Enlightenment's E17 enters alpha after 12-year development

It's finally happened; after just shy of 12 years of development, the Enlightenment E17 window manager has entered alpha.

On Friday, December 8, 2000 — just three days before the US Supreme Court ruled on the 2000 US presidential election outcome — the source code for the open-source window manager known as Enlightenment 17 (E17) was committed into its repository. Now, after 11 years and almost 11 months of development, the project has announced that E17 is ready to enter alpha release.

In one the most succinctly understated announcements of recent times, Mike Blumenkrantz, senior software engineer at Samsung Electronics, and release manager for Enlightenment, wrote:

This is the announcement for the alpha release of Enlightenment DR 0.17. E17 is a desktop environment that's been under development for a couple years, and it's finally at the point where we're happy enough with it to do an alpha release.

Veterans of the various open-source desktops on offer at the turn of the century will remember how the preceding version of Enlightenment, E16, behaved very differently, and looked far better than the straight-laced KDE and GNOME environments on offer at the time.

E17 has not been locked away and under wraps where no one can see it for all these years; in fact, it serves as the basis of the Bodhi Linux distribution, and has been in various states of usability over the years — from stable to "oh, look, they rewrote everything again."

The window manager's install base even extends to whitegoods. In 2010, a fridge appeared that ran E17:

During the past 18 months, a couple of the prized vapourware clichés have seen the light of day: Duke Nukem Forever limped out the door, and Diablo III was all the rage for a few weeks in May when it was released.

Tarballs of E17 are available now.