Thursday, March 19, 2009

E17 Illume on N800



The Enlightenment project is a lightweight desktop environment and a bunch of supporting libraries (which are used in projects like Canola). The Illume module is a new Enlightenment desktop "that modifies the user interface of enlightenment to work cleanly and nicely on a mobile device." E17 is the newest, still-in-development version of Enlightenment.

Nathan "Neato" Jones got E17 Illume running on the tablets under Mer, and then he gave us good instructions to try it ourselves. And he even posted an annotated video of Illume in action!

I fired up an Ubuntu Jaunty chroot on my tablet, installed the E17 builder-installer script, and after many hours of compiling the entirety of E17 on-tablet and two SVN versions, I got a working version!

I then used my Xephyr-on-Maemo trick (the trick I used in Easy Debian to run IceWM and LXDE on top of OS2008) and, from within OS2008, I tried out the interface in both portrait and landscape mode.

Here are some screenshots of portrait mode:



The browser is Epiphany, using the Mozilla engine. The text editor is Leafpad.

I have to say the on-screen keyboard is much too big for landscape use, and too small for portrait use. I found this frustrating. I also found it frustrating that there was no way to "log out" of E, I had to kill the X-Server or reboot the tablet to get out of it.

My final opinion (and Nathan seems to agree) is that the E17 Illume desktop has a lot of potential as an interface for the tablets, but it is still a work in progress and there are a lot of rough edges to be taken off.

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