Though my past experiences with Enlightenment weren't very fruitful, seeing the recent Elive Compiz made me want to see more of this unique window manager. So I started looking through the available options and I stumbled upon moonOS, which was recently upgraded to version 2, codename Kachana. Having an Ubuntu base and judging by the screenshots I decided to give it a spin and see if it's any worth. The test machine I loaded moonOS onto has the following specs:
· AMD K8 nForce 250Gb Motherboard
· AMD Sempron 2800+ Processor
· Nvdia GeForce FX5200 Video Card
· 512 MB RAM
· LG CD-RW/DVD-ROM Drive
· 17" BENQ T720 Monitor
You know the routine: download the ISO, burn it to a CD, reboot your computer and boot from the CD. Simple. The first possible letdown that you'll come across must be the loading bar, which displays some washed-out dark-green shades. Some will probably like it, I didn't. Moving on to the more important elements of an operating system, the boot process was pretty quick even from the Live CD. After installing it onto your hard drive you should expect startup speed values similar to Ubuntu's. Nothing really worth lingering upon.
The bootsplash image and font prepare you for what I like to call a fairytale desktop. With floral motifs and forest-green shiny colors everywhere (including the cursor) I was certain that a dancing Irish Leprechaun will start hopping around across my workspaces. It didn't, sadly... Oh well, maybe some good folks will create an animated wallpaper displaying just that. And, as some of you may already know, Enlightenment supports animated wallpapers: a fading ladybird, lights turning on and off in a city landscape or a pong game for the nostalgics. But don't think that you will have to dig the web to find them, as the appearance settings will have an "online" button that will take you to the wallpaper portal so you can look through either static or animated ones. There aren't a lot, but you'll certainly find one that will suit your mood. Ecomorph, a Compiz implementation for E17, is also included but not enabled by default given the fact that a warning on the website says: "[...] this is currently somewhere between a hack and planning/pre-alpha state."
The desktop hosts quite a big dock that is placed on the right side of the screen and displays some of the most popular applications that you'll surely need to use eventually: Firefox, GIMP, Thunderbird, OpenOffice.org (which, by the way, has an awesome splash screen), Pidgin, Exaile Media Player, Synaptic, Terminal and Thunar. In the bottom-right corner, you'll find a calendar, battery indicator and the trash. Of course, adding new icons to the dock is an easy task. On the upper left side, three huge icons (Home, root, desktop) will sit on top of a hard drive load indicator. The bottom center of the screen is occupied by the usual Enlightenment panel with the menu, workspace and application switcher, CPU temperature, time/date and the volume control knob. Having two "docks" on your screen will eat up quite a lot of screen estate so I wouldn't recommend anything lower than 1280x1024 for your resolution.
Going back to the looks of this distribution, I was very disappointed with the title bar. The color is *ewww* and the buttons are ugly, contrasting with the general beauty moonOS has to offer. Besides the title bar, all shades of green are gorgeous and contribute to that fairytale desktop feel I was telling you about.
Another downside is the fact that the desktop is not actually linked to the desktop folder, so basically you cannot create folders, files etc. like you normally do on a "regular" desktop. But don't think that it's moonOS' fault, as this is how Enlightenment is built. Well, on the bright side, you are sure to always have an uncluttered screen.
If you don't fancy Enlightenment as your desktop environment and want something more "traditional," moonOS 2 is also available in an LXDE edition. Both versions of moonOS 2 are a joy to look at and use. I didn't find any major problems and the system is not a resource-eating monster so in the end whether you'll use it or not is just a matter of taste.
Download moonOS 2 Main Edition right now from Softpedia.
Download moonOS 2 LXDE Edition right now from Softpedia.