What do you get when you take Debian, add Enlightenment E17 to it, and then figure out a way to use Compiz as the compositor on top of all of that? What you get is the coolest distribution ever. What I am talking about is Elive Compiz.

You may be saying, “But this has already happened.” It hasn’t. I had spoken with the originator of Enlightenment, Carsten “Raster” Haitzler, about hoping to see Compiz working with Enlightenment. He said it wouldn’t happen because Enlightenment already had its own compositor. And it didn’t happen. That is until one of the Elive developers, Thanatermesis, did some private coding sessions and came up with Ecomorph. Ecomorph is a special version of Compiz that works with a special version of E17 that works with Ecomorph.

And work it does. Seamlessly. I have seen “things of beauty” before in this industry, but this tops them all. If you need proof, check out this Youtube video. I will appologize for the “uber hip-ness” of the video. Also, the reason you don’t see straight-up screen casts is because getting screen casts to capture the Compiz compositor is tricky.

Now, what about this Elive Compiz and why should you try it?

First and foremost you must know that this effort is in the early stages. It is clearly stated that this version of Elive should not be used on production machines. Naturally I tossed caution to the wind and installed it over the Kubuntu distribution I had just loaded (and wasn’t liking anyway).

If one can fall in love with a distribution of Linux, I have. Let me explain.

Remember those days when you first started using Linux and you were just thrilled to have something different and cool on your desktop? Something to impress all of those around you? Well that is what Elive Compiz is doing for me. It’s brought excitement and that new-car smell back to Linux for me.

But why should you try it? There are many who would like to just give Compiz a try but don’t have the experience to undertake the installation. This solves that problem for you. There are also those, like me, who have always wanted to add some serious 3D effects to Enlightenment. This is for you. There are also those who just want to see how far the PC desktop can be taken. This is for you. I would guess that anyone reading this blog will have their interest piqued enough to download this and give it a try. You should.

What will you need?

When I first started this Live CD I was surprised at how well it ran from the CD and RAM. It’s smooth and fast. Of course running after installation is even better. But what will it take to run? The only requirement mentioned on the site is a strong recommendation foran  NVidia graphics card. I have installed Elive Compiz on machines with NVidia 6600 and 6800 GT graphics cards. Both instances ran perfectly.

What does it include?
Upon installation I found Elive Compiz contained almost everything I needed. I had to install OpenOffice and a few other pieces of software (GnuCash, Scribus, etc). Since this was a Debian-based distribution, it included the Synaptic utility which makes installation simple. There are a few other bits and pieces included to take the socks blown off your feet and blow them across the room. One of those bits is the Emotion demo. Emotion is a video playback library unlike any you have seen. Emotion is based on libxine and treats videos as smart objects that can be made transparent and layered on top of one another…you just have to experience it.
Final thoughts

I can’t say enough about this project. If you doubt just how amazing Elive Compiz is, I suggest you grab a download and run it. You’ll find a machine to install it on and you’ll play with until you can’t pull yourself away. It’s that cool.