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From the Enlightenment wiki:

The Enlightenment desktop shell provides an efficient yet breathtaking window manager based on the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries along with other essential desktop components like a file manager, desktop icons and widgets. It boasts an unprecedented level of theme-ability while still being capable of performing on older hardware or embedded devices.


This is comprised of both the Enlightenment window manager and Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL), which provide additional desktop environment features such as a toolkit, object canvas, and abstracted objects. It has been under development since 2005, but in February 2011 the core EFLs saw their first stable 1.0 release.


Enlightenment can be installed with the package enlightenment, available in the official repositories.

You might also want to install terminology, which is an EFL based terminal emulator, and integrates well with Enlightenment.

From the AUR

Warning: Some of these PKGBUILDs use unstable development code. Use them at your own risk.

Development PKGBUILDs which download and install the very latest development code are available in the AUR as enlightenment-gitAUR and its dependencies.

The following are EFL based applications, most in early stage of development and not yet released:

Starting Enlightenment

Graphical log-in

Simply choose Enlightenment session from your favourite display manager.


Warning: Entrance is highly experimental, and does not have proper systemd support. Use it at your own risk.

Enlightenment has a new display manager called Entrance, and is available in the AUR under the entrance-gitAUR package. Entrance is quite sophisticated and its configuration is controlled by /etc/entrance.conf. It can be used by enabling entrance.service using systemd.

Starting Enlightenment manually

If you prefer to start Enlightenment manually from the console, add the following line to your ~/.xinitrc file:

exec enlightenment_start

After that Enlightenment can be launched by typing startx. See xinitrc for details.


Enlightenment has a sophisticated configuration system that can be accessed from the Main menu's Settings submenu.



Enlightenment's preferred network manager is ConnMan available in the official repositories as connman package. Follow the instructions on Connman to do the configuration.

For extended configuration, you may also install EConnman (available in AUR as econnmanAUR or econnman-gitAUR) and its associated dependencies.


You can also use networkmanager to manage your network connections. Follow the instructions on NetworkManager to do the configuration.

You probably also need network-manager-applet to help with your settings. You may want to add it to the start up programs so every time Enlightenment starts it appears on systray. For that you should go to Settings Panel -> Apps -> Startup Applications -> System and activate Network.

Whilst network connectivity will work, the applet itself will not be visible unless you have enabled the system tray. Please see this section.

Polkit agent

Enlightenment does not have a graphical polkit authentication agent, so if you want to access some privileged actions (e.g. mount a filesystem on a system device), you have to install one, and autostart it. For that you should go to Settings Panel -> Apps -> Startup Applications -> System and activate it.

GNOME Keyring integration

It is possible to use gnome-keyring in Enlightenment. However, at the time of writing, you need a small hack to make it work in full. First, you must tell Enlightenment to autostart gnome-keyring. For that you should go to Settings Panel -> Apps -> Startup Applications -> System and activate Certificate and Key Storage, GPG Password Agent, SSH Key Agent and "Secret Storage Service". After this, you should edit your ~/.profile and add the following:

  if [ -n "$DESKTOP_SESSION" ];then 
     # No point to start gnome-keyring-daemon if ssh-agent is not up 
     if [ -n "$SSH_AGENT_PID" ];then 
         eval $(gnome-keyring-daemon --start) 
         export SSH_AUTH_SOCK export GPG_AGENT_INFO

This should export the variables you need for your key management at your next log-in. A big thanks to [1] for finding the missing piece of the puzzle!

More information on this topic in the GNOME Keyring article.

Enabling the system tray

Enlightenment has support for a system tray but it is disabled by default. To enable the system tray, open the Enlightenment main menu, navigate to the Settings submenu and click on the Modules option. Scroll down until you see the Systray option. Highlight that option and click the Load button. Now that the module has been loaded, it can be added to the shelf. Right click on the shelf you wish to add the Systray to, hightlight the Shelf submenu and click on the Contents option. Scroll down until you see Systray. Highlight that option and click the 'Add' button. Finally, you need to enable Xembed otherwise icons will not show in the Systray. To do so, right click on the empty Systray and highlight the Systray submenu. Choose the settings option and tick the Enable Xembed box. Now try starting your tray icons - they should appear in the Systray.


More themes to customize the look of Enlightenment are available from:

You can install the themes (coming in .edj format) using the theme configuration dialog or by moving them to ~/.e/e/themes.

Note: Enlightenment does not provide a stable theme API, and there have been numerous theme API changes over the years, even after E17 was released. Themes that have not been updated regularly are unlikely to work.

Modules and Gadgets

Name used in enlightenment to refer to the "backing" code for a gadget.
Front-end or user interface that should help the end users of Enlightenment do something.

Many Modules provide Gadgets that can be added to your desktop or on a shelf. Some Modules (such as CPUFreq) only provide a single Gadget while others (such as Composite) provide additional features without any gadgets. Note that certain gadgets such as Systray can only be added to a shelf while others such as Moon can only be loaded on the desktop.

