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Thread: HOWTO: installation of E17 from CVS (UPDATED)

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    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    HOWTO: installation of E17 from CVS (UPDATED)

    Due to the change of CVS repo to a SVN repo by Enlightenment devs this thread it's no longer advised and will soon became very outpdated!
    Please see new thread here:

    HOWTO: installation of e17 from SVN code


    Hi all.
    This How-To explains how to install a fresh and stable e17, compiled from CVS sources, on Ubuntu or any Debian based distro.

    This Howto it's also in CafeLinux Forum (click here).

    This Howto it's also in Portuguese Techzone Forum (em PT, Obrigado neonl)

    This method it's not compatible with OpenGEU/Geubuntu, Maryan linux, elive, old gOS
    or others distros with an already implemented e17.
    Please do not try it with those distros.

    NOTE: With new gOS Space should be work fine.

    So, what's the advantage of compile from cvs source? well,
    • you can be as updated as you wish,
    • you can be as outdated as you wish (using the date option of cvs you can go back to any specific date you want... search for specific features or avoid a broken version)
    • you will have everything installed on /opt/ directory. That's the correct location for testing/beta software. It will not mix libs and apps from enlightenment with your system. It's easier to clean and make backups or even run different versions side by side.
    • you can make your own Ubuntu flavor, by installing a minimal base system (like MinimalCD or ubuntulite) and e17 over it.
    • you can set your own compile options.

    This method use a famous script, from morlenxus, one of the e17 developers.

    Essentially, what i propose is, reduce the number of available e apps to a minimum stable core, that gives the environment,
    and use apps more stable to the common tasks like file-manager, terminal, etc., available at repos.

    I'm very pleased to announce that we have repos available to automatically implement this method!
    So i changed the procedure to reflect the new method using our OzOS repos (thanks to
    I hope you all like it

    If someone wants to see what it's done under the table or do it by hand (the old way) please check the pdf at the end of this post.

    This package should work with (X/K/E/G)Ubuntu from Edgy to Hardy (Dapper has dependency issues with some old libs and should be avoid) as with Debian and any recent Debian derivative.

    Add the following repos to your /etc/apt/sources.list:
    To do it automatically, copy+past the above to a command line:
     sudo sh -c "echo 'deb tinwoodman main' >> /etc/apt/sources.list"
    and add the authenticated key with:
    wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -
    Please if you have any link to this method, please update it as soon as possible. Many Thanks.

    Install it with:
    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install e17-cvs
    And thats all.

    To start enlightenment logout from your current Desktop Environment, and at Login Manger window
    choose: Options/Session > choose: Enlightenment.

    UPDATE [e17-cvs: 0.6.0] (2008-Jul-22)
    Default path for downloaded CVS code has changed to /var/cache/e17_cvs.
    Although it will work with the old path (~/.e17_cvs) the new one it's more generic (either for sudo as non-sudo use).
    Users that have already installed may go for the new path by doing:
    sudo mv ~/.e17_cvs /var/cache/e17_cvs
    before update e17-cvs. (New users don't need to do anything extra, of course)

    AN ALTERNATIVE METHOD (more control):

    If wanted compilation can be done after the installation of e17-cvs. Just do before install:
    touch $HOME/_skip_easy_e17_install
    and then:
    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install e17-cvs
    sudo -i
    rm $HOME/_skip_easy_e17_install
    Hope you enjoy it.


    If you want to try my themes you can also install:
    sudo apt-get install e17-themes

    After installed updates are handle with:
    sudo -u
    If you had already installed with the old manual method or using Morlenxus script directly, no problem, it is fully compatible...
    My only suggestion, perfectly optional, if you use the old default path it's:
    sudo mv ~/e17_cvs /var/cache/e17_cvs
    and then do the step INSTALL above. It will not repeat all from the beginning just will do an update.

    The deb will use a local cvs tree if you already have one, will make all configs if none exists.
    No need of manual creation of files or file editing.
    If an already installations is found, the deb will only proceed with an update.

    If you later want to try other enlightenment apps not installed by this package, please check pdf of manual method for tips and extra dependencies.

    If you decided that e17 it's not for you you can remove it:
    sudo apt-get remove e17-cvs
    sudo apt-get remove --purge e17-cvs
    to delete all compiled/installed e17 files.


