When comparing Enlightenment vs IceWM, the Slant community recommends IceWM for most people. In the question“What are the best window managers for Linux?” IceWM is ranked 12th while Enlightenment is ranked 19th. The most important reason people chose IceWM is:
IceWM is small and extremely fast.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro No programming experience required to configure the environment
Configuring the environment of Enlightenment is done through a UI, so no prior knowledge of coding languages or editing of config files is needed.
Pro Beautiful interface
Enlightenment offers a beautiful interface with eye candy: it can be themed easily to the user's liking and includes an optional compositor.
Pro Quick mouse-driven menus
Enlightenments menu is easily and quickly accessible by left-clicking anywhere on the desktop.
Pro Fast and good with battery life
Great for laptops.
Pro Virtual desktop previews
Enlightenment allows for virtual desktop previews within its desktop widget for switching desktops within its thumbnails.
Pro Unique workspace set ups
You could have a screen cluttered with panels and another with none.. A feature that is easy with enlightenment.
Pro Lots of themes available
There is a large selection of themes available for the Enlightenment window manager, meaning that customization to one's preference is very straight-forward.
Pro Lightning fast
Startup of e is lightning fast -- as it is during working with the WM.
Pro Easy on ressources
Doesn't use much RAM and doesn't hog your CPU.
Pro Havn't found a WM that beats e16 in 20 years.
I've been using e16 for about 20 years and tried quite some other WMs, but always returned back to e16. It's fast, doesn't use much resources, is highly customizable and is rock solid (I cannot remember it crashing). It's combination of simplicity and beauty is unmatched.
The default theme on e16 is kinda disappointing. Try B-42 or Dark-One.
Be careful if you enable Composite. It works flawless, but you can screw your menus when playing around with the transparent settings in the settings menu. Making a backup-copy of your .e16 preferences beforehand might save you some trouble.
Pro Highly customizable, easy customization
There's a ton of settings stacked into a quite compact settings menu that is easy to navigate.
Pro Very good performance
IceWM is small and extremely fast.
Pro Excellent documentation
Since 1.4.2 and later docs are extensive and up-to-date.
Pro Beautiful themes available
There are plenty of pre-built beautiful themes available.
Pro Very configurable
A great many options to configure it. Though this is not required.
Pro Keyboard operatable
Many keyboard shortcuts exist. More can be added.
Pro Multi-monitor fully supported
Supports both XRandR and Xinerama for multiple monitors.
Pro Comes with battery and resource indicator
Pro Very Lightweight, configurable, can use as little as 4 mb of memory for window manager and tray with 4 desktops and menus with icons
Con Minimal set of utilities
Enlightenment only comes with the bare essentials, meaning there is little that can be done upon first install in comparison to other more fully featured desktops. This does, however, leave all the customization of what apps to install up to the user, which may be a plus to some and is directly comparable to most other bare bones Window managers.
Con e16 has to be compiled from source
e16 packages seem to be no longer available in any distro. So you should at least be able to handle compiler warnings/errors and fix them, which in most cases is installing missing libraries.
Con Backlight and bluetooth can be hard to set up
There seem to be issues with some DRM laptops.
Con Sub-menu does not change direction when out of space
When you right-click for the menu in the right part of the screen but there is insufficient space for the cascading menu, you have to interrupt your selecting and move your pointer to touch the right edge of your screen - this manually moves the menu over to the left a little bit, so it has space. If there is a sub-menu, you have to once again move your pointer to the extreme right edge of the screen, for it to move over - and so on, for each level of sub-menu.
Every other OS and app/program in the world today, simply changes direction to where the sub-menus cascade. Whether that be upwards because it's too close to the bottom (we see this in the selection menus in our browsers in forms, or to change sides as we are accustomed to in all programs). This is logical, universal, expected behavior. But not in e17.
Con Not many themes for enlightenment
... and most of them are not really beautiful. For example, a Dark-One on e16 has a simple and clean look and is really beautiful (if you like dark themes).
Con Ugly default theme
The default theme is rather ugly so it's necessary to apply a new theme as soon as you install Enlightenment.
Overlaps and spaces between windows are both pointless.
Con Very bad for design
Not recommended if you like beautiful windows.