Enlightenment (software)

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Enlightenment Logo.svg
Enlightenment E17, with former default theme Black&White and GTK+2 programmes running using a GTK+2 port of the theme
Enlightenment E17, with former default theme Black&White and GTK+2 programmes running using a GTK+2 port of the theme
Original author(s)Carsten Haitzler
Developer(s)Enlightenment development team
Initial release1997; 24 years ago (1997)
Stable release
E24 0.24.2 / 26 July 2020; 7 months ago (2020-07-26)[1]
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inC (EFL)
Operating systemUnix-like
LicenseBSD License

Enlightenment, also known simply as E, is a compositing window manager for the X Window System. Since version 20, Enlightenment is also a Wayland compositor.[2] Enlightenment developers have referred to it as "the original eye-candy window manager."[3]

Enlightenment includes functions to provide a graphical shell, and it can be used in conjunction with programs written for GNOME or KDE. When used together with the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL), Enlightenment can refer to an entire desktop environment.[4]


The first version of Enlightenment was released by Rasterman (Carsten Haitzler) in 1997.[5]

Version 0.17, also referred to as E17, was in development for 12 years starting in December 2000[6] until 21 December 2012 when it was officially released as stable.[7] During the development period it was also referred to as DR17 (Development Release 17).

It is a complete rewrite on DR16 and was designed to be a full-fledged desktop shell, based on the new Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL).

E16 itself is still in active development that runs independently of E17, reaching the 1.0 milestone in 2009 (1.0.22 as of 2020).[8]

Bodhi Linux was built around the Enlightenment 17 desktop, but forked it to create the Moksha desktop.

The current version is E24.[1]



  • Enlightenment allows the user to have a grid of workspaces called virtual desktops. Switching between them is achieved by hurling the mouse cursor to the edge of the screen, at which the desktop appears to slide across to reveal the next. The maximum grid size is eight by eight desktops, and the user can have 32 grids (each with a different background), making 2048 total possible desktop spaces (users can enable a map of the desktops, in case they get lost, which is called the pager).
  • The desktop dragbar allows a desktop to be 'slid back' to reveal the desktop 'underneath'. The E team use the analogy of sheets of paper, stacked on top of each other, where the user can slide off a piece partially to reveal what's beneath.
  • Window grouping: the ability to put windows into groups so that they can all be moved, resized, closed, etc. together.
  • Iconification: reducing windows to an icon, stored in 'iconboxes' that can be placed about the screen.
  • Ability to change window borders (or remove borders and title bars completely).
  • Users can create keybindings for actions such as maximizing windows, launching programs, moving between desktops and moving the mouse cursor, hence making it possible to use Enlightenment solely with a keyboard. e16keyedit is a graphical program for simplifying keybinding creation.
  • It contains a command line interface, eesh, which affects the window manager actions, and makes it possible to write powerful shell scripts controlling most features on the desktop, from settings to single window manipulations.
  • Newer versions include compositing effects such as fading and transparency.

One of the aims of the window manager is to be as configurable as possible, and to this end, it includes customization dialogs for focus settings, window movement, resizing, grouping and placement settings, audio, multiple desktop, desktop background, pager, tooltip and autoraise settings. It also includes a special effects dialog, including a desktop 'ripple' effect.


DR17 with former default theme Bling-bling. The theme was superseded by Black and White

E17 has many core features such as:

  • Fully themeable, with both a menu-based and command-line theme-changing interface
  • A built-in file manager
  • Icons on the desktop
  • Virtual desktop grid feature
  • Modular design: can dynamically load external modules. Currently available modules include:
    • Pager: Switching between different virtual desktops
    • iBar: Launching applications
    • iBox: Holding minimized applications
    • Engage (original[9] and rewrite based on iTask NG): A dock similar to the Mac OS X dock
    • Dropshadow: Provides a drop-shadow for every window
    • Clock: Analog and digital clock
    • Battery: Monitoring a laptop battery
    • CPUFreq: Monitoring a laptop CPU
    • Temperature: Monitoring laptop temperature
    • Illume: Modifies the user interface of enlightenment to work cleanly on a mobile device
    • Composite: Allows the user to run enlightenment with composite effects
    • Tiling: Allows setting up tiling on specified virtual desktops
  • One or more shelves to manage the gadget placement and appearance on the screen
  • Animated, interactive desktop backgrounds, menu items, iBar items and desktop widgets are all possible
  • Window shading, iconification, maximising and sticky settings
  • Customizable key bindings
  • Support for internationalization
  • Standardized: supports all needed standards (NetWM, ICCCM, XDG and so on)


