Posted by: reformedmusings | September 22, 2008

Getting KDE to reach Enlightenment!

I have been seriously playing with OpenGEU 8.04.1 beta with the Enlightenment 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 opengeu-desktop installs Gnome and a host of Gnome apps, which really garbages up the menu system. Plus, I have a bunch of programs on my system that I don’t really want or need. But, the OpenGEU team lead and artist behind the awesome art work, TheDarkMaster, has shown me a better way in comments to this humble blog. Using his starting hints, I have managed to duplicate what I believe is the full functionality of OpenGEU on top of KDE without using Gnome. Here’s how.

First, I installed Kubuntu 8.04.1 Hardy Heron from the LiveCD. I then updated the system after a restart to bring it up to date. Since it is in a virtual machine, I installed VMWare Tools using this fix. This gave me a solid Kubuntu Hardy setup with KDE 3.5.9 from which to work. I always install Krusader and KPackage first since they are the basic tools which I use to build new systems.

Next, I added the e17 and OpenGEU repositories using KPackage (illlustrated, but you can add them either directly to sources.lst or use Synaptic or Adept as well):

deb hardy e17
deb hardy opengeu

e17 repositories in KPackage

e17 repositories in KPackage

Then I simply updated the repository file list and installed only the e17 package. On the command line, it looks like this:

sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude install e17

Or in KPackage, just select e17:

e17 package in KPackage

e17 package in KPackage

You’ll have to allow the installation of a lot of unauthenticated packages, but that’s OK in this case since the packages are coming from the source repository. A large number of packages will be installed. What that’s done, log out, select “Enlightenment” as the new desktop from the login screen, and log back in. This is what you’ll get:

The default Enlightenment 0.17 desktop

The default Enlightenment 0.17 desktop

Hmmm, pretty bland. The theme box says that this is a basic theme from which to demonstrate the E17 window manager. Yep, pretty basic. In addition to the bland theme, it comes with very few modules for customization. It does, however, pick up most of your KDE applications in the correct menus. The gaping hole is the Utilities menu, which is totally missing. Lots of stuff used to be in there under KDE. More on that later.

At this point, I also learned that problems I had attributed to OpenGEU were actually Enlightenment problems. The blank icons for applications like Krusader, programs, and Softmaker Office programs show up at this point. Also, the lockups that I experience in adding and deleting applications from shelves appeared here under the basic e17 system. I also encountered some funky video effects when changing screen resolution, but don’t know if they are due to Enlightenment’s window manager or the virtual machine setup. Changing screen resolution in KDE and Gnome work fine, though. So, I apologize to the OpenGEU team for attributing these issues to OpenGEU.

The modules that I’d come to love like iTask aren’t in the basic e17 package. They are, however, available from the OpenGEU repository. The package called emodules-all will install almost all the OpenGEU modules except emodule-extramenu, which allows you to create user menus (although I haven’t figured out how yet). You can see a partial list in KPackage:

The emodule-all package details, plus a partial list of the OpenGEU module packages on the left

The emodule-all package details, plus a partial list of the OpenGEU module packages on the left

You could also install them from the command line:

sudo aptitude install emodules-all emodule-extramenu

This provided almost complete OpenGEU functionality for the shelves and other things. With these in hand, I proceeded to create the main shelf that I prefer with the autoresizing iTask plus the network monitor and trash can. Here’s the result with some applications running and shown in iTask:

Custom main shelf with iTask, network monitor, and trash can

Custom main shelf with iTask, network monitor, and trash can

Very cool. So far, I had a lot of the OpenGEU functionality without the spurious Gnome stuff. But…still not good enough. The thing that attracted me to OpenGEU in the first place was the outstanding artistry of TheDarkMaster, but that was totally absent so far. Time to inspect the repositories again in KPackage. This time, filtering on OpenGEU, I found a long list of themes. The ones in the new 8.04.1 beta are called Luna Crescente. So, I selected the packages opengeu-luna-crescente-themes and opengeu-luna-crescente-icons to install. On the command line:

sudo aptitude install opengeu-luna-crescente-themes opengeu-luna-crescente-icons

Or you can just select them in KPackage. I did the latter and clicked on Install Marked. At this point, KPackage offered another long list of packages for install. I inspected the list carefully. These themes depend on a number of Gnome libraries, but neither the Gnome desktop nor any Gnome apps were listed. I figured that I was safe and installed the whole list. Again, you’ll need to enable or approve the installation of unauthenticated packages.

