How to install the Enlightenment E20 Desktop on Ubuntu 15.10

The new Enlightenment E20 Desktop has just been released. The Enlightenment project consists of the Enlightenment Window manager (which was started in 1996), the EFL library that contains graphic, widget, network, and other basic desktop functions and some applications that are based on EFL like a terminal emulator, a video player, and an IDE. Nowadays the project has put its Fokus on a Desktop environment for Mobile, wearable and TV devices. New in E20 is the support for the Wayland compositor, X1 is still supported. In this tutorial, I will show you how to install the E20 Desktop on the current Ubuntu 15.10.

What's new in Enlightenment E20

From release notes at

  • Full Wayland support
  • New screen management infrastructure and dialog
  • New audio mixer infrastructure and gadget
  • Many internal widgets replaced with Elementary
  • Improved FreeBSD support
  • Geolocation module


I will use a standard Ubuntu 15.10 Desktop as the basis for this installation. Enlightenment will be installed as additional Desktop, so you can switch between the Ubuntu standard Desktop and E20 at login.

Install the Enlightenment E20 Desktop

Open a terminal window on your Ubuntu Desktop.

Open the terminal in Ubuntu.

The first step is to add the enlightement-git PPA (Personal Package Archive) in Ubuntu. PPA's have to be added as root user, therefor I will prepend the command with sudo.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:enlightenment-git/ppa

Enter your password when sudo requests for it and confirm the action in the next step by pressing enter.

Add the enlightenment PPA.

Update the package lists with apt to download the list of available packages from Enlightenment PPA.

apt-get update

Run apt-get update.

The next step is to install Enlightenment E20 with apt:

sudo apt-get install e20

Install e20 with apt.

Press <Enter> or <y> to confirm that you like to continue with the installation. The installation may take a few minutes, apt will first download the required packages over the internet and then install them.

Start Enlightenment E20

To start the new Desktop, we will have to log out from Ubuntu first.

Start Enlightenment E20.

On the Login screen, click on the Ubuntu Icon (I marked that in red). This will open a menu where you can select the Desktop manager for the Login session.

Select the Window manager.

Select Enlightenment here. The password field will be shown again afterward, enter your password and hit <Enter> to start the Enlightenment Desktop.

The Enlightenment configuration wizard starts at first Login.

Set language defaults.

Select the desired language and press Next.

Keyboard settings.

Select the Keyboard layout.

The Desktop profile.

Select the Desktop Profile. I do this install on an ordinary PC with mouse and keyboard, therefore I select "Computer". If you do the installation on a mobile device, then please select the "Mobile" profile here.

Window sizing.

Select the Window and Font size.

Window focus.

Select the Window focus that you prefer.

Network management.

There is no Conman network device available on my PC.

Window Compositing.

If your PC runs an OpenGL capable graphics card, then enable hardware acceleration here.

Update notifications.

Activate this option when you like to get notified on Enlightenment updates. The updates can be installed with apt then:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

E20 Taskbar.

I prefer to have a taskbar on my desktop that shows the active applications, so I'll activate this option here.

The Enlightenment E20 Desktop.

That's how the Enlightenment E20 Desktop looks like when it is fully installed.

File manager.

The File manager.

Application menu.

The application menu.

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4 Comment(s)

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From: Frobozz at: 2015-12-04 16:16:41

While I'm impressed this desktop is still alive and kicking, the last time I tried it (a couple months back) I was really not impressed. It was trying way too hard to be Mac OS X.

From: Danny at: 2015-12-24 20:03:44

I realize you're probably not the E20 helpdesk, however, I went from having e17 running while trying to install e20 (bad idea...yeah I goofed)...after logging out and back into default window manager, uninstalling stuff and fighting dependencies (but all in apt-get), I managed to get e20 installed cleanly, however, when trying to start it, I'm getting a linkage error against libelementary.s0.1 -> eo_constructor.

Any idea?

From: j at: 2016-01-05 21:03:58

I also get the same error.

symbol lookup error: /usr/lib/ undefined symbol: eo_constructor


From: Jim at: 2016-04-05 22:21:27

It's less a desktop environment and more of a widgets environment. People are unaccustomed to different, problem is booting into ED is like booting yourself into a Lego plant. The building blocks are there you just need to assemble the pieces,  alternatively you could just download a theme after booting into ED. Seriously its not rocket science!