On Friday, December 21st, 2012, the world won't be ending. But something far, far more surprising will be happening. In fact, the most improbable event, in human history, will occur on December 21st.
I'm talking about the release of Enlightenment 17 (aka “E17”). Not familiar with E17? Here's a quick overview.
To tell this story, we'll need to travel back in time. Way, way back. Back before the XFCE desktop existed. Back before Gnome was a twinkle in any nerd’s eye. Back to...1997, just a few months after the KDE project was first started.
We might as well be talking about the 1950's here.
The Enlightenment project was started as a window manager with an emphasis on looking cool – which, if you remember using X11 back in the mid-90's, was a pretty novel idea. Enlightenment was the original “eye candy” for the Linux desktop.
Then, on a cold, cold day in December of 2000, work began on what was then called “Developer Release 17” of Enlightenment, sometimes referred to as DR17 or E17.
That new version was a combination of libraries, window manager and supporting applications that, in the end, created a full-fledged Desktop Environment with the following focuses (among others):
1. “Eye candy matters” – Things should look killer.
2. “Not everyone drives an F1” – Some people have slow rigs. They should still be able to run E17.
3. “Choice is good” – People should have the ability to customize and tweak their experience as they see fit.
And it was awesome. It was awesome in 2000. It was still awesome in 2001. And in 2002, guess what? Awesome.
Now, if you'll look at your calendar, you'll notice that we live in 2012. For those keeping score at home, we are now 12 full years since work on E17 began, and the project has since looked like it was never going to see a final release. It was quickly becoming the Duke Nukem Forever of the Linux world.
Luckily for us, E17 is actually set to launch. On December 21st.
That's right. The Mayan's weren't predicting the end of the world. They were predicting the release of E17.
Because the Mayan's liked eye candy on their desktops too.