When all was said and done, I went into the e17 theme manager and selected the sunshinemurrina theme, grit my teeth, and clicked on Apply. Awesome! I set about customizing my desktop to duplicate the capabilities of the OpenGEU desktop, creating a few more shelves and populating them to my tastes. This involved a number of resets for the virtual machine because the core e17 window manager doesn’t appear to like you to mess with the shelf contents much. In the end, though, I was rewarded handsomely:

The "final" OpenGEU/e17 on KDE desktop layout

The "final" OpenGEU/e17 on KDE desktop layout

Beautiful! So now I had pretty much the full Enlightenment 0.17 window management and OpenGEU desktop systems running on KDE, with only KDE applications installed. Full 2D bling is enabled, so all animations work. No Gnome. Wahooooo!!!

Now, I’d be lying if I said that all was perfect. After all, e17 and OpenGEU are both beta software. From what I can see, there are more problems with the core e17 window manager than with the OpenGEU wrapper. I have problems with media icons on the desktop. I still need to build the Utilities menu. Plus the other issues mentioned above, including crashes when working with shelf contents. These latter issues become non-players, though, once you finish your setup. On aesthetics, KDE apps still have blue screen parts internally, so they don’t quite match the gold-colored title bars, etc. I can live with that, but it is consistent across the spectrum of programs. That’s because OpenGEU isn’t integrated for the KDE desktop, only Gnome.

All this may seem like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. In fact, I only took about two or three trips back to the repositories to get the whole setup loaded. Now that I’ve been through it all, I’ve learned that you could load all this on a functional KDE system with just the following line in the terminal:

sudo aptitude install e17 emodules-all emodule-extramenu opengeu-luna-crescente-themes opengeu-luna-crescente-icons

That’s it! This one line will install the complete e17 and OpenGEU capabilities and themes without installing Gnome or any Gnome applications. After installing these package, just logout, select Enlightenment for your desktop, and log back in. All that’s left is to setup the desktop as you like it.

I’m going to play with this desktop for a while in the virtual machine to get a better feel for stability and overall function. Thanks to TheDarkMaster‘s hint on e17 being desktop independent, I have now figured out how to get full (as far as I can tell) OpenGEU functionality on top of KDE. If all works well, I may go to production on my main system.



  1. Suggestion: you’re missing 2 important things at least: etray and geutheme. Download them, it’s better. Even if geutheme will not be 100% useful since it manages gnome and e17 themes only…
    As for your KDE look, I have the solution: QGtkStyle
    Please try it out. OpenGEU themes are made for gnome, so using that you’ll be safe and sound I think.
    Lemme know, I’m going to create a package for this to be installed automatically 😉
    Ah, as for etray, remember to add it to autostarted applications!

  2. I had geutheme installed, but not etray. I installed etray, but I don’t see what it’s purpose is. I have an icon on the screen, but it doesn’t seem to do anything.

    I checked out QGtkStyle. It is no longer available as a binary. Newer versions are also for KDE 4 and I’m using KDE 3 like most folks. Not sure where that leaves me.

  3. Hi DM,

    QGtkStyle 0.8 (for KDE 3) will not compile here. The compile script says that it use cmake, so I installed that. I ran it as specified but it apparently cannot find the compiler, which I can clearly see in the correct location in my file manager and worked fine when I installed VMWare Tools. It sounds like a promising approach, but looks like I’m out on this one.

    I’ve also looked for trayer modules or plug-ins, but cannot find any. Can you point to a source of trayer plug-ins that will make it useful under e17/OpenGEU?

  4. Hallo, eTray is simply a system trayer. That means that if you load something like a network manager, like the KDE one (network manager kde in synaptic), or open Amarok or any other application needing a tray icon space like pidgin, than that application will find its way into eTrayer. E17 has not Trayer space and this is a big whole. We filled it with Etray, that’s all. As for the icon you see now, right click on it, it is a configurator for eTray.

  5. Hallo DM,

    That’s what I figured, but I didn’t see any plugins for it. I know that there’s one for network monitoring in Gnome. I guess that this is an area for growth.

    On the lockups, it seems directly related to deleting items from a shelf. I’ve had it lock up after a single deletion. I will also crash if I open up the gadget or shelf configurations more than a few times. This is very consistent.

    I’ve been playing with more of the OpenGEU shelf items. I like this approach better than the KDE plasmoid one. Yours are much more customizable and actually work.

    Other than a working system for things like the KDE Klipper and stability in shelf configuration, this system looks ready for prime time. Great work!

  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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