It brings us great pleasure to announce the latest release of Enso, 0.2. While only including a few functional and cosmetic changes we felt that overall we had reached a point where the OS was more complete and a better experience than our initial release and it was about time we got on and released it.
The main goals of this release was to get the different elements working in harmony with each other, Xfce and Gala are the two main components of our system and both aren't designed to work all that well together, Gala WM being more GNOME 3 based and Xfce being a little more dated in it's technologies (which makes us love it so)..
So here's what's changed...
The first thing you may notice (after installation) is that the login screen is now a little different from what it was, it is entirely different from the screen that was used before and is in fact a fork of elementary's Pantheon greeter amended to work in a more central and horizontal manner than their's currently does.
Our aim was to get something that was more pleasing on the eye than the previous login screen, we had already done some cosmetic changes to the desktop environment and each time we booted up we couldn't help feeling a little let down by the initial screen.
Now this next one may involve a little controversy, but we hope that most people are happy with the choice. We have cleaned up the desktop so by default no icons or shortcuts can be displayed on the desktop. This is something which generally annoys a few people, but we don't feel like it's something that is needed in our environment, there is enough places that you can save you favourite items too (such as Plank or Panther) that it really isn't necessary (in our minds).
Our main reason for removing this is that Gala isn't the lightest on resources and runs a background as standard and xfdesktop also consumes a fair amount of memory when running, so we felt that one had to go and we weren't all that fussed on desktop icons anyway.
However.. If this is something that you simply cannot live without then you're in luck, as we haven't entirely removed this function, we will put a more detailed explanation in our docs sometime in the near future but it basically consists of going to Session and Startup => Application Autostart => and un-ticking the 'xfdesktop quit' item, reboot and hey presto :)
Panther Saved Applications
A query we got a number of times after our initial release was having saved items in the Panther Launcher, this is something all longterm Xfce users are accustom to from using Whisker menu. Being longterm Xfce users ourselves it is of course something that we are also accustom to, and felt that Panther would only benefit from this additional feature.
So launching Panther for the first time you will see the 'Saved' menu item, which we have pre-populated for you guys with what we deem to be useful applications, you can easily add more in or remove what is currently included by right clicking on any item in the launcher.
There are a few features that we'd like to improve on in the future, such as being able to right click and save when searching for an application. And if already included in the Saved list a little star icon is shown next to the application icon, and that when right clicked the menu will display 'remove from saved' instead of displaying 'add to saved' once more (although clicking this won't re-add the application).
As well as the main changes above there are a number of smaller additions to Enso.
There are now different settings applications for Desktop and Keyboard settings, they are taken straight from elementary's system and converted into stand-alone applications as they both have already been well developed and will help with changes such as keyboard layout and shortcuts.
The Xfce desktop having been replaced with the built in Gala one means that changing the background and dock settings are now done in a different location as well.. Both can be located in Panther under 'Other' and are simply named 'Keyboard' and 'Desktop'.
A new right click menu on the desktop has also been added to bring a more minimal feel to the pretty bloated one that Xfce desktop had, this only includes 4 menu items allowing minimizing of all applications currently clogging up your view, display the multitasking view, opening Xfce settings and opening Desktop settings for an easy background change.
Download the latest release from SourceForge by simply clicking this button below. And then head over to our documentation page to find out more information about how to use the system.
If you like our work and would love to see this project continue to grow then please help support us on our BountySource page.
Thank you to all our donations so far.
Thank you and Enjoy
We thank you for choosing Enso, we do hope you enjoy our OS and let us know of any problems you encounter on our Github page.
Get in touch and let us know what you think through our contact us section at the very bottom of the Info page.
We would like to thank all the photographers for providing us with amazing wallpapers for a latest release, you can see the full list on our Github page
So here at Enso 'the greener alternative' we thought we'd set ourselves the challenge of buying a laptop as cheap as we could and install Enso on it to see how it runs, because to be completely honest the laptops we own are fairly new and high spec, and even though we do test Enso through a range of different virtual environments with varying memory allocations we thought there was nothing quite like the real thing...
