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Thread: HOWTO: Install a lightweight E17 based Ubuntu (Karmic)

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    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    HOWTO: Install a lightweight E17 based Ubuntu (Karmic)

    Here is my procedure for installing an Enlightenment E17 based Ubuntu. This method starts from a minimal command line install, and avoids any unnecessary Gnome baggage. It relies exclusively on the official Ubuntu and Enlightenment repos. For a less lightweight E17 that can be installed after a full Ubuntu install check this other Howto.)

    E17 features my favorite user interface of any window manager/desktop environment. Also, E17 is very fast and responsive, and should be good for older computers. On my computer, this OS takes just over 1GB of disk space, and uses 84MB of RAM, as opposed to 4.5GB of disk space and 211MB RAM for a normal Ubuntu installation. You'll use the Alternate install CD for this installation. (The minimal or Server install CDs should work too.)

    (Two other good options for E17 based Ubuntu distros are OpenGEU and MoonOS. Advantages for these are live CDs, and ease of installation. Advantages for the method described in this HowTo are less baggage, more control, and a more recent Ubuntu release.)

    1. Boot up the Alternate install CD and select "Install command-line system" from the F4 Modes menu. Go through the text-based install. This part should be fairly straightforward, and is a good way to start any lightweight Ubuntu install. (see's minimal Xubuntu article) (Using Karmic Beta, I had to "sudo update-grub" after installing in order to get my other OSs to show up in the GRUB menu.)

    2. Add in the Enlightenment repo. Add this to the end of your /etc/apt/sources.list
    deb karmic main extras
    Then add the key:
    wget -O - | sudo apt-key add -
    sudo apt-get update
    3. Install the software:
    sudo aptitude install xorg e17 wicd lxterminal gnome-icon-theme mousepad emodule-places emodule-tclock emodule-calendar unrar rar xarchiver gpicview
    sudo aptitude install firefox thunar vlc -R
    xorg and e17 are, obviously, the essential packages for this installation.
    You might want to install ecomorph-e17 instead of e17 for the compiz eye candy.
    wicd for network/wifi management. I would use exalt (package name:emodule-exalt), but I can't get it to work. At all.
    lxterminal as a lightweight terminal program that is significantly better than xterm
    mousepad is my choice for a full-featured, lightweight text editor. scite and Leafpad are two other options
    gnome-icon-theme is necesary in order for the icons in the menus and in Thunar to look right.
    xarchiver is a nice, lightweight program for working with compressed files; rar and unrar are needed for it to work properly
    gpicview is a nice, lightweight picture viewer
    emodule-places, emodule-tclock, and emodule-calendar are just three extra emodules that I really like to use.
    The -R option is important for Firefox. Otherwise it installs piles and piles of gnome-related packages. Another, more lightweight option is to install Chromium.
    thunar is my choice for a full-featured, lightweight file manager
    vlc is, of course, the standard linux media player

    Modify this list to suit your needs. Other packages you might want to install:
    abiword: lightweight word processor. It's still a pretty bulky program, so consider using the -R option with aptitude, which will cut the installed size in half.
    galculator: basic calculator program.

    4. Get audio working:
    sudo nano /etc/group
    then add your username to the audio group.
    sudo aptitude install alsa-base alsa-oss
    5. Setup SLiM, a lightweight login manager(GDM replacement):
    sudo dpkg -i slim_1.3.0-2_i386.deb
    or for a 64-bit version:
    sudo dpkg -i slim_1.3.0-2_amd64.deb
    You may want to change the theme or otherwise customize the SLiM login manager. Go here for more info:

    6. Reboot and setup E17 as it directs you. From a terminal, run alsamixer and unmute/turn up the appropriate things

    7. Configure E17. Here are the things I do.
    • Enlightenment can have problems mounting partitions, etc. I get around this by using the Places module and modifying my PolicyKit.conf as described here: (edit /etc/PolicyKit/PolicyKit.conf and add <match action="*"><match user="[your user name]"><return result="yes"/></match></match> after <define_admin_auth group="admin"/>. If the file doesn't exist, install policykit.)
    • If you want to disable tap-to-click:
    • Fix all the missing icons: menu->settings->settings panel->look->icon theme, pick "gnome"
    • You will probably want to modify the alt-tab and window focus behaviors: menu->settings->settings panel->windows->window list and window focus
    • The edge binding settings will probably also need modification: menu->settings->settings panel->input->edge bindings
    • If you want the mac dock-like thingy: menu->settings->shelves->add a shelf and set up its contents with only the IBar. Then, under the advanced settings, select the invisible style.
    • Install a more interesting theme from or or, my favorite, Apparently some older themes may not play nicely with your new E17 installation. You can mix and match functional parts of the themes if needed.
    • I used to install usplash, but I can't get it or xsplash to work in Karmic.*

    This is all that I do to get my base OS installed. Let me know if there is anything else you would recommend for an E17 based system. Hopefully I can figure out how to get Entrance login manager and a splash screen working and add those things into this howto.

    *I finally got usplash to work by doing this and this. Given the current state of usplash and xsplash, I'm going to hold off adding this into the main part of this howto until those packages have stabilized.
    Last edited by kappa962; December 13th, 2009 at 07:12 PM. Reason: updating

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