which makes use of the Argyll CMS (colour management), could now talk directly to a ColorHug colorimeter, and be used to make profiles for one’s screen. Since I have such a device, I was interested in that software as well.
So what did I do? During the last days I didn’t take any photographs to speak of. Instead I remembered that I still have a second partition on my hard disk at home where I kept Ubuntu, for support reasons (more or less the rest of the family, with a few exceptions, is using that). And since Ubuntu is based on Debian unstable, I checked – and yes, both E17 and dispcalGUI were available (in both Debian testing/unstable as well as in Ubuntu).
So the first step was to upgrade my version of Ubuntu, which was still at 12.04 to the latest one, which is 12.10:
Then I installed both the E17 desktop as well as dispcalGUI (and Argyll as a dependency). But in E17 the calibration process remained at the first grey colour patch – obviously the program couldn’t iterate through all necessary colour samples to keep going. Ok; I still had Unity and also Gnome3 on Ubuntu, so I calibrated my screen with Unity:
What dispcalGUI could do in E17 was to make use of that new profile, which is cool. So this is the standard desktop you’ll see after an installation of E17 on Ubuntu (or the next Debian version for that matter):
Made me smile – when they say “wallpaper”, they mean it was my immediate thought. It’s pretty slick actually, and I liked it from the beginning. Reminds me a bit of the old Solaris desktop layout (pre-Gnome), plus some also older GTK-like window decorations. Not bad at all, and during the brief time I’ve spent with it until now, it didn’t get in my way too much.
Of course there are still some things missing – couldn’t find any weather or character map applets for instance, but I’m sure they are there somewhere, or at least being worked on already. Debian might choose XFCE as their next standard desktop, and I’ll have a look at that and also LXDE as well (not to mention Cinnamon or Mate or other Gnome2 or -3 based IDEs I haven’t looked at yet).
Time will tell. Even Gnome seemed to have heard the (very loud) complaints from the rest of us (like a certain Linus T., who invented some operating system kernel), and may even re-implement something more useful which lets us get work done.
Thanks for reading. Oh, and the two screen shots are available in their original size (1920×1200) on Flickr.