"Extra" modules

Warning: These are 3rd party modules and not officially supported by the Enlightenment developers. They are also pulled directly from git, so they are development code that may or may not work at any time. Use at your own risk.

Beyond the modules described here, more "extra" modules are available from e-modules-extra-gitAUR.


Places is a gadget that will help you browse files on various devices you might plug into your computer, like phones, cameras, or other various storage devices you might plug into the usb port.

Available from placesAUR or places-gitAUR.

Note: This module is no longer required for auto-mounting external devices in Enlightenment

Scale Windows

The Scale Windows module, which requires compositing to be enabled, adds several features. The scale windows effect shrinks all open windows and brings them all into view. This is known in Mac OS X as "Exposé". The scale pager effect zooms out and shows all desktops as a wall, like the compiz expo plugin. Both can be added to the desktop as a gadget or bound to a key binding, mouse binding or screen edge binding.

Some people like to change the standard window selection key binding ALT + Tab to use Scale Windows to select windows. To change this setting, you navigate to Menu > Settings > Settings Panel > Input > Keys. From here, you can set any key binding you would like.

To replace the window selection key binding functionality with Scale Windows, scroll through the left panel until you find the ALT section and then find and select ALT + Tab. Then, scroll through the right panel looking for the "Scale Windows" section and choose either Select Next or Select Next (All) depending on whether you would like to see windows from only the current desktop or from all desktops and click Apply to save the binding.

Available from comp-scale-gitAUR.


Engage is CairoDock/GLX-Dock style docking bar for both application launchers and open applications. It requires compositing to be enabled and has full controls for transparency, size, zoom levels, and more.

Available from engage-gitAUR.


If you find some unexpected behavior, there are a few things you can do:

  1. try to see if the same behavior exists with the default theme
  2. disable any 3rd party modules you may have installed
  3. backup ~/.e and remove it (e.g. mv ~/.e ~/.e.back)

If you are sure you found a bug please report it directly upstream.


When the configuration is messed up and the settings windows can no longer be approached, configuration for the compositor can be reset by the hardcoded keybinding Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Home.

Unreadable fonts

If fonts are too small and your screen is unreadable, be sure the right font packages are installed. ttf-dejavu and ttf-bitstream-vera are valid candidates.

You can set scaling under Settings -> Settings Panel -> Look -> Scaling.

Backlight always dimmed

You may find that Enlightenment routinely dims the backlight to 30% on logout and will only restore it to 100% when you log into another Enlightenment session. This is especially problematic when using another desktop environment alongside Enlightenment as the backlight will not automatically be restored to its normal level when using that desktop environment. To fix this issue, open the Enlightenment Settings Panel and, under the Look tab, click on the Composite option. Tick the Don't fade backlight box and click OK.

Inconsistent cursor theme

You may find that the cursor theme for the desktop is different to the one used in applications such as Firefox. This is because desktop applications are using X cursor themes whilst Enlightenment has its own set of cursor themes. For consistency, you can set Enlightenment to always use the X cursor theme. To do this, open the Enlightenment Settings Panel and click on the Input tab. Click on the Mouse option. Change the theme from Enlightenment to X and click OK. You should now find that the same cursor theme is used everywhere. If the X cursor theme itself is not always consistent, consult this section of the Cursor Themes article.

Enlightenment DR16

Enlightenment, Development Release 16 was first released in 2000, and went 1.0 in 2009. Originally, the DR16 stood for the 0.16 version of the Enlightenment project. As simply "Enlightenment" now in the Arch repositories, it is still under development today, regularly updated by its maintainer Kim 'kwo' Woelders. With compositing, shadows and transparencies, E16 kept all of the speed that presided over its foundation by original author Carsten "Rasterman" Haitzler but with up to date refinement.

To install E16

Install enlightenment16.

E16 can be quite different from the other WM's out there, read /usr/share/doc/e16/e16.html after installation to learn more. The man page is at man e16, not man enlightenment, and only gives startup options.

Basic Configuration

Most everything in E16 resides in ~/.e16 and is text-based, editable at will. That includes the Menus too.

Shortcut keys can be either modified by hand, or with the e16keyedit software provided as source on the sourceforge page of the e16 project, or from the e16keyeditAUR AUR package.

Background images

You have to copy the desired wallpapers into ~/.e16/backgrounds/

MMB or RMB anywhere on the desktop will give access to the settings, select /Desktop/Backgrounds/

Any new image copied in the ~/.e16/backgrounds/ folder will get the list of available backgrounds auto-updated. Select desired wallpaper from drop-down menu. Inside the appropriate tabs in the global e16 settings, you can adjust things like tiling of the background image, filling screen and such.

Start/Restart/Stop Scripts

Create an Init, a Start and a Stop folder in your ~/.e16 folder: any .sh script found there will either be executed at Startup (from Init folder), at each Restart (from Start folder), or at Shutdown (from Stop folder); provided you allowed it trough the MMB / settings / session / <enable scripts> button and made them executable with chmod +x yourscript.sh. Typical examples involves starting pulseaudio or your favorite network manager applet.


Shadows, Transparent effects et all can be found in MMB or RMB /Settings, under Composite .

See also