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Cellphones GUI Handhelds Linux

E17, Slimmed Down For Cell Phones 166

Posted by timothy
from the durned-amazing-looking dept.
twitter writes "Want to run Enlightenment on your cell phone? The Rasterman's recent efforts bring E17 to Open Moko FreeRunner and Treo 650: 'According to the Rasterman, when used with his updated illume stack and new Elementary widget set, E17 can now run in just 32MB of RAM, on an ARM9 processor clocked at 317MHz. To prove it, he is distributing a Linux kernel and E17/Illume/Elementary stack for Palm's Treo650. The stack can be launched from PalmOS without touching the device's flash storage, he says.' While Microsoft fumbles with limited 'instant on,' GNU/Linux rules the embedded world and that's the only thing going in the IT market right now."
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E17, Slimmed Down For Cell Phones

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  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @04:29PM (#25405691) Homepage

    It is clear that the Windows API with all its backward compatibility and all that are completely unsuitable for the variety of computing devices in use and development today. When the push was for bigger and faster, that was not a problem for Microsoft -- their bloat and instability were less noticeable in that environment. But now that things are shifting to smaller, lighter, more efficient devices, the pressure is on Microsoft to answer that need -- and so far, their answer is WindowsXP... which isn't good enough. (Makes me wonder why they don't pull Win98se out of moth balls, hide DOS and work from there.) WindowsCE seems like something they might try to use but it doesn't "look" suitable in all the places I have seen it applied... I could be wrong, but as Microsoft's efforts seem to be focused on putting WindowsXP on everything that a small computer that normally sells with Linux, I would have to say that Microsoft sees WinCE as functionally unsuitable to compete in that arena. (perhaps it is because there are few apps for WinCE and those are typically written by the OEM distributor of the devices that contain WinCE?)

    Bottom line? WinXP isn't suitable and Microsoft will have to make something ENTIRELY new if they want to complete with Linux in this market... or... adapt FreeBSD like Apple did. Either way, it would be a huge blow to the Microsoft ego and very upsetting to their developers.

    It's funny that Microsoft feels they can't afford NOT to compete.

  • Blackbox (Score:5, Insightful)

    by evilviper (135110) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @04:40PM (#25405813) Journal

    Wouldn't a slimmed-down Enlightenment just be Blackbox with transparency, menus that "slide" a bit, and more "textured" themes? What did I miss?

    E17 can now run in just 32MB of RAM, on an ARM9 processor clocked at 317MHz.

    Blackbox seems to be using all of 4MBs of RAM here, and next to no CPU time. With a 3MB binary, that's not surprising.

  • Re:What a guy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by diegocgteleline.es (653730) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @05:15PM (#25406157)

    Maybe because other people actually releases stable code that other people can use. That plays a big role in getting fans - people being able to use your software. They don't care too much about you when you don't release anything.

    E17 was awesome from the start, it made things that windows and os x didn't do at its time, and it's still very powerful. But, you know, while E is "technically ahead" of other graphic toolkits, some of the things it does have already been implemented, tested, released and perfectioned in other environments.

    I no longer have faith in E. They're technically ahead in their development versions, but their stable versions are always behind of other environments. I can use features that E implemented first than anyone in stable environments others than E, but not in E, because, you know, they're too busy making it "perfect"

  • Re:Ok..... why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by plover (150551) * on Thursday October 16, 2008 @05:58PM (#25406609) Homepage Journal

    Consistency is overrated. If there is a program that is better than all the rest, people will learn use even if it doesn't fit the exact mold of other programs.

    x million iPod and iPhone users would strongly suggest otherwise. As a music player, the concepts behind iPods suck -- here's proprietary client software, we sell DRM music, our music doesn't work on any other player, can't replace the battery, higher priced than most other players with similar audio quality -- there's a lot to dislike about the iPod.

    So why do so many people buy and use and love them? It's the user interface. It's intuitive, it's consistent across the platforms, it's responsive, and it's not butt-ugly. It's the part that people see and interact with that make them desire the product.

    Open Source projects are starting to learn this. Ubuntu is a big success in large part because they're pushing hard for a consistent GUI experience, and making it easy to use. We hackers may think that "being the best on the inside" is enough, but for Joe Sixpack to accept it, for it to be a commercial success, it's far more important that it looks good and is easy to use. To an end user, that is performance.

  • Re:Ok..... why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chromatic (9471) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @06:38PM (#25406975) Homepage

    More people play DVDs than use iPods and iPhones, and DVD menus are by no means consistent.

    More people drive cars than use iPods and iPhones, and minor things such as light controls, wiper controls, and parking breaks are not consistent between makes or even models.

    You're just parroting the industrial designer's version of the geek fallacy that the best technology always wins. People buy iPods and iPhones because that brand is particularly popular and because music players let you carry thousands of songs in your pocket.

  • Re:What a guy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @07:36PM (#25407381) Journal

    What is there to cover. Enlightenment "1" was out a decade ago and since then work has been going on E17 with countless 'restarts' on the core libraries to make it all work.