Enter this beautiful machine:
A magnificent Thinkpad T400 that we got on ebay for a very reasonable £16, now it didn't come with a hard drive, so that was £10 for a 160 GB drive, and a further £6 on a charger as this also wasn't included and £10 for the pleasure of shipping the laptop to us.
The condition of the laptop is generally good, with all the keys in check and clean, unfortunately there is a fairly large dead part of the screen in the bottom right corner, which does hamper the use of the machine a little but fortunately Enso doesn't use that part of the screen for much of anything. So that's handy!
So all in all we sent £42, which we considered to be fairly decent..
How does it perform?
Now this lovely machine comes packed full of 2GB of ram with a Intel Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz CPU and our purchased SATA hard drive helps to boost the speed nicely.
Running the machine feels nice and sharp, you never have to wait too long for much to happen unless you start running lots of memory heavy applications, boot time is a very solid 45 seconds and here is what the system idles at..
So are we happy with our purchase? You bet we are!!
~£50 for such a great piece of machinery cannot be scoffed at, yes we will probably look at fixing the screen sometime in the near future, but other than that I can see this machine being a big part of Enso development and testing going forwards.
Get in touch
Think you can do better or have done better? Let us know.. Head over to our info page and contact us from the form at the bottom.
We'd love to hear from you if you have got a laptop cheaper than us or think you can, let us know where you got it and what you installed..
We now have over 3,000 downloads of Enso OS, which is far better than we ever thought we'd get so thanks to you guys for downloading an supporting our small project.
The next release of Enso is now in the pipeline, 0.2. Which will include fixes for a few issues that were found in our first release, we also hope to bring in some design changes to make Enso look cleaner and easier to use (nothing too drastic though)..
On top of these small changes we hope to bring in some additional features..
Such as including a 'Saved' or favorite menu to Panther, so users will be able to right click on an application icon and save it to their 'Saved' applications.
Within the right click menu another option will allow you to add or remove (if already pinned) the application to the Plank menu. There is already support on some applications to perform selected tasks (such as opening a new tab in Firefox), but we only recently found out about this feature so thank you Panther team!
We are also looking into other possible changes such as a keyboard shortcut editor and some more information on what shortcuts there are currently, as well as trying to make Gala WM run a little lighter and not consume as much memory as it currently is.
In addition to these changes we are also going to include a great project which we recently stumbled across, it is called Ecosia, which is a search engine that donates 80% on it's profits to different conservation projects around the world, helping to plant trees as you search the web. Now of course we're not going to force you to use this search engine, just include it as either the initial homepage of Firefox or some information about the project in the next release
We're not quite sure yet but we exited by this project and hope to help out in anyway we can.
The Enso team is very happy to announce the first beta release of Enso OS, version 0.1 Seedling!
Enso aims to be a clean and simple OS that is easy to use and incorporates some of our favourite projects from around the Linux world.
Built on top of Xubuntu for a solid and reliable base, we have re-themed XFCE to our own liking, added some nice features to the environment and ship it with some extra application in which we hope you'll enjoy...
Xubuntu is just great, we chose this as a base because in our opinion it is one of the most reliable and sold systems out there, we have been using it for a number of years and have encountered very few issues. We took all of the best features from the existing system and molded it to work with what we required.
Gala (window manager) by the elementary team has been incorporated into the shell of XFCE to provide some nice additional features to our environment. Such as animations on various tasks like launching, minimizing and closing application, application selection and repositioning of application (right, left, maximized or normal), workspace selection and multitasking view.
Panther Launcher is also included in our environment, to help with it's ease of searching for and launching of applications.
Plank is the simplest and nicest looking application dock there is (in our opinion) it does what it needs too and does it without issue.
To download Enso and give it all a try head over to our documentation page to find out where you can download it from.
From there you can also get more information and tutorials on Enso, to help you get going with installing and first use of our system.
Thank you & Enjoy
Thank you for choosing Enso, we do hope you enjoy our OS and let us know of any little teething problems you encounter on our Github page.
We would like to welcome everyone to our site which went live today!
We hope it will provide you with all the information you need regarding Enso OS - our simple Linux distribution which we are hoping to be able to release very soon.
If anyone has questions or feedback please do drop us a comment on our Info page
More updates to come very soon