Tuesday, August 6, 2013

CrunchBang

Several days ago I had recently installed Fedora 19 on my machines. There was really nothing wrong with Fedora that prompted me to make another change. But I was really considering giving Debian a try. I've run Debian before, many moons ago. It's one of the oldest surviving Linux distributions and very well-respected for it's stability.

Now there are a lot of distributions that are based on Debian. Not only that, but Ubuntu is based on Debian. And there are a ton of distributions based on Ubuntu. So Debian is sort of the granddaddy. I had downloaded several new ISOs. I had Debian, I had Arch Linux, and I had CrunchBang.

Decisions decisions. Arch Linux is a lot of work. Fun, but still... a lot of work. It's almost like a "roll your own" kind of thing. Debian might also be a bit of work, because I'd have to choose all the packages I'd need. And then I'd have to make them all work together.

But CrunchBang was interesting. It is directly based on Debian and it features the Openbox window manager. The CrunchBang folks really only add two things... 1) they choose the various necessary components to go with Openbox so that it will give basic functionality that most people require... and 2) they provide a nice default configuration for said Openbox and components. The result is an extremely light-weight Linux system that is the minimalist's dream.

Seriously, I've been running it for four or five days now and I am totally in love. I think my "distro-hopping" days are over. I have CrunchBang on both of my machines and it's working flawlessly.

It did take a little work in some areas. But it wasn't bad. I plugged in my Canon digital camera... and it wasn't recognized. Most complete Linux desktop environments provide that functionality, but Openbox isn't actually a "desktop environment", it's simply a window manager. That's why it's so nice that the CrunchBang folks put all the various pieces together. Once I tracked down the pieces necessary, I was able to talk to my Canon camera just fine.

The thing about most other distributions (or operating systems in general) is that right after installing them, I find myself needing to start uninstalling all the needless garbage they add to it. And often times removing all that junk is way harder than just picking a minimalist distribution and adding to it.