We’re fans of both elementary OS and Xfce, so when Enso OS popped up on our radar our curiosity was duly piqued. Also makes use of Gala, elementary OS’s window manager that together with the Plank dock (also used in elementary) gives the Xfce desktop a polished, modern look.
Indeed, at first glance, it’s barely recognizable. Enso doesn’t use the rest of elementary’s Pantheon desktop, so it doesn’t immediately resemble that either, beyond having a similar air of svelte about it. When you boot the live environment a friendly screen (pictured, right) welcomes you to this Singing Sunflower release. If you click through to the menu you can change user details (which isn’t really relevant for the live environment), access settings, launch the software manager, and visit the online documentation and Gitter chat room.
The Plank dock is aligned to the bottom-left which (since there aren’t many shortcuts or running programs) might upset some people’s sense of symmetry. But on the plus side, this affords you an unobstructed view of the bottom-right part of the desktop wallpaper, which by default is a rather fetching blossom against a peachy sky.
The start-up and shut-down screens use a similarly pleasing palette. Icons in the dock use the bold Paper theme, and striking, filled circle window decorations (styled with a fork of the Arc theme that helpfully reveals the close, minimise, and maximize functions when you hover) adorn the left-hand side of each window. The busy cursor is some sort of spinning beachball. It’s a little like a certain fruity OS, we’ll admit. There are some neat fade effects too, but they don’t seem to be overly taxing on system resources.
Born out of enthusiasm
Enso uses the stock Xubuntu installer, so we don’t envisage any problems installing alongside other distros. A pulsating color gradient entertains you for the five minutes it takes to complete the installation. Enso seems for now to be a one-person distro, so we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for beginners and certainly not production machines. But stalwart developer Nick Wilkins has been nurturing the project for three years now, and there are no indications this enthusiasm will fade.
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