Canonical Taps Enlightenment for Ubuntu ARM Devices

by Ostatic Staff - Feb. 26, 2010

The next generation of Ubuntu's Netbook Edition for ARM devices will be using the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) to provide a rich user interface (UI) experience.

Jamie Bennett, Ubuntu mobile developer, writes that 3D has been a problem on ARM due to graphics licensing issues. To solve this, the Ubuntu team is turning to EFL to create a rich 2D UI that's suitable for ARM devices. It can use 3D hardware if it's available on the device, but if not it will default to 2D and be just as pretty. The launcher will also be available on non-ARM platforms, but won't be turned on by default.

The Enlightenment project has a long history. The project started as a window manager for X, but has evolved into more. Enlightenment is now the window manager, plus a collection of libraries that are used in mobile devices, set top boxes, game systems, and is the default desktop for Yellow Dog Linux's distribution for the Sony PS3.

Despite the widespread usage, the Enlightenment 0.17 (E17) release seems to be in a perpetual "just about ready to release" state. Started in December of 2000, the Enlightenment re-write is still only available from SVN and as unofficial packages from various distros.

The UI won't look a great deal different to end users familiar with the Ubuntu Netbook Remix. Bennett says that it's a "direct clone of the UI found in the 9.10 Karmic release on i386." Users testing Ubuntu 10.4 alphas can test the launcher now by installing the netbook-launcher-efl package. The most recent Ubuntu 10.4 alpha release came out on Thursday, February 24.

Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years covering IT. Formerly the openSUSE Community Manager for Novell, Brockmeier has written for Linux Magazine, Sys Admin, Linux Pro Magazine, IBM developerWorks,,, Linux Weekly News, ZDNet, and many other publications. Brockmeier is also a FLOSS advocate and participates in several projects, including GNOME as the PR team lead. You can reach Zonker at and follow him on Twitter or