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Enlightenment is an eye-candy, compositing and stacking window manager that is released under the permissive BSD License. It was first released in 1997 by Carsten Haitzler (Rasterman) and this original release was dubbed Enlightenment DR16 (or E16 for short). In 2012 a new version of Enlightenment was released, which was called Enlightenment DR17 (or E17). Since then three further major releases of Enlightenment have been made: E18, E19 and E20. E17 and E20 are all presently in the Portage Tree.

There has been some confusion over Enlightenment versions. E16, despite being an older release of Enlightenment, has its releases numbered 1.x, while the later releases of Enlightenment (E17-E20) all have decimal release numbers. E17 is numbered 0.17.x, E18 is numbered 0.18.x, E19 is numbered 0.19.x while E20 is numbered 0.20.x. Consequently, it is advised that users are careful as to which version of Enlightenment they are installing. While the version numbers reflect actual versions of the upstream tar archives, they can be confusing.


Enlightenment 0.17

For installing Enlightenment and the needed libraries, just issue the following command:

root #emerge --ask enlightenment:0

For SVG support e.g. for previews or menu entries, you can additionally install evas_generic_loaders with the svg USE flag enabled.

Addition to /etc/portage/package.use (unless you already have the svg USE flag globally enabled) and install the package:

root #euse -p media-plugins/evas_generic_loaders -E svg
root #emerge --ask evas_generic_loaders

Enlightenment 0.20

At the time of writing, you need to install E20 from testing.

root #emerge --ask --autounmask-write x11-wm/enlightenment:0.17

Enlightenment live ebuilds (future 0.21 release)

The process is a little different because it's recommended to always rebuild all of the components using their current state in Git. Make sure you have installed Layman or Eselect/Repository. Now you can add the enlightenment-live overlay.

root #layman -a enlightenment-live


root #eselect repository enable enlightenment-live

Make sure to install all core enlightenment packages using live ebuilds. You can update using the exact same command to ensure that all core packages are updated.

root #emerge --ask --autounmask-write @enlightenment-core-9999

The overlay contains masked package even for latest stable enlightenment releases. Specifically:

  • EFL 1.18.1
  • Enlightenment 0.21.2

Be aware that they are currently masked for ~amd64, so you need to unmask them.

root #emerge --ask --autounmask-write efl enlightenment
The ebuilds are currently tested for X and not for Wayland. Further investigation and feedback is needed for Enlightenment with Wayland and Systemd
The ebuilds for the latest stable packages may be moved to the official repository once tested and stable.

If anything goes wrong, file a ticket on GitHub or contact User:Rafspiny. Those are live ebuilds and therefore they can occasionally need updating. I'm also considering starting a separate overlay just for Enlightenment, let me know if that would help you.



Enlightenment's configuration is all handled through the settings editor from within enlightenment. There's also a command line tool called vieet, especially useful in emergency.

Launching enlightenment with startx

FILE ~/.xinitrc
exec dbus-launch --exit-with-session enlightenment_start

Tips and tricks

Now one can start Enlightenment desktop environment by launching the default Display Manager (DM).

You may have to add an entry to your X sessions directory, if you use SLiM for example

root # echo "enlightenment_start" >> /etc/X11/Sessions/Enlightenment
root # chmod +x /etc/X11/Sessions/Enlightenment

Or else, opt for a DM free set up. See X without Display Manager#Multiple X Session/Virtual_Console for more info on starting a X Session without a DM.

And do not forget to install NetworkManager and gnome-extra/nm-applet or else a light weight network manager like Dhcpcd+Dhcpcd-ui or even net-misc/connman for which there is an Enlightenment applet.

Multi-layout keyboard

For using a multi layout keyboard, install this package:


Black window contents

If you get windows with completely black contents (most likely with the nvidia proprietary driver and Enlightenment 0.20.5 or 0.20.6), follow these steps:

  • log out from Xorg.
  • set E_COMP_ENGINE=sw, for example in .xinitrc:
FILE ~/.xinitrc
export E_COMP_ENGINE=sw
exec dbus-launch --exit-with-session enlightenment_start

Alternatively, you can set the variable in /etc/environment.

  • start X.
  • Go to Settings->Composite->Advanced->Rendering and disable "Texture from pixmap".
  • Then you can remove "export E_COMP_ENGINE=sw" from .xinitrc and log out/in to get accelerated rendering again.

For more information see this bug report.


See also

External resources