  • Greatly improved Wayland support
  • New gadget infrastructure
  • Wizard improvements
  • Video backgrounds


  • Greatly improved Wayland support
  • Improvements to new gadget infrastructure
  • Added a sudo/ssh askpass utility gui
  • Meson build system
  • Tiling policy improvements
  • Integrated per-window volume controls


  • New padded screenshot option
  • Meson build now is the build system
  • Music Control now supports rage MPRIS dbus protocol
  • Add Bluez5 support with totally new and redone module and gadget
  • Add dpms option to turn it off or on
  • Alt-tab window switcher allows moving of windows while alt-tabbing
  • Many bug fixes, compile warning fixes, etc.
  • Massive improvements to Wayland support

Release history[edit]

Historical releases
Version Code name Release date
pre-alpha Enlightenment Alpha1 October 1996[10]
0.13.2 DR13 18 January 1998[11]
0.13.3 DR13 15 February 1998[12]
0.14.0 DR14 18 July 1998[13][14][15]
0.15.0 DR15 12 March 1999[16]
0.15.4 DR15.4 17 March 1999
0.15.5 DR15.5 5 April 1999
0.16.1 DR16.1 27 October 1999[17] DR16.7.2 15 December 2004[18]
0.17 DR17 21 December 2012[19]
0.18 DR18 22 December 2013[20]
0.19 DR19 15 September 2014[21]
0.20 DR20 1 December 2015[22]
0.21 DR21 1 June 2016[23]
0.22 DR22 22 November 2017[24]
0.23 DR 0.23.0 24 August 2019[25]
0.24 DR 0.24.0 17 May 2020[26]

Legacy sources


  • Carsten "Rasterman" Haitzler: lead developer
  • Kim "kwo" Woelders: E16 maintainer
  • Hisham "CodeWarrior" Mardam Bey
  • Christopher "devilhorns" Michael
  • Mike "zmike" Blumenkrantz
  • Geoff "Mandrake" Harrison

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Haitzler, Carsten (26 July 2020). "Enlightenment DR 0.24.2 Release". Enlightenment.org. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  2. ^ "Enlightenment DR 0.20.0 Release". Enlightenment.org. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  3. ^ Keith Packard, Deron Johnson (3 July 2007). "Composite Extension".
  4. ^ "Portal:Enlightenment". en.opensuse.org. 2012-12-21. Archived from the original on 2018-02-12. Retrieved 2014-06-17.
  5. ^ "Enlightenment DR16". Enlightenment.
  6. ^ Geisler, Martin (9 December 2000). "E17 has been committed to CVS". Martin Geisler Online.
  7. ^ Blumenkrantz, Mike. "E17 Release: ZERO". Enlightenment.org. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  8. ^ "Enlightenment E16". Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Engage". Andy Williams' Website. 15 December 2014.
  10. ^ "enlightenment-1.0alpha-1.i386.rpm". CDrom Archive.
  11. ^ "New E Already Released". Slashdot News.
  12. ^ "enl_BETA-0.13.3.tar.gz". Original Archive (README file).
  13. ^ "Enlightenment 0.14 release". Slashdot.
  14. ^ "E news" at the Wayback Machine (archived 1999-04-28)
  15. ^ "Official Word on Enlightenment DR14". Slashdot.
  16. ^ "Enlightenment 0.15". Slashdot.
  17. ^ "E news" at the Wayback Machine (archived 2000-03-04)
  18. ^ "Enlightenment released!". Forum archive.
  19. ^ "After 12 years of Development, E17 Is Out". Slashdot.
  20. ^ "Enlightenment DR 0.18: Improved Compositing, Wayland Support". slashdot.
  21. ^ "v0.19.0". git release.
  22. ^ "Enlightenment E20 Released With Full Wayland Support". slashdot.
  23. ^ "v0.21.0". git release.
  24. ^ "v0.22.0". git release.
  25. ^ "v0.23.0". git release.
  26. ^ "v0.24.0". git release.

External links[edit]