CrunchBang Linux is awesome!
I don’t typically blog about the day-to-day geekiness involved in maintaining our small fleet of computers, but I have to recommend this distribution. It’s been on my laptop for about 36 hours, and I absolutely love it.
Our current network consists of:
- My Asus EeePC 901. It’s running Ubuntu 8.04. We use it for Skype, occasional browsing/productivity, and as a portable machine.
- Erin’s Dell E6400. This is her primary machine, and it’s running Ubuntu 9.04. It usually lives in the bedroom, but has been known to move around the apartment.
- Erin’s ancient Dell 600m. It’s connected to the TV. It has no working screen, wireless card, battery, PC slot, or USB ports, so it’s not good for much else. It’s running Windows XP, as the S-Video out doesn’t work under Linux.
- My Dell E1505. This is my primary machine, and it lives on the desk, connected to a couple external drives. It’s on pretty much 24/7, and gets used for just about everything. It serves files to all the other machines and functions as a desktop. This is the computer that’s now running CrunchBang.
I recently installed Ubuntu 9.04 on my Dell, but I just wasn’t pleased. It felt bloated and slow. To be fair, this machine runs an FTP server, a Samba file server and a DAAP server in addition to the usual desktop apps including Firefox, Skype, and a busy bittorrent client. It’s about 4 years old, and it was feeling sluggish. I’ve been meaning to set up an internet jukebox of some sort, maybe Jinzora, but that means adding a webserver and database to the mix. It was time for a lighter-weight OS.
Enter Crunchbang Linux. It’s built from a minimal Ubuntu installation, but without all of the bulk of full-fledged Ubuntu. You still get apt for package management and the very robust Gnome network tools. It uses the Openbox window manager, which is amazingly fast and configurable. The rest of the installed applications are an excellent compromise between features and speed.
Installation was a breeze, and I haven’t had a single problem. Lately I’ve felt that Ubuntu is focusing more and more on eyecandy and flashy new features, and I’m just not that interested. I’m tired of spending hours trimming the fat from the distro. So far, crunchbang performs impressively. Memory and CPU usage are lower, and everything feels snappier.
This isn’t a distribution for everyone. It requires some comfort with the terminal and configuration files, but it’s surprisingly easy. If you’re looking for a lightweight alternative to Ubuntu, I highly recommend it.
And just to prove that lightweight doesn’t mean ugly, check out a couple screenshots: