Yes e18, the world didn’t end and e17 was released. And then the development of e18 began. This desktop environment will be built on top of EFL1.8 that will bring edbus instead of the old e_dbus.
So in these first weeks of the year, we ported every e17 module to edbus and added 3 new modules.
I will briefly show the major improvements but if you are a developer I recommend you to see by yourself, Now with EFL1.8 single tree it’s really easy to install e18 dependencies.
Before continue, if you are not familiar with e17 modules you can read this guide.
This module is responsible by displaying the notification area. In this area application icons are displayed and clicking over an icon you have access to some features of applications without have to unminimize it. Several applications use it like Skype, Pidgin, Xchat and others but the implementation of the protocol that enables this is really old and modern desktops have serious technical issues to implement it. In e17 we have a function called _e_shelf_cb_mouse_move_autohide_fuck_systray() in http://svn.enlightenment.org/svn/e/trunk/e/src/bin/e_shelf.c that show a little bit how difficult is to maintain support to Xembed. Besides the technical issues, each application have their own behavior and theme when clicked over its icon, leaving the user confused.
Canonical(the company that develops Ubuntu) created a new notification area protocol called Application Indicators, which resolves all the problems of Xembed protocol.
This new protocol was implemented in the systray module but the older one will be there for while.
One of the greatest advantages of that is the possibility of use the network manager applet of Canonical.
By clicking on it we can set up and connect to ethernet, wifi and 3g networks. Certainly a good alternative to ConnMan.
One of the new modules is music control, that allow user control his music player in his shelf. You can go to the next or previous song and pause or play.
The only dependency is the DBus Mpris2 interface your player must export it. Most modern players just need enable it through some configuration. But if your player implement that and are not in the supported list please inform us in the Enlightenment developer list.
The second module added is the application menu. It implements a protocol also writen by Canonical know as Application Menu. This specification transfers the responsibility of showing the application menu to the window manager. There is a long explanation on why transferring the responsibility of application to window manager but to make a long story short it’s because of the gain space on-screen.
Here I have a shelf on top with auto hide, showing the Chrome menu only when needed.
The applications must export they menu over DBus, Canonical added the support to Gnome and KDE toolkits, for the EFL/Elementary supported was added by Profusion but there are some environment variables in each toolkit to enable it.
The last new module is Bluez4, that is a graphic interface for BlueZ version 4.
BlueZ is the official Linux Bluetooth protocol stack so with bluez4 you can pair and use all your bluetooth gadgets.
So this was the first news about the e18, there’s more coming, stay tuned!