    Others have taken e17 on occasion and tried to make a working desktop out of it all, with some success if you are willing to go without essential tools working consistently, it is a good window manager but only for the hardcore.

    It is the Duke Nukem Forever of the Linux world. After a certain amount of time you just have to produce SOMETHING and Raster hasn't.

    The problem is now that e17 really has to look for a new home. So what that e17 is lightweight when every PC has a dual core, 4 gigs of ram and a powerful gpu? 10 years ago E17 would have been groundbreaking. 5 years ago it would have ruled the desktop. Today. Who needs it. You can have a PC that can run any hardware accelerated window manager for peanuts, even laptops got GPU's for ages now.

    For that matter, this is hardly the first time e17 been shown on a phone.

    Raster make some intresting concepts and some of libraries are widely used, but e17 is a pipedream by now outdated by advancing tech. The world has moved on. Don't get me wrong, I got e17 installed and with a lot of tweaking I got it working just as I want it, but I have had to work at it for over half a decade at now to get it working and keep it working with each 'rewrite'. ENOUGH.

    Linus is the best known hero of opensource, because he delivers. Stallman has shown real vision and delivered the GNU but gets flack for HERD (or however it is spelled), Raster did E16, then started E17 and not produced anything but core libraries for some future project. Useful they may be to others but some of us are getting tired of waiting.

  • Re:What a guy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lysergic.acid (845423) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @08:43PM (#25407833) Homepage

    while i can't comment on the technical merits of Enlightenment, i strongly disagree with you that a lightweight window manager or desktop environment is irrelevant these days. if anything, lightweight GUI toolkits are more relevant now than ever before. with the rapid growth of the mobile computing market and rise of smart devices like smartphones, portable media players/entertainment devices, netbooks/sub-laptops, internet tablets, etc., there is an ever-growing need for lightweight software platforms--especially open source ones.

    it's easy to see how wireless internet access is poised to change the consumer computing paradigm as public wireless access becomes more and more ubiquitous. increasingly, the internet/web is being integrated into the daily lives of ordinary individuals. people want to keep in touch with their friends/associates via IM or e-mail. web services like google maps, wikipedia, gmail, flickr, etc. are becoming indispensable tools for everyday life. and more and more people are seeing the benefits of having access to the web, and all of the information it contains, at all times via information appliances. such smart devices have essentially become an accessory to life.

    this has not only pushed more and more portable devices to include wireless & web browsing capabilities, but it has also made them smarter & more powerful. naturally, more robust software platforms need to be developed to match the advances in portable hardware. just compare the first generation iPod firmware to the iPod Touch's operating system.

    obviously Elementary isn't meant to run on conventional computing platforms like desktop PCs or laptops; it's clearly designed for sub-laptop devices like smartphones and information appliances. this is an emerging market that will only grow even faster as wireless internet access becomes a basic public infrastructure, especially as more and more cities roll out municipal WiFi/WiMax networks. and people will not want to run Windows Vista on their portable devices.

  • Re:Ok..... why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by chromatic (9471) on Friday October 17, 2008 @12:23AM (#25408943) Homepage

    People use inconsistent interfaces on DVDs because the alternative is???

    Want some homework? Go find a hundred iPod owners who don't read Slashdot. Ask them about the alternatives to the iPod and how they decided to buy an iPod instead of another device. If 20% of them even mention the "intuitive interface", I'll admit shock and surprise.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday October 17, 2008 @02:35AM (#25409419) Journal

    Enlightment (e16) has been used for a longtime as the actual window manager for Gnome.

    But PC's have gotten more powerful, we are now dual core. That means a window manager no longer locks up because the CPU is busy. Even windows (and windows has ALWAYS been terrible as a window manager) runs smoothly now.

    E17 doesn't use the GPU, the most powerful component on your PC that is often idle when showing the desktop, by design. That idea was GOOD when GPU's weren't common, but on the PC they are now.

    In fact mobile phones are now getting GPU's. Since E17 is far from ready, even if goes to the mobile phones, will it be needed?

    I use the Duke Nukem Forever reference for a reason. Part of the reason for its eternal delays is that they took so long that each time the engine they used got outdated. As the industry moved on, DNF got left behind and had to get started again. E17 is running the same risk.

    Linux is good, a low powered OS is good, but is anybody waiting for say an 8 bit OS? That is low power, but we moved on.

    As said, I use E17 because it is good at something else beside being fast, being minimal. I don't need desktop icons and don't want them. Nor sounds not bells and whistles. I just want the basics to look pretty and E17 does that. But I don't need it anymore, I only still run it because I really do NOT like KDE or Gnome. I do NOT want a coherent desktop where everything works together. I run an app, the app does what I want and the window manager draws the window and THAT is it.

    But I am a very small market. Others want transparancy, something e17 doesn't do. Others want hardware accelerated graphics, something e17 doesn't do.

    When raster first showed a vid of E17 running on a mobile app (Zaurus if I remember right) it was nice looking. But we got more power now. We got iPhone and Android and Nokia's phones. E17 is out of date before it every launched, just like every build of DNF.

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