Back in June Enlightenment E16 reached version 1.0.0 and then a few weeks later there was an E17 development snapshot released, but there hasn't been a whole lot of news out of the Enlightenment camp over the past year. In fact, most new Linux users have likely never even heard of the Enlightenment. For the uninformed, Enlightenment is a window manager that has been around since 1997 but doesn't receive too much mainstream love. Fortunately though it now has the backing of a major electronics manufacturer who is sponsoring its development.
Announced via a small news post just minutes ago on the Enlightenment web-site that the project is working with "working with a top-5 electronics producer (one of the largest in the world, who produces millions of mobile phones, televisions, sound systems and more per year) to bring Enlightenment and especially it's deep technology to their products." In fact, this unnamed company is actively sponsoring the development of Enlightenment and the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL).
The news post goes on to add that, "What does this mean for you as users and developers? It means that you are likely to see top-quality electronic devices running the same things you use on your desktop. This means as a developer the same libraries and API's will be there, ready to use, out of the box. You can even start your development now in anticipation. Use Elementary, Evas, Edje, Ecore, Eet, Eina, and so on and design for a small screen with a "finger" and minimal keyboard (by small screen i mean in the range of 240x320, 320x480 and so on up to 480x800 for portrait, and similar for landscape (320x240, 480x320, 800x480)."
While their news post barely sheds any details, we have found out that this major manufacturer that is backing the Enlightenment project is Samsung Electronics. Some public confirmation of this can be found via this Trac change-log commit that introduces Editje, which is an edje file editor. Edje is the graphical design and layout library for Enlightenment and now there is a nice way to alter the layout of the Enlightenment desktop visually using Editje. Samsung not only sponsored the development of Editje but they are playing well with this free software project and allowing the code to be released under the LGPLv3. We have also received independent confirmation that Samsung is indeed this new Enlightenment supporter.
Samsung is sponsoring Enlightenment so that they can obviously deploy this lightweight and robust window manager on some of their mobile devices, but we do not yet have confirmation on what devices or when they may start surfacing... It sounds as though Samsung is still early on into their love affair with Enlightenment and that many more changes and work are still to come, which means that it may be some months before seeing any devices.
We also have been forwarded some YouTube videos of recent Enlightenment advancements (user-interface improvements) that have been made possible through this hardware company's sponsorship. The video demos are quite interesting and worth checking out.
This news is also coming just a week after Samsung announced their Linux-based Bada operating system. Bada-powered devices are not planned to go on sale until 2010, but is rumored to challenge Google's Android operating system.
Kudos to Samsung Electronics though for already allowing some of this sponsored code to make it out into the world prior to any of their new devices shipping and for putting it out under a free software license.