Posted by: reformedmusings | September 20, 2008

More on OpenGEU 8.04.1 with Enlightenment 0.17

I took OpenGEU with the Enlightenment 0.17 window manager for a test drive in this post and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. TheDarkMaster, the Italian artist behind the design, visited this humble blog to offer a suggestion about my configuration. I thought that I’d pass on some things that I learned in implementing his suggestion.

In my previous post, I said that it took too many clicks to get things done and focused on the lack of a way to quickly change tasks with one click. That turned out to be my ignorance. TheDarkMaster told me that OpenGEU indeed has two ways to put a taskbar on the screen. I chose to exercise the iTask module.

Here’s a hint on modules: not all are loaded when OpenGEU installs. This is actually merciful, as there are a dizzying array of modules available to the user. You can access all the modules by selecting Configuration/Modules. This presents the Module dialog:

OpenGEU dialog window

OpenGEU Modules dialog window

Modules come categorized by function and include everything from appearance to configuration to shelf items to system stuff. There’s even one that will have penguins walking across your screen. On the left side of the window are all the modules available, while those loaded are on the right. Simply select a desired module from the available list, then click on “Load Module”. I did this to add iTask from available to loaded. Now you can add it to a shelf.

At first, I elected to create its own shelf, which allowed me to put it pretty much anywhere along the outside of the screen. I already had two shelves (you can see them in this image), so I added a new one and assigned it to the lower left of the screen. I then right clicked on the shelf, selected “Configure Shelf Contents” and added only one module to the shelf, the iTask module. I then configured the iTask module by right-clicking on it and getting this dialog:

Configuration dialog for the iTask module

Configuration dialog for the iTask module

I showed the configuration which I prefer. Most interesting to me is the first item in the window: Good ol’ iBox style. If this is checked, only the active application icons appear in iTask, not their names, etc. This conserves a lot of room on the screen and is something that I wish I could do with the KDE task bar. This has to be my favorite option. When everything was set, I executed a bunch of applications and noted the result on my new, dedicated task shelf:

Dedicated iTask shelf

Dedicated iTask shelf

It was cool and very functional to have this in the lower left of my screen. I made it autoresizing, so it grew and shrank in accordance with the number of running applications it displayed. It didn’t take up much room and did exactly what I wanted–better than a Gnome or KDE taskbar.

However, all was not copacetic in paradise. Note the two blank icons on the right side of the bar. Those are Krusader and Softmaker TextMaker. It looks like OpenGEU doesn’t pick up icons like KDE or Gnome do, but rather relies solely on icons in the /usr/share/icons/ directories. Some applications don’t put icons there, so show up blank. I’m sure that the OpenGEU team will work on that.

But now…because the new shelf didn’t take up much room and I no longer needed either iBox or the window selector anymore, I decided to integrate iTask into the main shelf. I removed iBox and Winselector from the main shelf, added iTask, and arranged it so that iBar was on the left of the pager and iTask on the right. After loading a bunch of applications, this is what I got:

My new main shelf in OpenGEU

My new main shelf in OpenGEU

Very cool. I did not make iTask inset like iBar to make a visual distinction between the icon presentations. I did make iTask autoresizable, so as apps leave memory, the shelf will shrink. Awesome! My new OpenGEU desktop now looks like this:

My current OpenGEU desktop setup

My current OpenGEU desktop setup

This brings me a step closer to using OpenGEU as my primary desktop. It’s still beta, so not quite ready for mission critical systems. One major issue involves the shelf configuration subsystem. Repeatedly going into that dialog for a specific shelf will lock up the system, requiring a hard reboot. Once you get set up, it doesn’t affect you, but it’s a bit annoying during setup.

I have one other suggestion, though I do not know if it’s practical. It would be great if OpenGEU came as just a window manager and minimum required desktop support, without all the Gnome applications and accessories. That would take care of a lot of the menu mess when installing the full OpenGEU over KDE.

OpenGEU continues to be updated regularly, and TheDarkMaster and his dedicated team continue to pour a lot of effort into it. He even put together an OpenGEU blog now. As I said in this post, I’m not thrilled with KDE 4.1. Although I still prefer most KDE applications over Gnome ones, I’m leaning heavily at this point toward OpenGEU with its beautiful and fast Enlightenment window manager for my long-term desktop choice.



  1. And here I am again 🙂
    Great input, thanks. And thanks for the compliments 🙂
    Can you please tell me how to reproduce the error which made you crash your system? We’ll try to bug-hunt it. As for the icons from KDE, we’ll work on them too 🙂
    From your posts I may have noticed that you believe E17 is built dedicated to Gnome… well, that’s not real, E17 is built as a standalone Desktop Shelf. We the OpenGEU team, are trying to fill the holes in E17 (because it is not a DE after all) with pieces from gnome, so if they look nicely integrated it’s just because we decided to work on this integration 😉
    On the other side, I never tried E17 with KDE and that’s why you don’t have a nice integration 🙂
    I’ll try to spend some time to debug the menu and icons issue you had, don’t worry 😉
    Finally, E17 has been a beta since ever… and it won’t be released any time soon. What’s good about E17 anyway is that it has been in development in this stage since years now. Every time we find a bug, it is fixed quite fast. So, in any case, it is somehow good for an all day use machine, I always use it for example.. personally I didn’t experience any bug recently (months?). So go on and use it, report bugs in the OpenGEU launchpad space and we’ll do our best to solve all of your problems 🙂

    Ah, one last thing: from our repos, you can choose to install opengeu-desktop or simply e17 which will give you a “Vanilla” E, with no gnome dependency aaaat all. Of course you won’t have a complete desktop and you’ll miss tons of tools from OpenGEU, but just know that if you wish you can actually install E with no gnome dependency 😉

  2. Hi DM,

    Well, I took your advice to heart. I’m going to write a post momentarily about getting e17 running on KDE without Gnome. You pointed the way with your note. I’m still working on a VM, but may go production when I work out a few last kinks. Your iTask module is outstanding!

    The crashes are predictable now. It’s an e17 problem. All I have to do is remove several modules from a shelf using the shelf’s configuration menu by alternating between deleting and adding modules. It crashes every time. After resetting from the crash, the shelf’s contents are different. Sometimes with only Start and Pager, sometimes empty.

    The missing icons for apps like Krusader, Softmaker’s TextMaker, and applications is also an e17 issue. You’re looking pretty clean on OpenGEU! Plus you’re right, OpenGEU fills in a lot of holes in e17.

    Thanks for all your hints. I should have a new post up in about an hour.

  3. Hallo, DM,

    I got e17 and OpenGEU running on KDE without Gnome! Check out this post.

  4. […] 0.17 (also known as e17) in a virtual machine. You can read those posts here, here, and here. The major drawback for me is that the OpenGEU desktop is based on Gnome, and installing […]

  5. […] you’ve been using or testing the OpenGEU implementation of the Enlightenment window manager (like I have), here’s some important news. The old greenie repositories crashed. The new OpenGEU […]

  6. […] library upon which it is based. I’ve previously written about Enlightenment here, here, here and others. I have been favorably impressed with the efforts thus […]

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