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Enlightened Distros

By Jeff Hoogland

I've developed a bit of an obsession with the Enlightenment desktop of the late. Even though this desktop is fantastic there are currently not very many distributions that utilize it. Today I would like to take the time to mention those that offer a version with my favorite desktop.


The biggest name distribution to (currently) offer an "official" Enlightenment variation is PCLinuxOS. PCLOS is an RPM based distribution that uses apt-get for its package manager. As this is an official PCLinuxOS variation it is fully compatible with and uses the standard PCLinuxOS repositories. PCLinuxOS E17 currently has the beta 3 EFL packages in its repositories and stays regularly up to date.


Sabayon is a derivative of Gentoo that is fully backwards compatible. They recently released an "experimental" spin that utilizes the Enlightenment desktop. This spin is based on the latest version of Sabayon. You can find more information on it here .

Bodhi Linux:

Bodhi Linux is an Ubuntu derivative that uses 10.04 as a base, but back ports newer software from Maverick and even Natty repositories. It receives regular Enlightenment updates and currently features the EFL beta 3 libraries. It is fully backwards compatible with Ubuntu 10.04 packages.


Macpup is a distro based on Puppy Linux . Macpup's latest release is based on "Lucid Puppy" a version of Puppy that is compatible with binaries made for Ubuntu 10.04. Macpup ships with ELF beta 1 version of the Enlightenment files compiled from SVN revision 52995. Something worth noting is that Macpup feels a bit incomplete as certain Enlightenment features do not work (such as shutting down). Finally I'd like to note that if you want to update Enlightenment under Macpup you will need to compile and install the updates yourself from source.


Unite17 is the first derivative built on top of Unity Linux, which in turn is a derivative of Mandriva . Unite17 is a Hungarian Enlightenment distribution that has a large default application set. Unite17 was formly known as PCe17OS.

Elive :

Elive is based on Debian stable (5.0), over time it has become what I believe to be kind of the defacto standard of Enlightenment distributions. While it does work well and is more than elegant all of its packages are fairly old. Even its Enlightenment packages are dated at this point, its last release was over nine months ago.


Pentoo gets its name from its Gentoo base and its function for network penetration testing. It utilizes Enlightenment more for its speed than for its elegance. It is backwards compatible with Gentoo, but its last release is over a year old at this point.

MoonOS :

MoonOS is an Ubuntu derivative whose last release used 9.04 as a base. It is important to note that MoonOS no longer receives updates as 9.04's life span has run out. Still, it is nice looking and if you are willing to compile your own Enlightenment updates it can work just fine as an OS (after upgrading Ubuntu versions). This 9.04 version is the last copy of MoonOS to use the Enlightenment desktop, an announcement was posted that future versions will be using the Gnome desktop.


Yellow Dog is an Enlightenment distro that works on PowerPC and Cell processor architectures. It is designed for home use (on the PS3/PPCs Macs) and server use/cluster computing. It is built on top of the community version of Redhat Linux known as CentOS and is maintained by the company Fixstars.


OpenGEU is another Ubuntu derivative (there are always lots of those) whose most recent version is built on 8.10. It has been a long while since we saw any new releases from the OpenGEU team, but they promise us a Debian based release at some point in the future.

I think I covered most all the Enlightenment based Linux distributions - really shows how few there are that I can list them all like this in one post! If I missed anything please drop a comment below to let me know.


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I am currently a full time student working my way through a math education program on the south side of Chicago. I work in both theatre & computer fields currently. I am a huge believer in Linux and believe we will see Microsoft's dominant market share on the personal computer crumble at some point in the next twenty years. I write a good deal about technology and you can always find my most current thoughts/reviews/ramblings at http://jeffhoogland.blogspot.com/

Copyright © 2011, Jeff Hoogland. Released under the Open Publication License unless otherwise noted in the body of the article.

Published in Issue 183 of Linux Gazette, February 2011