A Preview into Manokwari Desktop Environment from BlankOn X “Tambora”

Manokwari is a desktop environment from BlankOn GNU/Linux operating system. In this manner, Manokwari is similar with Budgie from Solus OS, or DDE from deepin OS. While the current BlankOn OS is slowly moving into the new 10.0 version (codename “Tambora”), the current Manokwari gets a new feature I want to introduce here. This article is an intro for you who are totally new to Manokwari.

Manokwari Desktop at A Glance

Manokwari desktop at a glance is basically like ordinary Mac OS X desktop, with a top horizontal panel and a bottom dock. The difference is the Manokwari menu (it’s officially called BlankOn Menu) when the user click “OI” icon on the top-left.

BlankOn Menu

The Manokwari Menu (BlankOn Menu) is a vertical list menu with a search bar, categories list, shortcuts list, and a sessions indicator. It’s fixed in size and left-edge position of screen. As usual, the user can run any application by looking one by one (from categories) or by searching (from search bar).

BlankOn Panel

Along with Manokwari Menu, the Manokwari Panel is also the main component of Manokwari. This top-black-horizontal panel has some main tasks, including to convey the Menu, the Task List, and System Tray. Just imagine Unity top panel, with Task List addition on it; or imagine exactly XFCE top panel.

Right Sidebar

The new thing from Manokwari from BlankOn X Tambora pre-release version is this right sidebar. It reminds me to Solus OS’s Budgie sidebar, and also deepin OS’s DDE sidebar. This right sidebar of Manokwari brings the user 5 things: online BlankOn documentations, audio player applet, online weather forecast, system settings shortcuts, and time/calendar view.

The Dock

The bottom dock of Manokwari is not merely a dock, like what we see at Mac OS X or elementary OS, rather, it is a replacement for desktop application shortcuts. In Manokwari, basically the user can not add any desktop icon into the desktop area. Instead, Manokwari gives the user a dock where they can place any desktop icon there. To run an application, simply click on an icon.
The user can add icon from the Manokwari Menu (by right-click on an item), and they can remove icon by simply dragging it to the Trash Bin icon on the desktop area.

The Workspace Switcher

Manokwari has a desktop switcher for 4 workspaces by default. It’s located at top panel, right beside the right sidebar icon. It’s vertically aligned. To switch desktop workspace, open the switcher and click one of four blocks available. Every running application will show as an icon on one block, respectively.


I should admit that Manokwari has some “limitations”. Somehow as KDE user, some of them are really not comforting me. I let you know them:

  • There is no Super key binding to desktop menu. For you formerly Windows users, or currently Unity or DDE, or GNOME users, you may find this annoying. Even if you are using KDE, with KSuperkey, it is annoying if you can not open desktop menu with single Super key. You should manually point-and-click at “OI” icon to open and close menu. Even more, Manokwari has no Alt+F1 or Ctrl+Esc or Super+F1 keybinding to open the desktop menu.
  • There is no easy tweaking options. I can not change the desktop theme by default. I can not change the top panel arrangement (just like Unity). I can not modify the Menu. I can not add a new panel. To compare it, XFCE is far more configurable than Manokwari when it comes to themes and panels modding in GUI style.

So if you want to try Manokwari, understand these limitations first. You may read the official design principles by Manokwari Developer Team here https://github.com/BlankOn/manokwari/blob/master/DESIGN.md.



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