Equinox Desktop Environment

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The Equinox Desktop Environment (EDE) is a DE designed to be simple, extremely light-weight and fast.

It primarily offers the most basic things: A window manager (PekWM is used by default), a simple GUI including a panel, a daemon watching removable media and a notification daemon. Other than that there's not much more than some configuration progams, a calculator, etc. Beginning with version 2.0, EDE follows the FreeDesktop.org guidelines.

Unlike any other desktop environment, EDE² is based upon the FLTK toolkit. It's especially fit for systems with little RAM or for users who want to completely customize their system and need a GUI that is not already bloated with functions and applications.


EDE is not very a very common piece of software. You usually have to compile it yourself. For Arch Linux there are however pre-built packages available via a custom repository.

Installation (packages)

To enable EDE's repository, just add the following lines to your /etc/pacman.conf:

SigLevel = Optional
Server = http://www.equinox-project.org/repos/arch/$arch

Next update the database files:

# pacman -Syy

Now you can simply install EDE packages via pacman:

# pacman -S ede

The repository offers EDE split into 4 packages:

  • edelib
  • ede-common
  • ede
  • ede-wallpapers (optional)

Installation (AUR)

You can also build EDE yourself. Fortunately on Arch there are two AUR-PKGBUILD files available that allow you to build it without much hassle.

The first one is edelibAUR which is a dependency for EDE, the other one edeAUR the actual DE.

Starting the DE

To bring up EDE you can either use a Display Manager or use startx. If you choose the later, just write the following to the .xinitrc of your user:

 exec startede


Since EDE is a bare-bone DE, you will have to add even the most common applications like a file manager or an editor yourself. It's all your freedom and choice.

Due to the nature of the DE, it obviously makes sense to install light-weight software. There are however not that many FLTK applications available so you will likely have to relay on a second toolkit like GTK+ for example.

Some recommendations