    Don't forget to check the below section TIPS AND NOTES for any references on CVS breakage or specific issues of the moment
    (i will try to keep it updated)


    Something very basic but not immediate is how to run an application automatically at start up.
    Old versions required manual editing of .order files under ~/.e/e/applications/startup/.order but now we can just run from Main menu:
    Configuration -> Configuration Panel -> Applications -> Startup Applications and choose what we want.

    If the desired app don't exist on the list you need to create a .desktop launcher for it first.
    At Enlightenment Configuration window, under Applications, there are an entry called 'New Application' to do exactly that
    It's plain simple, so just 2 comments. New launchers will be create under ~/.local/share/applications/ and will have an unfriendly name like _new_app-1.desktop... A persistent bug stills avoid change that name, so after create the file i change the name manually (from command line or a file manager). This is just for us to find it more easily, since internally this launchers are listed by the name we set under the Entry Editor, info that it's saved as text file.
    Take care filling the field Categories with something meaningful. That's how e17 lists the available apps, and since there are dozens it's easy we lost them when we don't set no special category.

    One nice trick to control start up apps is to make a script, make it executable and then create a .desktop for it like described above. That way you just run one startup "app" that can launch what ever you want and how you want and editable with any text editor. Here an example (start oofice quick launcher and numlockX):
    # <- this symbol makes the line just a comment, remove it to launch the app:
            gnome-settings-daemon &
            # numlockx on &
            # gnome-volume-manager &
            # ooffice -quickstart -nologo -nodefault &
    Controlling the look of Applications is another aspect that it's not obvious.
    E17 Apps use controls/widgets from etk, but gtk apps don't know nothing about it. That means they will have the look (kind of ugly) of default gnome.
    There are 2 ways of tweak this.
    1st way, if you have gnome or xfce installed, is simply run the daemons of those environment, gnome-settings-daemon or xfce-mcs-manager respectively, on startup (like described above). That will set the theme we choose for gnome/xfce for all gtk apps, runs some basic services and start a few things like screensaver and numlockX. Appearance can then be tuned by running gnome-control-center or xfce-setting-show, according the daemon used.
    The 2nd way is lighter (not that much, note). Simply create a file named: .gtkrc-2.0 on your home folder, that would control gtk look.
    As an example of a possible .gtkrc-2.0 file:
     gtk-theme-name = "Human"
     gtk-icon-theme-name = "Tango"
     gtk-font-name = "Bitstream Vera Sans 11"
    You can tune the icon theme used for menu and desktop icons on:
    Configuration > Configuration Panel > Appearance > Icon theme (that won't change icon theme used by gtk apps, see tip above)

    hope that helps make your e17 even more beautiful



    - On clean installs (no other DE) you will find that you have no Application menus.
    On that case check my suggestions on this post here.

    - If, for any reason, you need a previous version of e17, check here to get an idea on how to get it:
    (I will elaborate on this tip, if cvs tree get broken one of this days and that became more useful than right now, that luckily is very stable )

    - You can install original skipped packages, by editing /etc/.easy_e17.conf file, remove them from --skip list and do:
    sudo --only=<skipped_package_name>

    - A situation that sometimes arise is that we want an application not listed on script.
    What i do is simply add manually the app to the correct entry list on script (and check on script updates if that has been added or not)
    I like to use the old e17setroot to make and set my backgrounds (.edj files) from jpg pics. That app is part of the obsolete e_utils package. It still compiles fine, so i add it to "apps" list on and install it normally.

    - You can turn icon desktops visibility on/off by loading/unloading 'File Manager' module (on Configuration menu).

    For more information on e17, the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries and the applications that use them, please see:

    *Don't update without previously check the cvs update messages*
    Besides information on whats going on, authors usually post warning of API breakage.
    Proceed with care on those occasions!

    Browse the cvs code on line, search for explanations, READMEs and details on code for each application check:
    e17 cvs tree

    Information, themes, icons, eye-candy and alike: and

    Later on this thread i posted a mini-how on how to edit/change/create an e17 theme.
    * check it here *


    Last edited by Rui Pais; September 14th, 2008 at 03:43 PM. Reason: typos and tips

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